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TechCrunch+ Roundup: App Store growth tactics, changing SaaS models, ‘AI-induced frenzy’

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High quality stock photo looking at the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Once a busy port city, now supports tourism and is a top destination for tourism.
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Given the hype around generative AI, it’s easy to forget that IBM Watson competed on “Jeopardy” in 2011 — and won a $1 million first-place prize.

For years, enterprise software companies have baked this tech into their offerings, such as Salesforce’s Einstein and Microsoft Cortana.


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“As we find ourselves in the midst of this AI-induced frenzy, it could be useful to take a step back and see just what we are dealing with here,” writes Ron Miller.

“Is there actually an AI market in the pure sense, or is it enabling technology that will soon be built into everything, making how we view it less clear?”

Thanks for reading TC+ this week,

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+

Sure AI is hot, but is it an actual market or a platform piece?

Deal Dive: This AI startup is racking up government customers

tax evasion, IVIX, startup, government
IVIX has landed multiple government contracts for its tech that helps agencies spot financial crimes. Image Credits: Getty Images

For her latest Deal Dive column, Rebecca Szkutak profiled Tel Aviv–based IVIX, which “uses AI, machine learning and public databases” to track tax cheats and other bad actors.

The company launched in 2020, and co-founders Matan Fattal and Doron Passov recently closed a $12.5 million Series A and already count multiple agencies as customers.

“I was shocked by the magnitude of the problem and the technical gap that they had,” said Fattal.

Deal Dive: This AI startup is racking up government customers

How we scaled our App Store performance by approximately 200% in 1 year

App launch. Startup vector concept, flat cartoon rocket or rocketship launch, mobile phone or smartphone, idea of successful business project start up, boost technology, innovation.
Image Credits: PaperFox (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Building, testing and deploying apps that meet Apple’s approval is just the first part of the journey: To drive downloads and conversions, dev teams need someone who understands App Store Optimization (ASO) and Apple Search Ads (ASA).

ASO/ASA specialist Olga Bakirova shares a detailed implementation guide with TC+ that lays out the tactics and strategy she’s using to promote her company’s edtech app.

After conducting a series of A/B tests and testing keyword campaigns and custom product images, “the overall number of downloads increased by 210%, and purchases surged by 157%,” she writes.

How we scaled our App Store performance by approximately 200% in 1 year

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A core plank of the SaaS economic model is under extreme pressure

Stressed business man sitting on floor with papers falling around him
Stressed business man sitting on floor with papers falling around him. Image Credits: GlobalStock / Getty Images

It used to be a given that SaaS startups with a firm handle on growth, churn and product-market fit would find themselves in net revenue retention (NRR) territory, writes Alex Wilhelm.

However, recent earnings reports show “a decline in SaaS net retention from Q1 2022 to Q1 2023” for public companies like Snowflake, Cloudflare and Amplitude.

“Amazon and Google and Microsoft can take IaaS and PaaS deceleration on the chin,” notes Alex, but “for tech shops with more targeted incomes, the issue can be steeper.”

A core plank of the SaaS economic model is under extreme pressure

Enterprise spending on cybersecurity has changed, and vendors must adapt

Pinching a Penny in C Clamp
Image Credits: herreid14 (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

What’s happened to cybersecurity spending over the last year?

A report by YL Ventures that pulled data from “Fortune 1000 CISOs and cybersecurity decision-makers” showed that compliance/risk management and cloud security were top priorities.

In an environment where so many companies have frozen or dialed back on spending, only “half of CISOs can still accommodate new solutions,” writes YL’s Sara Behar.

Enterprise spending on cybersecurity has changed, and vendors must adapt

The civil rights movement comes to venture capital

The founders of Fearless Fund and their legal counsel stand for photos at a press conference in New York City.
The founders of Fearless Fund and their legal counsel stand for photos at a press conference in New York City. Image Credits: Fearless Fund

A nonprofit founded by anti-affirmative action activist Edward Blum recently sued Atlanta-based Fearless Fund. Because the group awards $20,000 to Black women entrepreneurs, American Alliance for Equal Rights claims it violates federal civil rights legislation.

In light of the fact that Black women receive less than 0.5% of venture capital allocated each year, Dominic-Madori Davis looked at how funding “has always been a civil rights issue, just one river feeding the ocean of persistent economic segregation.”

The civil rights movement comes to venture capital

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