TechCrunch+ roundup: Singapore’s fintech buzz, SaaS slump, amplified marketing strategies

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Bret Taylor is on a roll: On Monday, he became the chair of Twitter’s board, and a day later, Salesforce made him its co-CEO and co-chair.

Enterprise reporter Ron Miller looked back at Taylor’s career to better understand how a one-time Google product manager ended up co-leading one of the world’s most valuable companies.

To get a fuller perspective, Ron interviewed four analysts:


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  • Liz Herbert, VP and principal analyst, Forrester Research
  • Holger Mueller, analyst, Constellation Research
  • Brent Leary, founder and principal analyst, CRM Essentials
  • Jason Wong, analyst, Gartner

Leary said Taylor’s elevation likely signals that Salesforce founder Marc Benioff is getting ready to transition “into the next phase of his life, whatever that may be.”

Mueller, however, said power-sharing only succeeds “when the senior partner relinquishes responsibilities. That will be a first for Benioff, and we will see how this will pan out.”

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

How to execute an amplified marketing strategy

Hand of hispanic man holding megaphone over isolated blue background.

Image Credits: AaronAmat (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Every blog post, Tweet and Instagram Story is an opportunity to explain to customers (and your board) how the company creates value or is a step ahead of the competition.

But quality will always beat quantity when it comes to content marketing; Googlebot may be hungry for new links, but potential customers demand expertise and insights.

“Marketers need a new plan of action that puts creativity before quantity, audience before engine, and sets connection as the top priority,” says Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO of audio and video content marketing platform Casted.

Let’s talk about the SaaS selloff

Companies that offer software as a service have been writing their own ticket in recent years, but are we entering a bear market?

Last month, the WisdomTree Cloud Computing Fund was at a 52-week high of $65.51, but as of this week, that figure had fallen to $53.

“That’s a decline of 19.1%,” writes Alex Wilhelm in The Exchange. “Or, 90 basis points under the 20% required for a particular asset … to reach technical bear-market territory.”

With $3B expected in 2021, Singapore is becoming a fintech capital

Image Credits: TONNAJA (opens in a new window)/ Getty Images

Singapore’s population is under 5 million, but according to KPMG, fintech investment in the nation-state will reach $3B this year, a significant chunk of the $42B global total.

By comparison, investors flowed $4.8B to Canadian fintech startups in the first half of the year.

One factor driving Singapore’s fintech success is its high consumer adoption rates, but its government also directly supports related initiatives through its Green Finance Action Plan.

Super app Grab starts trading on supersized SPAC combination

Singapore-based Grab started out by offering ride-hailing services, but it has since swelled to become a “super app” that offers everything from food delivery to online payments.

The company went public via a SPAC on Thursday in the biggest U.S. debut by a company based in Southeast Asia. But by market close, shares had fallen 21% to $8.75.

Looking back, a question Alex Wilhelm asked before trading began seems quite prescient:

“What are investors seeing in the company to make them confident enough to drop billions into its accounts and bid its shares higher?

The unbundling of professional learning and entrepreneurship education

Concept of Creative Ideas and Innovation. Human brain connected to a light bulb.

Image Credits: jayk7 (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Workers who want to accelerate their professional development no longer need to incur tens of thousands in debt.

Online education options are inexpensive and myriad, and “access to coaching and mentoring at the individual and group levels is improving,” writes Rhys Spence, head of research at European edtech-focused fund Brighteye Ventures.

To get a holistic sense of the opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs, he crafted a market map that charts professional learning startups.

“These companies focus on a combination of both B2C and B2B models and have had substantial success on the B2B front,” says Spence.

“It’s a convenient way for employers to offer their teams opportunities for continuous personal development, tailored to an extent to their interests and priorities.”

China banning foreign IPOs would be pretty unsurprising

Tencent, Didi and other China-based startups were able to go public in the U.S. thanks to a complex loophole known as a VIE, or variable-interest entity.

A VIE sets up an offshore company that allows non-Chinese citizens to get around restrictions on foreign ownership.

“The model was always risky as heck,” reported Alex Wilhelm, “but now the Chinese Communist Party is considering doing away with the side-step of its own rules,” which could have a devastating impact on the nation’s VC market.

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