AI content developer Jasper is now valued at $1.5B after capital injection • TechCrunch

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The newsletter is coming a little later than usual today and for the next three days. Don’t worry, it’s for fun: we want to be the first to tell you about the awesomeness of our TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield businesses. Find them in our dedicated Battlefield section below! And this is the first time ever that we’re writing Daily Crunch while sitting next to each other, IRL. — Christine and hey

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Someone is having a good day: Jasper, which bills itself as an “AI content” developer, has raised its first-ever funding round — and a big one, at $125 million to give it a $1.5 billion valuation. kyle reports. It also comes as the company is in the process of acquiring a grammar and style checking platform, Outwrite.
  • Turn tenants into owners: Christine provides an update on Landis, which has raised $40 million in Series B funding. The company buys houses on behalf of clients while also providing them with a patch that allows them to build up their loans and eventually get a mortgage on the house they rent.
  • So Apple had an event: Romain gives you a look at the new entry-level iPad, which he says looks exactly like the iPad Pro. Unfortunately, it’s also more expensive, but you get a bigger screen. Priorities, amirites?

Startups and VCs

Venture capital funds with a focus on niche sectors are “in”, they say Conniand Will Ventures is here to do it. Christine reports that the low-flying Boston-based venture just tripled the size of its second fund to $150 million thanks to its approach, with help from its community of athlete supporters who help nurture and grow its portfolio companies to invest in sports technologies.

Turo, the peer-to-peer carsharing platform dubbed Airbnb for cars, will expand to Australia before the end of the year. Rebecca reports. Local car owners in all major cities, including Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, and Brisbane, can waitlist on the Turo website.

Alright, well, got a few more:

News drops from Disrupt

Crypto Accelerator: Andreessen Horowitz’s Chris Dixon dishes too anita about a “Crypto Startup School”, a first accelerator program that will start next year in Los Angeles. He also provided more information on the company’s recent huge investment in our controversial favorite founder, Adam Neumann.
Secret start: Both Harry and Tim sat in Ingrid‘s interview with Marc Lore, who revealed a new sports ticketing startup he’s working on called Jump Platforms and gave insight into the sale of to Amazon, calling it a “forced transaction.”
On cloud seven: Netflix VP of Gaming Mike Verdu spoke amanda about opening a new gaming studio in SoCal and moving into cloud gaming.

Start Battlefield

It’s Disruuuupt! We’re so excited we can hardly sit still. Here’s the first batch of Battlefield companies to take the stage this beautiful California Tuesday – and if you’re curious, noesha today announced the 20 companies presenting themselves on the Disrupt Stage. Here’s the first batch pitched today:

NXgenPort: A Saint Paul, Minnesota-based startup that wants to remotely monitor cancer patients between doctor visits using a port catheter.

Omneki: Leverages OpenAI’s DALLE-2 and GPT-3 models to generate images and text that can be used in social platform ads.

Circular Genomics: Claims his new form of genetic testing can determine which drugs work in a patient in a fraction of the time.

anthill: Connects frontline workers to corporate resources via text messaging.

AppMap: Was built on the simple idea that developers should be able to see the behavior of software as they write it so they can avoid problems when the software is running.

Mother Honest: New commerce offer should give employees more freedom with care expenses. Going beyond flashcards to create an AI dialog assistant we can all carry around on our phones.

Swap robotics: Paving the way for electric solar vegetation and snow removal from sidewalks.

hormones: hopes to encourage people with periods to do just that — add hormone monitoring to their quantified health mix.

Staax: Believes peer-to-peer payments can attract a new generation of equity investors.

How to combine PLG and corporate sales to improve the funnel and increase revenue growth

Six different drinking straws in one cup

Photo credit: Richard Drury (opens in a new window) /Getty Images

Products and services that sell themselves sound great, but product-led growth (PLG) startups are still launching marketing campaigns and hiring sales teams.

Combining PLG with traditional sales-centric growth efforts can take customer retention and acquisition to the next level, says Kate Ahlering, Calendly’s chief revenue officer.

In this TC+ guest post, Ahlering shares several strategies to help teams implement a “hybrid GTM strategy” that includes suggestions for leveraging PLG data and optimizing success metrics.

Three more from the TC+ team:

TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and start-up teams stay ahead of the competition. Here you can sign up. Use code “DC” for 15% off an annual subscription!

Big Tech Inc.

We’ve got more for you from Apple’s October surprise event. brian takes a look at the company’s new M2 iPad Pro, which has been refreshed and is arriving on October 26. He’s talking about chips and inches and a pencil… you get the picture.

Even more Apple to bite into:

Since we have all of the Battlefield companies for your reading pleasure, here are just a few more: