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Happy Friday, Crunchers! It’s May 27, 2022, and we’re heading into a long weekend because it’s Memorial Day weekend here in the US. absolutely nothing, which we celebrate with all our hearts. See you here on Tuesday!
TechCrunch Top 3
- golden goose: manish was on fire today, writing not one, but two of our top stories of the day. The first is about Jar, an Indian fintech that is looking at a $50 million Series B round. The country’s citizens have bank accounts to save money, but Jar helps them do something they might not be so familiar with – investing. And the company chose to start with something Indians love, gold.
- Revolving door: The second Manish story has to do with another Manish – Manish Maheshwari, former head of Twitter India, who left a startup he co-founded after just 6 months. Our Manish reported in December that Maheshwari left his Twitter post to start edtech company Invact Metaversity with Tanay Pratap. The arrangement didn’t seem to work as planned, with some company mishaps involving product delivery and some leadership disagreements.
- Sometimes it’s not meant to be: In the case of Substack, a new round of capital. connie reviewed the details yesterday of them trying to raise a Series C, but then canceled when favorable terms with investors did not occur. Today, Alex peels back some of the onion layers to explain why Substack’s goals, based on its Series B increase in 2021, didn’t translate well into the 2022 investment environment.
Startups and VC
Earlier this week, Anita reported that Adam “WeWork” Neumann is back with a new startup and has increased support from a16z. On today’s Chain Reaction podcast, Anita and Lucas discuss whether Neumann really deserves $70 million and another chance. We are completely confused as to why anyone would make another bet on him and will no doubt be following his new startup closely.
A few more gems for you:
Ride or die-sel
Diesel prices alone are driving about 17% of the inflation we are seeing today, and Tim writes an exciting article about how gasoline and diesel might not be the best, especially as the economy is lurking off the cliff into an abyss whose depth matches our general optimism about the climate at the moment.
Maybe that’s exactly what’s needed: maybe when economic and climate interests align, we’ll find the pot of “yes, we can live on this planet for a few more years” at the end of the rainbow.
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Big Tech Inc.
- Sony live service plans: Sony is betting on its live service offerings. This follows the company’s acquisition of Bungie earlier this year. Sony unveiled plans this week for its company’s life after the acquisition, which includes investing heavily in the live-service gaming sector, though it didn’t go into detail about which of its franchises would get the treatment.
- fit it: We thought Snapchat was all about individuals sending small “snaps” to other individuals, but the social media giant has bigger plans than that. Its new feature, “Shared Stories”, is a riff on the “Custom Stories” feature to let users, well, you can see where we’re going with this. Here’s how it works: Users added to a group can also add their friends for easy sharing of their stories. Don’t worry, if someone in your friend group isn’t your cup of tea, your stories won’t be shared with them.
- Database failure: Voto Consulting, a talent acquisition firm in New Jersey, learned the hard way what happens when you don’t password protect a database and leave it on the internet. The resumes and personal information of about 30,000 workers were exposed. As zack reports, the story gets a lot more interesting – something you really need to check out for yourself.
- time to drive: In today’s transportation news, Rivian popped the hood and reorganized a few things with the company’s engine (yes, we know it’s an electric vehicle) in the form of hiring new COO Frank Klein. This comes amid other leadership changes as their head of manufacturing has resigned. Meanwhile, Tesla says it won’t open a factory in India until it can sell and service vehicles in the country. manish establishes the back-and-forth happening between the country and the company: the country’s authorities want the cars to be built locally and for Tesla to follow its high import duties. Tesla doesn’t want to pay higher fees even if the market doesn’t test well. So, a super fun stoppage.