Daily Crunch: Jack Dorsey defends his work as Twitter CEO

Twitter’s CEO defends himself from activist investors, Google takes additional coronavirus precautions and a fizzy drink maker raises $30 million. Here’s your Daily Crunch for March 6, 2020.

1. Twitter CEO’s weak argument why investors shouldn’t fire him

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey spoke yesterday at a Morgan Stanley conference, where he delivered remarks (also shared via Twitter’s investor relations account) that responded obliquely to activist investor Elliott Management’s efforts to pressure Twitter into a slew of reforms, potentially including replacing Dorsey with a new CEO.

Among other things, Dorsey said he might not spend six months a year in Africa after all, claimed the company’s real product development is happening under the hood and offered an excuse for deleting Vine before it could become TikTok.

2. Google recommends Washington State employees work from home, citing coronavirus risk

The software giant has not closed its Washington offices outright, nor is it planning to make an official statement regarding the recommendation, but the news certainly points to a broader trend of serious precautions around the novel coronavirus outbreak. The move follows a similar decision by Lyft, which sent home employees in its San Francisco office.

3. Spindrift, maker of fizzy drinks, has raised $29.8M

Spindrift, founded in 2010, is up against big players, like the beloved and decades-old LaCroix, another sparkling water brand. The company differentiates itself by emphasizing “real fruit” in its drinks — think cucumbers from Michigan, strawberries from California and Alfonso mangoes from India.

4. Airbnb and three other P2P rental platforms agree to share limited pan-EU data

The European Commission announced that it has reached a data-sharing agreement with vacation rental platforms Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia Group and Tripadvisor — trumpeting the arrangement as a “landmark agreement” which will allow the EU’s statistical office to publish data on short-stay accommodations across the EU.

5. SaaS companies flirt with correction territory as another wild week comes to a close

Stocks are set to fall further today, likely forcing shares in SaaS and cloud companies down yet again. After two wild trading weeks, the high-flying tech category is off over 9% from recent highs before the bell this morning, putting it close to correction territory. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. Mark Cuban backs ChatableApps, developer of a hearing assist app that removes background noise

The company has built a smartphone app that provides hearing assistance by removing background noise in near real time. Alongside auditory neural signal processing researcher Dr. Andy Simpson, the company’s co-founders are Brendan O’Driscoll, Aidan Sliney and George Boyle — the original team behind the music discovery app Soundwave.

7. Pex buys Dubset to build YouTube ContentID for TikTok & more

Pex is a royalty attribution startup that scans social networks and other user-generated content sites for rightsholders’ content, then lets them negotiate licensing with the platforms, request a take-down, demand attribution and/or track the consumption statistics. Dubset, meanwhile, has spent 10 years tackling the problem of getting remixes and multi-song DJ sets legalized for streaming.

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