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G’day, crunch bunch! We’re both starting to get a little bit excited about TechCrunch Disrupt coming up in October. Would you believe that, even though we’ve been working together for a long time, this will be the first time that your trusty Daily Crunch co-writers will meet in person? There will be high fives, terrible puns and perhaps a shared beverage or two. Good times.
We’d love to see you there, too. Did you know that you can volunteer at TechCrunch Disrupt to attend for free? There’s a few opportunities left, so get your applications in pronto. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Kimberly Bryant fired: Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant was fired by the organization’s board of directors eight months after Bryant was suspended. Natasha M and Dominic-Madori team up to dig into Bryant’s lawsuit against BGC, alleging both wrongful suspension and conflict of interest by new organization CEO Heather Hiles.
- Meow: Have you ever just looked at a picture of a car and sworn you could hear the engine purr? Well, get ready to experience that with the new Dodge Charger EV concept. Kirsten tantalizes us with the car’s features and how it is “rewriting the rules” of a traditional electric vehicle.
- Get out your pitchforks: HBO Max is cleaning out its closets in preparation for its merger with Discovery+, and that means it had to say “good-bye” to 36 titles. As Ivan reports, some creators are not thrilled about what was chosen to go.
Startups and VC
New York–based Life Extension Ventures is a new $100 million fund that claims it will focus on “longevity for people and planet.” In practice, that will mean backing founders who are accelerating the science around longevity, Mike reports.
Every aspect of a startup is about storytelling. Hiring your first employees into a startup is storytelling: You are spinning a story that contrasts with their steady, reliable job at an established company, pitching it against taking a chance on your startup. Acquiring early customers falls in the same category. Marketing? Same. Advertising? Same. Raising investment? Oh boy: Same. Haje explores why your startup needs a solid lead storyteller in place.
- Docteur Jim, WebMD: Paul reports that WebMD acquires French medical news and information platform Jim.fr
- Saving it for a snowy day: Rocketplace raises $9 million to build the “fidelity for crypto” amid the crypto winter that just keeps on going, Mary Ann reports.
- Come fly with me. No, not you. Frederic reports that Aero is finding a space between chartering flights and flying commercial, raising $65 million for its semi-private airline.
- When the sun cools your ice cream: Tage has a great story today about the Paris-based company Koolboks, which pivoted from camping fridges to solar refrigeration for places without consistent electricity. The company raised a cool $2.5 million.
- Well, it is a growth industry: The shortage of agricultural inputs like fertilizer, unpredictable prices and the proliferation of substandard products into markets are some of the biggest challenges for Kenya’s agricultural sector. Kenyan agtech iProcure raises $10 million to help resolve that, Annie reports.
- Roasting the toaster: Haje asks if we really need a $340, Wi-Fi enabled toaster. You don’t even need to click the link — the answer is no. There, saved you from a 600-word rant. You’re welcome.
Why do startup valuations go down when interest rates go up?
The U.S. Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates to tamp down inflation. This is just one of several factors that are driving down startup valuations these days. But why?
Higher inflation directly impacts access to capital, your customers’ ability to pay, and not incidentally, the service you’ll receive from providers (which includes your own employees).
“If your customers benefit from inflation, then there’s a good chance that your company will too,” says Equidam founder Daniel Faloppa.
“In most cases, though, when your customers benefit, your service providers suffer.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Yesterday was all about TikTok, and today it’s Google. First, one-person businesses in Europe now have the ability to subscribe to Google’s Workspace Individual plan, Paul writes. You know, the artist formerly known as G Suite. Next, Taylor outlines a plan by some Google workers who are asking the company to expand its worker health benefits, particularly by adding abortion and privacy protections following the repeal of Roe v. Wade. Then, Frederic sat down with James Ward, Google’s product manager for Kotlin, to discuss why the company is still all in on using Kotlin as its preferred language for writing Android apps. And finally, Google rolls out its new search updates so users can find higher-quality information, Aisha writes.
- Get a load of this headline: Acura is pulling out all the stops for its new electric vehicle SUV concept that Roberto writes is “inspired by F1 and luxury Italian power boats.” Vroom indeed.
- Watching how Amazon does healthcare: Andrew examines how Amazon’s continued expansion into healthcare will inspire, if that’s the right word, startups to come in with stronger offerings or get creative to avoid competing against the behemoth. Some investors weigh in as well.
- Guess who’s back, back again: Well, not in the way you think. Brian reports that Snap’s Pixy drone may be flying off into the sunset.
- Heat wave: High temperatures in China are prompting government officials to curb the use of industrial power, including battery plants, but Rita writes that “Tesla doesn’t need to hit the panic button” yet.