Daily Crunch: Amazon makes PR push ahead of union vote

Anthony Ha
·3 min read

Amazon pushes back against unionization, WeWork eyes the SPAC route and there's new spyware on Android. This is your Daily Crunch for March 26, 2021.

The big story: Amazon makes PR push ahead of union vote

Workers at Amazon's fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama (a suburb of Birmingham) will vote next week on whether to unionize. In the meantime, Amazon is waging an aggressive PR campaign against the effort and the politicians who support it.

For example, in a response to news that Senator Bernie Sanders would be visiting Amazon workers, executive Dave Clark tweeted, "I welcome @SenSanders to Birmingham and appreciate his push for a progressive workplace. I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace." Meanwhile, the Amazon News account scoffed at Representative Mark Pocan for repeating accounts of Amazon workers peeing in water bottles: "If that were true, nobody would work for us."

In response, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (which the Amazon workers would be joining if the unionization effort succeeds) put out a statement asking, "How arrogant and tone deaf can Amazon be?"

The tech giants

A new Android spyware masquerades as a ‘system update’ — The malware can take complete control of a victim's device.

What Silicon Valley could learn from China’s Q&A platform Zhihu — China’s largest question and answer platform, Zhihu, began trading at the lower end of its IPO range.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Crypto boom continues as Chainalysis raises $100M, doubles valuation to over $2B — The round comes just four months after the company secured a $100 million Series C round at a $1 billion valuation.

Benitago Group raises $55M in combined debt and equity to buy and grow Amazon brands — Most of the funding takes the form of credit lines to fund acquisitions, but there's also an equity investment.

‘Link-in-bio’ company Linktree raises $45M Series B for its social commerce features — Linktree is one of the most popular “link in bio” services, with more than 12 million users.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

WeWork lines up for a second run at the public markets — If all you have is a blank-check company, every erstwhile startup looks like a public company in waiting.

Five mistakes creators make building new games on Roblox — Game developers, brands and investors alike are wondering what factors cause the most successful games on this $47 billion platform to break out.

UiPath’s IPO filing suggests robotic process automation is booming — Five takeaways from the company's S-1.

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

Everything else

These House hearings on tech are a waste of time and everyone knows it — Devin Coldewey says the hearings need to change if lawmakers really want to put Big Tech on the spot.

Computer vision software has the potential to reinvent the way cities move — Tech provides new means of addressing the challenges of crowding, pollution and parking enforcement on dense city streets.

You can only invest if you promise not to read the fine print, OK? — Wrap up the week with an episode of Equity.

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