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Our favorite gift would be “more hours in the day” and “a week of sleep,” but failing that, perhaps some hot chocolate and a three-hour uninterrupted block of time to read books would be magnificent. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Making 3D out of text: That’s OpenAI’s new thing as it releases Point-E, an AI that generates 3D models. And not just any models, Kyle writes — it “generates point clouds, or discrete sets of data points in space that represent a 3D shape — hence the cheeky abbreviation.”
- Somebody call 911: There’s a Porsche 911 running with synthetic fuel from the carmaker’s Chilean pilot plant. The move comes after years of just talking about it, Tim Stevens writes.
- More AI: Kyle had another top-read story on artificial intelligence, this time about Petals creating a free, distributed network for running text-generating AI.
Startups and VC
It’s been a year, y’all. Brian, Kyle, Mary Ann, and Natasha M reflect that this year’s roundup was not a particularly fun one to write. No one wants to see startups fail, but we’re all keenly aware that most ultimately do. A commonly cited figure suggests that 90% of these companies will ultimately fail. But even with that in mind, 2022 just hit different…Here’s “Remembering the startups we lost in 2022.”
Apropos year in review, Miranda collected the top takes from the TechCrunch+ team, including Amazon buying One Medical, interesting startup theses, and whether or not the TC team would be sad if Twitter vanished from our very screens.
And, of course, we lift our gaze to the future, with Connie’s reporting on Bradley Tusk from Tusk Ventures and the three counterintuitive 2023 predictions about Musk, SFB, and even Kraft.
Okay, that’s enough about the past and the future. Here are five stories from the right here, right now.
- Hey, you look opinionated: Kyle reports that User Interviews, which helps companies recruit survey participants, raises $27.5 million.
- Tossing another $0.4 billion on the pile: Kate reports on the South Korean financial super app Toss, as it closes a $405 million (!) Series G, with a 7% valuation bump.
- TuSimple lifts off the gas: Rebecca takes a look at reports that layoffs may be around the corner for self-driving truck company TuSimple.
- It’ll give a wine return, I’m sure: Anna explores how Fintech Vint hopes to turn wine and spirits into a mainstream asset class.
- Hello? Is that the bank?: Early-stage Mexico fintech Aviva is making loans as easy as a video call, reports Christine.
Banish vanity metrics from your startup’s pitch deck
It’s legitimately nice to give your hardworking team targets they can work toward, but vanity metrics (e.g., X email signups in Y days, 20% more retweets) are like a Little League awards dinner. Everyone goes home a winner!
“The truth is, investors know what traction looks like,” writes Haje Jan Kamps, which means feel-good stats have no place in a pitch deck.
“Don’t confuse fluffy numbers and vanity metrics with your go-to-market strategy.”
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Retrofuturism in NFT land: Magic Eden exec sees NFT gaming like the ‘early days of mobile gaming,’ by Jacquelyn.
- Simpler debugging, simpler development: Simplify debugging to reduce the complexity of embedded system development, advises Nicolas Rabault.
- With friends like these, you don’t need enemies: Dominic-Madori reports on the continued #MyTechBestfriend fallout.
Big Tech Inc.
You’ve seen the video in your feed, but now TikTok is going to tell you why its algorithm chose it for you, Aisha writes. “This feature is one of many ways we’re working to bring meaningful transparency to the people who use our platform, and builds on a number of steps we’ve taken towards that goal,” the company said.
And we have four more for you:
- Bird, bird, bird is the word: Scooter company Bird said it is merging with Bird America in an effort to keep it rolling. Harri and Rebecca have more.
- This channel’s on fire: Amazon unveiled some new content to Fire TV, including free music videos, viral videos and more ad-supported content, Aisha reports.
- Tell them how you really feel: Vercel’s new commenting feature makes it easier to collaborate on preview deployments, Frederic writes.
- Get your game on: Amazon’s subscription-based gaming service Prime Gaming is now live in India, Manish reports.