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We hope you’re meeting the week with open arms, crunchers, and that the week loves you right back. Unrequited love from abstract conceptual measurements of time are so heartbreaking.
Let’s kick this off by reminding you there’s only 5 days left to save $1,000 on Disrupt passes! — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- No one likes a cheater: Definitely not Russian game developer Battlestate Games, which banned and doxed 6,700 cheaters from its Escape from Tarkov game. Lorenzo has more.
- You get a loan and you get a loan!: Ingrid writes that U.K.-based open banking loans platform Abound secured $601 million in new funding to “supercharge” its consumer lending business that makes loans between £1,000 and £10,000 with some generous repayment options of up to five years.
- Microsoft’s next stop: Microsoft’s automation journey has the software giant making a pit stop in Business App Suite City to drop off AI-powered Copilot capabilities, Kyle reports.
Startups and VC
Also today, we are releasing the final episode of our Inside Startup Battlefield podcast miniseries, which is all about TechCrunch’s pitch competition. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for — the winner is announced!
And we have five more for you:
- Board already: Vinod Khosla’s advice for top VCs is to not sit on their founders’ boards, Natasha M reports.
- Moar layoffs: Tage reports that Nigerian B2B e-commerce startup Alerzo cuts 15% of full-time staff in second round of layoffs.
- A summary of automotive: Kirsten’s newsletter is always worth reading, but this week was particularly jam-packed with juicy info. “Another AV company hits the skids, Scout Motors picks a home and Tesla’s tepid investor day” gives you a taster — go read the full thing.
- Ruh-roh: Tage reports that alleged security breach leaves millions of dollars missing from Flutterwave accounts.
- Gotta stay focused: At TC+, Haje is eager to remind you that if you have more than one business model, you don’t really have a business model.
Creating remote work rituals that stick
Remote teams have a lot of flexibility when it comes to when and how they work, but adding some structure can enhance productivity and transparency without sacrificing freedom.
“Ultimately, asynchronous work only serves you when you compartmentalize phases of work with your team,” says Stefanie Palomino, chief product officer and general manager at ROOM 3D.
This post offers several tips that can help managers deploy active listening techniques that foster engagement, improve communication, and ideally, reduce the number of meetings that take place.
Says Palomino: “The routines people create are negotiated over time, but it’s something we’ve come to take for granted.”
Three more from the TC+ team:
- The heat is on, but the pressure is off: Valuation pressure on software startups is easing, reports Alex.
- The risk of branding: Natasha M digs into the oh-so-biased branding risk in venture capital.
- The highs and the lows: Enterprise SaaS companies continue to navigate a complex economic environment, report Ron and Alex.
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.
Natasha L has the latest on what’s up with WhatsApp. The Meta-owned messaging platform agrees to clean up its user messaging in the European Union so that its terms of service on users is more transparent.
European and U.S. police organizations arrest suspected members of the DoppelPaymer ransomware gang. Carly writes that this particular gang targeted at least 601 companies worldwide, with one of its most serious attacks targeting the University Hospital in Düsseldorf that resulted in the death of a patient.
More for your Monday:
- Slashing prices again: If you have your eye on a Tesla, do we have a deal for you — Tesla lowered prices for Model S and Model X in the U.S., Rebecca writes.
- More layoffs: This time the bad news is over at satellite radio company SiriusXM, which is laying off 8% of its workforce, or 475 people, Sarah reports.
- Let’s make a deal: Qualtrics reported it has a $12 billion offer on the table to go private. Ron has more.
- Twitter broke down: Twitter images and links broke today, Aisha writes. Also, Ivan reports on Elon Musk’s latest musing that Twitter may roll out encrypted DMs this month.
- The rhythm is gonna get you: SoundCloud is testing a TikTok-like feed for music discovery, Ivan writes.