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Oh hey, and welcome to the Daily Crunch for Wednesday! Today, the whole office is proverbially abuzz with robotics. Proverbially, because we’re not sure we actually have an office at this point, and if we do, we don’t know who’s there. Maybe we are abuzz in Slack.
In any case, tomorrow is the big day! TC Sessions: Robotics is finally upon us! You can still snag a (free!) ticket ahead of the event. Here’s the agenda, and these are the companies that are pitching at the event. Come join us — we’ll be hanging out in the chat, and we may even make an appearance on the virtual stage from time to time.
Oh, and with a title like OK, don’t fear: the long shots are still getting venture funding, you just know you’re in for a treat with today’s episode of the Equity podcast. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- ‘Scout’ing out new endeavors: Scott Keough, Volkswagen’s U.S. CEO, is stepping down from his post at the automaker to take a similar role over at Scout, which makes electric pickup trucks and SUVs, Jaclyn writes.
- That’s not cold brew: Trust Haje to get on his somewhat-caffeinated soapbox in his short review of Spinn, “the $1,000 coffee maker for people who are too lazy to learn about coffee.”
- Puff, puff, pay: Over in TechCrunch+ land, Anna lights up a market analysis into cannabis commerce company Dutchie’s new Dutchie Pay product that enables you to digitally pay for cannabis when purchasing at one of the dispensaries the company works with.
Startups and VC
Ex-NBA and Team USA basketball star Michael Redd is now the co-founder of 22 Ventures. In his newest TechCrunch+ column, he advises not to abandon founders in a downturn, and suggests 3 ways to support your portfolio.
Let’s parcel out some more newsy goodness:
- I’ll try a bite, at least: Meatable is a cultivated meat company, and it just showed off its first product — synthetic sausages, reports Paul.
- I’ll have one of those: Anita reports that crypto startup Blockdaemon is continuing its acquisition spree, this time picking up Sepior.
- I’ll have a thousand of those: Tedooo is designed to help boost and create global trade communities via partnerships between sellers and buyers, Aisha reports. It just raised $3 million to scale its social network for buyers and sellers.
- I’ll have 50 million of those: Our long-estranged sibling Crunchbase raised $50 million to further develop its startup ecosystem database, Kyle reports.
- I’ll take 3 billion of those: Christine and Natasha M worked together to cover So. Many. New. Venture. Funds, which, across all the new funds, total around $3 million of new capital ready to deploy into the ecosystem.
- I’ll take a virtual one of those: The Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) hijinks was one of the notable success stories of the early days of the NFT craze. The founders are back, sharing their ‘Otherside’ metaverse plans with Lucas.
Fundraising tips for early and midstage startups in 2022
Given current conditions, best practices for fundraising and building investor relationships are less relevant than they were a year ago. Back then, the promise of early growth was enough to help founders close seed and Series A rounds.
Today, startups with long sales cycles that aren't cash-flow positive may not even be considered for follow-on investments.
If you're curious about which kinds of startups investors are (and aren't) willing to look at, Kami Vision CEO Yamin Durrani has written a comprehensive post about the changes he's between fundraising in Q4 2021 and Q3 2022.
“Don’t panic, VCs are interested in investing right now — just in a few areas,” he writes.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
The Indian government is alleging that Chinese smartphone makers, including Xiaomi, are evading taxes. Yet even amid those struggles, Xiaomi announced it shipped over 200 million smartphones in India, Manish reports.
That’s not the only company dealing with the Indian government. Amazon is also facing a setback after an Indian court agreed to send its partner, Future Retail, into bankruptcy, Jagmeet writes. Speaking of Amazon, Kyle reports the company debuted its new Alexa developer tools today, while Ivan writes about Amazon’s new partnership with Skullcandy to offer dual smart assistants.
Netflix was in the news today, and Lauren dropped a trio of stories about them. One story touches on the company’s not-so-good news about losing subscribers, and the other two stories provide an update on its ad-supported tier and an acquisition of Animal Logic.
Meanwhile, Carly writes that Google Drive is in the spotlight after it was found that Russian hackers are using the software to hide malware.
Here are some others we think you will enjoy:
- I’ll try to understand what DALL-E 2 is: Kyle reports that OpenAI is expanding DALL-E 2, which “can generate images given a prompt or edit and refine existing images,” from previously just being open source into a credit-based fee structure.
- I’ll try not to freak out at change: Roblox is rolling out an update of what it calls “materials” to make them more lifelike, Taylor writes. While she’s at it, Taylor also covered Discord’s new Xbox integration.
- I’ll celebrate?: Rita writes that a $1 billion fine for Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi is both a lot of money and “can be read as a win-win in which the authorities show who’s in power and Didi gets to gradually head back to business as usual, albeit under much more oversight.”