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Good afternoon, you fine humans! We hope you had a lovely weekend. Christine is off on a well-deserved holiday, and I’m going to be working on some special projects for a few weeks (including my tan and my surfing skills), so starting tomorrow, we will leave this fair newsletter in the capable hands of Kyle. Give the man a follow on Twitter — you’ve seen a ton of his writing linked to from this newsletter, and I love his writing in general, so you’ll have a blast.
Oh, and if you wanna come hang out in person, we only have, like, 50 tickets left to our summer party. Come hang out and be jolly!
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Oh dear, who tripped over the wire again? Cloudflare is a cornerstone of the internet, which is reassuring and lovely, until it all falls apart. A huge number of services, including Discord, DoorDash, Crunchyroll, NordVPN and others had significant outages when Cloudflare took a dirt nap for a few hours. Things should be up and whirring again now, and no doubt the Cloudflare ops teams will have a couple of intense weeks figuring out what happened and how to prevent it in the future, Manish writes.
- The <?= ordinal($cutcounter++); ?> cut is the deepest: Klarna is reportedly considering raising at a $15 billion valuation — a huge haircut from its mid-2021 $45 billion valuation. Over on our subscription product TechCrunch Plus, Alex makes it make (more) sense.
- LeadSquared grows a unicorn horn: Manish reports that LeadSquared raised $153 million in a Series C funding round that valued it at $1 billion. The round was led by Westbridge Capital, and the startup is now looking to broaden its product with new features, including sales performance analytics and a suite of tools to digitize application processing.
Startups and VC
I love it when big, ambitious projects turn into viable companies. Brian’s report on how Impossible Mining is combing the seafloor for battery metals very much tickles my curiosity bones. It employs bacterial respiration to “liberate” metals from rocks, and the company raised $10 million to, ahem, go a little deeper.
You know what really grinds my gears? You know when customer service folks seem to be so painfully friendly, but also as useless as an ice-cream tea cozy? Neuron7 is using some clever tech to help customer service folks find data and solutions more quickly, and just raised $10 million to do just that, Kyle reports.
Let’s look a little deeper:
- God only knows it’s not what we would choose to do: Oh I love, love playing with Dall-E as much as the next guy, and it delights me that a Ukrainian deep tech startup has trained an AI to paint war art, as Natasha L reports.
- Just another brick in the wall: Kyle reports how construction SaaS company Join secures new cash to become a replacement for the Excel and other email-based workflows that many construction stakeholders use to make decisions about projects.
- Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit: NFT marketplace Magic Eden, launched just 9 months ago, has raised $130 million in a Series B round co-led by Electric Capital and Greylock Partners, bringing its valuation to $1.6 billion, writes Jacquelyn.
- We don’t need no educ… Wait, yes, actually, we do: Kibo School gets $2 million to offer online STEM degrees to students in Africa, Annie reports.
- The sun is eclipsed by the moon: On our Chain Reaction podcast, Lucas and Anita spoke with Aaron Levie — CEO at Box — about where web3 makes sense, and where it does not.
- There’s someone in my head but it’s not me: Apropos podcast, I loved Natasha M’s roundup of her favorite tech podcasts.
- If your head explodes with dark forebodings: We’ve been covering how Brex ditched small businesses, but it didn’t really make perfect sense to us — until Mary Ann dove in and dug into why Brex really decided to ditch SMBs.
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Big Tech Inc.
Coding just gets easier, as the tools and frameworks become more powerful and smarter. One example of that is Copilot, GitHub’s AI-powered programming assistant, which became generally available, as Kyle reports.
Over on the bird sanctuary, the narrative trundles on, with Ivan reporting that Twitter is asking its shareholders to approve the $44 billion takeover by Elon Musk.
And finally, I was stanning hard for Amanda’s panel at our Climate event last week — she tackled the question of whether capitalism can solve climate change. I’m not gonna spoil it for you — just read her excellent piece on our subscription service TechCrunch Plus. And once you finish that one, get into Harri’s TC+ piece where she asks “How doomed are we?” on the climate question. Ugh, I can’t believe I get to work with smart, passionate writers like them. Lucky me!
There’s more — a lot more:
- A soul in tension that’s learning to fly: Sarah reports that after many years, Twitter is bringing back its long-lost developer conference, Chirp.
- New car, caviar, four star daydream; think I’ll buy me a football team: Bad news for crypto fans, as Bitcoin dipped under $20K and Ethereum took a dive into triple digits as the market free fall continued over the weekend, Lucas reports.
- I open my door to my enemies and I ask if we can wipe the slate clean: Tesla has been in the news a bit, most recently for being sued by former workers for allegedly violating federal law during “mass layoffs,” as Jaclyn reports.
- Money it’s a crime / share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie: Aisha reports that Meta is about to roll out new monetization tools on Instagram and Facebook, including a marketplace for creators.
- You’re older, shorter of breath, and one day closer to death: Dunno ’bout you, but I’m getting really bored of companies that are losing my personal details. This time it’s Flagstar’s turn, with a data breach affecting 1.5 million customers, Carly reports.
- I’m so afraid of mistakes that I’ve made: And even as I rage about Flagstar’s report, they are n00bs compared to the ex-Amazon employee who was convicted over a data breach affecting 100 million Capital One customers. The breach of Capital One’s cloud data, much of it stored on Amazon’s cloud, was one of the biggest hacks of the decade, Zack reports.