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Wednesday is here, and we’re still getting excited about Disrupt later in the year. African startups: We’d love for you to apply to Startup Battlefield 200, and we’ve also opened our sale on Expo+ passes.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- What’s the password?: Google’s passkeys are now rolling out to account users around the world. The passkeys give you access to your account without passwords, and “authentication essentially synchronizes across all devices through the cloud using cryptographic key pairs, allowing sign-in to websites and apps using the same biometrics or screen-lock PIN used to unlock their devices,” Paul writes.
- In the driver’s seat: Stripe, a longtime partner of Lyft, has now signed a big deal with Uber. Ingrid has more.
- Making an impact: Manish asks the question, “Where is India in the generative AI race?” and answers it by taking a look at how Indian entrepreneurs are working to leverage the excitement around this trend.
Startups and VC
Plexamp, the music player from Plex, now works with ChatGPT for playlist creation, reports Sarah. That made me curious, and I spent most of the morning using ChatGPT-4 to make playlists. Among other things, I asked it to create a list of top 10 essential heavy metal songs, great music to work to, and most nostalgic songs from 2004.
I also asked ChatGPT-4 to create a list of top 5 songs about startups, and…I’ll be damned, not only did it make the list of songs, but it also explained why each song made sense in this list. Not gonna lie, this thing keeps surprising me. Below is the list, and I made them into a handy Spotify playlist, an Apple Music playlist and a YouTube playlist for ya as well.
- “Started from the Bottom” by Drake: This song’s lyrics about starting from scratch and working one’s way up resonate with the journey of many startups as they strive to achieve success.
- “Lose Yourself” by Eminem: The intensity and drive present in this song’s lyrics can be representative of the dedication and focus required to build a successful startup.
- “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi: This anthem about taking control of one’s own destiny and seizing opportunities aligns with the mindset of many entrepreneurs starting their own businesses.
- “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey: This classic track serves as a reminder for startup founders to keep believing in their vision, even when the road to success is filled with challenges.
- “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor: As a symbol of determination and resilience, this song has become an anthem for those who face adversity and push through to achieve their goals, much like the spirit of a startup founder.
Okay, enough musically inspired goofiness. Here’s some more startup news for ya:
- From winged horse to unicorn: Kyle reports that Microsoft launches its Pegasus program for startups, awarding up to $350,000 in credits.
- That’s on brand: Ron writes that Nova is building guardrails for generative AI content to protect brand integrity.
- Train on someone else: Kyle reports on Spawning’s plans for letting creators opt out of generative AI training.
- Bluesky and sex workers: We had a pair of stories today, where Morgan explains that for Bluesky to thrive, it needs sex workers and Black Twitter, and Amanda dove in to explore why blue check stigma and #BlockTheBlue aren’t so straightforward.
- Investing in video: Fandom launches new creator initiative and invests in more original video content, Lauren reports.
- Lacking PCB manufacturing is a national security risk: Over on TC+, Haje spoke with MacroFab’s CEO to dig into nearshoring PCB manufacturing in the U.S.
Ask Sophie: Will I be allowed into the U.S. if my passport expires in 5 months?
I founded a startup in Zimbabwe a few years ago. I planned to visit the United States for the first time next month to check out the market and applied for a visitor visa.
I’m planning to stay in the U.S. for a couple of months, but I just realized that my passport expires in September. I understand that I need to have at least six months left on my passport in order to travel to the United States.
Is that (still) true? Do I need to delay my trip?
— Hopeful in Harare
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Ethics in AI: Four investors explain why AI ethics can’t be an afterthought, by Dominic-Madori.
- The era of the down round: Down rounds are prevailing as power shifts to VCs again, by Alex.
- A concrete solution to CO2: Former NBA star Rick Fox’s startup gets $12M pre-seed for concrete that removes CO2, by Tim.
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Big Tech Inc.
Remember when Airbnb first started as a way to rent a room in a home to avoid staying in a hotel? Now that the platform’s average home rental prices have gone up — 36% since 2019, according to the company — it’s refocusing on single rooms to give users more affordable alternatives. Ivan has more.
Meanwhile, Sarah was on dating app giant Match Group’s first-quarter earnings call and reports that Match believes the recent Apple–Epic Games antitrust appeals ruling, though largely in favor of Apple, could result in App Store fee relief for developers.
And we have five more for you:
- Young users at risk: The Federal Trade Commission wants to completely prohibit Meta from monetizing kids, writes Devin.
- Tweet free: Twitter made its API free for public announcement accounts, reports Ivan.
- Beware: Meta said hackers are increasingly using ChatGPT lures to spread malware on Facebook, Carly reports.
- High Fiverr: Fiverr Enterprise is a new product from Fiverr designed to streamline managing large groups of freelancers. Kyle has more.
- It’s your party and you can cry if you want to: Lorenzo and Zack report that Bishop Fox laid off employees days after throwing a conference party.