Daily Crunch: Taboola acquires Outbrain

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1. Publisher adtech startups Taboola and Outbrain merge in $850M deal to take on Google and Facebook

The content recommendation rivals — who are, shall we say, not exactly known for the high quality of their recommendations — are merging to form a single company.

While the companies describe the deal as a merger, the combined entity will be called Taboola, with Taboola’s founder Adam Singolda securing the CEO slot. Further, Taboola is paying Outbrain investors $250 million in cash plus a 30% share of the combined companies.

2. Here’s everything Microsoft announced at today’s Surface event

Most of the rumors panned out: There was a new version of the Surface Laptop, including the addition of a USB C port and a 15-inch model. The Surface Pro got a USB C port as well, along with improved studio microphones. And there’s the new Surface Pro X, which finds the company utilizing Microsoft’s new SQ1 chip.

3. Introducing the Startup Battlefield companies at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2019

This year’s batch covers rapid cholera detection, developer tools, strawberry-picking robots, regulatory monitoring and more.

4. Uber launches a shift-work finder app, Uber Works, starting in Chicago

This is a new app for matching = workers with shifts, called Uber Works. The app does this matching in partnership with staffing agencies, and it offers workers the carrot of more timely payments.

5. Will Smith just dropped $10K on a startup that pitched him onstage at Disrupt

It’s true: I interviewed Will Smith and Ang Lee about their new movie “Gemini Man,” and it turned into a mini-startup pitch competition.

6. In a new filing, the venture firm Mithril Capital says it has been under assault by its former general counsel

The firm has been characterized in news reports by Recode as being in a complete state of disarray — and, more recently, for reportedly being investigated by the FBI for financial misconduct. Mithril is now drawing a line from those stories to former employee Crystal McKellar.

7. How Bongo, the ‘Netflix of Bangladesh,’ won the local video streaming market with just $10M

The on-demand video service began life as a channel on YouTube in 2014 before expanding as a standalone app to users a year later. Now, of the 96 million people in Bangladesh who are online today, 75 million of them are subscribed to either Bongo’s YouTube channel or to its app. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

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