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Hello, Happy Thursday. There is a lot of news today, much of it posting as I write this — for example, the Federal Trade Commission is now suing to block Microsoft from buying Activision. So less chatter, more banter. — Christine
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Let’s give ’em something to talk about: Given all of the ChatGPT popularity in the news lately, it is no surprise that a related company would be top news today. Instead of taking screen grabs, Ivan writes, ShareGPT creates a link to your ChatGPT conversations that you can grab instead.
- Get your Frappuccino with a side of NFTs: Starbucks opened its blockchain-based loyalty program and NFT community to its first set of beta testers, Sarah reports. “Journey Stamps” will unlock new experiences beyond the free drinks and food that frequent drinkers can get from Stars.
- Flying the friendly skies of capital: Something’s in the air up there. TripActions secured $400 million in credit facilities from Goldman Sachs and Silicon Valley Bank in a move that comes less than two months after the travel expense management company announced a $9.2 billion valuation. Mary Ann has more.
Startups and VC
Moving, starting a new job and getting married in a short span of time is the trifecta of stress for anyone (I know from personal experience). In the startup world, that trifecta might be what happened to marketing technology startup Banzai. Ingrid writes that the company acquired Hyros, raised $100 million and went public via SPAC. Congrats?
Meanwhile, France is having a good venture capital run. Mike reports on a few new funds, including IRIS Capital, which had a first close of €110 million as it works to reach a target of €150 million for its new venture fund.
Want more? Here’s five more:
- Creating for creators: Lauren writes about Komi, a landing page tool for content creators, which raised $5 million.
- Tools for school admins: Kenya-based edtech startup Zeraki is the latest to grab some funding to provide digital tools to help school administrators manage payments and paperwork. Annie has more.
- An extra set of “eyes”: WeWalk secured a small raise to develop computer vision for a smart cane used by visually impaired people, Paul writes.
- A car that can monitor your health: Renault China is looking at making super-premium EVs that will tell you if your blood pressure is high, Rita reports. No doubt from that person who just cut you off.
- Domain name drag: Picking the right domain name can be just as difficult as creating a password no one will guess. Enter Smartynames, which Haje writes uses AI to find you the perfect domain name.
To prepare for a downturn, build a three-case model
Startups that develop case models are better equipped to deal with potential setbacks. Visualizing exactly how potential market shifts can impact your business is a great way to prepare for the unexpected.
A three-case model attempts to predict best-case, down-case and base-case scenarios, writes Matt Barbieri, partner-in-charge at accounting firm Wiss & Co.
“Typically, the base-case scenario falls between the extremes. For example, in financial modeling, you might say that Peloton experienced both its ‘best case’ and ‘down case’ scenarios within a year.”
Four more from the TC+ team:
- Energy boost: Haje takes a look at Rootine’s $10 million Series A deck in his latest Pitch Deck Teardown.
- Finally some good news in VC: Women are rising through the ranks at VC firms, according to a new survey that caught Dominic-Madori’s eye.
- Scooting ahead: Duffl’s David Lin talks to Christine about why his company has been able to buck traditional rapid grocery delivery woes.
- What’s in store for the ad market?: Alex pours through some numbers to forecast what the Q1 ad market is shaping up to be.
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.
All of the tech layoffs prompted Airtable to put out a memo earlier this week promoting its tools for job seekers. Now it is Airtable’s own employees who might need to use them. Natasha M reports that the company, which was last valued at $11 billion for its no-code software, laid off over 250. And not only that, but it seems that the move also included some executive departures, including the chief revenue officer, chief people officer and chief product officer.
And here’s another five for you:
- Know where you’re going: Rebecca writes that Google combines Maps and Waze teams as pressures mount to cut costs.
- Know when to fold ’em: Twitter and Apple have not been playing nice, so now it seems if you pay for a Twitter Blue subscription via iOS, get ready to pay $11 to offset App Store fees, Ivan writes.
- Know when to put on the brakes: Safety capabilities are the reason for Tesla’s new plans to add radar to its vehicles…again, Rebecca reports.
- Know when to bundle: It has arrived… Disney+ now has its ad-supported tier meant to compete with Netflix, Lauren writes.
- Know how to move on: Manish writes that Foxconn invested another $500 million into its India business, where Apple plans to have more iPhone production over the next three years.