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Thursdaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! It’s one of our favorite days of the week. Definitely in the top 7. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Crypto wallet in disguise: Ledger, a company that designs and manufactures crypto wallets, is now flush with actual cash. Romain writes that after raising over $380 million in 2021, in today’s dollars, Ledger brought in $108 million, raising at the same valuation and from a long list of investors.
- Even contact centers need tech: Customers have lots of questions, and to provide the best experience, you need more than just a friendly voice on the other end of the phone. That’s where Parloa comes in, raising $21 million to add a little automation to contact centers, Kyle writes.
- Cashing in on the generative AI frenzy: In Kyle’s second top story of the day, Fixie, backed by $17 million in venture capital, wants to make it easier for companies to build on top of language models.
Startups and VC
“Our story starts 15 years ago,” Frédéric Utzmann, founder and CEO of Effy, told Romain. After 15 years of bootstrapping, the energy renovation company is at a crossroads and just closed a $22 million funding round from Felix Capital to make the most of the opportunities in the energy renovation space.
The layoffs continue: Indian edtech Unacademy slashes another 12% jobs, and online used-car marketplace Shift cuts workforce by 30%.
Another fistful of wisdoms and nuggets:
- Taking on Twitter, too: Twitter alternative T2 launches new verification program and hires a Discord engineering head as CTO, Sarah reports
- Computer says no to fraud: Kyle reports that Oscilar emerges from stealth to fight transactions fraud with AI.
- Computer says no to other computers: DataDome uses AI to protect against bot-based attacks. The company just raised $42 million, Kyle reports.
- A captive audience: Ingrid reports that P97 fills up its tank with $40 million to fuel its gas station mobile commerce services.
- CEOs only: Natasha M writes that Hampton is tech’s new membership community for chief executive officers.
How to build a sales development representative strategy that will fill your B2B pipeline
Marketing teams deserve all of the credit for crafting innovative campaigns that break through the noise: Convincing someone to try out a new product or service takes real skill!
In practice, however, sales development representatives (SDRs) do most of the work required to land new customers, “making cold calls, writing email outreach, or sending outbound mail,” says GTM strategist Mike Tong.
Because it takes “about 15 touches for a prospect to want to see a demo,” Tong authored a TC+ guide for early-stage CEOs who need guidance around hiring and incentivizing SDR teams.
“Pipeline generation at early-stage companies is expensive and time consuming, often more so than the sales process itself. That said, getting it right is likely the most important thing you can do for your business.”
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Bork bork bork?: Anna takes a look at Sweden’s startup scene as Techstars drops its Stockholm program.
- Let me insure you: Anna talks to six VCs who explain why embedded insurance isn’t the only hot opportunity in insurtech.
- Reaching for the sky: Haje is back with his weekly Pitch Deck Teardown, looking at Northspyre’s $25 million Series B deck, which comes with a few good surprises. And a few, er, not good surprises.
TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead of the pack. You can sign up here. Use code “DC” for a 15% discount on an annual subscription!
Big Tech Inc.
It seems we can’t go that many days without more news on a company cutting jobs. This time, Roku is doing a second round of layoffs, this time of 200 employees, or 6% of its workforce, citing “a larger plan to lower its year-over-year operating expense growth and prioritize projects that it believes will have a higher return on investment,” Sarah writes. This comes four months after Roku laid off an initial 200 people.
Meanwhile, if you want to book an environmentally friendly ride, you’re in luck. Uber expands its Comfort Electric offering to 14 new markets in the U.S. and Canada, Rebecca reports. You can choose from Tesla Models S, 3, X and Y; the Polestar 2; the Ford Mustang Mach-E; the Audi e-tron; the Porsche Taycan; and the Hyundai Ioniq.
And we have five more for you:
- Driving off into the sunset: Waymo retires its self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivan, Kirsten reports.
- Don’t answer this call: Security firms say a new supply chain attack is targeting customers of a phone system with 12 million users, Carly writes.
- Not enough: Ivan writes that developers say the new Twitter API tiers still miss the mark.
- Game on: Netflix is working on games for the TV where people can use their iPhone as the video game controller, Lauren reports.
- Changes are coming: Lyft’s new CEO has some ideas that might include dropping shared rides, Rebecca reports.