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Happy Tuesday Crunch!
To meet the changing startup landscape, we’re refreshing and reimagining TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 in a big way, with more of what you love and new ways to accelerate your growth — new stages, new content, and new opportunities. Panzer breaks down what you have to look forward to in his post today — don’t miss it! Oh, and if you were laid off recently, we are offering a free Expo+ pass to TC Disrupt 2023. Join us!
The TechCrunch Top 3
- It was only a matter of time: Zoom doesn’t want you to stray far from its platform and has added new features, including email, assistant and calendar, so that it can go head-to-head with Slack, Calendly, Google and Microsoft, Ivan reports. That’s a lot of sparring. We hope Zoom is up to the task.
- RIP: Natasha L makes her case for why “Twitter is dying.” We won’t spoil it for you, but it involves a certain person taking it over. If you need any further evidence, only verified accounts will show up in the “For You” section starting April 15. Yes, the people who paid $8 for the blue check.
- More layoffs: Manish reports that GitHub laid off “virtually its entire engineering team in India as the Microsoft-owned firm cuts its expenses amid weakening global market conditions.”
Startups and VC
Gotta love some solid startup drama, and Brian covers it in his summary of Turntable and all its iterations over the years: Turntable LIVE raises $7 million ahead of public launch, after years of co-founder disagreements and music licensing challenges.
We’ve all seen “Jurassic Park,” so we conclude that there’s nothing that could possibly go wrong from taking mammoth DNA and vat-growing mammoth burger meat. That’s right, a cultured meat firm resurrects the woolly mammoth so you can get a whole new (well, old) sensory experience, Paul reports. Personally, we can’t wait for dino-burgers next. Next step: Triceratops tri-tip, Stegosaurus steak and Brachiosaurus burgers all around.
And we have five more stories for you, home grown in small artisanal batches by your friendly, local TechCrunch writers:
- Growing humans: Haje reports how Mate Fertility finds fertile ground with its seed funding round.
- Growing portfolios: Paul reports that under the “high conviction, low volume” investor thesis, Playfair launches a $70 million pre-seed fund for European startups.
- Growing communities: Substack opens up a $2 million community fundraising round, Aisha reports.
- Growth for cat food: Christine writes how fresh funding gives cat food brand Smalls an avenue into retail for the first time.
- Growth for women founders: Dominic-Madori reports how the Tory Burch Foundation launches a tool to help women founders find capital.
Q1 VC results tread water, but that’s cold comfort for SaaS unicorns
As Q1 2023 draws to a close, Alex Wilhelm reviewed early data from PitchBook to get a feel for key VC trend metrics like deal count and total capital invested.
“The picture forming from Q1 2023 venture data is one of measured decline compared to the end of 2022,” he found.
“And March brought with it something akin to a boomlet in domestic venture activity, which could become an even brighter spot if the last bits of first-quarter data further bolster the month’s totals.”
Three more from the TC+ team:
- More dollars for AI: Kyle writes how generative AI continues to be the hot thing and how it’s attracting stacks of VC dollars.
- More dollars for fusion: Tim reports that fusion startup Type One Energy gets $29 million seed round to fast-track its reactor designs.
- How many dollars for Turo?: Alex runs the thought experiment to find out what Turo is worth.
Big Tech Inc.
If you’re a fan of listening to music without words while you work, as Christine does, then Apple has a treat for you. Apple Music Classical is now available for download and includes over 5 million tracks, Ivan and Sarah report. Tweet at Christine and let her know your favorite piece. Hers is “Isle of the Dead, Op.29” composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff. It’s a delightful 19 minutes.
Also in today’s Apple headlines is the launch of Apple Pay Later, which enables users to split the cost of an Apple Pay purchase into four equal payments over six weeks without interest or late fees. Kyle has more.
Meanwhile, it’s time to take a walk on Amazon’s Sidewalk, a low-bandwidth, long-range network that the delivery giant opened to developers. Sidewalk can be used to connect Internet of Things (IoT) devices and “developers will be able to check their local signal strength on a map to get a better sense of whether their devices will be able to connect to the network before they start working on a product,” Frederic writes.
And we have five more for you:
- Breaking up is actually easy to do: E-commerce giant Alibaba is splitting into six business groups in what Rita writes is the company’s biggest overhaul in 24 years.
- Hits keep coming: Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has found himself in another kerfuffle. This time he is charged for allegedly bribing Chinese officials. Jacquelyn and Alex have more.
- In the dark: Meanwhile, Tesla also finds itself in a mess. Lorenzo reports that it was found that hackers could remotely turn off lights, honk, and even mess with Tesla’s infotainment system.
- Fighting back: Annie has the latest on Meta’s woes in Kenya, where the Facebook parent is disputing it can be sued there again.
- Buy local: India’s efforts to have more iPhones manufactured locally has paid off with shipments of the phones more than doubling, Jagmeet writes.