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The TechCrunch Top 3
- SpaceX employees seeing stars, and not in a good way: Thanks to a group of SpaceX employees, we now know that the company has a so-called no-asshole policy for employee behavior. This group, via an open letter, expressed their concern that leadership, in this case their fearless leader Elon Musk, should be held accountable for his Twitter behavior, Darrell reports.
- Everyone loves a good map: Not sure if you’ve caught on yet, but we enjoy reporting on map technology. Ivan reports that Google Maps will now show you live traffic around you in a new Android widget. Going to have to give that a try this weekend.
- The goat world tour begins: Goat Brand Labs has raised a whopping $50 million in fresh funding as the Indian direct-to-consumer brand aggregator looks to acquire more premium brands and help it scale globally, Manish reports.
Startups and VC
We’re pretty excited about the news that Google for Startups is deploying $4 million worth of grant funding to a collection of 40 black-led startups across Europe, as Mike reported today. More of that sort of thing, please.
On TechCrunch+, our subscription product, Dominic-Madori writes a fantastic piece on why a downturn is business as usual for minority founders. Well worth a read.
On the topic of downturniness, Connie wrote a great piece that includes an interview with Brad Feld and serves as a field guide for startup board members in an up-and-down market. It’s a must-read for startup founders and board members who’ve not seen the inside of a market wobble before.
More, always more:
- Blockchain? More like blockpain: Jacquelyn reports that falling valuations, pulled deals and market volatility are the norm for crypto founders at the moment.
- Buzz and beep: Wheeled robots can’t reach the high shelves easily, but Brian reports Corvus is using drones to track warehouse inventory. Neat!
- I’ve got a bridge to sell ya: Real estate tech may have seen a bunch of layoffs, but HomeLight raises $60 million and announces an acquisition, Mary Ann reports.
- Sorry, you’re on mute: Tl;dv built an extension for videoconferencing platforms. It bolts on a suite of capabilities that attendees can use to record, transcribe and timestamp key moments to quickly and easily (re)surface important info after the meeting has ended, Natasha L reports.
- Get a whiff of this. Or don’t: If you like an exasperated rant with your afternoon read, Haje has you covered, with his verbal shrug about Pzaz’s “eau de caffeine.”
3 climate tech VCs share how they find, vet and support carbon-slashing startups
This week at TC Sessions: Climate 2022, Tim De Chant spoke to three active climate tech investors to learn more about how they identify new opportunities and what they’re looking for at the moment.
- Kiersten Stead, managing partner, DCVC Bio
- Christian Garcia, partner, Breakthrough Energy Ventures
- Pae Wu, general partner at SOSV, CTO of IndieBio
“Our job is to take risk, to a degree, and to risk it on teams that we think are truly talented,” Stead said.
“So that’s one piece of the equation,” she added. “But the other side of the equation is that the world doesn’t receive the benefit of anything unless it can scale, unless it’s fundable, unless there’s a great market with it, and it’s profitable.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Normally, we get into the Big Tech news and find it typically fits into a handful of buckets, but to our delight, there were a lot of great stories today that run across a number of industries. Let’s dig into some, shall we?
Starting over in TechCrunch+, Alex has been closely monitoring the ugly public markets climate for a while now and waiting, perhaps with bated breath, for it to get better and for a long list of companies poised for IPO action to pull the trigger. We are happy to report that it happened, and the company that opened “the IPO window” was not one that he expected.
- Browsing an app is soooo yesterday: Sarah writes that our smartphone’s home screen will be the next big social platform thanks to widgets and push notifications.
- Tesla plays “The Price Is Right”: Weren’t electric vehicles supposed to get cheaper so everyone would be enticed to buy them? Tesla didn’t seem to get that message, and instead is increasing the prices across its lineup, Rebecca reported. I guess if you are already spending $99,990 for a Model S, spending $104,990 isn’t a stretch, but sheesh.
- Samsung gets on the mobile wallet train: Aisha reported that the tech is combining Samsung Pay and Samsung Pass together under the Samsung Wallet umbrella so you can find your cards and certain car makers’ keys all in one place.
- Going once, going twice: You’ve enjoyed the energy rush you get when you are the final bidder on eBay, and now you can do it live, Aisha also writes. The e-commerce marketplace is launching an interactive live shopping platform and will start with rare trading cards. Speaking of live shopping, Amazon is doing it, too, starting June 21, Ivan reported. Don’t forget to set a calendar reminder for Amazon Prime Day on July 12 and 13.
- To infinity jobs and beyond: Microsoft has a new mission for its employee portal, Viva. The company is adding job support, starting with sales, so that users can find all of their tools in one centralized location, Ron writes.