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The event horizon for when we can expect to end up in (literal) hot water when it comes to climate has come a lot closer. You wanna know how close? The climate deadline is close enough that it is interesting to VCs again. VC is an asset class with a 10-year cycle. In other words: Some of the most powerful money people believe they will see a return on their investments in the next 10 years. In a nutshell, as I wrote in my TC+ column this week, that scares the crap out of me.
Social media dramaaaaaaaaaa
I’m sure Twitter is relieved to see that Reddit is taking many of the headlines this week. The Reddit leadership team seems to have hit the slow-mo button and taken control of a couple of trains before hitting the “full steam ahead” button and pointing the trains at each other.
This slow-motion train crash is quite a thing, and it’s all related to Reddit’s new API pricing. Popular third-party Reddit app Apollo announced it was shutting down, and Reddit’s CEO wasn’t a big fan of how that went down, giving the Apollo developer both barrels in a drama-filled AMA. Reddit goes down briefly, subreddits and moderators were protesting — thousands of them, in fact — and it seems like a lot of them are planning to stay shut down indefinitely. Good heavens, that’s a one-way ticket to Yikes City all around.
Elon shouldn’t be too relieved, though; the bird sanctuary got its own headlines, and most of them were … not super encouraging. On the bright side, Elon didn’t have to CEO anymore, as Linda Yaccarino officially took the big chair as Twitter CEO. The very next news story was Twitter is being evicted from its Boulder office over unpaid rent. Whoops. Alex broke down how far Twitter’s advertising revenues have fallen. TL;DR: It ain’t pretty.
- Easier money for YouTube creators: Ivan reports that YouTube is lowering the barrier to be eligible for its monetization program.
- Dark clouds in the blue sky: Morgan reports that Bluesky’s growing pains strain its relationship with Black users.
- LOL just kidding, as you were: Taylor reports that Twitch backtracks on changes to branded content rules after streamer backlash.
The robots are coming! The robots are coming!
AI keeps dominating our news coverage, as there’s a lot of movement in that space.
France’s Mistral AI blows raised a $113 million seed round to take on OpenAI. It may prove to have an advantage in the notoriously privacy-focused EU — but, not gonna lie, I also raised an eyebrow at the company’s $260 million valuation — that’s a lot of equity to give up in a seed round.
There was a whole bunch of corporate AI news, not all of which is relevant to startups, but the recap is that Meta open sources an AI-powered music generator, while Itoka wants to license AI-generated music via the blockchain. I have made little secret of my disdain for blockchain tech in general (and the painful irony of blockchain for climate in particular), but that one seems like a particularly potent nonstarter. Prove me wrong, Itoka, prove me wrong.
Apropos potent — Morgan argues that Blush, the AI lover from the same team as Replika, is more than just a sexbot. I’m kind of into it, actually — sexting is fun, and I’m intrigued by the creative possibilities of getting saucy with a robot. As long as I don’t get a textually transmitted infection. Ahem.
- While my gu-AI-tar gently weeps/ Strawberry f-AI-lds forever/In m-AI life: Darrell reports that Paul McCartney used AI to make a new Beatles song.
- Gotta watch where you point that thing: Natasha reports that U.K. watchdogs urge founders to not rush generative AI apps to market without tackling privacy risks.
- Hey that looks just like me: Ingrid reports that Hyper raises $3.6M from Amazon and more for its iPhone-based, VTuber-friendly avatar platform.
- Half a b-AI-llion dollars: Kyle reports that Salesforce pledges to invest $500M in generative AI startups.
Dude, where’s my … do we even call ‘em cars anymore?
Carvana was on an incredible share-price rally, until it hit the guard rails. Harri and Alex pick apart the soaring heights, the crushing depths and the weird, in-between bounce-back the company seems to find itself in. The used-car platform saw an epic stock surge where the shorted stock surged 56%, as the company predicts record profits. Sucks if you were one of the WallStreetBets bros sure of the company’s demise, but I’m sure the startup itself was relieved.
The other big story that’s been on our radar is Tesla and its charging standard. We reported that GM and Ford could help spark a charging standards war and concluded that EV charger networks are turning to the Tesla standard, as support for it accelerates. On TC+, Tim wonders whether Tesla’s Supercharger network will strain under the weight of GM and Ford deals — but also that Tesla has a winner on its hands. Back in February, Google added EV chargers to its Google Maps product, and this week, Apple followed suit — Apple Maps will show open spots near you.
Also this week, I lamented that EVs are going backward, in that they are getting bigger, heavier and stupider — only for Harri to report on two counterpoints: Telo bets America is ready for a dreamy little pickup and Fiat’s little Topolino concept that looks totes adorbs. Yass.
Not exactly startup news, but worth keeping on your radar as a startup founder in this space:
- Moar power! Moar range! Moar North Star! Matt reports that The 2024 Polestar 2 features more power and range.
- Get in! We’re going places! Fresh on the heels of the EV-powered Lightship RV, Kirsten reports that Pebble Mobility wants to build the iPhone of electric RVs.
- Bad startup! No IPO for you! Alex reports that Turo’s Q1 2023 results indicate it may be awhile until we see its IPO.
- Look East: There’s a lot of interesting EV news happening around the world, in particular in China. BYD is overtaking Tesla, but it chooses to forego the U.S. market for now. Meanwhile, Nio said it wasn’t going to join an EV price war, but now it’s cutting $4K across all models.
Top reads on TechCrunch this week
- Hey, that thing looks just like you: Kyle reports that Synthesia secures $90 million for AI that generates custom avatars.
- Like reading glasses but different: I wrote about the Sol Reader, which is a VR headset exclusively for reading books.
- Here’s something we can all agree on: Rebecca reports that nobody is happy with NYC’s $18 delivery worker minimum wage.
- AI 101: One of my favorite TC writers, Devin, put together an AI overview in case you only just woke up from a five-year coma: Everything you need to know about artificial intelligence.
- Bye bye, Blue: Brian reports that Blue owned the consumer podcast mic market, but that the brand is being phased out.
- I’m basically 90% chatbot already, but Amanda reports that there’s now an app for that: Teaser’s AI dating app turns you into a chatbot.
- How to learn from the big bois: Finally, I wrote a TC+ piece where I’m arguing that you can secure your startup’s future by watching the big corporations.
That’s it, folks! If you want to send me news tips, here’s what I cover and how to reach me. And if you love a good pitch deck, here’s the full list of my Pitch Deck Teardowns on TechCrunch+ and how you can submit your own.
Peace, see you next week!
Here’s why it’s scary that investors believe they can monetize the climate crisis by Haje Jan Kamps originally published on TechCrunch