Facebook acquires a popular GIF search engine, video game sales see major growth and Sorrentino reports promising results for a COVID-19 treatment.
Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 15, 2020.
1. Facebook to acquire Giphy in a deal reportedly worth $400 million
Facebook will acquire Giphy, the web-based animated GIF search engine and platform provider. The company confirmed the deal but isn’t disclosing the terms; Axios reports that it’s worth around $400 million.
Giphy has grown to be a central source for shareable, high-engagement content, and its animated response GIFs are available across Facebook’s platforms, as well as through other social apps and services. Most notably, Giphy provides built-in search and sticker functions for Facebook’s Instagram, and it will continue to operate in that capacity.
2. US video game sales have record quarter, as consumers stay at home
New numbers from NPD confirm what we’ve known for a while: The first quarter of 2020 was a very good one for gaming companies. The new report notes that sales hit a record $10.86 billion in the U.S. between January and March of this year, marking a 9% increase over a year prior.
3. Sorrento finds a coronavirus antibody that blocks viral infection 100% in preclinical lab experiments
Therapeutics company Sorrento has made what it says could be a breakthrough in potential treatment of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that leads to COVID-19. The company released details of its preclinical research on Friday, announcing that it has found an antibody that provides “100% inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection of healthy cells after four days incubation.”
4. Indian food delivery startup Zomato cuts 13% of workforce
The 11-year-old firm did not disclose the exact number of people it was letting go, but the number is above 500. A Zomato spokesperson told TechCrunch that the startup employs about 4,000 people and the layoff impacts its workforce globally.
5. Big VCs stacked billions in Q1 while smaller firms saw their haul shrink
New data out today details how U.S.-based VCs fared in Q1 2020, giving us a window into how flush the financial class of startup land was as it headed into the COVID-19 era. The short answer is that big funds raised lots of cash, while smaller funds appear to have put in a somewhat lackluster quarter. (Extra Crunch membership required.)
6. Why did Apple buy NextVR?
At face value, this acquisition seems a little strange for Apple — the company has been pushing full-throttle on mobile AR, largely eschewing public activity or interest in the VR world. But virtual reality might feel like a safer investment at the moment.
7. WeWork and SoftBank unveil the first 14 startups in their Emerge accelerator for underrepresented founders
It’s an equity-free, eight-week program that includes workshops, access to mentors from SoftBank and the WeWork community and sessions with SoftBank executives. It all culminates in a showcase event for investors and SoftBank partners.
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