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It’s Earth Day, also known as April 22, 2022, and we are beyond grateful that the sun sets on another week.
We love our TechCrunch Live events, but we realize we don’t always fit into everyone’s calendars. Good news: They’re now available as a podcast, too, so you can listen along at your leisure.
May your weekend be as energetic as you desire, and full of all the right types of surprises. Oh, and ice cream. – Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Zenly doesn’t want you to miss another event: Remember the big map that used to sit in the passenger side back pocket of your parents’ car? I loved plotting different routes and checking out the graphic at the top that showed how many miles were between cities. Oh, that was just me? Well, anyway, as Romain put it today, Zenly is “making social maps cool again.” The kind where you figure out what is going on nearby and which of your friends are going to be there. The Snap-owned app is undergoing its biggest redesign, adopting a sleeker look with a black background and features to make the app easier to navigate.
- Amazon has its sights set on social: At least that’s what we think with its latest move to acquire India-based social commerce company GlowRoad. The deal comes as other big retail names, like Walmart and YouTube, invest in the social commerce space. Amazon also announced the first five startups that are part of its $1 billion industrial innovation fund focused on logistics, the supply chain and customer fulfillment, all things facing a bottleneck right now.
- Unicorns can check out anytime they like, but they can never leave: That seems to be the sentiment behind global companies reaching $1 billion in value but not going public. However, over in Asia, Anna found that was not a problem — nine of the 10 biggest IPOs in the first quarter came from the region — and with nearly 100 deals made during that time, dare we say it is becoming “a haven for public exits”?
Startups and VC
One of the things often described as the advantage of web3 startups is also its downfall, Connie suggests: Yes, it’s neat that everything is decentralized, but when something goes sideways, there’s no safety net.
What the heck, check out the rest of the startup tech on deck*:
- And they huff and they puff and they turn on noise-canceling: I took a closer look at Sennheiser’s newest earbuds that cancel out the exercise noises while you get your sweat on. In audio news, I also reviewed the curious DJI Mic product – a wireless mic set for creators that falls a little short of the mark for the price, IMO.
- They have 99 problems, but the kitch’ ain’t one: Catherine explores how MadEats is a full-stack delivery startup, not just a ghost kitchen play.
- Make stove, not war: Luke Hutchinson went from five years as an infantry officer to launching a restaurant booking platform, raising $3.6 million to do so.
- It gets knocked down, but it gets back up again: Bipedal robots are a little creepy if you ask me, but Amazon, DCVC and Playground just plunged $150 million into Agility to bring them to a warehouse near you. Not to diminish Brian’s eloquent words, but it’s worth checking out the article just for the video.
- YC or a16z … Who would win in a karaoke battle? I would totally pay money to not have to listen to either of their investment teams sing, not gonna lie – but luckily that is not the topic of the newest episode of Equity. Instead, Alex, Natasha and Mary Ann wonder who runs the best accelerator as a16z joins the fray, taking on YC on its home turf.
- Don’t worry, my sick rhymes will remain confined to these newsletters; there’s no risk of me being invited to throw down lyrics over breakbeats on stage. A propos stage: Did you get your tickets for our climate tech event in June? You can still save $200 on early-bird tickets.
4 questions every CISO should be asking about the metaverse
The metaverse is still taking shape, but it’s already creating headaches for cybersecurity professionals.
Technology that places users inside virtual, immersive environments where they can transact could unlock untold benefits, but it will definitely create a threat attack surface of titanic proportions. To prepare, CSO/CISO David Fairman says organizations must be able to answer these questions:
- Can we protect PII (and other sensitive data) in the metaverse?
- How can I authenticate users?
- Can we protect users from bullying, harassment and exploitation?
- Can we manage this kind of fast-growing attack surface?
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
- Brian Armstrong is waging a bit of a war with Apple, saying that the tech giant’s App Store rules mean that some of Coinbase’s features are being banned. Overall, Armstrong is making the claim that Apple is not being very nice to the crypto world. Meanwhile, Stripe is having no problems with crypto, adding payouts to Connect, with Twitter being the first platform to use it.
- We gleefully learned that former President Barack Obama reads TechCrunch and is taking on disinformation.
- We hope you haven’t tired of social media news because there was a lot of it today. Here’s what we gathered: Consumers are finicky creatures and we demand new features all the time, so Instagram is testing something called “Templates,” which will allow Reels creators to use the same format as other videos. Next, Twitter wants to win back developers with some new tools and is testing status updates. Then TikTok rolled out an in-feed ad feature for interactive add-ons. And finally, Snapchat is testing ads on Spotlight.
- Meanwhile, if you are also trying to remember if Snapchat was still a thing, its first-quarter earnings show that it very much is. And if there were any doubts, Snap and Disney are pairing up to create an augmented reality Cinderella castle mural at Disney World. Bibbidi-bobbidi boo!