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It’s Monday, May 16, and I’m back, like a renegade master. I’m incredibly over-caffeinated and at a standing desk today, so for the occasion, it’s a dance desk. Because, I mean, you try to stay seated while listening to this deafening rhythm.
This week, I’m looking forward to the TechCrunch: Mobility sessions in San Mateo for the full story of the cars that will drive themselves and the companies that will drive us into the heart — or the nearest cliff. Get your tickets now, we still have a few available.
Incidentally, I just reread my TechCrunch contract, which states that no superfluous obscenity is allowed, so rest assured that this newsletter contains only strictly necessary profanity. Lots of love and sunshine and such! – haje
TechCrunch’s top 3
- Ack – moar layoffs: Natasha and Amanda breaking the current restriction on startups with a roundup of layoffs over the past week, including an analysis of what happened at Section4, Carvana, Latch, DataRobot, and hiring freezes at some of the stalwarts technology, including Meta, Twitter and Uber. They also did a roundup last week, in case you missed it. In the meantime, alexander analyzes aggregate data from the Layoffs.FYI layoff tracking tool.
- Trouble in unicorn town: More on TC+, alexander examines how SaaS valuation multiples have plunged further, now hitting single digits. As he sums it up: “A startup that sold shares last year at an ARR multiple of 50x would need to double and then double again before having a multiple similar to the current public market norm.”
- Crypto? More like crypt-no: Anita reports how 30-year-old cryptobillionaire Sam Bankman-Fried is taking on Bitcoin, saying it has no future as a payment network.
Startups and VCs
From time to time, startups raise funds for missions that make me worry about the current timeline we find ourselves in. Today’s episode on this topic comes from the office of Mr. Boucher, MBE, covering WeAre8’s crowdfunding campaign for a social media app where users get paid to watch apps. Sure, it makes sense to get money for your time, but also…just, ugh.
I loved this interview Aria made with high-flying startup (geddit…) Astra. It became the fastest company in history to reach orbit in November, six years after its founding, and its CEO said it was aiming for daily launches as soon as possible.
Developers, developers, developers:
- He rose to the occasion: Kevin Rose is a partner at venture capital firm True Ventures, but his latest project is an NFT startup called Proof Collective, which recently launched a high-profile collection of 10,000 pixelated owl NFTs. Lucashe interview with the startup veteran is fascinating.
- The five-horned grocery unicorn: German Flink is buying French Cajoo for approximately $93 million in a landmark deal valuing the latter at $5 billion, a big jump from Flink’s last valuation of $2.85 billion.
- The era of the horny bus: Public transport has rebounded with the return of city life after COVID 19, and Optibus is developing technology to help it run more smoothly. It raised a Series D at a valuation of $1.3 billion. Wowzahs.
- where food flows freely:Twiga said Anne he started producing horticultural products like onions, tomatoes and watermelons on his 650 hectares of land, with an estimated production of 150,000 tons of fresh produce per year.
- Independent brands, made in China:404 is the HTTP error code for “page not found”, so I can only assume that Body404 is a platform for people who can’t quite find their bodies. In all cases, Rita reports that it celebrates the diversity of Chinese independent brands.
- Charge it forward: The trio of ex-Paypal Jeremy Jonker, Jay Ganatra and Mario Ruiz have raised a fund of 158 million dollars, already investing in 11 companies in their fund, Mary Ann reports.
- Get through the recession:While last week was arguably the worst week for crypto asset performance in a very long time, that doesn’t seem to be stopping eFounders. The Software as a Service Starter Studio is launching a new substudio called 3founders, Roman reports.
5 lessons from “Star Wars” that can transform the strategies and tactics of startup managers
The “Star Wars” saga is based on a narrative structure developed by Joseph Campbell, a writer and professor of literature who designed “the hero’s journey”.
Consisting of 12 stages, its archetype calls for a protagonist who leaves ordinary life after hearing the call to adventure – you can imagine why this is a popular metaphor among tech investors.
According to Scott Lenet, President of Touchdown Ventures, Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi offered five distinct lessons for founders and investors.
For example, “‘I’ve got a bad feeling’ is a recurring joke in the franchise – nearly every main character utters the line at one point or another,” Lenet writes.
“These are also words to live by for business and startup leaders, as they are an emblem of awareness and proactivity.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams grow. You can join here.)
Big Tech inc.
You might not think of “games” when you hear Hulu, but its new partnership with Xbox changes that – lauren reported that it just signed a new deal that gives U.S. Hulu subscribers three months of a PC Game Pass as part of its Friends with Benefits initiative. Amazing name aside, maybe it’s time to sweep my gaming rig (who I’m kidding; I don’t have time to play games. Too busy tweeting about coffee and my sanity slowly rotating around the drain).
After pressure from the EU, it looks like Apple is getting closer to introducing Apple iPhone models with a USB-C port. As someone who has USB-C cables strewn around every surface, room, nook and cranny of my home, this would work wonders for me – but Apple has long resisted the pressure, so we’ll see what really happens on this front. I am on Darrell will continue to update us on the shape of the iPhone crevices.
- Excuse me, Robot, are you my Uber? Uber Eats is piloting self-driving deliveries with Serve and Motional. I just hope the robots eat their vitamins too, find love, and find time to walks in the forest.
- I wrote this, I like it: Twitter is testing a new “Liked by Author” label 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 claims that a real-time bidding system is “the biggest data breach on record”.
- All things, all places, all the time, on a street near you: Uber unveiled a slew of new platforms and features at its global product event. The new products cover Uber’s ride and delivery services and aim to increase ridership, open up new business areas, inspire drivers to go electric and more. Rebecca reports.