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The TechCrunch Top 3
- What are you collecting?: Collectibles, like trading cards, are big business, and eBay got a big boost in this area with its new move to acquire TCGplayer, a trading card marketplace, for up to $295 million, Aisha reports. She writes, “The company’s latest acquisition shows that eBay sees increased potential in trading cards, as the company notes that the agreement offers a way for it to ‘maintain its position as a desirable platform for trading card sellers.’”
- ‘Surge’ing ahead: Jagmeet has the skinny on the 15 Indian and Southeast Asian companies selected for Sequoia’s seventh Surge cohort.
- Not sure if the ‘Flow’ is going uphill or down: We all know by now that Andreessen Horowitz gave Adam Neumann $350 million for his new endeavor, Flow, which is buying up rental units in an effort to create a community effect. Tim, Dominic-Madori and Amanda provide three different takes on why both venture capitalist and founders may have “misread America’s housing problems.”
Startups and VC
There was a bunch of news last week about ex-WeWork boss Adam Neumann raising more money to do whatever he does these days — but Connie brings us a story about how to do it differently in “The Anti–Adam Neumann.”
Accelerators can be a little hit or miss, but Haje took a closer look at Miko, which went through the Disney tech accelerator, and this week announced that it is launching in 140 countries with Disney and Pixar content. It’s a dream partnership for any startup, so it’s fun to see it work out for them.
Nourish thine mind:
- Another step toward the singularity: Manish and Kyle report that John Carmack, the game developer who co-founded id Software and was Oculus’s CTO, is working on a new venture. Keen Technologies raised $20 million from Sequoia.
- Strategic salaries, simplified: Anita reports that Complete helps startups think through the “why” and “how” of employee compensation, raising $4 million in a round led by Accel.
- This slot machine is great — I keep winning: Founded in 1965 and by some accounts the creator of the first modern ATM systems, CSI agrees to be acquired for $1.6 billion, reports Kyle.
- Casting even more zen: Brian reports that podcasting recording platform Zencastr adds editing and distribution tools in a bid to become a full-service podcast offering.
- Have you herb what they came up with this time?: The kale came from inside the house, puns Haje about the new Click & Grow at-home hydroponic setup. But then he got all grumpy at how expensive these things are, and spent a couple of weekends building his own hydroponic system, and wrote a guide about how to build your own. You know, in case your to-do list wasn’t quite harrowing enough.
4 ways founders can amplify revenue during hard times
Turning one-time customers into repeat buyers takes on heightened importance during a downturn. Acquiring a new user is a heavy lift, but finding ways to reduce friction is an easy way to boost a customer’s lifetime value.
One study found that password difficulties cause nearly 60% of consumers to abandon shopping carts before completing a purchase.
If you’re trying to recalibrate online sales, this TC+ guest post contains formulas for calculating lost lifetime value (LTV) due to churn on a monthly and annual basis. “In times of recession, you have to make things easier, not more difficult,” says Ari Jacoby, CEO and co-founder of Deduce.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
It just so happened that a trio of self-driving news hit around the same time, and Rebecca was there to deliver the goods. So at the same time that Tesla says it will increase the cost of its full self-driving beta software to $15,000 in North America, YouTube pulled a pair of videos off its site where Tesla drivers were showing off the controversial software with their children in the driver’s seat. Meanwhile, over in the U.K., the government there said that self-driving manufacturers, not drivers themselves, will be liable for accidents when the car is in autonomous mode.