— Mobile

Facebook announces new audio products – TechCrunch

Facebook reveals its Clubhouse competitor, Parler, will return to Apple’s App Store, and a helicopter flies on Mars. This is your Daily Crunch for April 19, 2021.

The big story: Facebook announces new audio products

Yes, these products include new Clubhouse-style Live Audio Rooms, the ability for podcasters to share long-form audio, some new Spotify integration, and a shorter format called Soundbites. Facebook is starting off by testing Live Audio Rooms in Facebook Groups.

“When we launched video rooms earlier last year, groups and communities were one of the bigger areas where that took off,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview with Platformer. “So, I think around audio, just given how much more accessible it is, that’ll be a pretty exciting area as well.”

The tech giants

Apple confirms it will allow Parler to return to App Store — Apple says that after Parler’s proposed updates, it should be approved for reinstatement to the App Store.

Consumer agency warns against Peloton Tread+ use, as the company pushes back — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning consumers to stop using the Tread+.

Xbox Cloud Gaming beta starts rolling out on iOS and PC this week — The service has been available in beta for Android users since last year, but it has been slow to expand to other platforms.

Startups, funding, and venture capital

Clubhouse closes an undisclosed $4B valuation Series C round, as tech giants’ clones circle — We don’t know how much it raised, but it looks like Clubhouse has tripled the valuation it attained in January.

Alan raises $220M for its health insurance and healthcare super app — The company now covers 160,000 people.

General Motors leads a $139M investment into lithium-metal battery developer, SES — GM is the latest giant automaker to pick a horse in the race to develop better batteries for electric vehicles.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

The Klaviyo EC-1 — Klaviyo may not be a household name yet, but this startup has become the standard by which email marketers are judged in many ways.

European VC soars in Q1 — The blockbuster first quarter was not just an American affair.

Outdoor startups see supercharged growth during the COVID-19 era. Startups that provide camper vans, private campsites, and trail-finding apps became relevant to millions of new users when COVID-19 shut down indoor recreation. (Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

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