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Happy Friday! Join us in wishing Lorenzo a very warm welcome to the team! He’s joining our crack team of cybersecurity reporters, working alongside Zack and Carly. He just published his first article on TC, about T-Mobile reporting a hacker accessed personal data of 37 million customers. Welcome aboard!!
Enjoy your weekend! — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Alphabet spells out layoffs: With all that talk about tech layoffs in the past couple months, it was only a matter of time before we saw something from Google’s parent, Alphabet. The search engine giant announced it was cutting 6% of its workforce, which impacts 12,000 people. And like the others, CEO Sundar Pichai took his turn explaining how the company “hired for a different economic reality,” Paul writes.
- Game off: With gaming being as popular as it is, this next layoff story is a bit of a surprise, though not totally unexpected since media companies are being hit hard. Entertainment company Fandom, which publishes content under Giant Bomb, GameSpot and Metacritic, laid off roughly 10% of its staff across those publications, Ivan reports.
- It’s all about the money, money, money: Social media influencers in India have to disclose promotional content, aka paid promotions, to the government, and now the Department of Consumer Affairs has released some guidelines on how to do that. Jagmeet has more.
Startups and VC
A $32 million seed round for Chris DeWolfe’s newest gaming company may seem like a throwback to frothier times, like … 2021. But that’s how much PLAI Labs just raised in a deal led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), reports Connie. She points out that that’s a lot of moolah in a volatile market, even coming as it does from two separate a16z funds: the firm’s $600 million debut games vehicle and its $4.5 billion crypto fund, both of which were announced last May.
Here’s another handful for ya:
- Brush yourself off and try again: Jacquelyn reports that Coinbase and others back Brett Harrison’s (FTX U.S.’s ex-president’s) crypto trading infra startup Architect.
- Stacking startups until they are unicorns: Mike explores a new kind of PE fund, which plans to roll up German startups into potential unicorns and bigger exits.
- These photos are garbage: Haje reports that GoodOnes raises $3.5 million to help make sense of your mess of a camera roll.
- Yeah, that tips into the absurd: Grazzy wants to stop letting people use “no cash” as an excuse to avoid tipping, reports Christine.
- Slower food: Manish reports that Indian food delivery giant Swiggy is about to cut 380 jobs.
4 investors discuss the next big wave for alternative seafood startups
There’s a lot of hype around plant-based burgers and nuggets, but alternative seafood products are attracting more attention — and funding — from investors these days.
“More than $178 million was pumped into alternative seafood in the first half of 2022, and the market’s value is poised to reach $1.6 billion over the next 10 years,” she reports.
To learn more about this maturing space, Christine Hall surveyed four investors to get their thoughts on regulation, the “unique challenges” companies face as they try to reach scale, and how they’re approaching growth and risk:
- Kate Danaher, managing director of ocean and seafood, S2G Ventures
- Friederike Grosse-Holz, director, Blue Horizon
- Christian Lim, managing director, SWEN Capital Partners’ Blue Ocean
- Amy Novogratz, co-founder and managing partner, Aqua Spark
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Developing startups: Why international DFIs are looking to African startups to scale impact investing efforts, by Annie.
- A summary of what we’ve done: TechCrunch+ roundup: 2023 unicorn slump, global VC slowdown, email marketing 101, by Walter.
- What’s your bias, A’s: 4 questions to ask when evaluating AI prototypes for bias, by Veronica Torres.
TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead of the pack. You can sign up here. Use code “DC” for a 15% discount on an annual subscription!
Big Tech Inc.
Okay, no more layoff talk. We are going to have some fun, because it’s Friday, damn it!
Are you still playing Wordle? Or perhaps you switched to its clone Quordle. Well, Quordle was acquired by Merriam-Webster, Paul reports. If you’ve never tried it, Quordle is similar to the basic Wordle concept, guessing a word in a certain amount of tries, except there are four five-letter words to guess at once, with just nine tries. It might be just the thing to warm you up on a cold winter’s night.
Here’s four more for your Friday enjoyment:
- Your turn: Amanda writes that after weeks of backlash and protest from content creators and fans, Dungeons & Dragons’ publisher made a decision to put the game under a Creative Commons license.
- An abrupt goodbye: After recently cutting off third-party clients, including Tweetbot and Twitterific, Twitter went ahead and officially banned them, Kyle writes.
- ICYMI: Netflix founder Reed Hastings stepped down as co-CEO but will remain on the board, Taylor writes. Meanwhile, Netflix is eyeing free streaming “FAST” channels as a possibility to grow its ads business, Lauren reports.
- Up, up, and away: As Darrell writes, Canada is getting up off the sidelines and joining the space race, saying it wants to support commercial space launches.