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The TechCrunch Top 3
- Embed that finance: Pezesha, a Kenyan-based fintech startup, is flush with $11 million in new capital as it seeks to bridge the gap between access to financial products and what is a “$330 billion financing deficit for the small enterprises that make up 90% of Africa’s businesses,” Annie reports.
- We’re all connected: If you haven’t yet seen yourself in one of your Twitter connection’s Circles, you may soon. The social media giant is launching the “Close Friends” features globally, Ivan reports. Add a bunch of people to your Circle and get tweeting.
- No delivery for you: Delivery platform Gopuff has only been in Europe since November 2021, but Natasha L writes it made the decision to discontinue its service in Spain. She cites that perhaps this is to focus more on the United Kingdom market where revenue there is increasing 30% month over month.
Startups and VC
Initialized Capital was VC Garry Tan’s answer to a need first highlighted by Y Combinator. As a partner at the accelerator from 2010 to 2015, Tan spent time working with companies to better understand what they needed from investors after they graduated. This week, he announced he’s back at the helm at YC, and Natasha M interviewed him about what’s next for Y Combinator.
The company behind last summer’s hot social app, Poparazzi, appears to be readying a round two following its $15 million Series A announced in June. A new listing in the App Store under the developer’s account, TTYL, is teasing a pre-release app called Made with Friends, Sarah reports.
When the news hits your eye, like a big pizza pie, that’s a-more-news:
- Notification bubbles: Devin reports that, at long last, there’s an underwater messaging app.
- Money for laundering: Flush with fresh funds, U.K. “eco laundry” startup Oxwash raised $12 million to spin up its growth plans, Natasha L reports.
- Faster when further afield: The U.K.’s £5 billion Project Gigabit gives out its first contract to connect rural areas to high-speed broadband, Paul reports.
- PriceOye gets the Thiel seal of approval: Islamabad-based startup PriceOye offers a range of electronics products, including smartphones, TVs and home appliances. It just closed a round of funding from investors, including Peter Thiel, reports Jagmeet.
- Dodging the SPAC bullet: Alex and Anna wrote a really interesting piece on TC+ (use “DC” for a 15% discount if you’re not a subscriber yet) about SPACs, how they are falling apart, and how Europe may have dodged a bullet on that front.
How to communicate to your crypto community when things aren’t going well
Because it’s a nascent industry that’s largely unregulated, crypto companies are not generally skilled at crisis communications. (We’re being generous here.)
When a bank or financial services company experiences a massive security failure or a volatility shock, federal laws dictate how it must communicate with its customers. Crypto startups, however, must rely on their own best judgment.
“There’s little benefit in declaring that the sky is falling and begging your community for investment, but an overly rosy outlook won’t fool anyone either,” says Tahem Verma, co-founder and CEO of Mesha.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Last chance to get your game on in the Facebook Gaming app. The social media giant said it is shutting down its stand-alone app at the end of October, Aisha reports. Don’t worry, you can still find your games in Gaming on actual Facebook. When launching the separate app two years ago, it seemed to be more difficult than Facebook bargained for, so it decided to join ’em instead of beating ’em.
- Data duh!: Millions of faces and vehicle license plates were leaked online in China, Zack writes.
- Ghosts can drive?: A Tesla Model 3 owner filed a class action lawsuit against the electric vehicle maker alleging the car keeps “phantom braking,” Jaclyn reports.
- New security regime: Broadband and mobile carriers in the United Kingdom could face fines of up to $117,000 per day or 10% of their sales if they don’t abide by some new cybersecurity rules, Ingrid writes.
- More Elon: Taylor has the 411 on Elon Musk’s new strategy for getting out of the Twitter deal — hint, it involves the company’s whistleblower. Meanwhile, Paul goes over the new subpoena related to the ongoing battle.