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Monday is here, and we are excited to throw ourselves into another week of summertime tech news. Apropos summer — as the VCs stop answering their phones in favor of drinking elderflower lime martinis, playing pickleball, spelunking in the Bitcoin mines, and kite surfing (I can only assume that’s what VCs do for their summer break), it gives us tech reporters a bit more time to go deeper on some of the stories and companies that have been itching our curiosity nerve.
In my distant past as a startup founder, long before I became a writer at TechCrunch, exhibiting at TechCrunch Disrupt turned out to be a huge moment for my first startup. As an early-stage startup founder, you know that the hustle is part of the game; if your company doesn’t have the budget to attend, you can apply to be a volunteer and attend that way. Don’t miss the volunteer FAQ to see if this is a good option for you! — Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Did Bolt bolt?: It’s pretty rare that a startup just vanishes from the face of the planet, but that was the magic trick Bolt Mobility appears to have pulled off, leaving a bunch of e-bikes and confused customers behind, Rebecca reported.
- I am a passenger, and I ride and I ride: Swarm’s tiny satellites have been hitching a ride on SpaceX launches for other customers, where it’s easy for the company “to just pop them on” — here’s what Swarm has been up to since it was acquired by SpaceX, Darrell writes.
- The wheels on the bus go down and down: In the midst of an 88% stock nosedive, Swvl — who went public via a SPAC last year — is canceling its $100 million acquisition of Smart Bus startup Zeelo, Mike writes.
Startups and VC
The regulatory environment surrounding crypto is shifting in the US as the SEC takes aim at major players in the web3 world, promising to shake up business as usual with aggressive action. David Nage discusses how regulatory scrutiny is impacting venture investment in web3. It’s a great conversation with Lucas and Anita on this week’s episode of Chain Reaction, for you podcast fans!
Oui Capital, an Africa-focused VC firm based in Lagos and Massachusetts, announced today that it has completed the first closing of its $30 million second fund, Tage reports. The firm seeks to strengthen its presence on the continent.
More more more:
- Headline of the week: Ugh, why is Natasha M so good! Don’t miss her Startups Weekly, the succinct recap of what’s what in the land of startups this past week. Also, “The bootstrapped are coming, the bootstrapped are coming” is just straight-up :chefs-kiss:.
- Like games, but chainier: The runaway success of Axie Infinity and StepN has convinced a flurry of entrepreneurs that web3 gaming is the future. In Rita’s piece, gaming vets promise to make blockchain games fun and sustainable.
- Still equal, just with fatter coffers: Equal Ventures has a new pair of funds. The New York City–based firm has closed a $95 million second fund and its first opportunity fund, worth $75 million, Natasha M sleuthed out from the firm’s SEC filings.
- Talk to the machine: UiPath has acquired Reinfer, a London-based startup that’s developing natural language processing (NLP) tools for enterprises, Paul reports.
- Ixnay on the Chipper Cash: Kenya has directed all banks to stop dealing with Chipper Cash and Flutterwave, claiming that the companies are unlicensed, Annie reports.
- More Buoyant climate market: The climate-focused VC Buoyant Ventures targets $100 million fund as the climate market continues to evolve, Harri reports.
Build a solid deck for your quarterly board meetings
Board meetings are great for getting feedback on your progress and your plans for the future, but what’s the best way to tell them what’s going on?
According to Ridge Ventures partner Yousuf Khan, often the best and simplest way to “ensure you’re providing board members with the information they want to see is to just ask them.”
“Reaching out to your board not only helps provide a sense of direction, it also gives you the opportunity to build your relationship. People appreciate the opportunity to weigh in,” he says.
Khan also lays out seven tips for building a presentation to give your board updates on your progress, plans, the product and financials.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Hyundai is considering acquiring the South Korea–based lidar-free autonomous mobility platform 42dot. A spokesperson of 42dot told Kate that the startup is in talks, but cautioned that terms, including stake size and deal valuation, haven’t materialized yet.
In one of the head-scratchiest moves in a while, Spotify announced it will introduce a Play button and a Shuffle button at the top of albums’ playlists to make it easier to play the music the way you like, Sarah reports. Plot twist: the separate buttons are only available to paid subscribers. As Sarah concludes, “Streamers may be disappointed to find out that what should be an app update in favor of better usability is oddly being sold to them as a reason to upgrade.”
A few more:
- You never know when you need jeans in 25 minutes: E-commerce giant Amazon launches same-day delivery from select retail stores, including PacSun and Diesel, Aisha reports.
- Accountless Twitter in testing: Ivan reports on a new test from Twitter, where you can now use Twitter’s iOS app without signing up for an account.
- Pinterest Shuffles into your mood boards: Social media company Pinterest debuts a new app, Shuffles, for collage-making and moodboards, Sarah reports.
- Uh-oh: Things are getting (even more) interesting in hacker land, as hackers steal passwords for accessing 140,000 payment terminals, reports Zack.
- AI might be going too far: There’s a reason over 450,000 people read Emerging Tech Brew — the three-times-a-week email delivering the latest technology news impacting you and your world. Best part? It’s free and only takes 5 minutes to read, so there’s really no reason not to try it. To stay up-to-date on the latest tech and AI advances, sign up for the Emerging Tech Brew newsletter for free.