It’s the weekend, partygoers, and you know what that means: it’s Week in Review (WiR) time. For the uninitiated, WiR is where businessupdates.org summarizes all of the week’s tech news. It’s like the morning paper, but in digital form and without all the weird stuff that has nothing to do with technology. So… not quite like the paper, but very much worth reading (in this reporter’s humble opinion).
To get WiR in your inbox every Saturday, click here. And scroll down for the summary of this edition. But before you do, don’t forget to check out businessupdates.org’s upcoming events, including the startup-focused Early Stage in Boston on April 20 and our mega conference, Disrupt, in San Francisco on September 19-21.
Crashing and Burning: Virgin Orbit is laying off about 85% of its workforce to further cut costs after the troubled aerospace company said it couldn’t get additional funding to stay afloat. The news, which Virgin Orbit filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, comes just two weeks after the company laid off all employees and entered an “operational hiatus” to find more cash.
Date while filing taxes: There’s a new anime dating sim that does your taxes — and it actually works. Amanda played Tax Heaven 3000a game produced by MSCHFthe venture-funded creative studio behind projects like Push Party and the Lil Nas X blood shoes. What’s the verdict? If you don’t mind sharing your personal information with an anime girl obsessed with the tax process, this isn’t the least pleasant way to file your return.
The replacement TikTok: As US lawmakers move ahead with their plans for a TikTok ban or force sale, the app’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, propels another of its social platforms to the US App Store’s top charts. ByteDance owned app Lemon8an Instagram rival that describes itself as a “lifestyle community,” jumped into one of the US App Store’s most downloaded slots on Monday, becoming the No. 10 overall app for both apps and games.
Groupon has a new CEO: Grouponswhich became famous for popularizing the online group purchase format has appointed Dusan Senkypl as interim CEO. If Ingrid writes, Groupon has 14 million active users, but over the past decade, the company’s financial position has been in an almost constant decline — with stagnation in its core business model, little success in diversification efforts, declining revenues, and ongoing losses.
Get Your Own Lyft: Lyft could once again drop its ride-hailing offerings, just one of many changes the company’s newly appointed CEO, David Risher, could make in an effort to focus on Lyft’s core ride-hailing business and stay profitable to become. Risher said Rebekah in an extensive interview that other features may also be dropped, such as the Wait & Save option that allows passengers in certain regions to pay a lower fare if they wait for the best-located driver.
Twitter’s APIs are paid: After weeks of delays, Twitter finally announced its new API pricing structures on Wednesday. The three tiers include a bare-bones free tier mostly for content posting bots, a basic $100 per month tier, and a costly enterprise tier. Subscribing to any level gives you access to Twitter’s advertising API at no additional cost.
Tough times, lowered valuations: Manic reports that some of India’s largest startups are pushing their valuations to the next level — at least in the eyes of their investors, as some lenders revise their estimates amid the weakening global economy. BlackRock has downgraded the valuation of Byju’s, India’s $22 billion most valuable startup, by nearly half to $11.5 billion, while Swiggy, India’s $10.7 billion most valuable food delivery startup, has been downgraded to a valuation of $11.5 billion. about $8 billion by Invesco.
Ledger wins big: French startup Ledger added more money – approximately €100 million ($108 million) – to its Series C funding round, Roman writes. The company’s main products are hardware crypto wallets that provide a high level of security, in the form of USB keys and with a small screen to confirm transactions on the device.
Supply chain attack: Multiple security firms have raised the alarm about an active supply chain attack using a trojanized version of 3CX’s widely used voice and video calling client to target downstream customers. Carly writes. The malware is a particularly dangerous strain, capable of collecting system information and stealing data and saved credentials from Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Brave, and Firefox user profiles.
Canoo settles with SEC: Electric vehicle startup Canoo has agreed to a $1.5 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a regulatory submission. The SEC began investigating Canoo in May 2021, focusing on the startup’s operations, business model, revenues, revenue strategy, client deals, earnings, and the departure of certain company officials, including co-founder and CEO Ulrich Kranz.
businessupdates.org’s podcasting output this week was as robust as ever, in case you had any doubts. The Equity crew talked about AI, crypto, equity crowdfunding and – in a story out completely left field — former startup founders trying to bribe China. In the meantime, Found it interviewed Angela Hoover, CEO and co-founder of Andi, an ambitious generative AI search chatbox company. And further TechCrunchLiveAtoB co-founder Harshita Arora and Contrary Capital founder and partner Eric Tarczynski discussed red flags investors look for, how the VC and startup world is reacting to the “genius of the girl” versus the “genius of the boy’, and the pain points of the trucking industry.
TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and surveys – which you’ll know if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are a few highlights from this week:
Crypto on the rise: “Crypto-focused venture capital investors are riding along in their work,” Jaquelyn writes. Many remain confident in their investment strategies despite a jittery Q1 fundraising market for crypto startups, while others are noticing a sharper decline in the pace of investment.
AI is the new oil: Being an AI company has become the soup du jour of startup land. Companies are rushing to incorporate AI into their existing business model or change their marketing, so everything they were already quietly using AI for is front and center. And the newest class of Y Combinator is no different, Rebekah reports.
Substack turns to its writers: Alex writes about Substack’s attempt to crowdfund a company-sized expansion round. The platform, popular with writers and known for its email service, has collected more than $5 million in pledges for its Series B expansion from its community and the Internet at large.
A look at the startup scene in Sweden: Following Techstars’ decision to discontinue its Swedish accelerator program, Alex And Anna decided to delve into the country’s startup scene to understand how a smaller venture market is adapting to a changing investment climate.