To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PST, subscribe here.
G’day, friends! Good to spend some time with you again. Come spend some time with our finely crafted words and god-awful puns. It’s a service we provide. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- My friends call me Murphy; you call me Figure: It’s “iRobot” come to life: Figure emerges from stealth with the first images of its humanoid robot, Brian reports. The robots are being tested right now on manual labor tasks such as those being done in warehouses, manufacturing and retail.
- Can I help you?: Customer relationships got kind of dicey there for a moment during the global pandemic when customers, who could no longer go to a physical store, also didn’t want to sit on a phone or spend hours with a chatbot. Now flush with $23.5 million in new funding, Attio offers customer relationship management software with a no-code feel. Kyle has more.
- Noodling around: Naomi Osaka, Usher and Apolo Ohno are the latest celebrities to back instant ramen startup Immi, which wants to put its warm bowl of comfort food in every household across the country, Christine writes.
Startups and VC
Former Facebook exec turned VC Chamath Palihapitiya has long been a controversial figure in the investing world. The investor says it could take three years for the market to “accurately” reprice late-stage companies, Connie reports.
Meanwhile, Connie also reports that Felicis today announced it has closed its ninth flagship fund with $825 million, compared with the $600 million core fund that it announced in the summer of 2021. The vehicle brings the firm’s total assets under management to $3 billion. The fund closed 50% more deals last year than in 2021, some as prices were still rising — and it says it regrets nothing.
And another smattering of stories to soothe the savage beast:
- Adding an extra D: That’s D for Dimension, you pervs: Hexa raises $20.5 million to turn images into 3D objects for VR, AR and more, Kyle reports.
- Bzzzzzz, that’s the sound of the police: Brinc’s Lemur 2 drone straps on blue strobes and is ready for action, Haje reports.
- All the shingle ladies: Brian reports that Renovate is building robots to install roof shingles.
- Heal the world: Mary Ann reports that 8VC raises $880 million in a new fund that aims “to fix a broken world.”
- One foot out of the door: Catherine writes that HR Signal helps companies figure out who is most likely to quit and why.
How to turn an open source project into a profitable business
Many devs rely on donations and crowdfunding to monetize open source projects, but with the proper planning, teams can leverage their work for commercial clients who’ll put them in a higher tax bracket.
Offering users customer support or consulting services are common revenue streams, according to product development consultant Victoria Melnikova, who also says devs should form partnerships and use platforms like Reddit and Hacker News to reach potential paying customers.
“To find your path, talk to your clients and understand their goals and pains.”
Three more from the TC+ team:
- IPOcart: Instacart’s Q4 results impressed. Are they good enough to push it toward an IPO? wonders Alex.
- Next slide, please: Haje’s Pitch Deck Teardown this week is of Gable’s $12 million Series A deck.
- To da moon: As tensions build, Silicon Valley’s Chinese affiliates invest in sensitive space tech, reports Aria.
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.
The photo of Marc Benioff reminds us of the movie “Gladiator” where Russell Crowe’s character yells, “Are you not entertained?” Well, we hope you are entertained by the latest in what we are calling “The Salesforce Saga.” Ron and Alex report that despite all the activist investor, executive departure and layoff woes, Salesforce strikes back with better-than-expected earnings.
Meanwhile, Kirsten, Rebecca and Harri listened in on Tesla Investor Day and shared with you everything Elon Musk and execs shared (and skipped).
Now here’s the short-short version of six more:
- Googling Google’s next step: Brian sat down with Google’s Sameer Samat at Mobile World Congress to discuss ecosystems, regulation and competition.
- Are you thinking what I’m thinking?: Elon Musk–backed Neuralink is facing some rejection as its human testing reportedly received one FDA rejection already, Devin reports.
- Get your kids off my metaverse lawn!: Amanda reports that senators are urging Mark Zuckerberg to keep teens out of the metaverse.
- Shoooooot: In security news today, Lorenzo writes that hackers stole gun owners’ data from a firearm auction website. Meanwhile, Hatch Bank said hackers stole 140,000 customer Social Security numbers. Carly has more.
- The end of an era: Lauren writes that HBO’s “Succession” released the official trailer for its final season and that “it appears the series is ending with an epic mic drop.”
- Something else you can do from your car: Now Target will let you drive up and return items from your car, starting this spring, Sarah writes.