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Hello, and welcome to Hump Day! We’ve got a ton of amazing stories for you. Some are even about You.

Have you always wanted to be more conscious about where you shop but struggle to figure out how? The Fifteen Percent Pledge is a racial equity and economic justice nonprofit organization working toward a more equitable economic future. In recognition that Black people in the U.S. make up nearly 15% of the population, the Pledge is calling on major retailers and corporations to commit a minimum of 15% of their annual purchasing power to Black-owned businesses — you can find the brands here.

Christine and Haje

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Startups and VC

According to former employees of human resources startup Free Agency, CEO Sherveen Mashayekhi’s leadership style is holding the startup back as he seems to care more about demanding loyalty and controlling his employees than building a company, Becca reports. The New York–based startup launched in 2019 with the novel idea of bringing the talent agency model that is popular in Hollywood and sports to other professions.

Although there are numerous dating apps on the market, there aren’t many apps that aim to keep the spark alive after you enter a relationship. Aisha writes about Flamme, which wants to change that as it rebrands (from Sparks) and adds a new AI tool.

And we have five more for you:

On the journey to Series B, strategy is more important than metrics

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If all goes well, the funds raised in a Series A will last long enough to generate steady revenue. But all is not going well.

SaaS founders are under pressure to maintain growth and reach profitability while preserving runway, but these goals aren’t diametrically opposed, according to Ophelia Brown and Imran Ghory at Blossom Capital.

“Forget about planning your business based on the metrics of the past decade,” they write. “We live in a new world order.” In this article, they take on three questions facing every software startup:

On the journey to Series B, strategy is more important than metrics

Three more from the TC+ team:

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.

Sprinklr, a customer experience firm, cuts more of its global workforce — this time 4% — with a company spokesperson confirming that it was a “strategic business decision” affecting employees across certain targeted regions, segments and support functions, Jagmeet writes.

Meanwhile, Adobe’s proposed $20 billion Figma acquisition continues to attract fans. The European Commission is going to look at the deal, of which Paul more appropriately uses the term “assess” to make sure it isn’t taking away competition in any of its markets.

And we have five more for you:

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