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Hey, folks! Chromecasts have been a hacker and nerd favorite for a moment or two, and we’re pretty psyched to see the price (with a remote!) dropping to $30. Apropos hardware, Brian and Kirsten just published our Apple Watch Ultra first look review, so we’ve been enjoying that, too. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Love gadgets? You’ll love today’s newsletter: Google’s new Chromecast is a quadruple threat: 4K HDR support, 10,000 apps, costs $30 and has a remote, Ivan writes. Yes, please.
- The first cut is the deepest: Just when Indian hotel chain Oyo thought it was safe to go public, SoftBank slashed its valuation by 73% to $2.7 billion, Manish reports.
- No closing time here: E-commerce company acquirer OpenStore is defying the e-commerce aggregator odds by both doing well in this economy and raising funds, Christine writes. The 1-year-old company, started by Founders Fund’s Keith Rabois and Atomic’s Jack Abraham, raised $32 million in a round of funding that values the company at $970 million.
Startups and VC
Anyone who has to use a wheelchair regularly runs the risk of incurring injury from poor circulation. Kalogon believes it can mitigate this common but potentially life-threatening condition with a smart cushion that prevents any one part of the body from being compressed for too long — and it has already caught the eye of the VA, Devin reports.
Keeping up with tax compliance for cryptocurrency can be tricky, especially since many laws are new (or haven’t been written yet). That’s why Binocs was founded. Users integrate their exchanges and wallets, and Binocs provides a tax report and other accounting details. The startup announced today that it has raised $4 million to expand, Catherine reports.
And a few more from around the world (around the world):
- Say hello to my little friend: Brian reports that Archer’s co-founder is bootstrapping an all-purpose humanoid robot.
- That’s not how “self-employed” works: Natasha L reports that Spanish delivery service Glovo was fined $78 million for labor breaches.
- If the sensors can’t go on the cars, let’s put them on the infrastructure: Seoul Robotics’ unusual approach to autonomous vehicle tech was reported by Kate.
- Working from wherever: Remofirst raises $14.1 million to make it cheaper and easier for businesses to hire remote workers globally, reports Mary Ann.
- Bump innovates at the EV pump: Romain reports that EV charging operator Bump unlocks $180 million.
When it comes to startup board participation, VCs and CEOs must do their jobs
“You had one job” might be amusing if a birthday cake decoration goes wrong, but when we’re talking about executives who don’t show for board meetings, the stakes are much higher, writes Matt Blumberg, co-founder and CEO of Bolster.
“Disengaged or dysfunctional boards aren’t just bad for CEOs and LPs; they’re bad for everyone,” Blumberg says, a realization that spurred him to adopt a new meeting format that includes follow-up surveys.
“That is a lot of moving pieces to manage, but I find that doing so keeps the meeting fresh and well paced.”
More TC+ goodness:
- Semiconductor party in the USA: Simon Butler explores what the CHIPS and Science Act means for the future of the semiconductor industry.
- The running-track-shaped economy: Tim takes a closer look at how materials startup Novoloop brings its upcycled rubber to On’s new running shoe.
- Tech for the planet: Tim and Haje take a closer look at the 5 most interesting startups in this IndieBio cohort.
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.
Get ready to bite into a big Apple. Brian put on his reviewer hat and took a look at the AirPods Pro, which he said had “some really welcome additions to one of the best pair of earbuds out there.” And Brian and Kirsten tried out the Apple Watch Ultra, where one of their concluding views was “the Ultra is much more than an Apple Watch dressed up in a rugged case.”
Meanwhile, buy now, pay later giant Klarna confirmed it had to take some additional bites out of its workforce to the tune of 100 people, though 500 were warned of the reduction, Connie writes.
- Adam Levine wishes this existed already: Ivan reports that Instagram is testing a nudity protection filter for direct messages so that users of the social media app don’t have to see unsolicited nude messages. Too bad there isn’t a feature yet to warn you against sending certain messages…
- Don’t get locked in: Natasha L writes about Mozilla’s research regarding the ability to choose our own web browser on the devices we like to use versus being presented with pre-installed ones.
- Not playing games: India’s Department of Telecommunications is proposing the regulation of internet communication services that would require platforms to obtain a license before they could operate in the market. Jagmeet has more.
- Single and ready to mingle: Alibaba Cloud has plans to double down on its cloud service offering overseas and is ready to spend $1 billion on a “global partner ecosystem upgrade,” Rita writes.
- That’s a large chunk of “chain”: Authorities in South Korea uncovered another $680 million in “abnormal” crypto-linked foreign exchange transactions, Kate reports. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s now a total of $7.2 billion since June.