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Greetings on this Hump Day. We’ve got one housekeeping item for you: We need your vote on what roundtable sessions you’d like to see at Disrupt. And if you didn’t get a chance to read Becca’s piece on what venture capital deal terms look like in this environment, she and Natasha break down the story in today’s Equity podcast. — Christine
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Hits keep coming: Byju’s capital woes are spilling over into its ability to make payments for a $1 billion acquisition of physical coaching center provider Aakash, Manish reports. This follows some layoffs the company made at online learning platforms Toppr and WhiteHat Jr.
- What gives with these layoffs?: And if you were wondering where all of these 2022 layoffs are coming from, Alex writes it has little to do with the economic correction we saw in early 2020, but instead was touched off by a crappy public market.
- Extra extra, read all about it!: If you were on pins and needles about Snapchat+, its new paid subscription plan it was testing, wait no more. Ivan writes that Snapchat+ is here and is $3.99 per month for all the new features you can stand.
Startups and VC
Remember the name Memomi the next time you shop for glasses in Walmart or Sam’s Club. The retail giant is acquiring Memomi, which uses augmented reality technology so that you can virtually try on eyewear, Sarah reports. Though Walmart is mum about future plans for other applications, it sounds like this is only the start to what may emerge from the company in the virtual try-on space.
Despite this crazy time, it’s nice to read about venture studios that are accelerating growth rather than slowing down. Here, Annie spotlights Adanian Labs, which she writes is planning to grow 300 African companies in the next 5 years.
Here’s what else we saw today:
- You’ll want to remember her name: Have you met Debut Capital’s Pilar Johnson? If not, you will enjoy Dominic-Madori’s profile on Johnson, an investor who, she writes, is “one to watch.”
- Yes, more layoffs: As Carly writes, cybersecurity was “once the VC darling,” and even though breaches are still very much a problem, the industry is not immune to what’s going on out there in the tech sector. Also coming in hot are reports of layoffs at Modsy and Niantic.
- Physicians get their own wingperson: Regard, an L.A. startup you might remember as HealthTensor, brought in $15.3 million in Series A funding to give physicians a “medical co-pilot” they can turn to for help in recognizing about 50 different common medical conditions, Catherine reported.
- Let’s all get along: Frederic wrote about Helios, an Israeli startup buoyed by $5 million in new funding. It’s helping developers understand how their code interacts with other applications using open source observability tools.
- The data has to get analyzed somehow: And Zing Data is hoping to be that method. Ron wrote about the company’s $2.4 million seed round that puts all that data analysis on your mobile device.
- “The tax code is a turnoff”: We’re not sure any truer words have been spoken. A company called April, which raised $30 million, is taking a stab at personalizing and autofilling tax filings so it isn’t so…yeah, Kyle reports.
- Move over, Amazon: Please enjoy my story about Nautical Commerce, which bagged $30 million in Series A funding toward democratizing the way businesses of all sizes can set up a marketplace.
- Getting animated: Tage reported on Kukua’s $6 million round, which will build on its “edutainment” offering for children.
- Another new fund: Ingrid spins a delightful yarn about Entrepreneur First’s $158 million raise that it will convert into an evergreen fund for backing entrepreneurs.
5 ways to seize the opportunities created by recent chaos in adtech
This year, TikTok’s ad sales juggernaut is expected to triple to more than $11 billion, trouncing the combined revenue of Twitter and Snapchat.
According to Alex Song, CEO and co-founder of data science company Proxima, this upheaval in media technology stocks is creating benefits for early-stage startups, “because forced innovation makes for a more competitive environment.”
In a TC+ guest post, he shares five strategies “for capitalizing on the turbulent advertising environment.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Now over to Tesla, where the company laid off about 200 Autopilot workers and closed its San Mateo, California, office, Rebecca reported. And in case you’re wondering, Elon Musk still hasn’t tweeted yet, as of publication.
Chat and Meet are now the new default for Gmail’s redesigned interface, Ivan writes. No longer will you have to manually enable them. Don’t worry, there is a revert option if you prefer the classic view. But why would you?
Delta and Misapplied Sciences are working on some technology in Detroit that will have the airport’s flight information display begin providing personalized gate and destination information, Frederic writes. If you are a Delta customer going through there, you need to try it and report back.
Snapchat might not allow anonymous social apps anymore — and for good reason — but Sarah reports that new apps like Sendit and NGL are finding a home over at Instagram. I guess now they are Meta’s problem.
Some additional news for ya:
- Bob Chapek gets to keep his Mickey ears a bit longer: Disney’s board voted to extend Chapek’s contract for 3 more years, showing confidence in his leadership despite a rough go of it from the pandemic, Lauren writes.
- All things Google: From Sarah, the search engine giant is going to pay for commercial access to Wikipedia content. Aisha tells us about Google’s Switch to Android app for iOS users is now compatible with all Android 12 phones. Finally, Ivan reports that Google and Apple received a note from FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr about removing TikTok from its app stores.
- Is shopping your cardio?: If it is, you are in luck because Aisha writes that Amazon is launching a new physical retail store analytics service that also gives brands anonymized insights about their products in Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh stores across the United States that use Just Walk Out and Dash Cart technologies.
- Up in smoke: Natasha reports that European Union lawmakers are proposing a ban on flavored vapes.
- ICYMI from yesterday: Harri wrote about the Federal Trade Commission suing Walmart over money transfer scams, and Taylor dove into Facebook’s and Instagram’s decision to remove posts offering mail abortion pills.
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