Deal Dive: Why this startup chose to sell itself over raising a Series A

Not all startups are built for a billion-dollar exit — or to grow as a stand-alone company at all.

The appearance of easy-flowing subsequent funding likely led to the intense funding swell of the few years leading up to 2022. This is not to say all these companies are bad by any means! Many of them have customers, which proves that they’re building something people want; some businesses likely even have meaningful revenue.

On the other hand, some of them will realize that without an abundance of venture funding, their business model won’t be successful on its own, and they will have to come up with a new plan. Heroes Jobs was one of them.

The San Francisco-based startup launched in 2018 to create a LinkedIn for Gen Z: a more informal way for companies and potential employees to connect using video and making a platform that resembled TikTok. The company just announced that it had been acquired for an undisclosed amount by JobGet, an hourly job marketplace startup that has raised more than $50 million in venture funding.

Heroes Jobs co-founder and CEO Cyriac Lefort said that despite the company having a signed term sheet for a Series A, continuing to raise venture funding as an independent company no longer made sense.

Deal Dive: Why this startup chose to sell itself over raising a Series A by Rebecca Szkutak originally published on TechCrunch

Databricks acquires AI-centric data governance platform Okera

Databricks today announced that it has acquired Okera, a data governance platform with a focus on AI. The two companies did not disclose the purchase price. According to Crunchbase, Okera previously raised just under $30 million. Investors include Felicis, Bessemer Venture Partners, Cyber Mentor Fund, ClearSky and Emergent Ventures.

Data governance was already a hot topic, but the recent focus on AI has highlighted some of the shortcomings of the previous approach to it, Databricks notes in today’s announcement. “Historically, data governance technologies, regardless of sophistication, rely on enforcing control at some narrow waist layer and require workloads to fit into the ‘walled garden” at this layer,’ the company explains in a blog post. That approach doesn’t work anymore in the age of large language models (LLMs) because the number of assets is growing too quickly (in part because so much of it is machine-generated) and because the overall AI landscape is changing so quickly, standard access controls aren’t able to capture these changes quickly enough.

Okera then uses an AI-powered system that can automatically discover and classify personally identifiable information, tag it, and apply rules to this (with a focus on the metadata), using a no-code interface.

As the Databricks team stressed, that’s one of the reasons the company was interested in acquiring Okera, but the other is the service’s isolation technology, which can enforce governance control on arbitrary workloads without any major overhead. This technology is still in private preview but was likely one of the major reasons why Databricks acquired the company.

Databricks, which launched its own LLM a few weeks ago, plans to integrate Okera’s technology into its Unity Catalog, its existing governance solution of data and AI assets. The company also noted that the acquisition will enable Databricks to expose additional APIs that its own data governance partners will be able to use to provide solutions to their customers.

With this acquisition, Databricks is also bringing Okera co-founder and CEO Nong Li on board. Li created the Apache Parquet data storage format and was actually briefly an engineer at Databricks between working at Cloudera and before starting Okera, where he was the founding CTO and became the CEO in February 2022.

“As data continues to grow in volume, velocity, and variety across different applications, CIOs, CDOs, and CEOs across the board have to balance those two often conflicting initiatives – not to mention that historically, managing access policies across multiple clouds has been painful and time-consuming,” writes Li in today’s announcement. “Many organizations don’t have enough technical talent to manage access policies at scale, especially with the explosion of LLMs. What they need is a modern, AI-centric governance solution. We could not be more excited to join the Databricks team and to bring our expertise in building secure, scalable and simple governance solutions for some of the world’s most forward-thinking enterprises.”

If you know more about this acquisition, you can contact Frederic on Signal at (860) 208-3416 or by email ( You can also reach us via SecureDrop.

Databricks acquires AI-centric data governance platform Okera by Frederic Lardinois originally published on TechCrunch

Apple acquired a startup using AI to compress videos

Apple has quietly acquired a Mountain View-based startup, WaveOne, that was developing AI algorithms for compressing video.

Apple wouldn’t confirm the sale when asked for comment. But WaveOne’s website was shut down around January, and several former employees, including one of WaveOne’s co-founders, now work within Apple’s various machine learning groups.

In a LinkedIn post published a month ago, WaveOne’s former head of sales and business development, Bob Stankosh, announced the sale.

“After almost two years at WaveOne, last week we finalized the sale of the company to Apple,” Stankosh wrote. “We started our journey at WaveOne, realizing that machine learning and deep learning video technology could potentially change the world. Apple saw this potential and took the opportunity to add it to their technology portfolio.”

WaveOne was founded in 2016 by Lubomir Bourdev and Oren Rippel, who set out to take the decades-old paradigm of video codecs and make them AI-powered. Prior to joining the venture, Bourdev was a founding member of Meta’s AI research division, and both he and Rippel worked on Meta’s computer vision team responsible for content moderation, visual search and feed ranking on Facebook.

Where it concerns standard algorithms for compressing and decompressing video, the compression happens on the content provider’s side (e.g. YouTube servers) while end-users’ machines handle the decompressing. It’s an effective approach, but new codecs require new hardware specially built to accelerate compression or decompression, making improvements slow to propogate.


Image Credits: WaveOne

WaveOne’s main innovation was a “content-aware” video compression and decompression algorithm that could run on the AI accelerators built into many phones and an increasing number of PCs. Leveraging AI-powered scene and object detection, the startup’s technology could essentially “understand” a video frame — allowing it to, for example, prioritize faces at the expense of other elements within a scene to save bandwidth.

WaveOne also claimed that its video compression tech was robust to sudden disruptions in connectivity. That is to say, it could make a “best guess” based on whatever bits it had available, so when bandwidth was suddenly restricted, the video wouldn’t freeze — it’d just show less detail for the duration.

WaveOne claimed its approach — which was hardware-agnostic — could reduce the size of video files by as much as half, with better gains in more complex scenes.

Investors saw the potential, apparently. Prior to the Apple acquisition, WaveOne attracted $9 million from backers including Khosla Ventures, Vela Partners, Incubate Fund, Omega Venture Partners and Blue Ivy.

So what might Apple want with an AI-powered video codec? Well, the obvious answer is more efficient streaming. Even minor improvements in video compression could save on bandwidth costs, or enable services like Apple TV+ to deliver higher resolutions and framerates depending on the type of content being streamed.

YouTube’s already doing this. Last year, Alphabet’s DeepMind adapted a machine learning algorithm originally developed to play board games to the problem of compressing YouTube videos, leading to a 4% reduction in the amount of data the video-sharing service needs to stream to users.

Perhaps we’ll see similar innovations from the Apple-owned WaveOne team soon.

Apple acquired a startup using AI to compress videos by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

Netlify acquires front-end platform Gatsby

Web development platform Netlify today announced that it has acquired its competitor Gatsby, the company behind the opensource GatsbyJS framework. Gatsby, which had raised a total of $46.8 million, including a $28 million Series B led by Index Ventures in 2020, never quite got the traction that competitors like Netlify itself or Vercel saw in recent years, despite seeing solid growth of its commercial cloud platform. Meanwhile, Netlify now has customers like Twilio, Mattel and Verizon and hosts more than 3 million developers on its platform, according to its own data. The two companies did not disclose the purchase price.

A year or two ago, we would’ve put all of these companies under the “JAMStack” monicker, where JAM stands for JavaScript, API and Markup — a term coined by Netlify co-founder and CEO Mathias Biilmann. Today, you’ll get a cheery email from their PR firms if you say that, since the preferred term is now “composable architecture” or, in the case of Vercel, simply “front-end platform.” To be fair, these platforms have evolved quite a bit and now offer a more comprehensive set of features beyond supporting the JAM stack.

Netlify stresses that it is acquiring Gatsby, at least in part, for its Valhalla Content Hub, which the company describes as a centralized data layer that helps businesses make their various data sources accessible through a unified GraphQL API. With the content hub, Gatsby shifted its focus away from its general-purpose front-end framework, but with that, it also entered the highly competitive everything-as-a-united-GraphQL-API space where Apollo GraphQL, Kong and others already played.

“The future of the web is composable architectures. The acquisition of Gatsby not only accelerates our product roadmap, but more importantly, allows us to provide developers with increased flexibility and choice in building composable web experiences,” said Biilmann. “We’re excited to integrate Gatsby’s cloud innovations into the Netlify platform, and open up Gatsby’s content hub and source plugin ecosystem to the diverse world of modern front-end frameworks like Astro, Next and Remix.”

GatsbyJS co-founder Kyle Mathews today noted that Netlify plans to invest into the Gatsby framework, while many of the Gatsby Cloud features will be integrated into Netlify and the Valhalla Content Hub will become available as part of the Netlify platform.

“After years of partnering with Netlify, we are thrilled to join forces,” said Zack Urlocker, CEO, Gatsby. “We share a belief in the future of composable architecture, and together, we will better be able to bring our cloud solution to enterprise teams and accelerate the adoption of composable.”

As far as cliché startup acquisition quotes go, that’s about as cliché as it gets, but at least there’s no mention of an incredible journey.

Netlify acquires front-end platform Gatsby by Frederic Lardinois originally published on TechCrunch

If, and only if, McDonald’s had an appetite for acquisitions

Welcome back to Equity, the podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. I’m back, I’m drinking an iced Americano maybe because I miss Alex, maybe because I just feel different today, and I’m ready to start our week together.

Here’s what I got into on today’s Equity Monday:

As always, thanks for listening. Let’s end our start to the year strong! You can support me by following me on Twitter and Instagram. The show also tweets from @equitypod, so follow us there!

Equity drops at 10:00 a.m. PT every Monday and at 7:00 a.m. PT on Wednesdays and Fridays, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts. TechCrunch also has a great show on crypto, a show that interviews founders, one that details how our stories come together, and more!

If, and only if, McDonald’s had an appetite for acquisitions by Natasha Mascarenhas originally published on TechCrunch

Stripe eyes an exit, Dell bets on the cloud, and Shutterstock embraces generative AI

Hey, party people, it’s Kyle, continuing to step in for Greg to write Week in Review as he spends time with his newborn. Dunno about y’all, but it’s been a week. I’m dead tired and thankful it’s over. But because the news never sleeps, I’m rallying with the help of a fourth cup of coffee. Wish me luck.

I’ve talked your ears off about it at this point, but I’m under contractual obligation (not really, but still) to mention TechCrunch’s upcoming Early Stage 2023 event in Boston on April 20. The one-day summit on startups will include advice and takeaways from top experts, plus opportunities to meet fellow founders and share your own entrepreneurial experiences. Don’t miss it.

On the subject of travel, it’s not too early to start thinking about this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, which will take place in late September in San Francisco. Tickets aren’t available just yet, but they will be in the near-ish future. Sign up here for updates.

With the call to actions out of the way (phew), here’s this week in tech news!

most read

Stripe eyes an exit: Mary Ann and Natasha write that fintech startup Stripe has set a 12-month deadline for itself to go public, either through a direct listing or by pursuing a transaction on the private market. The payments giant was founded in 2010, so the fact that it’s exploring avenues for exit isn’t entirely surprising. But Stripe hasn’t been immune to the global downturn, recently laying off 14% of its staff (around 1,120 people) and slashing its internal valuation multiple times. In a twist, Stripe reportedly tried to raise at least $2 billion in capital recently, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Dell bets on the cloud: Ingrid reports that Dell is making an acquisition to beef up its cloud services business — specifically its offering in DevOps. The company is buying Cloudify, an Israeli startup that has built a platform for cloud orchestration and infrastructure automation, sources say for as much as $100 million. The purchase comes as DevOps startups continue to attract attention from investors, with venture funding in the sector reaching $4 billion in Q2 2021, according to PitchBook.

Shutterstock embraces generative AI: As part of a partnership with OpenAI, the AI startup that recently attracted a multibillion-dollar investment from Microsoft, Shutterstock this week rolled out a tool that lets customers create images based on text prompts. Powered by OpenAI’s tech, specifically DALL-E 2, the tool creates images that are “ready for licensing” after they’re made. That’s significant given that one of Shutterstock’s biggest competitors, Getty Images, is currently embroiled in a lawsuit against Stability AI — maker of another generative AI service called Stable Diffusion — over using its images to train its AI without permission from Getty or rights holders.

Bidet brand buys shower startup: Harri has the scoop on Brondell’s purchase of Nebia, the techy showerhead startup backed by Apple CEO Tim Cook and a host of other big names, including Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia. Nebia stood out when it launched with pricey nozzles that blasted users with a fine mist while conserving up to 70% of the water a typical showerhead sprays out. Co-founder Philip Winter told TechCrunch this week that Nebia’s products, including those it made with Moen, have reached more than 100,000 homes.

An AI maestro, unreleased: An impressive new AI system from Google can generate music in any genre given a text description. But the company, fearing the risks, has no immediate plans to release it. Called MusicLM, the system was trained on a dataset of 280,000 hours of music to learn to generate coherent songs for descriptions like “enchanting jazz song with a memorable saxophone solo and a solo singer” or “Berlin ’90s techno with a low bass and strong kick.” Its songs, remarkably, sound something like a human artist might compose, albeit not necessarily as inventive or musically cohesive.

No rest for Musk’s Twitter: Twitter owner and self-proclaimed “free-speech absolutist” Elon Musk is facing a legal challenge in Germany over how the platform is allegedly failing to enforce its own rules against antisemitic content, including Holocaust denial. Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany — which has strict laws prohibiting antisemitic hate speech — making the Berlin court a compelling arena to hear such a challenge. For his part, Musk has repeatedly claimed Twitter will respect all laws in the countries where it operates, including European speech laws, although he has yet to make any public comment on this specific lawsuit.

Text till you drop: Walmart recently introduced a new way to shop via chatbot. Sarah gave it a go and found that the experience leaves a lot to be desired. She writes: “It felt like the process of ordering a few basic things has become an ordeal and has taken a lot longer than the traditional method of searching in Walmart’s app and adding things to the cart. If conversational commerce like this is the future, I’d say this is very much still a work in progress.”

Flutter toward the future: Flutter, Google’s open source framework for building multiplatform apps for mobile, web and desktop, is coming along nicely. Frederic writes that at a recent conference, the tech giant highlighted the latest version of Flutter, which brings massively improved graphics performance, the ability to more easily embed Flutter code into existing web and mobile apps and support for new architectures like WebAssembly and RISC-V.

audio roundup

For your listening pleasure, TechCrunch has a crop of compelling new podcast episodes in the queue (as is the case weekly, might I add). Over at Equity, the crew took the mic to talk through deals of the week, All Raise’s CEO departure, what Google’s antitrust lawsuit means for startups, how the downturn impacted the way companies are hiring and why femtech stood out in 2022. On FoundDarrell and Becca were joined by Klarna’s co-founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski to talk about how the company is expanding beyond the buy now, pay later space to become a neobank. And TC’s crypto-focused Chain Reaction spotlighted Mo Shaikh, co-founder and CEO of the layer-1 blockchain Aptos, which is building infrastructure for web3 apps and products.


TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and surveys — which you know if you’re already one. If you’re not, consider signing up. I doubt you’ll regret it. Just check out the highlights from this week:

Salesforce under siege: Salesforce finds itself under threat from activist investor Elliott Management, which announced it was taking a multibillion-dollar position in the CRM leader. Ron examines what could be next for Salesforce as the company looks to cut costs and potentially sell unprofitable pieces of the organization.

Energy transition is a winner with investors: Tim looks at investments in the energy transition, which took off last year. Businesses, financial institutions, governments and end users around the world sunk $1.11 trillion into low-carbon technologies, which was just over 30% more than 2021 and the second year in a row in which the growth rate exceeded that figure.

Increased scrutiny: Rebecca writes that startups should expect more scrutiny from VCs on their hiring plans. Startups went on a hiring spree in 2021 as VC cash flowed and the job market was hot. But many overindulged in the talent pool and then had to make large cuts and layoffs in 2022.

Stripe eyes an exit, Dell bets on the cloud, and Shutterstock embraces generative AI by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

Mirantis acquires Shipa

Container management platform Mirantis, which you may remember from its OpenStack days and from acquiring Docker Enterprise in 2019, today announced that it has acquired Shipa, a startup that builds tools to help developers develop, deploy and manage cloud-native applications. Shipa previously raised a $3.75 million seed round in 2020, co-led by Engineering Capital and Jump Capital. Mirantis tells me that the price of today’s acquisition was between $10 million and $30 million (in both cash and stock).

Mirantis plans to integrate Shipa into its Lens platform, which promises to help businesses accelerate their cloud-native application delivery. Like Shipa, Lens aims to abstract the complexities of building and running cloud-native applications on top of Kubernetes away by providing a single platform that developers and ops teams can use to develop, deploy, monitor and debug their workloads. Mirantis, it seems, was especially interested in Shipa’s capabilities around security and governance, as well as its tooling to make updates easier. The two companies are also working on integrating the two platforms, with a first integration of Lens into the Lens Desktop planned for March.  The company will also integrate Shipa into its Mirantis Kubernetes Engine.

“Our goal at Shipa, from the beginning, was to give DevOps and platform engineering teams the capability to choose their own underlying tools with a focus on automation to reduce the complexity of the technology infrastructure required by cloud-native applications,” said Bruno Andrade, co-founder and CEO of Shipa. “Our technology makes deployment and management of applications and updates much easier and faster by letting developers focus on what they do best and not infrastructure.”

Andrade, together with his co-founder and VP of engineering Vivek Pandey, as well as the rest of the Shipa team, will join Mirantis.

Mirantis CEO and co-founder Adrian Ionel noted that “Shipa’s technology puts ground-breaking application discovery, optimization, security and management capabilities in the hands of Lens users.”

It’s worth noting that Lens, which is available as an open-source product (at least for the core of its capabilities), currently has an installed base of one million users, with 50% of Fortune 100 companies using it, according to Mirantis.

While Mirantis isn’t exactly on an acquisition spree, it’s worth noting that the company also acquired in July 2022, another service that helps developers deploy their cloud-native applications.

“We were the first investors in Shipa’s vision of application infrastructure-as-code, and now, as shareholders in Mirantis, we can’t wait to continue our journey together,” said Shipa investor Ashmeet Sidana, founder and chief engineer of Engineering Capital. “Mirantis has a terrific track record with acquisitions and we believe Shipa is complementary to Mirantis’ vision of simplifying the Kubernetes developer experience – adding the observability and management of applications. We are looking forward to watching the combined vision come to fruition.”

Mirantis acquires Shipa by Frederic Lardinois originally published on TechCrunch

Built buys fellow construction robotics firm, Roin

One of the most remarkable things about construction robotics is the sheer breadth of tasks that can potentially be automated. As I’ve noted before, the entire category is a prime target for robotics startups, given that it fills all of the big Ds of automation — dull, dirty and (quite often) dangerous. It’s also one of those areas that have become increasingly difficult to staff, post-pandemic, even as construction work came roaring back.

So, if I’m running a fairly successful company that makes construction robots, I’m certainly thinking of diversification. The quickest way to jump start that is, of course, acquiring another, smaller startup. It’s something I suspect we’ll be seeing with increasing regularity as early-stage firms struggle to get funding to stay afloat amid a broadly stagnating VC market.

Built Robotics, currently best known for its earth excavating autonomous heavy machine, Exosystem, announced today that it has acquired Roin Technologies (putting some of that fundraising to good use). The smaller firm is YC-backed, and best known for its concrete robots, which trowel and shoot (shotcrete) the stuff. In fact, Roin’s URL already redirects to its parent company.

“Since their founding, Roin’s team has pushed the boundaries of construction autonomy, which has created a unique expertise in our industry,” Built Robotics founder and CEO Noah Ready-Campbell said in a release. “With Roin joining Built, the combined teams will continue developing new autonomous construction applications and customers can expect to see robotic applications expanding beyond earthmoving.”

Roin CEO Jim Delaney will be joining Built as part of the engineering team. He notes, “We see joining Built as the next step in Roin’s story. I have always admired what Built has launched and how they’ve moved the construction industry forward in adopting new technologies, and I am excited to have the opportunity to join their team.”

This isn’t one of those cases of a one-to-one technology acquisition. Rather than being competitors, it seems the two construction systems can be potentially complementary, representing two distinct pieces of the broader construction puzzle.

Built buys fellow construction robotics firm, Roin by Brian Heater originally published on TechCrunch

Thoma Bravo agrees to acquire digital forensics firm Magnet Forensics for over $1B

Thoma Bravo, the private equity and growth capital firm, today announced that it would spend $1.8 billion CAD (~$1.34 billion) to acquire Magnet Forensics, a Waterloo-based company making software used by defense forces and businesses to investigate cybersecurity threats.

Magnet Forensics will be purchased by a newly created corporation controlled by Thoma Bravo, Morpheus Purchaser Inc., which will pay Magnet Forensics shareholders a 15% premium over Thursday’s closing price on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Post-buy, Morpheus will be merged with mobile device forensics outfit Grayshift, which Thoma Bravo acquired majority control of last July.

The transaction is expected to close by Q2 2023, subject to shareholder and other customary approvals.

“We look forward to bringing together the complementary capabilities of Magnet and Grayshift to create a leader in the digital forensics and cyber security space,,” Thoma Bravo partner Hudson Smith said in a press release. “Digital evidence is an increasingly critical aspect of investigations and the combined company will be well-positioned to further market expansion, accelerate innovation and provide even greater solutions to its customers.”

Launched in 2010, Magnet Forensics develops digital investigation software that acquires, analyzes, reports on and manages evidence from computers, mobile devices, internet of things devices and cloud services. The company was founded by Jad Saliba, a Waterloo regional police constable who worked in the police force’s high-tech crimes unit. After incubating Magnet Forensics’ software at the unit, Saliba decided to strike out on his own and sell the tech for a licensing fee, partnering with Jim Balsillie and Adam Belsher, then BlackBerry executives.

Before going public, Magnet Forensics attracted an investment from In-Q-Tel, the nonprofit venture arm of the U.S. intelligence community. The company claims that its software is used by more than 4,000 public and private sector customers — e.g. police forces, intelligence agencies, tax officials, border guards, and militaries — in over 100 countries, helping investigators protect assets and guard national security.

Business was booming prior to the acquisition (granted, Thoma Bravo first submitted a proposal early last October). During its Q3 2022 earnings call, Magnet Forensics reported that annual recurring revenue increased 50% year-over-year to reach $80.9 million while EBITDA — earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — climbed 25% to $5.9 million.

Magnet benefitted from the expanding market for digital forensics, which is expected to grow from $5.8 billion in 2022 to $10.9 billion in 2028, according to a recent Imarc report.

Adam Belsher, who serves as Grayshift’s CEO, says that the combination of Grayshift’s mobile access and extraction capabilities and Magnet’s digital investigation suite will position the merged firms strongly — allowing customers to better extract, process, examine, collaborate on and manage digital forensic evidence.

“We believe the combination of Magnet and Grayshift will unlock tremendous value for our customers by further integrating and expanding our product suite which will result in more seamless workflows in the recovery and analysis of critical digital evidence to investigations and ultimately contribute to our shared mission of the pursuit of justice,” Belsher said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with Thoma Bravo and Grayshift to build upon our digital investigation suite to further innovate and continue to serve a growing number of organizations and use cases.”

For Thoma Bravo, which now has an estimated over $114 billion in assets under management, Magnet Forensics is the latest in a series of high-profile software venture purchases. In 2022, the firm spent billions of dollars buying cybersecurity startups Ping Identity, Sailpoint, ForgeRock, Bottomline Technologies and Coupa Software.

Thoma Bravo agrees to acquire digital forensics firm Magnet Forensics for over $1B by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

Fidelity slashes the value of its Twitter stake by over half

Fidelity, which was among the group of outside investors that helped Elon Musk finance his $44 billion takeover of Twitter, has slashed the value of its stake in Twitter by 56%. The recalculation comes as Twitter navigates a number of challenges, most the result of chaotic management decisions — including an exodus of advertisers from the network.

Fidelity’s Blue Chip Growth Fund stake in Twitter was valued at around $8.63 million as of November, according to a monthly disclosure and Fidelity Contrafund notice first reported today by Axios. That’s down from $19.66 million as of the end of October.

Macroeconomic trends are likely to blame in part. Stripe took a 28% internal valuation cut in July, while Instacart this week reportedly suffered a 75% cut to its valuation.

But Twitter’s wishy-washy policies post-Musk clearly haven’t helped matters.

The network’s become less stable at a technical level as of late, on Wednesday suffering outages after Musk made “significant” backend server architecture changes. Twitter recently laid off employees in its public policy and engineering department, dissolving the group responsible for weighing in on content moderation and human rights-related issues such as suicide prevention. And the company’s raised the ire of regulators after banning — and then quickly reinstating — accounts belonging to prominent journalists.

Then again — as Axios business editor Dan Primack pointed out, appropriately in a tweet — Fidelity seems to rely heavily on public market performance where it concerns valuations. It’s quite possible that the firm doesn’t have any inside info on Twitter’s financial performance.

Cutbacks at Twitter abound as the company approaches $1 billion in interest payments due on $13 billion in debt, all while revenue dips. A November report from Media Matters for America estimated that half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers, which spent almost $750 million on Twitter ads this year combined, appear to no longer be advertising on the website. Twitter’s heavily pushing its Twitter Blue plan, aiming to make it a larger profit driver. But third-party tracking data suggest it’s been slow to take off.

Some Twitter employees are bringing their own toilet paper to work after the company cut back on janitorial services, the New York Times recently reported, and Twitter has stopped paying rent for several of its offices including its San Francisco headquarters.

Musk has attempted to save around $500 million in costs unrelated to labor, according to the aforementioned Times report, over the past few weeks shutting down a data center and launching a fire sale after putting office items up for auction in a bid to recoup costs.

Separately, Musk’s team has reached out to investors for potential fresh investment for Twitter at the same price as the original $44 billion acquisition, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A poll put up by Musk asking if he should step down as head of the company closed December 19 with users voting resoundingly in favor of him leaving. Musk responded several days afterward, saying he’d resign as CEO “as soon as [he found] someone foolish enough to take the job” and after that “just run the software and servers teams.”

Fidelity slashes the value of its Twitter stake by over half by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch