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What up, Crunchers! Welcome back to Monday Crunch, where we sift through the seemingly never-ending string of gems posted on TechCrunch on Friday.
If you read nothing else today, read The Great Pretender by Devin. It’s a great piece that looks into AI and how it (sometimes/mostly/theoretically) works: “All that matters is that these systems do not distinguish between something that is correct and something that looks correct. Once you understand that the AI considers these things more or less interchangeable, everything makes a lot more sense.”
Oh, and this gave us a good giggle over the weekend.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Move over TikTok: There’s a new social media content sheriff in town. As TikTok tried not to get banned in the U.S., Lauren writes that thousands of Gen Z creators are using Fanfix to monetize content and interact with fans. And it’s already paid out $11 million to creators so far.
- Oh, Twitter, you old tease: Ivan writes that Twitter’s new label makes it hard to differentiate between legacy and paid verified accounts. But really, Amanda writes, we are too distracted right now by the new doge-y icon at the top of Twitter to notice the labels. Alex writes this icon is sending dogecoin to the moon.
- There’s been an incident: Western Digital says hackers stole data in a “network security incident” that took place last week. Carly has more.
Startups and VC
In a major blow to shared micromobility companies, Paris has voted to ban rental e-scooters from its streets, Rebecca reports. Many in the industry fear that the move in Paris, where free-floating scooters initially took off in 2018, will have ripple effects in other cities.
Connie reports that, despite pressure, Andreessen Horowitz is courting Saudi money. Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz appeared onstage with WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann to talk about their firm’s $350 million investment in Flow, Neumann’s new residential real estate company. Their choice of venue was intentional: The conference was organized by a nonprofit backed by one of Saudi Arabia’s largest sovereign funds.
And we have five more for you:
- Running in place: Brian reports that, a decade later, this VR treadmill is finally ready to ship.
- Supplementary security for SaaS: Ingrid reports that Push Security raised $15 million to help SaaS users lower their online vulnerability.
- That’s . . . not actually the problem: Ethicists fire back at “AI Pause” letter they say “ignores the actual harms,” reports Devin.
- Money flowing to LatAm: Kaszek earmarks nearly $1 billion in new funds for Latin American startups, reports Mary Ann.
- Who are ya?: AI startup Fourthline locks down $54 million to bring better ID checks and compliance tools to the finance sector, Ingrid reports.
5 growth lessons I learned while scaling from $0 to $1M ARR
Annual recurring revenue is a critical health metric for every subscription-based business. It’s easy to calculate, but it’s a hard number to budge, since ARR indicates how well a startup is doing in terms of product-market fit.
In his latest column, Sales Kiwi co-founder and TC+ contributor Jonathan Martinez shared five essential takeaways he learned along the way to leading his startup to $1 million ARR. Lesson one?
“I never tested more than two paid channels at a time, which is how I was ultimately able to unlock acquisition for my team,” writes Jonathan.
“This applies for all forms of growth, so if you’re trying to unlock lifecycle marketing, don’t also put efforts into unlocking four paid channels at the same time.”
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Weathering a crisis: Christine explores how a fintech company handled a fintech crisis.
- Decks? We don’t need no stinkin’ decks: Do you need a deck to raise from VCs? Not always, writes Haje.
- Investing time, investing dollars: How you invest your time is just as important as how you invest your money, writes Allison Baum Gates.
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.
Do you like to travel? How about the price, is that important to you? Google is testing some new search features for travel, including a “price guarantee” tool for flights. Aisha writes there will be a little badge next to the price to indicate that Google doesn’t think the price will go lower. If it does, Google will give you the difference.
Meanwhile, Nintendo Systems, a joint venture between Nintendo and mobile games company DeNA is a go, Lauren reports. Nintendo Systems is meant to more easily deliver entertainment to consumers.
Wait! There’s more:
- Take a bite out of that: Apple came out on top of an appeals case in the United Kingdom over mobile market competition. Natasha L has more.
- Susan Sarandon surfaces: Warner Bros. debuts the official “Blue Beetle” trailer. Lauren has more.
- Driver acquired: General Motors’ electric delivery van unit BrightDrop signs up Ryder and has made the first Zevo 600 deliveries, Rebecca reports.
- Still going: Rivian will stick to its 2023 production goal for EVs, despite a quarterly dip, Kirsten reports.
- Setting the stage: YouTube will livestream all six Coachella stages, Aisha reports.