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Well hello again! It’s Thursday — heat waves are heat wavin’, and all of TechCrunch is psyched about a fun and engaging Robotics event today. That’s not all that’s happening, though. We’ve had 70 new stories on the site since our last newsletter, which means that we got to learn about all sorts of wild and wonderful happenings in our world of startups and company building. It was extra-double-plus hard to select the best of the best for the newsletter, but we tried our best. Enjoy! — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Amazon grabs a stethoscope: Amazon showed its continued interest in healthcare by announcing its intent to acquire primary medical provider One Medical for $3.9 billion. Ingrid writes that details are a bit thin as to how One Medical will integrate with Amazon, but it has people on Twitter wondering what the marketplace behemoth will do next. And that’s just the kind of thing that Alex is good at. He dives into the deal to let us know just what Amazon is getting for its billions.
- Someone’s got their eye on you: Manish brings us an update on Indian edtech giant Byju, which you might recall fired hundreds of employees a month ago. Now it seems like it will have some legal troubles to contend with. A lawmaker is calling for an investigation into the company’s finances.
- It’s not goodbye forever: Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia made waves today, announcing that he was stepping back from his role after 10 years to spend some time with family and see what else sparks his interest, Kyle reports. Gebbia will stay on the company’s board in an advisory role.
Startups and VC
Today has been a cavalcade of robotics. The articles that caught our eye in particular were Brian‘s story, asking whether universities are doing enough to foster robotics startups, and Kirsten’s piece on Agility’s next Digit robot, which will have a face and hands. Also, don’t miss Brian’s Actuator newsletter, which covers what’s happening in Robotics world. The most recent issue came out yesterday.
We were delighted to see TextExpander — who’ve been around for a hot minute but have been bootstrapping to date — raise a $41 million round of financing, as Ingrid reports. The company makes business communications faster by creating modular extendable text macros.
The other not-to-be-missed story today is Anita and Natasha M’s WTF is a 409A — a crucial piece you need to understand if you want any hope of understanding startup valuations in the U.S.!
- New Kenyan venture fund: After spending years in London, matching Kenyans in the diaspora with investment opportunities back home, Njeri Muhia sought a greater challenge, founding Kenyan VC firm FrontEnd Ventures to back local founders, writes Annie.
- Come fly with me: Chartering a private plane is never going to be cheap, but that doesn’t mean it can’t become cheaper. AeroVanti Air Club is announcing a $9.75 million Series A to offer lower hourly rates for its club members, Frederic reports.
- Bye, credit scores: TomoCredit wants to make credit scores a thing of the past, and raises $22 million at a $222 million valuation to accomplish that goal, Mary Ann reports.
- You get a raise!: Talent management HR tech company 15Five raises $52 million to boost its own performance, reports Ingrid.
- I my-see-lium what you did there: Turning mushrooms into meaty goodness, Meati Foods raises $150 million to expand operations, Christine reports.
Growth cheat code: Use fractional hiring to stay on plan when cutting costs
As winter winds begin to blow, major tech companies like Google, Microsoft and Lyft have each instituted hiring freezes.
Likewise, early-stage startups are under pressure to reduce burn while preserving forward momentum, but “fractional hiring is a growth cheat code” when used strategically, says Teja Yenamandra, co-founder and CEO of Gun.io.
“There is now way less competition for the talent you’re hiring, and you may be able to lock in a hire who was unaffordable a few months ago.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
If you’ve come here for Tesla news, you’re in luck. The mobility, climate and even crypto crews were in full-coverage mode of the electric automaker, giving you lots of news to rev your engines.
Harri and Kirsten dove into the company’s quarterly earnings, writing, respectively, about Tesla’s success in the solar game and its quarterly decline in profits. Over to crypto, Lucas reports on how Elon Musk not only discloses that Tesla owns Dogecoin, but also that the company dumped 75% of its Bitcoin holdings. And finally, Rebecca writes that Tesla is increasing the cost of its self-driving software, while at the same time Jaclyn writes the company is on track to launch its battery-electric truck in 2023.
Now for some non-Tesla news. First up, Jagmeet reports that Amazon is looking at India as the next place to bring its Project Kuiper satellite internet business.
Meanwhile, so many companies are hitting the pause button on a number of different things. One of the top stories sticking around from yesterday was Andrew’s piece on Google taking a two-week hiatus from hiring and then slowing down for the rest of the year.
And it is not alone: Kyle covers GitHub’s hiring pullback, while Paul writes about Just Eat Takeaway scaling back in France. Rebecca covers both Lyft’s layoffs amid a closure of its in-house car rentals program and the U.K.’s App Drivers and Couriers Union putting their vehicles in park to strike in response to files that were leaked about Uber. Finally, Catherine reports on Zipmex pausing withdrawals from its digital assets exchange.
- What do you see when you look up?: Google Cloud sees Mexico. It plans to put its first cloud region in the country, Frederic reports.
- Today’s tool chest is full: We’ve got some new moderator tools from Twitch by Taylor, while Aisha writes about TikTok’s new caption and translation tools.
- You want new features? We’ve got 20, but who cares, no big deal, we want more: Check out Instagram’s Reels function for video posts less than 15 minutes in length, Aisha writes. Lauren strikes up the band with Mandolin’s customer artist pages and fan data hub, while Amanda reports on Warner Music Group’s partnership with SoundCloud’s payment model for artists.