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Happy International Women’s Day! Did you know that the holiday was adopted by the UN 46 years ago? We read the Wikipedia article about IWD, and learned stuff. Try it — you may learn something too!
On our Found podcast this week, Darrell and Becca are joined by Matt Rogers, the founder and CEO of Mill, a startup that helps its customers turn their food scraps into farm feed. It’s a rad episode. Treat your ears to a gift.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- A mea culpa for the ages: “Say it, forget it; write it, regret it.” Never were truer words spoken to explain the recent Twitter exchange between Elon Musk and an employee that involved Musk publicly mocking the employee about their disability. Aisha writes that Musk has apologized.
- Duck, duck, AI goose: Natasha L writes that DuckDuckGo, a privacy search engine, is the latest to dabble in AI. Called DuckAssist, the feature can directly answer straightforward search queries.
- Gather around the VC dinner table: Berlin-based venture capital fund La Famiglia closed on €250 million in capital commitments for its third seed fund and first growth co-investment fund. Both funds will invest in business-to-business startups. Mike has more.
Startups and VC
Harri writes, “Local governments in the southwestern U.S. are putting up $150,000 to back what they say is a pioneering effort to ‘turn air into concrete at scale.’” The funds will help cover the cost of the “reference project,” a collaboration between two climate tech startups and a masonry firm in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Founded by an ex-Apple employee, Humane does work that is shrouded in mystery. Its latest round of funding, a $100 million Series C, attracted a laundry list of notable investors. To date, Humane has raised $230 million from existing and previous investors, including Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. Kyle investigates.
And we have five more for you:
- Cheaper clouds: Frederic reports that Vantage raises a $21 million Series A to help bring down cloud costs.
- Flying startfish: Starfish Space captures new funding ahead of orbital servicing demo mission, Aria reports.
- I think I’ll use my credit card: Christine explores why taking credit — instead of raising equity funding — made sense for this unicorn.
- Pay later, buy maybe: Romain reports that Elyn slightly delays online payments so you can try before you pay.
- AI think you are human: Connie reports that Worldcoin, co-founded by Sam Altman, is betting the next big thing in AI is proving you are human.
7 investors reveal what’s hot in fintech in Q1 2023
How are fintech investors adapting during this downturn, and how are they advising the founders in their portfolios?
Mary Ann Azevedo interviewed seven VCs to ask how (or if) any have shifted their thesis to fit current macroeconomic trends and learn more about the types of opportunities they’re looking for right now:
- Charles Birnbaum, partner, Bessemer Venture Partners
- Aunkur Arya, partner, Menlo Ventures
- Ansaf Kareem, venture partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners
- Emmalyn Shaw, managing partner, Flourish Ventures
- Michael Sidgmore, partner and co-founder, Broadhaven Ventures
- Ruth Foxe Blader, partner, Anthemis
- Miguel Armaza, co-founder and general partner, Gilgamesh Ventures
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Make it rain, little rain clouds: The sky isn’t falling for cloud software spend, Alex writes.
- Still room for growth: Jacquelyn writes that Coinbase is ‘laser-focused’ on growing the developer world and onboarding crypto-curious.
- A steal at twice the price: Alex and Ron explore whether $12.4 billion is a fair price for Qualtrics.
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.
Ding dong, Ring now has a higher-resolution, battery-powered doorbell, Ivan reports. Upgrades include being able to see someone’s entire body and an easy way to release the battery so it can be recharged.
Meanwhile, Blue Origin is probably seeing red after being named in two separate lawsuits alleging ageist hiring practices. Aria writes that one suit involves employees being asked to seek out younger candidates while the other is being brought by a 64-year-old who claims he repeatedly was turned away from jobs even though interviewers said he was qualified.
And we have four more for you:
- More trouble over at Tesla: The electric vehicle maker is under further investigation, this time after steering wheels fall off two Model Y vehicles. Kirsten has more.
- Spot these new features: Spotify had a sprinkling of news today, including Sarah‘s, Countdown Pages, Stories and Sarah and Aisha‘s TikTok-style discovery feeds. Also, Aisha reports that Spotify has new growth and discovery tools for artists.
- Google it: Brian reports that Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, returns to Mountain View May 10. Meanwhile, Frederic has your look at Google’s developer preview of Android 14, while Aisha reports on the company’s VPN access expansion to all Google One members and other features.
- Quantumania: Frederic is at the American Physical Society March Meeting in Las Vegas and caught up with Krysta Svore, Microsoft’s VP of Advanced Quantum Development, who told him that the company is making it easier to integrate quantum and classical computing.