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Fri-yay! Grab your calendar and mark November 17, 2022, on it, and then snag yourself an airline ticket to Miami, Florida. That’s right, TC Sessions continues, with a Crypto special event. It’s our first dedicated crypto event, so come along, get your NFTs, blockchains, and web3 on. Get yer tickets today and save a couple of hundred bucks! — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Exceptional assessments: That’s our play on Better Opinions, an Indian startup that claims to be building “a prediction market,” and just may be Meta’s next acquisition in the region, Manish writes.
- Rolling with the defaults: Microsoft users will want to set their calendars for July 27. That is when the tech giant will block Office macros by default to cut down on malware being introduced via email. This is something Carly reports had been paused by Microsoft earlier this year, but now is back in full swing.
- One company’s cutback is another company’s lesson: Big Tech taking a time-out on hiring may provide some leeway for startups to dive into that expertise talent pool and come back up with some, as Alex puts it, “human capital for their financial capital.”
Startups and VC
“Shark Tank,” America’s favorite television show, masquerading as “this is how investing works,” made Mark Cuban a household name. It may come as a surprise, then, that overall, Cuban hasn’t made a profit off his Shark Tank portfolio, Amanda reports.
Ride-hailing services may be getting a quality upgrade: “We needed to employ our drivers so that we could not only select and vet, but importantly, train and performance-manage them to drive a consistent high-quality experience for our passengers,” Alto’s founder told Rebecca.
Oh, and Haje got very excited about interviewing the Sarcos Robotics and Boston Dynamic CEOs about how to take robots from the lab into the real world.
- Domo Arigato: If you missed yesterday’s TC Sessions: Robotics, Matt has a great recap so you can get yourself up to speed.
- I’ll have a book, an apple, and a colonoscopy, please: Amazon bought One Medical, reports Alex, Natasha M, and Mary Ann.
- Beautiful plumage: Custom wigs, meet AI — Parfait raised $15 million to upend the $13 billion custom wig industry, reports Ron.
- Ooh, I wouldn’t cut that if I were you: AI platform Theator analyzes surgery videos to improve training and quality of care. The company raised nearly $40 million, Ingrid reports.
- 0.76 billion for opportunities: Menlo Ventures raised $761 million, its largest-ever opportunities fund, Harri reports.
How to check for founder-investor alignment before you start fundraising
Everyone wants to get their company off the ground, which is why it’s critical to find an investor who shares your values and perspective.
It’s particularly tempting to accept the first offer that comes, but “choosing the right partner for the right stage of your business can make the difference between building a billion-dollar company and losing control.”
Partners Evan Kipperman, Paul Hughes and Len Gray at law firm Wiggin and Dana shared a post with TC+ that explores the finer points of working with institutional investors, angels, friends and family and capitalists of other stripes.
“As funding gets harder to come by, your risk tolerance may change, but your process for evaluating investors should not.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
It was apparently a day of people announcing they are leaving companies. First, Kirsten reports about VW Group CEO Herbert Diess, who is leaving after four years at the helm. Porsche boss Oliver Blume was appointed by the board to take Diess’s place starting September 1. The move may have been foreshadowed — Kirsten writes that Diess “has survived a number of confrontations and power struggles with the board and unions over the past two years.”
Natasha M was also all over a late-breaking item about Apoorva Mehta, Instacart’s executive chairman, who announced via Twitter that once the company goes public, he will step down from the board.
Now over to some further second-quarter earnings chat. Snapchat reported revenue was up, but missed analyst expectations and declined to forecast future financial performance, Aisha reports. Later in the day, Lucas writes that Snap’s stock was not doing so well as a result. Meanwhile, Twitter reported a quarterly sales drop and also revealed it spent $33 million trying to close the Elon Musk acquisition, Paul writes.
- Copyright, schmopyright: Kyle digs a bit deeper into commercial image-generating artificial intelligence, and the legal issues therein, in light of DALL E-2’s beta launch.
- Don’t let that get on you: We enjoyed Amanda’s look into a TikToker who may have gotten in over her head with some Pink Sauce that allegedly had some questionable nutritional information, and some customers reported the sauce bottle had exploded in packages before it got to them.
- Do you want to ride?:Jaclyn provides us with a bit of car porn today with a look at the Cadillac Celestiq flagship EV and some explanation from the automaker on why it is its “most advanced vehicle in 120 years.”
- Move over: Oh, and Tesla and its suppliers now have their own dedicated lane when crossing the Mexican border, Rebecca reports.
As you know from reading above, yesterday was TC Sessions: Robotics, and so you don’t miss out, here are some highlights from Brian and Devin: