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Well, hello there! Haje is getting a head start on the weekend, so it’s going to be me and you for the next two days. I’ve been among the group of TechCrunchers watching pitch after pitch at Y Combinator’s Demo Day. Here is part 1 of our favorites, with the second one coming later on today. On with the news! — Christine
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Only half?: Twitter is rolling out some new features for Blue subscribers, including one that will show 50% of the ads in their timeline compared to what nonpaid users see, Ivan reports.
- Sucking up the competition: The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority is looking more closely at Amazon’s $1.7 billion iRobot acquisition to see if there is any threat of less competition, Paul writes.
- Get your facts straight: That’s what the Indian government is saying to Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies about posting any misinformation. That now includes cracking down on online betting games, Manish reports.
Startups and VC
Meal replacement startup Yfood did a thing today. Ingrid reports that Nestlé closed on an acquisition of the company in a deal that values Yfood at $469 million. She writes, “Yfood’s milestone should give the food tech community something substantial to chew on. The intersection of tech and food has been playing out as a theme in the world of startups for years, with technologists and entrepreneurs bringing a hacking mentality to the field to take new approaches to sourcing, preparing, selling and distributing things to eat and drink.”
Meanwhile, Canaan closed two new funds — its 12th flagship fund for early-stage tech and healthcare startups and an opportunity fund — that total $850 million. That opportunity fund might be raising some eyebrows, with Connie writing, “Some institutional investors privately grouse that they don’t like later-stage funds hosted by early-stage investors, as it complicates their ability to properly diversify their own investments.” Connie notes that the market might be slowing, but venture capital firms are continuing to amass big funds, as we also saw S2G Ventures do today.
Now here’s five more for you:
- Do you see what we see?: Honeycomb grabs a $50 million investment as the company’s observability platform thrives, Ron writes.
- Fresh catch: Alternative seafood startup Aqua Cultured Foods reeled in $5.5 million to get its long pipeline of products to market, Christine reports.
- Reducing one bovine burp at a time: Haje writes that cows can’t help but burp, and Alga Biosciences wants to fix that with a new feed to reduce the belching, thus reducing the methane gas they produce.
- Gaining that competitive edge: Mary Ann reports on why SoftBank remains bullish on Latin America.
- It’s more than a feeling: Overall venture capital deal count in the U.S. has fallen more than 25% between the first quarter of last year and this year. Connie tells you why.
Funds offering ‘friends and family’ checks could bring the change underrepresented founders need
America’s long-standing wealth gap between white and Black households contributes to the lack of diversity among startup founders.
Median liquid wealth for a Black family in the U.S. is $3,630, but that figure soars to $79,000 for a white family. As a result, “the average Black founder raises less than around $1,000 from family and friends,” reports Dominic-Madori Davis.
Since the average friends and family round is $23,000, “they’d need to secure the entire liquid wealth of six Black families,” according to a white paper by venture fund Fifth Star.
Three more from the TC+ team:
- “Things are looking grim”: Alex writes that if it weren’t for the Stripe and OpenAI deals, global VC results would have been even worse in Q1 2023.
- Pitch Deck Teardown: Haje takes apart Smalls’ $19 million Series B deck.
- “The party might be over”: Tim writes that the climate tech venture scene saw a correction in the first quarter. Will the slowdown continue?
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.
No personal data for you! Google is saying it will restrict personal loan apps from accessing user photos and contacts amid increased predatory behavior from some lenders toward borrowers, Jagmeet writes.
You all have proven to be car enthusiasts, so here’s Patrick’s take on everything that stood out at the 2023 New York Auto Show.
Oh wait, there’s more:
- Everything’s better together: Messenger now has multiplayer games you can play during video calls, Aisha reports.
- That, my friends, is what you call exposure: Law firm Proskauer is mopping up after exposing clients’ confidential M&A data. Carly has more.
- Hail to the EV: Lyft relaunches its electric vehicle service, starting with business travelers, Rebecca reports.
- Meanwhile, over at Twitter: Germany could fine Twitter over illegal hate speech, Natasha L reports. Also, in case you missed it, Taylor reports on Twitter labeling NPR a state-backed media.