Daily Crunch: Microsoft waives its waitlist and opens up its AI-powered Bing chatbot to all

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Happy Thursday, Crunchers!

An agreement among a group of the nation’s largest banks to deposit some $30 billion with First Republic Bank could save its bacon, Christine reports, and over on TC+, Ram breaks down everything you need to get caught up on the SVB crisis.

Meanwhile, Annie and Tage contemplate the broader implications of SVB being in hot water, reporting how it forces African startups to rethink their banking options.

With the national banking meltdown out of the way…let’s continue with the rest of the tech news!

Don’t forget to wear something green tomorrow! — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

Startups and VC

One of the major challenges for companies drawing on the gig economy is managing payroll and benefits. Inspired to solve it, Kyle reports that Wingspan leaps to the rescue with a payroll platform aimed at firms employing mainly freelancers.

Here’s six more stories, including a bonus one because Haje decided to favor his own story in this section. Such preferential treatment, tut tut.

How to pitch me: 7 investors discuss what they’re looking for in March 2023

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It’s too early to determine whether Silicon Valley Bank’s downfall heralds a new era for venture capital, but based on anecdotal evidence, off-the-record discussions and chats with co-workers, it seems like we’re back to business as usual where pre-revenue startup fundraising is concerned.

Before the failure of SVB, Walter Thompson interviewed seven investors to learn more about where they’re looking to invest, how they prefer to be approached and whether they had any general advice for first-time founders:

How to pitch me: 7 investors discuss what they’re looking for in March 2023

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.

Via, out to bolster its traffic technology offerings, is making good on its promise to do more acquisitions and has now acquired trip planning app Citymapper. Rebecca and Ingrid note that it “has been rumored for years that Citymapper was trying to find a buyer” and even had some big names like Google and Apple courting it, but that all went silent until this news from Via.

Now let’s move over to Microsoft, which unveiled Microsoft 365 Copilot, a suite of productivity and enterprise apps that are full of artificial intelligence–powered goodies. Kyle has more.

And we have five more for you:

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