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Oh heeeeeey. We’re back with another crunchy edition of our Tues-daily Crunch.
With Early Stage behind us, we’re setting our sights on our Disrupt event that’s coming up — and Alex just shared the agenda for the Builders Stage. Come check it out — and get your tickets for Disrupt sooner rather than later!
Our favorite story this morning was Rebecca admitting she actually had fun at Fatboy Slim’s metaverse rave, and now we’re regretting that we missed it.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- This is only a test: Yesterday, Elon Musk tweeted a photo of his Twitter account, which seemed to show Musk also logged into another account that looked like @ErmnMusk with the name “Elon Test.” Is this a burner account? We don’t know. Amanda has more.
- Another car bites the dust: When other carmakers are saying “the more the merrier” when it comes to building electric vehicles, General Motors is “bolt”ing for the door on a few of its models. Kirsten reports that GM is killing off both the Chevy Bolt and Bolt EUV in favor of other EVs.
- Fly me to the moon: Aria and Devin have been monitoring ispace, a Japanese company that attempted to land on the moon for the first time. Unfortunately, ispace lost contact with its lunar lander just moments before it was supposed to make the landing.
Startups and VC
Data is becoming as precious as water in precision agriculture, and Hydrosat aims to help provide both with a new set of Earth-observation satellites, Stefanie reports. The company has raised a $20 million Series A round, including $5 million in non-dilutive funding, which should put the first two thermal infrared satellites into orbit.
Survey a lot of industrial warehouses and you’ll see a lot of cages. It’s a safety thing — effectively a way of ensuring that robots don’t accidentally hurt people. They’re big, fast and made of metal. We’re small, squishy and don’t always look where we should, Brian explains. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s the best we’ve had for a long time — until robotics safety firm Veo raised $29 million, with help from Amazon, that is.
Heavy on the AI news today. Here’s a fistful of tasty snacks for ya:
- Hard on the brakes: Mary Ann reports that RapidAPI, valued at $1 billion last year, cuts staff by 50%.
- In summary…: News app Artifact can now summarize stories using AI, including in fun styles such as “explain it like I’m five,” or just in emoji, Sarah reports.
- Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom. Well, who am I to keep you down?: AI app Petey uses ChatGPT to make Apple Music playlists for you, Sarah reports.
- AI takes to the big blue sea: Catherine reports that Greywing’s new SeaGPT solves email overwhelm for maritime crew managers.
- I bet that’ll pay off: Yahoo acquires social sports betting app Wagr, reports Paul.
How to pitch me: 5 investors discuss what they’re looking for in April 2023
Walter Thompson asked five investors to share some frank advice for first-timers and found that most aspiring founders are probably not yet ready to pitch an investor.
If you haven’t spoken to scores of customers, or created a contact spreadsheet for at least 25 investors who’ve backed companies like yours, for example, it’s too soon.
And if your team added “AI” to the pitch deck to make it more appealing, here’s some more bad news: FOMO is passé, and due diligence is the new black.
Here’s who participated in this month’s investor Q&A:
- Rudina Seseri, founder and managing partner, Glasswing Ventures
- Patrick Salyer, partner, Mayfield Fund
- Josh Constine, venture partner, SignalFire
- Alexa von Tobel, managing partner, Inspired Capital
- Oren Yunger, partner, GGV Capital
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Erm, where are the exits?: Alex observes that for the VC/startup ecosystem to work, we need exits, and big ones. He argues that it’s beyond time we started worrying about unicorn exits.
- You’re making a mess of it…: Tim asks, “How much does your company pollute?” and explores how CarbonChain’s $10 million Series A is here to help answer that very question.
- The dominoes, they wobble: First Republic’s results are proof that the SVB meltdown was brutal for smaller banks, writes 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.
Mark Zuckerberg announced that WhatsApp is rolling out multi-device support, and users can log into the same WhatsApp account on up to four phones, Ivan reports. Meta has been testing this feature since 2021.
Meanwhile, Kyle writes that in pursuit of “safer” text-generating models, Nvidia released a toolkit called NeMo Guardrails to make AI-powered apps more “accurate, appropriate, on topic and secure.”
And we have five more for you:
- We’re not gonna take it: That’s what crypto exchange Coinbase is saying. Coinbase sued the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission so that the SEC would respond to a months-old petition asking whether the securities regulator would allow the industry to be regulated using existing SEC frameworks. Manish has more.
- Join or else: India is promoting the adoption of its open e-commerce network and wants e-commerce giants to join in. It won’t take no for an answer and is prepared to put the “full force of the government” behind the efforts, Manish writes.
- Report or else: Nineteen platforms must report algorithmic risks under Europe’s Digital Services Act. Natasha L has more.
- Free fallin’: In Spotify news, Paul reports that the streaming music giant now has more than 500 million users, but the number of paid subscribers is shrinking. Then Sarah takes a deeper dive into the company’s first-quarter earnings. She writes that Spotify’s CEO said AI progress is both “really cool and scary,” and may pose a risk to the creative industry.
- Chat GPT everything, everywhere, all at once: Kyle wrote two stories about ChatGPT, including how OpenAI previews its business plan for ChatGPT, while Hugging Face releases its own version of ChatGPT. Meanwhile, Connie reports that so many entities want to bank off the term “GPT” that it may be trademarked soon if OpenAI has its way.