Google is letting developers keep more of their Play revenue, Instagram adds teen safety features and we examine the global distribution of venture funding. This is your Daily Crunch for March 16, 2021.

The big story: Google Play halves commission on first $1M

Following a similar move by Apple last year, Google said that it will be reducing its fee from 30% to 15% for the first $1 million that developers earn through Google Play annually.

This is slightly different from Apple’s approach, in that it applies to all developers — although the fee goes back to 30% for any money earned beyond that first million dollars.

“We’ve heard from our partners making $2 million, $5 million and even $10 million a year that their services are still on a path to self-sustaining orbit,” wrote Google’s Sameer Samat. “This is why we are making this reduced fee on the first $1 million of total revenue earned each year available to every Play developer that uses the Play billing system, regardless of size.”

The tech giants

Instagram adds new teen safety tools as competition with TikTok heats up — Instagram says it’s rolling out new safety features that will restrict adult users from being able to contact teens who didn’t already follow them.

Google’s Soli radar returns to track sleep on the new Nest Hub — We haven’t heard a peep from Project Soli since the technology was introduced with the Pixel in late-2019.

China wants to dismantle Alibaba’s media empire: reports — Over the years, Jack Ma has accumulated a media portfolio in China that rivals that of Jeff Bezos in the United States.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Socure raises $100M at $1.3B valuation, proving identity verification is hotter than ever — Socure uses AI and machine learning to verify identities.

Overwolf raises $52.5M for its platform to build, distribute and monetize in-game, user-generated content — The company’s platform has some 30,000 creators, 90,000 mods and add-ons, and 18 million monthly users across thousands of games.

Aiming to become the definitive source for location data, SafeGraph raises $45M — While there are plenty of companies selling data about physical locations, SafeGraph CEO Auren Hoffman said his startup is “one of the few companies to sell this data to data science teams.”

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

The global inequity in venture financing is staggering — There’s been a boom in Latin American and European fintechs, as well as a general rise in VC activity in a host of Asian countries, but the landscape remains imbalanced.

The NFT market is just getting started, but where is it headed? — Part one in a three-part series.

Farmland could be the next big asset class modernized by marketplace startups — Startups like AcreTrader and others including Tillable, FarmTogether and Harvest Returns are bringing marketplace models to the farming world.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Ford expands robotics research into $75 million University of Michigan facility — Ford Motor Company will be embedding 100 of its researchers and engineers in a new robotics and mobility facility on the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus.

Talking product-market fit with Sean Lane, whose company tore through 28 products to become a unicorn — Occasionally, it’s easy for startups to achieve so-called product-market fit, but more often, it’s a struggle.

Get feedback on your pitch deck from tech leaders on Extra Crunch Live — The importance of the pitch deck can’t be underestimated.

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