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Why, hello there, and welcome to your Tuesday Daily Crunch. I’ll be your host this week while Haje works from an undisclosed location where day is night and night is day. If you aren’t enjoying today’s Found podcast about tampons, we hope you at least saw stars at the TC Sessions: Space event. Let’s dig into some news! — Christine
The TechCrunch Top 3
- First AI, now soft porn: We’ve written recently about artificial intelligence and porn, but as everyone has run to the App Store to try out Lensa AI’s avatars, Haje finds out that, as he put it, “it’s way too easy to trick Lensa AI into making NSFW images.” Can’t say we didn’t see that coming. In fact, Taylor is over here raising red flags.
- Robinhood is getting into retirement: Mary Ann reports that Robinhood is moving into the individual retirement account game, offering a 1% match on every dollar contributed — the company says this is an industry first. And it’s not going after the typical saver. Instead, it is targeting gig workers and contractors who often don’t have that ability outside of traditional workplaces.
- Email is life: To some people, no access to email might be relaxing, but for those whose email was affected by the recent Rackspace outage, we hope Carly’s story sheds some light on what has been happening. It was indeed a ransomware attack.
Startups and VC
The venture market has been a tough one for many startups trying to get a better hold on their runway. So when a scrappy young company is able to raise in this environment, Alex’s ears perk up. He spoke to Cacheflow, which builds tools for the software sales closing process, about the $10 million raise that doubled its valuation.
And speaking of industries hit hard by the market, Ingrid reports on some good news for the beleaguered quick commerce sector, where Norwegian grocery delivery company Oda grabbed $151 million, but at a lower valuation of $353 million.
And we have five more for you:
- Thrift shop: If you’re gonna pop some tags, Archive is helping your favorite brands create a new revenue stream in the world of secondhand stores. Christine has more.
- Protecting that identity: Rezonate comes out of stealth with $8.7 million in new capital to launch its approach to cloud identity protection, Frederic writes.
- Move over Minecraft: There’s a new cube in town. Flush with $3 million, Cubzh is a new free video game that Romain writes “is all about user-generated content through a cube system.”
- Get paid: Paul reports that Homebrew creator Max Howell and Timothy Lewis have teamed up to create Tea, an open source protocol that helps developers authenticate their software packages and get paid to do it. Oh, and they have $8.9 million in new capital.
- Pay the tax man: Making sure your company is doing payroll and taxes right is important. It’s also quite cumbersome, which is why Singapore-based corporate services super app Osome wants to do it for you. Catherine has more on the company and its $25 million Series B.
How companies can slash ballooning SaaS costs
A study conducted recently by purchasing management platform Vertice found that one out of every eight dollars spent by enterprises goes to SaaS products.
“It’s not surprising when you consider the average organization now uses around 110 SaaS solutions,” reports Kyle Wiggers. As a result, customers are spending 53% more on software licensing today than in 2017.
“Most organizations have grown their portfolio of software vendors dramatically over the past 10 years,” said Stephen White, senior director analyst at Gartner. “It’s not uncommon to have more than doubled that vendor portfolio.”
Four more from the TC+ team:
- What’s on Marc Benioff’s mind?: Ron has another look at what’s going on at Salesforce after a few of its executives walked away.
- Will we miss SPACs?: Probably. For some sectors, it was good until it wasn’t. Anna and Alex discuss how Circle’s and Footprint’s aborted debuts just might be “the final nail in the SPAC coffin.”
- I’m not panicking, you’re panicking: Becca has a look at January Ventures’ recent survey of early-stage startups, and the findings suggest that not having a runway will not keep companies from thriving in 2023.
- Ding, ding: Ron and Alex team up to talk about possible sales to private equity firms and why anyone would want to sell when prices are low.
Big Tech Inc.
We are now looking at an age where human journalists just might become obsolete (probably not, but yikes anyway). Natasha L had a conversation with OpenAI’s ChatGPT about its functions and limitations. We won’t spoil it for you.
And we have five more for you:
- You’ve got a message: Six months after monetizing its instant messaging app, Telegram Premium tops 1 million subscribers, Manish writes.
- Deep dive: Devin writes about SpaceX’s commitment to being a defense contractor as it takes on work for the national security–focused Starshield.
- Searching for our inner Googliness…: Just got a little easier. Google introduced some new features for its Search. First, Ivan has your look at “Continuous Scrolling” on desktop, while Aisha reports on new topic filters for better results.
- Bite into this: Sarah, Amanda and Paul tackled some Apple news today, including the company’s first car, App Store pricing, interference with union organizing in Atlanta, a new karaoke-like feature called Apple Sing and some additions to the Self Service Repair for users in Europe.
- Who needs privacy anyway?: Amanda saw some abnormalities with privacy settings on Twitter and set off to find out what’s going on.