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Our fave read today was Connie’s piece with advice for startups that have the government as their target customer.
In honor of Black history month, we want to share some good news for BIPOC founders, as more funding is becoming available: Dominic-Madori reports that Nex Cubed launched its HBCU (historically Black colleges and universities) Founders Fund, weighing in at $40 million. Meanwhile, Natasha M reports that Kapor Capital’s new crew is raising a $50 million opportunity fund earmarked for social impact ventures and founders of color. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Young and vulnerable: Carly reports that hackers have been busy exploiting a two-year-old VMware flaw to launch a large-scale ransomware campaign that is targeting thousands of organizations around the world. Over 3,200 VMware servers have been compromised, she writes.
- I’ve got the Magic in me: Hey, GitHub Copilot, code-generating platform Magic is hot on your tail. Kyle reports that Magic, which conjured up $23 million in new funding led by Alphabet’s CapitalG, is out to “dramatically reduce the time and financial cost of developing software,” said co-founder and CEO Eric Steinberger.
- Nursing the health industry back to good labor supply: Labor marketplace ShiftMed says the high fees paid to travel nurses over the past three years have eaten into hospital budgets as burned out nurses leave the industry, Christine reports. It secured $200 million to close the gap in that shortage by taking care of nurses.
Startups and VC
Today is the return of the veteran founders day, it appears. Natasha L reports that Spotify founder Daniel Ek is back with Neko and another spin on preventative healthcare, while Sarah writes that Zenly co-founder Antoine Martin launches a new social app, Amo.
Good news for chickens and vegans alike: Rebellyous, a startup that’s striving to build “a better chicken,” has raised at least $20 million in fresh funding, Harri reports. Based in Seattle, the venture-backed company calls its production tech the “most advanced plant-based meat manufacturing system on the planet.”
Not enough? Well, let’s shake the story-trees and see what comes tumbling down:
- J/K, could we have our money back, please?: Jacquelyn reports that FTX wants politicians and PACs to return their donations.
- Self-driving into yikes-ville: EV SPAC Canoo agrees to sell $52 million in stock to stay alive, Kirsten reports.
- Triple threat, tested: Simple HealthKit is taking on health equity with at-home diagnostics and treatment, Christine reports.
- Up, up, and away: Voyager Space raises $80 million as it continues development on private space station, Starlab, by Aria.
- Pour tout le monde: Romain reports that French VC fund Ovni Capital checks in with a fresh €50 million fund, backing startups with global ambitions.
To improve close rates for technical interviews, give applicants feedback (good or bad)
“White coat syndrome” occurs when patients register artificially higher blood pressure because they’re anxious about visiting the doctor.
Technical interviews are similar: In a survey that crunched data from 1,000 people who conducted 100,000 interviews, a quarter of the candidates who received passing grades initially thought they’d failed.
“Our research shows that 43% of all candidates consistently underrate their technical interview performance,” said Aline Lerner, founder and CEO of interviewing.io.
In a comprehensive TC+ post, she offers a playbook for gathering and sharing “honest (and sometimes harsh) feedback” and asking postinterview questions that create objective benchmarks.
“Only about 25% of candidates perform consistently from interview to interview,” writes Lerner. “This means a candidate you reject today might be someone you want to hire in six months.”
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Hardware, but greener: Haje interviewed an expert about how startups can make hardware without ruining the planet.
- Make it rain: Sashank Purighalla wrote us a beginner’s guide to choosing a cloud infrastructure provider.
- Time to go back to the office?: Returning to the office is a numbers game, argues Natasha M.
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.
In the ongoing battle between India’s IT ministry and apps, PayU’s LazyPay has become the latest casualty, Manish writes. But it’s for a good cause, if you think about it: The country is cracking down on the misuse of consumer data. Speaking of blocked apps, Manish also writes that India is blocking over 230 betting and loan apps, some with ties to China.
Meanwhile, it’s Dell’s turn to have bad news. The company said that it will lay off 5% of its worldwide workforce, Ron reports. And if you have this on your BINGO card, you can mark off “the move was an unfortunate outcome of the current economic climate.”
Lots of news follows, so grab a drink and a snack and let’s dive in:
- You Meta believe it: Meta was unsuccessful in removing itself from a lawsuit against it and moderation partner Sama in Kenya. Annie has more on that. Meanwhile, the hits keep on coming: Meta’s Reality Labs lost $13.7 billion on VR and AR last year, Taylor reports.
- All Twitter, all the time: Hold on to your Twitter butts: The site will provide a free write-only API to bots providing “good” content, Ivan writes. Amanda reports on the Twitter Circle glitches and the privacy implications. Then Taylor writes that Twitter was supposed to start sharing ad revenue with creators.
- And ICYMI: Elon Musk and Tesla were both found not liable in the lawsuit that examined the aftermath of its “funding secured” tweet from 2018. Kirsten has more.
- Norma Rae would be proud: YouTube Music contractors strike over alleged unfair labor practices, Amanda reports.