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It’s Monday, May 16, and I’m back again, like a renegade master. I have a fantastic over-caffeine and am sitting at a standing desk today, so for the occasion it’s a dance desk. ‘Cause, I mean, you try to sit still while listening to this booming beat.
This week I’m excited to head over to TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility in San Mateo to get the full story on which cars will drive themselves and which companies will enter our hearts — or from the nearest cliff. Get your tickets now – we still have a few available.
In other news, I just re-read my TechCrunch contract, which states that unnecessary obscenities are not allowed, so rest assured that this newsletter only contains strictly necessary swear words. Lots of love and sunshine and all! † hi
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Ack – more layoffs: Natasha and Amanda Break the current limitation in startups with an overview of layoffs over the past week, including an analysis of what happened at Section4, Carvana, Latch, DataRobot, and hiring at some of the tech booths, including Meta, Twitter and Uber. They also did a roundup last week, in case you missed it. Meanwhile, Alex analyzes general data from layoffs.FYI layoffs.
- Trouble in Unicorn Town: Switch to TC+, Alex considering how SaaS valuation multiples have taken a further dive, now clocking in by single digits. As he sums up, “A startup that sold shares last year with an ARR multiple of 50x would have to double and then double again before it would have a multiple comparable to the current public market standard.”
- cryptograms? More like crypt-no† Anita reports how 30-year-old crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried lashes out at Bitcoin and says it has no future as a payment network.
Startups and VC
Every once in a while, startups raise money for missions that worry me about the current timeline we’re in. Today’s episode of that theme comes from the desk of Mr Butcher, MBE, about WeAre8’s crowdfunding campaign for a social media app that pays users to view apps. Sure it makes sense to get some cash for your time, but also… just, ugh.
I enjoyed this interview Aria did with the high-flying (geddit…) startup Astra. It became the fastest company in history to hit orbit in November, six years after its founding, and its CEO says it is aiming for daily launches sooner rather than later.
Developers, developers, developers:
- He rose to the occasion: Kevin Rose is a partner at VC firm True Ventures, but his latest project is an NFT startup called Proof Collective, which recently launched a much-hyped 10,000 NFT collection of pixelated owls. Luke‘ interview with the startup veteran is captivating.
- The five-horned unicorn from the grocery store: German Flink buys French Cajoo for about $93 million in a landmark deal with the latter valued at $5 billion, a big increase from Flink’s most recent valuation of $2.85 billion.
- The era of the horny bus: Mass transit has seen a resurgence with the return of city life after COVID 19, and Optibus is building technology to make it run smoother. It picked up a Series D with a valuation of $1.3 billion. wowzahs.
- Where the food flows freely: Twiga told annie it has started producing horticultural products such as onions, tomatoes and watermelons on its 650 hectares of land, with an estimated production of 150,000 tons of fresh produce per year.
- Indie Brands, Made in China:404 is the HTTP error code for “page not found”, so I can only surmise that Body404 is a platform for people who can’t quite find their bodies. In each case, Rita reports that it celebrates the diversity of Chinese indie brands.
- Load it forwardPaypal alum trio Jeremy Jonker, Jay Ganatra and Mario Ruiz have raised a $158 million fund and have already invested in 11 companies from the fund, Mary Ann reports.
- Spendin’ through the recession: While last week was without a doubt the worst week for crypto asset performance in a very long time, eFounders seems unstoppable. The software-as-a-service startup studio launches a new sub-studio called 3founders, Romain reports.
5 Lessons From ‘Star Wars’ That Can Change Startup Executives’ Strategies & Tactics
The ‘Star Wars’ saga is based on a story structure developed by Joseph Campbell, a writer and literary professor who conceived ‘the hero’s journey’.
Its 12-stage archetype calls for a protagonist who leaves ordinary life behind after hearing the call to adventure – you can imagine why it’s a popular metaphor among tech investors.
According to Scott Lenet, president of Touchdown Ventures, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi offered five discreet lessons for founders and investors.
For example, “‘I have a bad feeling about this’ is a recurring joke in the franchise – almost every main character pronounces the line at one time or another,” writes Lenet.
“These are also words to live by for business and startup leaders, as they are emblems of awareness and proactiveness.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
You might not think of “games” when you hear Hulu, but the latest partnership with Xbox is changing that – Lauren reported that it just closed a new deal that gives US Hulu subscribers three months of PC Game Pass as its Friends with Benefits initiative. Great name aside, maybe it’s time to wipe down my gaming rig (Who am I kidding; I don’t have time to play games. Too busy tweeting about coffee and my slow-circulating-the-drain sanity ).
Following EU pressure, it appears that Apple is getting closer to introducing Apple iPhone models with a USB-C port. As someone with USB-C cables strewn through every surface, room, nook and cranny of my house, that would be wonderful for me — but Apple has withstood the pressure for a long time, so we’ll see what happens on that front. really happens. I’m sure of it darrell will keep us updated on the shape of the iPhone splits.
- Excuse me, Robot, are you my Uber? Uber Eats is testing autonomous deliveries with Serve and Motional. I just hope the robots eat their vitamins too, find love and find some time for it walks in the woods.
- I wrote this, I like this: Twitter is testing a new “Found by Author” tag that appears when the creator of a tweet likes your reply, Aisha reports.
- Da, da, da, say goodbye to your data: A new report from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties states that a real-time bidding system is “the biggest data breach ever”.
- All things, all places, always, on a street near you: Uber unveiled a host of new platforms and features at its global product event. The new products include Uber’s ride-hail and delivery services and are intended to increase passenger numbers, open new industries, encourage drivers to go electric and more, Rebecca reports.