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Happy Monday Crunch!
Haje is wrapping up this newsletter before heading to TechCrunch Early Stage 2023 in Boston on April 20. It’s not too late to get your ticket! Meanwhile, on the Equity podcast today, the pod crew wonders, What’s an Angry Bird worth? It turns out, Sega thinks it’s $775 million for the whole bird farm.
The TechCrunch Top 3
Apple’s announcements were big for readers today, so here we go:
- Psst, wanna install an app?: Apple likes to keep things close to the vest, but Ivan writes that the consumer tech giant is reportedly considering allowing people to sideload apps to their iPhone in iOS 17.
- Apple makes things interest-ing: Last October, Apple unveiled a new financial product, and today, the company spilled a little more tea about its Apple Card savings accounts, featuring a 4.15% interest rate, reports Romain.
- Watch this: Apple Watch users have been waiting — can we say patiently? — for a new software update. Well, Sarah reports today the watch is likely to get its biggest software update since its 2015 debut.
Startups and VC
Back in January, a $810 million deal fell apart to buy Angry Birds makers Rovio, but the company suggested they were still in talks with other potential interested parties. Today, Paul reports that deal became official as Japanese gaming giant Sega has confirmed that it’s buying Finland’s Rovio in an all-cash deal worth $775 million.
As the economy has gotten tougher, plenty of companies have switched from buying to renting. There’s an acronym for this — XaaS, or “everything as a service,” also referred to as “servitization.” An example of this would be ServiceNow, which automates services for enterprise operations. A newish player in this space is Equipme, out of Germany, which secured $3.8 million in a seed investment round led by La Famiglia VC, Mike writes.
And we have five more for you:
- That’s a hell of a slingshot: Orbit Fab closes $28.5 million Series A for on-orbit refueling capabilities, Aria reports.
- 1 + 1=21M: Innovamat tallies up $21 million to reinvent math education, Ingrid reports.
- As fleeting as a laptop: Romain reports that device-as-a-service startup Fleet expands beyond laptop leasing.
- It sees right through you: Scan.com, which gives patients direct access to private medical imaging services, raises $12 million, writes Paul.
- Hydrate or die-drate: Hydration brand Cure mixes new funding into its growth plans, Christine reports.
No, you’re not raising money to increase your runway
Haje often hears founders say they are raising money to increase their runway by 18 to 24 months. In a sense, that is accurate, but only from the startup’s point of view.
That’s not what an investor is looking for. Your company surviving for another year and a half is not the goal of a fundraise; that’s a side effect at best. Ask yourself — what happens at the end of those 18 months?
Founders should communicate to investors what a round of funding unlocks. That’s expressed in milestones, not in time. The goal is to transform the company sufficiently that you can do something that you cannot do at this moment, and in this piece, Haje breaks down how.
Three more from the TC+ team:
- No more pixel peeping: Carly writes how the crackdown on pixel tracking in telehealth is a warning for every startup.
- When the restraint goes marching in: Is there really a march from the public cloud back on-prem? Our own corporate reporter Ron suggests there’s more at play.
- A non-prophet organization: Alex suggests that tech investors’ obsession over profit is already waning.
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.
There was no “up, up and away” for SpaceX today, which was attempting to fly its Starship launch system for the first time. Aria reports that the flight test turned into a wet dress rehearsal due to a frozen pressure valve. Now SpaceX is looking at April 19 as the next possible date to try again.
Luxury car enthusiasts gather ’round. Mercedes debuts the Maybach EQS SUV, which includes features that Matt writes are “dripping with historic Maybach design elements: two-tone paint, imposing wheels, a proper hood ornament and, yes, a grill with filigree slats even though it’s electric and there isn’t a radiator to protect.”
Now here’s five more for you:
- Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery: Ivan takes a look at some of the AI-powered tools out there to help developers build AI-powered chatbot assistants.
- Don’t let this one fly away: Adobe’s generative AI tool Firefly is now a part of the Creative Cloud family, Frederic reports.
- That’s a fact, Jack: Some of the U.S.’s largest technology companies are voicing concern over India’s fact-checking rule. Manish has more on why.
- Cleopatra will now take your chat: Want to see what Beethoven and other historical and fictional characters might have to say about…anything? There’s an app for that. Superchat’s new AI chatbot lets you message these characters via ChatGPT, Sarah writes.
- A-I can’t believe it: An AI-generated song by Drake and The Weeknd went viral, and the response is what you might have imagined. Amanda has more.