Day: February 23, 2021

Daily Crunch: Facebook brings news sharing back to Australia

The Facebook-Australia news battle seems to have reached an end, Android gets an update and Lucid Motors is going public via SPAC. This is your Daily Crunch for February 23, 2021.

The big story: Facebook brings news sharing back to Australia

Last week, Facebook responded to the Australian government’s proposed law requiring internet platforms to strike revenue-sharing agreements with news publishers by blocking news sharing and viewing for users in the country. But with the government amending the law, Facebook said it will restore news sharing in the “coming days.”

Among other things, the amendments call for a two-month mediation period before Facebook is forced into arbitration with publishers, and it also says the government will consider commercial agreements that the platforms have made with local publishers before deciding whether the law applies to them.

William Easton, Facebook’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement that the amendments address “core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognize the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them.”

The tech giants

Android’s latest update will let you schedule texts, secure your passwords and more — This update will integrate a feature called Password Checkup to alert you to passwords you’re using that have been previously exposed.

Twitter relaunches test that asks users to revise harmful replies — Twitter is running a new test that will ask users to pause and think before they tweet.

Area 120 is beginning to use Google’s massive reach to scale HTML5 GameSnacks platform — GameSnacks is an HTML5 gaming platform where titles are bite-sized and load much faster.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Lucid Motors strikes SPAC deal to go public with $24B valuation — This will be the largest deal yet between a blank-check company and an electric vehicle startup.

Shippo raises $45M more at $495M valuation as e-commerce booms — The startup provides shipping-related services to e-commerce companies.

Reddit ups Series E round by another $116M — Reddit had already announced a $250 million Series E earlier this month.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

How to overcome the challenges of switching to usage-based pricing — The usage-based pricing model almost feels like a cheat code, according to OpenView’s Kyle Poyar.

Oscar Health’s initial IPO price is so high, it makes me want to swear — Alex Wilhelm doesn’t mince words: “Public investors have lost their damn minds.”

RIBS: The messaging framework for every company and product — The test is designed to tell you if your story is memorable, so you can turn it into a compelling message.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Announcing the complete agenda for TC Sessions: Justice — Our second-ever dedicated event to diversity, equity, inclusion and labor in tech is coming up on March 3.

Six Miami-based investors share their views on the region’s startup scene — Investors see a huge opportunity for the region to become a major startup hub by utilizing its diverse workforce and wonderful quality of life.

SolarWinds hackers targeted NASA, Federal Aviation Administration networks — Hackers are said to have broken into the networks of U.S. space agency NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration as part of a wider espionage campaign.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

What Factors Affect Auto Insurance Givebacks?

The world has looked very different since last year. With the closing of most places of business, the places one can drive to has been limited greatly. The amount of cars on the road has been drastically reduced since the start of the pandemic.

With people driving less, there is a question of how this can and will affect car insurance now and in the future. has looked into those factors and has broken it down. According to the website, many parts of the country saw a 60 percent drop in the amount of miles driven.

Along with rolling lockdown, the pandemic also brought financial struggles with it. Furloughs have left many Americans without jobs and nowhere to go, and yet they were still stuck with auto insurance for the few occasions when they left their houses.

Because of this, insurance companies provided givebacks in the form of: deferred cancellation due to missed payments, no penalties for late payments, waived deductibles for those medical frontliners who commute, as well as financial aid and light-on-the-pocket payment schemes.

Some of the biggest insurers—GEICO, Allstate, Progressive, and State Farm—refunded premiums in response to the drop in mileage. With the refunds, premiums also dropped 25 percent. This totaled $14 billion returned to policyholders.

Despite the drop in driving for most Americans, a select few actually saw and increase in driving in the midst of the health crisis. The demand for delivery has sharply increased because of the need to stay indoors. Some people have also turned to gig work apps to alleviate the financial struggle. Apps like DoorDash and Grubhub allow for some people to stay indoors, but others are now driving more to fulfill the apps’ demands.

car insurance premium factors

With all that in mind, will there be a total refund in the future of auto insurance? It is true that driving less equates to reduced low-speed accidents and lower rates overall. Still, it is unobtainable to provide an equal refund percentage.

There are multiple variables that keep full refunds from happening, such as: gravity or seriousness of accidents, hard-to-predict changes in driving habits, steeper repair expenses due to supply chain problems, and claims for slowed down repairs due to mobility restrictions.

Another factor is that, seemingly contradictory, less driving could mean more accidents. With less people on the roads, there is a higher chance for speeding. So, less traffic also entails increased high-speed accidents.

It could mean an increase of a whopping 50 percent in accidents while going over 70 mph and a 30 percent rise in road mishaps while going over 100 mph. The rise in speeding can lead to an increase in claims, higher cost claims, and more severe accidents.

factor that affect your car insurance premium

One way to understand how all this can affect your insurance is to understand risk pools. Auto insurers have to insure all drivers nationwide, regardless of their driving history and level of risk. Risk pools spread the claims costs across more people to keep premiums lower. It is important to know what risk pool you fall into. High-risk drivers are teenagers and those with a history of violations. Low-risk drivers are experienced drivers who have never received a ticket.

The pandemic has also had people looking toward the future—where people are not stuck indoors—and that future will most likely include autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles can also affect auto insurance just the coronavirus.

Considering 94 percent of accidents are caused by human error, it makes sense that self-driving cars could drastically change how insurance is calculated. An increase in these vehicles could lead to: a shift in liability, lower premiums, and fewer insurance claims.

But this brings up the question, who is liable when there is an accident?

Arguably, autonomous vehicles will shift blame away from the driver and will make driver history irrelevant. However, determining fault in these cases is difficult. If the driver is driving, normal insurance makes sense. If the car is in control, is the manufacturer or the driver liable? The simplest solution is no fault or split fault personal insurance.

Another solution is for the manufacturer to start providing insurance policies instead of personal insurance companies. This would eliminate the need to determine who is liable as manufacturers can calculate the odds of malfunction and charge based on that.

They also can lower premiums with upgrades and new releases. Autonomous vehicles would also lower the risk profiles of many drivers. It stands to reason that autonomous vehicles would reduce premiums by $25 billion.

Insurance Givebacks

The post What Factors Affect Auto Insurance Givebacks? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Katana raises $11M Series A to be the SaaS powering ‘manufacturing entrepreneurs’

Katana, an Estonian startup that has built manufacturing-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for SMBs, has raised $11 million in Series A funding.

Leading the round is European venture capital firm Atomico, with participation from angel investors Ott Kaukver ( CTO), Sten Tamkivi (CPO Topia, formerly Skype), Sergei Anikin (CTO, Pipedrive) and Kairi Pauskar (former TransferWise HR Architect). Previous backer 42Cap also followed on, bringing the total investment raised by the company to date to $16 million.

Founded in 2017 by Kristjan Vilosius (CEO), Priit Kaasik (engineering lead) and Hannes Kert (CCO), Katana positions itself as the “entrepreneur manufacturer’s secret weapon” with a plug-and-play ERP for small to medium-sized manufacturers. The idea is to wean companies off existing antiquated tools such as spreadsheets and legacy software to manage inventory and production. The startup is also playing into macro trends, such as the advent of online marketplaces and D2C e-commerce, that are resulting in an explosion of independent makers, spanning cosmetics to home décor, electronics to apparel, and food and beverages.

“We are seeing a global renaissance of small manufacturing driven by the rise of e-commerce tools and consumer demand for bespoke products produced locally,” says Vilosius. “Just walk around any big city from London to San Francisco, and you’ll see workshops all around you. Someone’s making organic cosmetics here; over there, someone is making electric bikes. These companies are run by passionate entrepreneurs selling through traditional channels, but also selling through direct-to-consumer channels, e-commerce stores and marketplaces, etc. This is a massive boom of makers wanting to create products and sell them globally, and it is not a trend that will disappear tomorrow”.

The problem, however, is that small and medium-sized manufacturers don’t have the right software to support workflows necessary to sell through multiple channels — and this is where Katana comes in. The plug-and-play software claims a superior UX designed specifically to power boutique manufacturing, including functionality supporting the workflows of modern manufacturers, i.e. inventory control and optimization, and purchasing materials, managing bill-of-materials, tracking costs and more. It also offers an API and integrations with popular e-commerce sales channels and accounting tools such as Shopify, Amazon, WooCommerce, QuickBooks, Xero and others.

“We have built the world’s most self on-board-able manufacturing ERP, and that’s a very important differentiation between us and competitors,” explains Vilosius. “Implementation is so simple that more than half of Katana’s users self-onboard. It takes less than a week on average to get Katana up and running, compared to months for competitors”.

As an example of how a company might use Katana, imagine a boutique manufacturer using Shopify as their main sales channel. Once configured, Katana pulls in orders from Shopify and knows whether or not the product is available so it can be shipped immediately. If it’s unavailable, Katana displays if the necessary raw materials needed to manufacture are in stock and by when the product could be finished. “We handle the entire process from getting the raw materials in the warehouse to planning manufacturing activities, executing and shipping when the product is done,” says Vilosius.

Katana software screen shot

Image Credits: Katana

Cue statement from Atomico partner Ben Blume, who joins the Katana board: “Atomico has always believed in the strength of Estonian-built engineering and product, and as we got to know the team at Katana, we saw a familiar pattern: a relentlessly product-focussed team with the incredible ability to build and think from their customer’s point of view, and an unwavering belief that a new generation of manufacturers with big ideas shouldn’t have to settle for less than world-class technology to support them.”

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