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The big Google DOJ antitrust case probably won’t go to trial until 2023

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The Justice Department’s historic lawsuit against Google is moving along — albeit very, very slowly. In a status hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta set a tentative date for the case. The good news and the bad news for both parties involved is that it’s more than two years away.

As CNBC reports, Mehta chose Sept. 12, 2023 as the first day of the trial, which is expected to last weeks. That date could change, but with both the Justice Department and Google agreeing to that timeline it’s a pretty good estimate.

It might be years before the trial, but the DOJ’s lawsuit against Google, filed in October, is already hanging over Silicon Valley’s head. The suit focuses on Google’s search and ads business and accuses the company of maintaining illegal monopolies in those markets. A date in 2023 gives Google plenty of time to sharpen its defenses and do what it wants until then, but it also means the specter of a major regulatory threat will loom large for the foreseeable future.

States are also pursing their own aggressive efforts to regulate the search giant, with two separate major multistate lawsuits similarly focused on Google’s search and advertising power filed this week. Last week, the state of California also asked to join the Justice Department’s lawsuit, with Michigan and Wisconsin following suit on Thursday.

“Their proposed joinder, along with the separate complaint filed today by a coalition of state Attorneys General, underscores the broad and bipartisan consensus that Google’s practices in search and search advertising need antitrust redress,” Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen said of the states deciding to join the suit.

The historic case is the first major federal antitrust action to hit a technology company since the U.S. pursued a case against Microsoft more than two decades ago. That case was settled in 2001, just three years after Google’s founding.

With few regulations in place to rein it in, the tech industry exploded over the course of the last twenty years. Silicon Valley’s innovations are now woven into every market and corner of society imaginable, making the era of the Microsoft antitrust saga looks downright quaint in comparison.

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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Marc Benioff and this panel of judges will decide who gets one seat on the first all-civilian spaceflight

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SpaceX’s first all-civilian human spaceflight mission, which will carry four passengers to orbit using a Crew Dragon capsule later this year if all goes to plan, will include one passenger selected by a panel of judges weighing the submissions of entrepreneurs. The panel will include Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Fast Company Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Mehta, YouTuber Mark Rober and Bar Rescue TV host Jon Taffer. It may seem like an eclectic bunch, but there is some reason to the madness.

This seat is one of four on the ride – the first belongs to contest and mission sponsor Jared Isaacman, the founder of Shift4 Payments and a billionaire who has opted to spend a not insignificant chunk of money funding the flight. The second, Isaacman revealed earlier this week, will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital employee and cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux.

That leaves two more seats, and they’re being decided by two separate contests. One is open to anyone who is a U.S. citizen and who makes a donation to St. Jude via the ongoing charitable contribution drive. The other will be decided by this panel of judges, and will be chosen from a pool of applicants who have build stores on Shift4’s Shift4Shop e-commerce platform.

That’s right: This absurdly expensive and pioneering mission to space is also a growth marketing campaign for Isaacman’s Shopify competitor. But to be fair, the store of the winning entrant doesn’t have to be news – existing customers can also apply and are eligible.

The stated criteria for deciding the winner is “a business owner or entrepreneur the exhibits ingenuity, innovation and determination” so in other words it could be just about anybody. I’m extremely curious to see what Benioff, Mehta, Rober (also a former NASA JPL engineer in addition to a YouTuber) and Taffer come up with between them as a winner.

The Inspiration4 mission is currently set to fly in the fourth quarter of 2021, and mission specifics including total duration and target orbit are yet to be determined.

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VCs are chasing Hopin upwards of $5-6B valuation

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Virtual events platform Hopin is hopin’ for a mega valuation.

According to multiple sources who spoke with TechCrunch, the company, which was founded in mid-2019, is running around the fundraise circuit and perhaps nearing the end of a fundraise in which it is looking to raise roughly $400 million at a pre-money valuation of $5 billion for its Series C. Two sources implied that the valuation could reach as high as $6 billion, but with greater dilution based on some offered terms the company has received. The deal is in flux, and both the round size and valuation are subject to change.

One source told TechCrunch that the company’s ARR has grown to $60 million, implying a valuation multiple of 80-100x if the valuation we’re hearing pans out. That sort of multiple wouldn’t be out of line with other major fundraises for star companies with SaaS-based business models.

Hopin has been on a fundraise tear in recent months. The company raised $125 million at a $2.125 billion valuation late last year for its Series B, which came just a few months after it raised a Series A of $40 million over the summer and a $6.5 million seed round last winter. All told, the roughly 20-month-old company has raised a known $171.4 million in VC according to Crunchbase.

When we last reported on the company, Hopin’s ARR had gone from $0 to $20 million, while its overall userbase had grown from essentially zero to 3.5 million users in November. The company reported then that it had 50,000 groups using its platform.

Hopin’s platform is designed to translate the in-person events experience into a virtual one, providing tools to recreate the experience of walking exhibition floors, networking one-on-one and spontaneously joining fireside chats and panels. It’s become a darling in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen most business and educational conferences canceled in the midst of mass restrictions on domestic and international travel worldwide.

It’s probably also useful to note that our business team uses Hopin to run all of TechCrunch’s editorial events, including Disrupt, Early Stage, Extra Crunch Live and next week’s TechCrunch Sessions: Justice 2021 event (these software selections and their costs are — thankfully — outside the purview of our editorial team).

Hopin may be the mega-leader of the virtual events space right now, but it isn’t the only startup trying to take on this suddenly vital industry. Run The World raised capital last year, Welcome wants to be the ‘Ritz-Carlton for event platforms,’ Spotify is getting into the business, Clubhouse is arguably a contender here, InEvent raised a seed earlier this month and Hubilo is another entrant which nabbed a check from Lightspeed a few months ago. Plus, quite literally dozens of other startups have either started in the space or are pivoting toward it.

We have reached out to Hopin for comment.

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Meet the LatinX Startup Alliance and Startout founders from TC Include at TC Sessions: Justice 2021

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We love nothing more than highlighting notable early-stage startups, and you’ll find plenty of them in the spotlight on March 3 at TC Sessions: Justice 2021, a virtual conference exploring diversity, inclusion and the human labor that powers tech. You do not want to miss meeting and learning more about these impressive early-stage founders — all participants in the TC Include Program.

Not familiar with TC Include? TechCrunch partners with various founder organizations who act as advisors and nominate promising early-stage founders to participate in the program. In a collective collaboration with VC organizations like Kleiner Perkins, Salesforce Ventures and Initialized Capital and the founder organizations, TC Include provides educational resources and mentorship over the course of the year to help program participants develop and succeed.

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to meet and network with TC Include founders, and you won’t want to miss their live pitch feedback session. Each TC Include founder gets a 60-second pitch to a TechCrunch staffer. It’s a great opportunity to learn how to structure your pitch and pick up a few tips and strategies. Who knows? The pitch you improve could be your own.

We’ve already announced the TC Include startups affiliated with partner organizations Black Female Founders (here) and the Female Founder Alliance (here). Today, we’re thrilled to share with you just some of the early-stage founders affiliated with StartOut and the LatinX Startup Alliance.

StartOut

Endo Industries: Endo Industries sells cannabis plants and, through collaboration with farmers, is building a platform that helps operators scale brands grounded in equity, diversity and wellness. Founded by Nancy Do.

Kyndoo: Kyndoo is a data platform for solving social media’s biggest problems — fraud, attribution and content safety. It helps brands avoid working with #FakeFamous and helps them find companies that share their mission and values. Founded by Kelly McDonald.

Thimble: Thimble is a monthly subscription service that teaches kids robotics and coding skills through a curated STEM curriculum, robotics and coding kits and live, build-along classes. Founded by Oscar Pedroso.

LatinX Startup Alliance

Hoy Health: Hoy Health, a digital health company with a bilingual platform, provides access to primary care products and services, at low cost, to underserved communities. Founded by Mario Anglada.

Caribu: Caribu‌ ‌helps‌ ‌kids have virtual playdates with family and friends by ‌playing games, reading‌ and coloring ‌together in‌ ‌an‌ ‌interactive‌ ‌video-call. Founded by Max Tuchman.

Pandocap.co: Pandocap is a financial media company built around the capital markets. Bilingual content focuses on easy-to-understand information and highlights diverse voices through different strategies. Founded by Laura Moreno.

TC Sessions: Justice 2021 takes place on March 3. Check out the event agenda, buy your pass today, and discover the opportunities that come from building a more diverse, inclusive and just industry.


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