It’s the weekend, partygoers, and you know what that means: it’s Week in Review (WiR) Time of the Week. For the uninitiated, WiR is where TechCrunch rounds up all the tech news that took place during the week. It’s like the morning paper, but digitally and without all the weird non-tech stuff. So…it’s not much like the newspaper, really, but it’s well worth a read (in this reporter’s humble opinion).
To receive WiR in your inbox every Saturday, click here. And for the summary of this issue, scroll down. But before you do, be sure to check out TechCrunch’s schedule of upcoming events, including our early stage focused on startups in Boston on April 20 and our mega-conference, Disrupt, in San Francisco on September 19-21.
Crash and Burn: Virgin Orbit is laying off about 85% of its workforce to further reduce expenses after the struggling space company said it was unable to raise additional funds to keep it afloat. The news, which Virgin Orbit filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, comes just two weeks after the company furloughed all employees and went into an “operating pause” to find more cash.
Date during tax filing: There’s a new anime dating sim that does your taxes, and it really works. amanda played Tax haven 3000a game produced by MSCHFthe venture-funded creative studio behind projects like Push Party and the Lil Nas X Blood Shoes. What is the verdict? If you don’t mind risking sharing her personal information with an anime girl obsessed with the tax process, it’s not the least pleasant way to file her return.
The replacement TikTok: As US lawmakers move Go ahead with your plans for a TikTok ban or forced sale, the app’s Chinese parent company ByteDance is pushing another of its social platforms to the top of the US App Store. ByteDance-owned app lemon8a rival to Instagram that describes itself as a “lifestyle community,” jumped into one of the most downloaded slots on the US App Store on Monday, becoming the No. 10 app overall for both in applications such as games.
Groupon has a new CEO: Grouponwho rose to fame popularizing the online group shopping format, has fixed Dusan Senkypl as interim CEO. As ingrid He writes, Groupon has 14 million active users, but almost constantly over the past decade, the company’s financial position has been in slow decline, with stagnation in its core business model, little success in efforts to diversify, declining revenue and ongoing losses.
Get your own Lyft: Lyft could once again drop its rideshare offering, just one of several changes the company’s newly appointed CEO David Risher could make in an attempt to focus on Lyft’s core rideshare business and become profitable. Risher said Rebeca in a wide-ranging interview that other features may also be removed, such as a Wait and Save option that allows riders in certain regions to pay a lower fare if they wait for the best-placed driver.
Twitter APIs are paid: After weeks of deadlock, Twitter finally announced its new API pricing structures on Wednesday. The three tiers include a basic free tier intended primarily for content posting bots, a basic $100 per month tier, and an expensive enterprise tier. Subscription at any level allows access to the Twitter Ads API at no additional cost.
Hard times, slashed valuations: manish reports that some of the largest Indian startups are cutting their valuations, at least in the eyes of their investors, as some backers adjust their estimates amid a weakening global economy. BlackRock has cut the valuation of Byju’s, which is India’s most valuable startup at $22 billion, by almost half to $11.5 billion, while Swiggy, India’s most valuable food delivery startup at $10.7 billion, it has been cut to a valuation of around $8 billion by Invesco.
Ledger wins big: French startup Ledger has added more money, around €100 million ($108 million), to its Series C funding round, Roman writes The company’s main products are hardware cryptographic wallets that offer a high level of security, in the form of USB keys and with a small screen to confirm transactions on the device.
Attack on the supply chain: Multiple security firms have sounded the alarm about an active supply chain attack that is using a Trojan version of 3CX’s widely used voice and video call client to target downstream customers. carly writes The malware is a particularly dangerous type, capable of gathering system information and stealing data and stored 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 US Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a regulatory document. The SEC began investigating Canoo in May 2021, focusing on the company’s operations, business model, revenue, revenue strategy, customer agreements, earnings, and the departures of certain officials, including the co-founder. and CEO Ulrich Kranz.
TechCrunch’s podcast output was as strong as ever this week, in case you’re wondering. He Equity The team talked about artificial intelligence, cryptography, stock crowdfunding and, in a story from complete Left field: Former startup founders trying to bribe China. Meanwhile, Found interviewed Angela Hoover, CEO and Co-Founder of Andi, an ambitious AI generative search chatbox company. And in Tech Crunch liveAtoB co-founder Harshita Arora and Contrary Capital founder and partner Eric Tarczynski discussed the red flags investors should be on the lookout for, how the VC world and startups are reacting to the “genius female” versus “male genius,” and the weak points of the trucking industry.
TC+ subscribers get access to detailed feedback, analysis and surveys, which you know about if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are some highlights from this week:
Crypto on the rise: “Cryptocurrency-focused VCs are making progress with their work.” jaquelyn writes Many remain confident in their investment strategies despite a weak first-quarter market for emerging crypto fundraising, while others note a steeper decline in the pace of investment.
AI is the new oil: Being an artificial intelligence company has become the soup of earth day startup. Companies are scrambling to incorporate AI into their existing business model or change their marketing so that whatever they were already using quietly to do AI is front and center. And the latest Y Combinator class is no different, Rebeca reports.
Substack turns to its writers: Alex writes about Substack’s effort to crowdfund a company-sized extension round. The platform, popular with writers and known for its email service, has raised more than $5 million in commitments for an extension of its Series B from its community and the Internet at large.
A look at Sweden’s opening scene: Following Techstars’ decision to suspend its Swedish accelerator programme, Alex and Ana decided to delve into the country’s start-up scene to understand how a smaller venture market is adapting to a different investment climate.