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Happy Friday, our crunchiest of friends!
Over the last few days, we’ve been telling you about all the cool stuff that’s happening at Disrupt. Well, guess what — we’re getting a hardware stage as well! Hardware gets its turn in the spotlight at Disrupt 2023…Exciting times!
The TechCrunch Top 3
- You Heardle-d it here: Christine thinks Heardle, the Wordle-like music guessing game, was too hard, so she gave up on playing a while ago. However, it was a popular game with lots of people, peaking at 69 million monthly desktop and mobile web visits in March 2022. Now Sarah writes that less than a year after acquiring Heardle, Spotify is shutting down the game. You get six guesses as to why, but to the tune of tears being shed across the internet.
- Speaking of being shut down: Parler, the social media network that emerged when former president Donald Trump was banned from other sites, has a new owner. No, not Ye, but digital media company Starboard. Oh, and Starboard has plans to shut it down temporarily so that it can be revamped. Aisha has more.
- Zoom will see you now: To boost its asynchronous offerings, Zoom is acquiring Ireland-based employee communications platform Workvivo. Paul writes that Workvivo had the “remote-work revolution” on lock, which is probably what attracted Zoom to it.
Startups and VC
James Murdoch’s venture fund Bodhi Tree slashed its planned investment into Viacom18 to $528 million, down 70% from the committed $1.78 billion, the two said late Thursday as the weakening global economy hammers investors’ appetite, Manish reports. Viacom18, a joint venture between Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance and Paramount Global, did not say why Bodhi Tree slashed its pledged investment.
Meanwhile, PBS and a handful of other news organizations have joined NPR in stepping away from Twitter, the social media platform once synonymous with breaking news, Taylor reports. NPR announced that it would leave the platform altogether last week after Twitter misleadingly attached a label reserved for state-run media entities to its account.
And we have five more for you:
- Pssst. Wanna buy some art?: Creative platform EVEN raises a $2.3 million seed round to help artists sell directly to fans, Dominic-Madori reports.
- I can see the benefit here: Elevate lands $28 million to help employers better manage benefits, Kyle reports.
- Putting the global into 500 global: 500 Global spreads its wings across the Caucasus and Eastern Europe, via Tblisi, Mike reports.
- Werk, werk, werk: Kyle writes that Betaworks’ new “camp” aims to fund transformative early-stage AI startups.
- Flying high: Kepler Communications closes $92 million Series C to grow real-time satellite data relay network, Aria reports.
4 SaaS engagement metrics that attract investors
Past performance doesn’t always predict future results, but it’s the best place to find customer retention stats that have investor appeal.
According to Oleksandr Yaroshenko, head of investments and strategy at edtech startup Headway, engagement rates for existing customers are “the best predictors for resubscription.”
In this post, he explores gamification strategy and shares ideas for building a “golden cohort” that represents your target audience.
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Stick that in your pipe and smog it: What the new EPA tailpipe regulations mean for investors, Tim reports.
- Better tracking, better work: Alex Circei suggests you track the right metrics to improve your developers’ work experience.
- 97.9% of all funding goes to men: Dominic-Madori took a look at the VC investment landscape and discovered that at just 2.1% of all VC investment, funding for women remains “meh” in Q1 2023.
Big Tech Inc.
Do you want to read a 10,000-character tweet? We don’t either — oh wait, you said yes. Okay, well buckle up because Twitter now offers 10,000-character-long tweets for Blue subscribers, reports Ivan. If you’d like to see what a 10,000-character tweet looks like, we got you, boo. How about a 10,000-character TechCrunch article? We rustled up one for you from the archives.
Moving over to the state of Washington, where Uber and Lyft drivers won paid family and medical leave. Rebecca writes that the state’s senate passed a law that makes it the first in the nation to offer this kind of benefit for ride-hail drivers.
Now here’s five more for you:
- Adding an Apple to the French flag: Apple partnered with Canal+ in a move that brings Apple TV+ content to all subscribers in the country for no additional cost, reports Romain.
- Size doesn’t matter when it comes to this: Ron attended the Imagination in Action conference this week where Sam Altman said that the size of LLMs won’t matter as much moving forward. No need to look up LLMs — that stands for large language models.
- You won’t find lower prices…that is, until we lower them again: Tesla’s price cutting can now be felt in Europe, reports Kirsten.
- Didi’s back, baby: China ride-hailing giant Didi has been quiet as of late, but now has some big news: It will dispatch robotaxis 24/7 in 2025, and it announced a trucking service. Rita has more.
- Better check that content: Annie writes that Meta’s content review in Africa is in limbo amid injunctions from a Kenyan court.