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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Gusto, a San Francisco-based payroll and HR software company, raised $175 million at a $9.5 billion valuation led by T. Rowe Price.

Why it matters: There is no better sign of a labor market roaring back than demand for payroll software.

The bottom line: "Part of Gusto's success will rely on its ability to maintain its swim lane of catering to small and medium businesses, says Scott Berg, an analyst at Needham & Co. The market for small and medium businesses is enormous, with more than 30 million in the U.S. Shopify built an almost $200 billion company providing these businesses with the tools to launch online businesses," writes Forbes' David Jeans.

  • "Still, the HR and payroll software space is saturated with other public companies like Paychex and ADP, and Gusto's growth will require a gradual climb, Berg adds."

Go deeper

Rep. Joyce Beatty: Biden administration key in supporting Black-owned businesses

Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) said at an Axios event Tuesday that the Biden administration has been key to helping Black-owned small businesses through the pandemic.

Why it matters: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated economic inequities minority workers and business owners already faced, widening racial disparities, Axios' Hope King writes.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

1 hour ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.