ByteDance to pump $170 million into e-book reader Zhangyue

While short videos are what drive ByteDance’s revenues and give the Chinese startup international recognition, the firm is expanding into numerous new areas like other tech giants to fuel growth. It’s dabbled in enterprise software and online learning, and the news came this week that ByteDance will invest in one of China’s largest e-book readers and publishers, Zhangyue.

Zhangyue announced Wednesday evening that a ByteDance wholly-owned subsidiary plan to acquire about 11% of its shares for 1.1 billion yuan or $170 million. The China-listed online literature company, with a current market cap of 12 billion yuan, operates an app where 170 million users read novels, magazines, anime and listen to audiobooks every month during H1.

For comparison, its immediate rival China Literature, a Tencent spinoff, claimed 217 million monthly users in the same duration.

The partners are targeting a booming online reading market driven by China’s smartphone penetration. In 2019, users spent nearly an hour a day on their e-reading apps, according to market insight provider iResearch. The sector is projected to generate 20.6 billion yuan in revenue, which includes subscription and licensing fees, by 2020; that’s up from 6.6 billion yuan in 2015. Meanwhile, e-book users in the country will reach 510 million this year, the researcher said.  

The deal will form a close alliance between Zhangyue and China’s leading digital entertainment titan. Under the agreement, ByteDance gets to assign one board member to Zhangyue and will be able to license the publisher’s intellectual property.

In return, Zhangyue will get ByteDance support in areas like ad buying, monetization, and other technologies. The success of Douyin, TikTok and newsreader Toutiao, which collectively claim users in the hundreds of millions, have turned ByteDance into a new darling for brands and advertisers.

In all, the collaboration will incur 470 million yuan worth of transactions between the partners in the following year, up from 270 million yuan a year before the equity acquisition.

If elected, Biden commits to rejoin climate accord U.S. just abandoned

On the same day that the U.S. officially withdrew from the global pact to reduce emissions that cause climate change, presidential contender Joe Biden committed that he would rejoin the Paris Agreement if elected.

In a tweet late Wednesday, Biden wrote, “Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it.”

The Trump Administration announced that the U.S. would leave the agreement three years ago, in a move that was blasted by venture investors at the time.

“I have always believed that, while we can disagree on the scientific premise behind climate change, we should all agree that advanced energy technologies represent one of the biggest economic opportunities,” said General Catalyst managing director Hemant Taneja at the time. “To give that up is a threat to American prosperity … Our American companies will be at a huge competitive disadvantage globally if they don’t have a market to rely on in their backyard.”

Biden’s decision to rejoin the agreement should come as no surprise given the $2 trillion climate stimulus package that was a major plank of the former Vice President’s campaign.

For the Trump Administration, the official abandonment of the climate agreement was the fulfillment of a campaign promise made in what could be the waning days of its authority.

A permanent American exit from the climate accord would be a huge blow to the international community’s ability to stave off a climate disaster caused by rising temperatures related to greenhouse gas emissions. A year of wildfires, flooding and other climate-related catastrophes have shown how changing temperatures are already wreaking havoc on communities. As the second largest emitter of global carbon dioxide, the U.S. plays an outsized role in the success of any climate change mitigation plan.

The agreement, a centerpiece of the previous Obama Administration in which Biden served as vice president, was designed to limit the emissions that cause global warming so that temperatures would not rise beyond another 2 degrees celsius.

“If Biden wins, then the fact that the withdrawal became final on November 4 really won’t matter,” Todd Stern, who was the top U.S. climate negotiator during the Obama administration, told the Financial Times. “If Trump wins a second term, then it will have much more lasting impact.”

To date, the U.S. is the only country that has formally left the agreement.

Even if a Trump Administration were to eke out a slight electoral college victory and return for a second term, market dynamics could mute the effect of any fossil fuel industry advocacy or stimulus the government may try to initiate.

Simply put, renewable energy is making more economic sense within the U.S. than its fossil fuel competitors. Wind and solar are now basically cost competitive or cheaper than fossil fuels in many markets. The cost of battery storage is also falling dramatically.

A March report from Consumer Reports explained just how much better solar power can be for consumers. “Going solar is a money-saver in the long term, even though startup costs are higher for the consumer,” according to the publication. “Electricity from fossil fuels costs between 5 cents and 17 cents per kilowatt-hour. Solar energy costs average between 3 cents and 6 cents per kilowatt-hour and are trending down, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.”

Beyond market forces, a recalcitrant Trump Administration could be pressured to adopt more aggressive policies to reduce its emissions by international tariffs and potential sanctions, Sarah Ladislaw, a director of the climate change program at the Center for International and Strategic Studies at Tufts University, told the Financial Times..

“It is quite likely that other countries with ambitious emissions reduction targets, like the EU and China, will try to influence US behavior through cross-border carbon tariffs and a push to influence the global financial system to incorporate climate considerations,” she said.

DJI’s pint-sized Mavic Mini gets camera and connection upgrades

We dug DJI’s Mavic Mini when the drone arrived last year. As Matt noted in his review, “It packs everything critical to be a quality drone. It has a good camera, good range and a good controller. It holds up well in the wind and is quick enough to be fun.” Today, DJI improves two of those things with the arrival of the Mini 2.

The new version, which hits retail today, is more refinement than redefinition. This is one of those cases where that’s perfectly fine, as the first release was a solid one, owing to the learnings of several generations of DJI and Mavic drones. The size and weight are essentially the same here. The Mini 2 weighs 249 grams — which comes out to about 0.55 pounds. It folds up and can be stashed away in a bag.

Image Credits: Gregory Manalo

The camera is probably the biggest upgrade here. The system is now capable of shooting 4K videos at 30 FPS. Stills, meanwhile, are 12-megapixels, and there’s 4x digital zoom (which DJI says is capable of up to 2x and still offer lossless quality). I suspect zoom is going to be a continued spot for improvement on these systems, going forward.

The other big change is the arrival of DJI’s proprietary OcuSync wireless technology — specifically OccuSync 2.0 here. The technology is also available on the latest Mavic Air. Per DJI:

OcuSync 2.0 is DJI’s world-renowned transmission technology responsible for ensuring stable, long distance, and reliable connection between the remote controller and the drone. Dual-frequency technology automatically switches between channels to help against interference.

Image Credits: Gregory Manalo

Among other things, the upgrade means a transmission rate of 19 km — around 150% of the range its predecessor delivered. Though DJI has to remind you here that you really ought to keep the tiny drone in your line of sight while operating. The battery should give you a solid 31 minutes (a slight improvement over the original’s stated 30-minute flight time).

DJI’s preprogrammed image capture is always a highlight. There are five quick-shot modes (Dronie, Helix, Rocket, Circle, Boomerang), three panoramas (Sphere, 180 and Wide-Angle) and two image modes (Triple Shot and Timed Shots).

Image Credits: Gregory Manalo

There’s a bit of a notable price bump here. The system now starts at $449 (up from $399), which includes the drone, remote and a single battery; $599 will get you two additional batteries, a charging hub and a carrying case — a solid addition.



Dear Sophie: How will this election nail-biter affect immigration?

Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”

Extra Crunch members receive access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one or two-year subscription for 50% off.


Dear Sophie:

The last 24 hours have been a nail-biter; I feel powerless and I’m angry that we’ve come to this. I’m worried things won’t improve and I’m confused about where we even stand.

Sometimes I just feel so very, very tired of the struggle. I am just so ready to let go. I want to live in a world where we can create harmony, peace and opportunity for all. Can I still find that in the United States?

— Wanting in Walnut Creek

Dear Wanting,

I hear you.

The good news is that there is great potential, even as the world watches the U.S. presidential election results. If anything, what the last four years have taught me is that two clichés are really true: necessity is the mother of invention, and, where there is a will, there is a way. I can relate to many folks around the world because I know what it’s like to have the world of Silicon Valley feel so close, yet so far away, at a time when I felt powerless to make a difference.

Looking back over the past four years, amazing things have been possible for our clients and my team at Alcorn Immigration Law. I founded the firm out of my kitchen just years ago when my kids were toddlers. I would look out my kitchen window hand-washing tiny baby dishes. I can still remember the feeling of the suds on my fingers as I gazed longingly at the tall building on Castro Street in downtown Mountain View where 500 Startups used to sit on the top floor. YC was just down the street.

I felt so powerless. I desperately wanted to make the world a better place, and reaching the world of Silicon Valley, even though it was just past my backyard, seemed like getting to Mars.



From those humble beginnings to now, as I founded and bootstrapped Alcorn Immigration Law on my own journey of becoming a single mom, I know what’s possible, even during the last four years of the Trump administration. We’ve had amazing success — claiming thousands of victories in supporting companies, people and families to live and work legally in the United States. If I was able to grow my firm during the last four years, I know that it’s possible for anybody to follow their heart and succeed. It’s our human essence to long to be a creator in this world, and anybody can and deserves to make a difference.

And here is what else I know: immigration law is created by acts of Congress and signed into law by the president. Mere tweets may be intended to try to bend the rules, but they cannot break them. That is what democracy is about.

In democracy, we have agreed to abide by basic laws, such as the inviolable dignity of the human being and that we want to agree on procedures for how we make decisions, like the process of passing a law about immigration. Democracy is not about majority tyranny. Democracy is about the fact that we uphold a few principles and we agreed on a decision-making process. When Trump ignores our basic laws and he ignores our legal processes, democracy is in peril.

But democracy does not need to be disrupted, it only requires small adjustments to thrive. In any group it is possible to make jointly supported decisions, taking the needs and resources of all into consideration. “Although the world is complex and decision making is complex, the components of decision making are simple,” according to Richard Graf, founder of K-i-E. Simple tools like the DecisionMaker can allow a miracle to happen — in an environment of openness and anonymity, we can all safely share our needs and concerns so that proposals can be formed based on collective best practices, knowledge, experience, intelligence and intuition. Even if it’s a complex situation, the way forward can immediately become clear.

And in our democracy, the paths to live and work in the U.S. will always remain viable, even if we need to remove a branch or navigate around a new boulder. Here at Alcorn, despite the furor and fear-mongering present in the world surrounding immigration, we are continually securing real victories for our clients. Not a client yet? Global founders can still create a startup, pitch it to investors and secure pathways to live and work legally in the United States with visas, green cards and citizenship.

So I know this and will repeat: Whatever the election results, there will still be many ways for people to legally navigate the U.S. immigration process and access the opportunity and security of life here. For more insight on these ways, please join my Election Results Webinar next week.

In the meantime, here are my thoughts on how the election results will affect the future of U.S. immigration:

Looking ahead, if Biden takes the victory, he has pledged to undo all Trump-era immigration regulations in the first 100 days and support comprehensive immigration reform. He promised to promote immigrant entrepreneurship, which could finally mean a startup visa! He also wants to speed up naturalization, rescind the Muslim travel bans, pass legislation to expand the number of H-1Bs, increase the amount of employment-based green cards, exempt international STEM PhD graduates from needing to await a priority date, create a new type of green card to promote regional economic development and support immigrant entrepreneur incubators.

Alternatively, we can expect that a Trump administration would continue restricting immigration, leading to litigation and judges deciding the fate of many recent policies. We can foresee a continued COVID freeze on green card interviews at consulates.

Also, DHS recently announced its intent to remove the randomness from the H-1B lottery and prioritize the annual H-1B selection process from highest to lowest wage starting in spring 2021. I’m sure there will be litigation about this; in the meantime, Alcorn Immigration Law continues to recommend that all employers proceed with registering employees and candidates in the lottery as usual. These details will take time to shake out and we don’t want anybody to lose a chance at being selected.

In other updates, immigration is just continuing along and there is actually some great news for folks: The State Department recently released the November Visa Bulletin and it stayed the same from October. (If you think your priority date is current or may be current soon, please contact your attorney as soon as possible to discuss filing your I-485 this month to avoid the possibility of retrogression in December!)

And if you need the freedom to build your startup, but were told that you don’t yet qualify for an O-1A visa, EB-1A or EB-2 NIW green card, you can join me in Extraordinary Ability Bootcamp with promo code DEARSOPHIE to receive 20% off.

We’re optimistic about the future. Life always offers us opportunities to grow through contrast and uncertainty, and we remain passionate about our mission to create greater freedom, empowerment, knowledge and love in the world.


Have a question? Ask it here. We reserve the right to edit your submission for clarity and/or space. The information provided in “Dear Sophie” is general information and not legal advice. For more information on the limitations of “Dear Sophie,” please view our full disclaimer here. You can contact Sophie directly at Alcorn Immigration Law.

Sophie’s podcast, Immigration Law for Tech Startups, is available on all major podcast platforms. If you’d like to be a guest, she’s accepting applications!

YouTube removes ads from, but won’t pull, ‘Trump Won’ video following backlash

This year’s presidential election has already proven to be a considerable test of the U.S. democratic system. It’s also been doing a fine job testing the systems behind leading social networks four years after a rather disinformation-ridden election. Twitter today has proven to be reasonably swift — if not entirely proactive — in its push to label problematic information.

Video, which is largely considered more difficult to police, has been another story on many of these sites. At issue are videos like One American News Network’s (OAN) “Trump Won.” Posted this morning, the report echoes the president’s earlier sentiment that he has both won the election and that states and/or the Democratic Party are attempting to “steal the election.” As of this writing, the election has, emphatically, not been decided.

YouTube parent Google had earlier outlined potential violations in the lead up to the election, noting that it would:

Remov[e] content that contains hacked information, the disclosure of which may interfere with democratic processes, such as elections and censuses. For example, videos that contain hacked information about a political candidate shared with the intent to interfere in an election. Removing content encouraging others to interfere with democratic processes, such as obstructing or interrupting voting procedures. For example, telling viewers to create long voting lines with the purpose of making it harder for others to vote.

After outreach, the company told the press that the video is not in violation of its Community guidelines, but added that it has pulled ads from the content.

“Our Community Guidelines prohibit content misleading viewers about voting, for example content aiming to mislead voters about the time, place, means or eligibility requirements for voting, or false claims that could materially discourage voting,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch. “The content of this video doesn’t rise to that level. All search results and videos about this election — including this video — surface an information panel noting that election results may not be final and we are continuing to raise up authoritative content in search results and recommendations. Additionally, we remove ads from videos that contain content that is demonstrably false about election results, like this video. We will continue to be vigilant in the post-election period.”

The video now also sports a “U.S. Elections” module below that notes, “Results may not be final. See the latest on Google,” directing users to a search page. In a separate post, it notes that it, “aim[s] to surface videos from experts, like public health institutions, in search results,” meaning that a video such as the one referenced above would theoretically be deprioritized in search under more authoritative outlets, including, CNN, Fox News, Jovem Pan, India Today and The Guardian.

The coming weeks and months will no doubt provide ample opportunity to assess these responses from these platforms and whether their responses ultimately did enough to address misinformation and disinformation during a particularly uncertain time in U.S. electoral history.

Daily Crunch: Social media confronts election misinformation

You may have heard that the United States had a presidential election yesterday, with plenty of implications for the tech world, particularly with social media as one of the battlegrounds in the fight over the results. Meanwhile, major tech-relevant ballot measures, like California’s Proposition 22, also passed. I’ll do my best to cover it all in your Daily Crunch for November 4, 2020.

The big story: Social media confronts election misinformation

Here’s the good news: Election Day in the United States was largely free from disruptive cyberattacks.

The bad news? Well, we don’t have a winner in the presidential election yet — although Joe Biden is up 2% in the popular vote as I write this on Wednesday afternoon, and he’s leading narrowly in key battleground states. The uncertainty has created a big opportunity for misinformation, particularly from President Donald Trump and others involved with his campaign who are trying to cast doubt on the voting and vote-counting process while prematurely claiming victory.

As my colleague Taylor Hatmaker put it, this is a “nightmare misinformation scenario,” with the president and his campaign doing their best to “work the misinformation ecosystem he’s cultivated over the last four years.”

At least Facebook and Twitter are trying to stem the spread in different ways: Twitter has added warning labels to numerous Trump and Trump campaign posts (Trump and his campaign members aren’t the only ones getting warnings labels right now, but to be clear: They’re the ones spreading dangerous misinformation about the results — while the Biden campaign is, to put it simply, not). Facebook also added messages at the top of both Facebook and Instagram noting that votes are still being counted.

The tech giants

Apple, Microsoft and other tech stocks roar as the presidential election narrows to several states — At the close of trading today, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was up 3.8%.

Zynga reports record revenue and strong user growth while still losing $122M — The company predicted further growth in Q4, with revenue up 55% to $570 million.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Intel has acquired Cnvrg.io, a platform to manage, build and automate machine learning — Intel continues to snap up startups to build out its machine learning and AI operations.

Aveine’s Smart Wine Aerator is a huge upgrade for wine lovers, and could create some new ones, too — This gadget from a French startup offers variable, instant aeration, along with a connected app platform.

Hustle Fund, a pre-seed firm, closes $30M for a new fund — Hustle Fund was created by Elizabeth Yin and Eric Bahn, two former 500 Startups partners.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Will new SEC equity crowdfunding rules encourage more founders to pass the hat? — Companies can now raise $5 million via equity crowdfunding.

As tech stocks rally, bring on the IPOs — The Exchange has heard whispers that the late-November/early-December period could be active for new filings.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

CA ballot measure that keeps gig workers as independent contractors is projected to pass — Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash (the major backers of California’s Proposition 22) are getting their way.

Cannabis legalization measures set to pass in five states — Cannabis legalization was on five state ballots yesterday and ran the table.

Massachusetts voters pass a right-to-repair measure, giving them unprecedented access to their car data — Under the measure, once a person buys a vehicle, they own all of its data.

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.

Hands-on with Mophie’s new modular smartphone battery case

There was some confusion when the Juice Pack Connect was announced last week. I admit I was a bit confused, too. It was, no doubt, the proximity to Apple’s iPhone 12 launch that lead many to (understandably) assume that the new take on Mophie’s case is based on the handset’s new MagSafe tech.

While it seems likely that some future version of the accessory will sport that functionality, truth is there are two primary technologies at the heart of the newer, more modular battery pack: wireless charging and good old-fashioned adhesive. That means, among other things, that the system effectively works with any handset that supports Qi wireless charging.

In fact, the system is actually pretty bare bones by design. There’s not even a case included in the box. You’ve got to supply your own. Instead, the system ships with the battery pack, a grip/stand and, helpfully, two adapters. That last bit is nice in case you need a do-over or plan sharing the battery with someone else.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Installation is pretty simple. There’s even a little cardboard guide to insure you center it properly, à la the sort of frame you’d get to install a screen protector. You can install it directly onto the back of the phone, as well, but I prefer to stay noncommittal with my accessories if possible. That said, you’ll need to live with the little adapter nub on the rear of your device when other accessories aren’t attached.

The accessories slide onto the anchor from the side. The battery pack is easily the nicest-looking part of the whole rig — and the one that most closely retains the design language of the original Juice Packs. The ring/stand is a bit cheaper-feeling and feels like a bit of an afterthought to occupy the system when not charging. One of the big trade-offs is that the more compact battery design means a smaller capacity; 5,000mAh isn’t bad, but you can find a higher capacity case for cheaper.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

The other trade-off you probably already know, which is that wireless charging is slower than the wired kind. For that reason, the system is better adapted to keeping your device alive for long stretches, rather than fast charging. That said, if you’re really in a pinch and have the right cables handy, you can charge your phone up faster via the USB-C port (which is also used to top off the battery).

The Connect Stand is serviceable. It serves better as a stand than a grip. It would be useful if the company offered something more like a Pop Socket for a more solid grip. That’s the nice thing about modularity, though — they can always add more accessories. At $80, it’s not cheap, but, then Mophie products never really are.

B2B marketplaces will be the next billion-dollar e-commerce startups

Startups involved in B2B e-commerce such as Faire and Mirakl have burst out of the gates in 2020. Almost overnight, these startups transformed into consequential platforms, earning billion-dollar valuations along the way. The B2B e-commerce industry has broad reach, encompassing everything from commerce infrastructure and payments technology to procurement and supply-chain solutions. But one area of the B2B e-commerce sector holds outsized promise: marketplaces.

These venues for buyers and sellers of business-related products are exploding in popularity, fueled by better infrastructure, payments and security on the back-end and companies’ increased need to conduct business online during the pandemic.

Even before the pandemic, B2B marketplaces were expected to generate $3.6 trillion in sales by 2024, up from an estimated $680 billion in 2018, according to payments research firm iBe TSD. They were already growing more quickly than most B2C marketplaces that predated them, and when COVID shutdowns hit, many companies scrambled to shift all purchasing online. A survey of business buyers conducted by Digital Commerce 360 found that 20% of purchasing managers spent more on marketplaces, and 22% spent significantly more, during the pandemic.

For many entrepreneurs running B2B marketplaces, the pandemic created new demand for their platforms. Yet to convince businesses to make a permanent shift to online purchasing, B2B marketplaces cannot simply remain stagnant, serving as simple transactional platforms. Those that innovate now to introduce adjacent services will emerge as winners in the next few years, with some inevitably becoming billion-dollar companies.

As a venture capital investor in B2B e-commerce companies, I’m carefully watching the industry and have seen several forward-thinking business models emerge for B2B marketplaces. The predominant revenue model of B2C marketplaces, the gross merchandise value (GMV) take rate, or percentage of each transaction, doesn’t always translate well in the B2B world. Instead, B2B marketplaces are discovering creative new ways to monetize their networks, ensuring their approach is tailored to the complex and nuanced world of B2B e-commerce. I’ll delve into each of these models below, providing examples of marketplaces that have successfully begun implementing them.

What makes B2B transactions unique? Before discussing how B2B marketplaces can deploy new business models, it’s important to think about how B2B transactions typically work.

Payment methods: There are four main ways to make a B2B payment: paper check, ACH transfer, electronic fund transfer (wires), and credit/debit cards. Nearly half of B2B payments are still made by paper check, but digital payment solutions are quickly gaining.

Financing: It is customary in B2B transactions to pay “with terms,” such as net 30 or net 60, effectively giving a line of credit to the business buyer that enables them to send payment after delivery of the good or service. Supply-chain financing and dynamic discounting are two mechanisms business buyers use to settle invoices with suppliers on preferred timelines.

Bulk discounts: Business buyers often expect and receive discounts in return for placing high-volume orders. While not a concept unique to B2B, negotiated or custom volume discounts can complicate the checkout process.

Contractual pricing: Businesses often enter into enterprise-level pricing agreements with their suppliers. In some B2B verticals, such as the veterinary supplies market, there is little consistency and transparency regarding the market price of any given item; instead, each buyer pays a bespoke price tied to contractual agreements. This dynamic typically benefits suppliers, which can price discriminate based on buyers’ ability and willingness to pay.

Delivery method and timing: Unlike consumers, businesses may place orders for goods but delay delivery for weeks or months. This is particularly common in the commodities market, where futures contracts specify a commodity to be delivered on a certain date in the future. B2B transactions typically include a negotiation on delivery method and timing.

Insurance: Business buyers frequently purchase insurance as part of their transactions, particularly in high-value verticals such as jewelry. Insurance is designed to protect against damage to the goods in transit or theft.

Compliance: In some verticals, particularly those related to healthcare and chemicals, there is a heavy compliance burden to ensure goods are properly sourced and transported. Is the seller legally registered to sell and transport sensitive goods such as medical equipment or pharmaceuticals?

With all of these considerations, it’s no wonder B2B e-commerce has been slower to digitize than B2C. From product discovery through the checkout process, a consumer buying a bag of licorice looks nothing like a retailer buying 100,000 bags of licorice from a distributor. The good news for B2B marketplace founders is that, based on the parameters above, there are many creative ways to extract value from transactions that go beyond the GMV take rate. Let’s explore some of the creative ways to monetize a B2B marketplace.

Zynga reports record revenue and strong user growth while still losing $122M

Zynga’s revenue grew to a record $503 million (up 46% year-over-year) in the third quarter, with bookings of $628 million (up 59%), according to its latest earnings report. It also had its best mobile daily active user (31 million) and monthly active user (83 million) numbers in six years.

But things wasn’t all rosy: The company also reported a net loss of $122 million. That compares to net income of $230 million during the same period last year, though that was boosted by the sale of Zynga’s building in San Francisco. As of 4:44pm Eastern, shares were down 4.9% in after-hours trading.

Before earnings were released, CEO Frank Gibeau told me that although growth has become more normal after the pandemic caused “that huge jump” in usage during the late spring and early summer, “Engagement remains elevated and monetization remains elevated. Folks that discovered mobile gaming for the first time returned to it and kept doing it.”

The company predicted further growth in Q4, with revenue up 55% to $570 million. Gibeau said pointed to a “digital holiday” that could have big benefit in mobile gaming, with new mobile on the market, plus social distancing and lockdowns resulting in the fact that “a lot of folks aren’t going to be able to go to stores and buy gifts.”

During the third quarter, Zynga also closed its acquisition of Istanbul-based hyper-casual game publisher Rollic. Gibeau said the team is “fully integrated at this point from an operating standpoint,” but the company won’t start including Rollic in its user numbers until the next quarter.

“We are well-positioned for further M&A,” he added.

Learn how to score your first check with TMV’s Soraya Darabi on November 10

When it comes to financing a startup, the most important — and hardest — check to land is the very first one.

The growth of accelerators, rolling funds, community funds, hungry angels and institutional investors has given founders more options than ever before, but for women and people of color, access to funding continues to be a struggle.

On Tuesday, November 10 at 11:00 a.m. PT/2:00 p.m. ET, we’re bringing venture capitalist Soraya Darabi of TMV to the Extra Crunch Live stage to talk about how to get that first “yes” as an early-stage company and which founder mistakes often lead her to say “no.” We’ll walk through her theses, which range from future work and edtech, and double-click into what she needs to see in terms of metrics and product upon first pitch.

Darabi founded TMV, formerly Trail Mix Ventures, in 2016, and has built a portfolio that is majority women and minority-owned, including employee wellness platform Bravely, holistic healthcare company Parsley Health and waste reduction upstart Ridwell. TMV is often the first institutional check that a company might raise.

Before TMV, Darabi spent time at The New York Times as the manager of digital partnerships and social media marketing. She also was the co-founder of two companies: Zady, which helps with sustainable fashion manufacturing, and Foodspotting, a visual guide that helps locals find dishes near them that was acquired by OpenTable.

There’s an excess of capital in startupland, which could look remarkably different in the coming months. Join us to learn more about how a venture capitalist is thinking about the next few months, and dare we say, the end of 2020.

Details after the jump: