Daily Crunch: Amazon acquires Wondery

Amazon makes a big podcast acquisition, a Chinese robot maker raises $100 million and we review a robotic cat pillow. This is your Daily Crunch for December 30, 2020.

The big story: Amazon acquires Wondery

Amazon is the latest company to make a big acquisition in the podcast market — it’s buying Wondery, the podcast network behind shows like “Dirty John” and “Doctor Death.”

Although Wondery is becoming part of Amazon Music (which added podcast support in September), the company also says that “nothing will change for listeners” and that Wondery’s podcasts will continue to be available from “a variety of providers.”

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Startups, funding and venture capital

China’s adaptive robot maker Flexiv raises over $100M — Wang Shiquan, an alumnus of Stanford’s Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Lab, founded Flexiv with a focus on building adaptive robots for the manufacturing industry.

Biteable raises a $7M Series A for its template-based online video builder — The product is designed for creating video assets that have more staying power than temporary social videos.

An earnest review of a robotic cat pillow — It’s cute!

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

On the diversity front, 2020 may prove a tipping point — VCs have talked about diversity for eons without doing much about it.

2020 will change the way we look at robotics — From logistics to food prep, robots are custom-built to help mankind survive a pandemic.

Dear Sophie: Tips for getting a National Interest green card by myself? — The latest edition of Dear Sophie, attorney Sophie Alcorn’s advice column answering immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here for a holiday deal good through January 3. Read more about the deal here.)

Everything else

Section 230 is threatened in new bill tying liability shield repeal to $2,000 checks — The move seems more like a political maneuver than a real stab at tech regulation.

NSO used real people’s location data to pitch its contact-tracing tech, researchers say — Researchers say NSO’s use of real data “violated the privacy” of thousands of unwitting people.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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