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✌️ Happy equinox. May your spring blossom with a million flowers and infinite prosperity.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- A surprising turn of events: Paul has the latest on Amazon, which confirmed another round of layoffs, this time impacting 9,000 people in AWS (see below), Twitch (see Big Tech) and other units. This comes just a couple months after Amazon revealed 18,000 layoffs. The AWS part had some colleagues scratching their heads, with Paul writing, “[C]ompanies are looking to cut costs due to the economic downturn, which translates into fewer dollars spent on things like cloud computing — even though AWS remains a hugely profitable entity for Amazon.”
- Like looking into a crystal ball of startup exits: PitchBook has a new tool that uses AI to predict which startups will successfully exit, Kyle writes. The tool assigns an “opportunity score” out of 100 and even shows through which method the exit might happen.
- OMG AWS: As you read above, AWS took a hit in the latest round of Amazon layoffs, and Ron provides more insight on what went down.
Startups and VC
Banking stocks are whipsawing this morning in the wake of the UBS–Credit Suisse deal and First Republic’s continued woes — and much more, on this morning’s utterly excellent episode of our Equity podcast.
Apropos podcasts: Maximum Fun’s owner is selling the podcast company that he founded almost 20 years ago. Rather than surrendering the network to a Big Tech company or media conglomerate, he is selling it to its workers, as a worker-owned co-op, Amanda reports.
You want more? Y’all are hella greedy. But we are nothing if not kind, so fine — here’s an omakase menu of yumminess:
- Rawr?: Harri reports on Green Li-ion’s $20.5 million round to scale its recycling tech.
- Foiled again: Hydrofoiling ferries coming to an urban basin near you soon, as Haje reports that Candela raises another $20 million.
- Can’t (re-)touch this: Natasha L reports that Glaze protects art from prying AIs.
- Lights, camera, AI-ction: Filmustage leverages AI to break down film scripts, create shooting schedules and more, Lauren reports.
- Going to America: Consumer electronics reseller Reebelo adds to Series A as it lays down roots in US, Christine reports.
The cloud backlash has begun: Why big data is pulling compute back on premises
For most of the Information Age, companies that wanted to scale invested in server farms and hired massive operations teams to keep them running.
The relatively recent shift to cloud computing promised to lower costs and boost productivity, but “cloud-first strategies may be hitting the limits of their efficacy, and in many cases, ROIs are diminishing,” writes Thomas Robinson, COO of Domino Data Lab.
Because “the great repatriation” now taking place among public companies also has direct implications for startup DevOps teams, Robinson shares suggestions for “a few things that can be done to ensure future flexibility for where workloads are created.”
Three more from the magnificently magnificent TC+ team:
- Dude, where’s my IPOs?: To Alex’s infinite chagrin, we’re probably not getting tech IPOs until later this year. Poor Alex.
- De-risking hardware: Haje talks with a market research expert to collect 10 tips for de-risking hardware products.
- Succession: Natasha M invites us to talk about succession plans.
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.
Microsoft is getting in on the mobile games craze with its own app store. Ivan writes that the software giant is going where Apple and Google have gone before, even banking on some new regulations in the European Union to help its cause, noting that “Microsoft has had a difficult time creating the user experience it wants with its Cloud Gaming app on Apple devices because the iPhone maker required users to download each game available to play on Microsoft’s cloud offering, including Fortnite. So Microsoft now asks people to sign in through Safari and follow instructions, which are not as easy as downloading an app from the App Store.”
It’s Monday, so as a special treat, we have six more for you:
- The layoffs keep coming: Taylor is following the developing story over at Twitch, which is laying off 400 employees.
- Asset allocation: Flagstar Bank agreed to buy some Signature Bank assets, but not crypto operations, Romain reports.
- Let’s see some identification: Sarah writes that some new Twitter features show the social media giant may be testing government ID–based verification.
- Game on: Netflix is not playing around. It plans to release 40 more games this year, including Monument Valley in 2024. Aisha has more.
- ICYMI: The Biden administration’s pressure on TikTok is growing by the day. The Justice Department is now investigating TikTok over a journalist spying incident, Taylor reports.
- We’re feeling it: Devin writes that Monarch may be the next big thing in Braille.