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Happy Friday Crunch!
There’s a persistent theory in hardware that manufacturing overseas is the cheaper/better/more efficient option. You manufacture there, assemble somewhere else, and finally approve and get to market in the United States, Haje writes on TC+. It turns out that it’s possible to manufacture closer to home. With supply chains in the news more than ever, “nearshoring” is an oft-overlooked option for startups.
On that note — we’re going to drink a beer with a shamrock poured into the foam, for no particular reason whatsoever. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Next stop, Chapter 11: Today, SVB Financial filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, disclosing that it has $2.2 billion in liquidity, Ingrid reports. “This will mean that SVB Financial can apply, and plans to apply, to the courts to resume activities while finding buyers for its assets, which include going ahead with its plans to sell off SVB Securities and SVB Capital, and more,” Ingrid notes.
- More that we didn’t ask for: Now U.S. users can add a coveted blue check mark to their Instagram and Facebook accounts — well, at least get on the waitlist to do so — for a monthly fee, that is, Aisha reports. Nothing in life is truly free, loves. But there are stickers, so there’s that.
- In the nick of time: As a serial entrepreneur who has famously endured some ups and downs, Parker Conrad has nearly seen it all. Or so he might have thought until last week, Connie reports. Rippling, his six-year-old workforce management company, would go on to secure $500 million in fresh funding as a kind of insurance in the very likely scenario that SVB’s meltdown wasn’t resolved nearly as quickly as it happened.
Startups and VC
Last night, the news broke that Virgin Orbit was pausing operations for at least a week while it looked for funding to support the business. As part of that pause, company executives reportedly told staff in an all-hands meeting that they were being furloughed — and that it would be unpaid. it never should’ve come to a staff furlough, however, Aria writes.
Unearthly Materials claimed to have big-name investors, but they weren’t all on board, Tim reports over on TC+. The startup claims it’s on the cusp of a superconductor breakthrough despite questionable scientific record.
And we have five more for you, complete with saltier-than-usual commentary:
- I’d like to buy all your porn, please: Amanda writes that Pornhub owner MindGeek was bought by a private equity firm.
- Like an electron, you bring me to my excited state: Lauren reports that wedding platform Joy will let you outsource your vows to OpenAI.
- Cleaner communities, one community at a time: Elemental aims to pump $43 million into climate startups with “deep community impact,” writes Harri.
- Big bucks for mobile payments: Manish writes that Walmart invests $200 million in Indian mobile payments giant PhonePe.
- Safe as banks: Top crypto app downloads rise over 15% following SVB collapse, Jacquelyn reports.
Best practices for changing times: How founders should leverage AI and ML in 2023
We don’t run many articles promoting basic best practices. Suggestions like “listen to your customers” and “make data-driven decisions” are so general, they’re hard to implement.
But now that AI-driven solutions are offering search results, producing poems and generating illustrations on demand, startups need a framework for creating customized user experiences, according to Ab Gaur, founder and CEO of Verticurl.
“While excessive or unhelpful customer data can clog content pipelines, the right information can power hyper-personalization at scale,” he writes.
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Software to the rescue?: Will software for CFOs create a bright spot in a battered fintech market? Alex and Anna wonder.
- BRB, storing my money in gold: Founders scramble to figure out which banks are safe, reports Natasha M.
- Here’s how they raised: Haje is back with another Pitch Deck Teardown: StudentFinance’s $41 million Series A deck.
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.
TikTok had a lot going on in the past day: Taking a nod from several governmental entities in the United States, New Zealand banned TikTok from phones of parliamentarians. Ivan has more on what is going on there. Speaking of the U.S., Taylor writes that the government here is increasing its pressure on TikTok to separate from parent company ByteDance or risk also being banned in the U.S. While the social media giant is dealing with that, it’s also managed to strike a multiyear deal with Major League Soccer — well, unless it’s banned in the U.S. For now, the deal will provide exclusive content and other in-app programming, Aisha writes.
And we have five more for you:
- No, you are not dreaming: That is Donald Trump back on YouTube, Amanda reports.
- Just what you were waiting for: OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus subscription is now live in India, Jagmeet writes.
- Don’t wait!: Google found that some Samsung chips can be exploited to compromise Android devices and is now warning users to take action to protect themselves. Zack has more.
- One phone to rule them all: The Federal Communications Commission voted to move forward with satellite-to-phone rules to eliminate ‘no signal’ once and for all, Devin reports.
- Pour one out for our homies: “The world wasn’t ready for Google Glass,” Brian writes in his tribute, Goodbye, Google Glass, we knew you well.