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Happy V-Day! What happens when you poll crypto traders about whether liking crypto was an “attractive feature”? Well, 4 out of 5 think that’s hella sexy, and 70% said they’d be more likely to go on a date with them if they were into the old ’chains. Our bet is that there may be some confirmation bias in there, because if you were to wave your Ledger wallet at Christine or Haje on a first date, that’d also be the last date. Still, Jacquelyn’s well-timed Valentine’s reporting based on a Binance poll is good news for those among you who like to keep things immutable.
Want a free Disrupt pass? That can be arranged for folks who choose to volunteer at our Early Stage event!
Today, we bring you a great book recommendation from our very own Dominic-Midori: Long out of print since its original publishing in the 1980s, Black Women Writers at Work is a vital contribution to Black literature in the 20th century, and it’s supremely good news that it’s available again. The book features candid interviews with Maya Angelou, Toni Cade Bambara, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alexis De Veaux and many more, highlighting the practices and critical linkages between the work and lived experiences of Black women writers whose work laid the foundation for many who have come after.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Bye bye, Yammer: There wasn’t much yammering going on here, but Microsoft confirmed that it is getting rid of Yammer to go all-in on Viva Engage, Paul writes. Viva and Yammer chief vice president Murali Sitaram explains: “Over the last several months we’ve heard your feedback that having two apps surfacing similar experiences and the same services and content has introduced confusion and made it challenging to drive adoption and create clarity for end users.”
- Take a deposit, leave a deposit: Andreessen Horowitz led a $4.5 million seed round into ModernFi, which is developing a marketplace that helps banks that need deposits to make loans find what they are looking for, while banks with too many deposits can offload them. Christine has more.
- Hello, it’s more funding calling: In PhonePe’s quest to raise $1 billion, an investor group that included Tiger Global and Ribbit Capital invested another $100 million into “India’s most valuable fintech startup,” which is valued at $12 billion, Manish writes.
Startups and VC
It’s always nice to have a lot of capital to invest, but managing a large new fund can be even more advantageous right now given that many later-stage companies that put off fundraising last year will likely be in the market come hell or high water in 2023, Connie reports. Buyout firm Bain Capital just closed its second growth Tech Opportunities fund with $2.4 billion, up from the $1.3 billion that the outfit put to work through the first vehicle of its type in 2019.
Turning a great idea into a viable startup takes patience, perseverance and more than a little luck. But when an idea originates in a lab — whether it’s AI, biotech, robotics or another deep tech research project — things quickly become tougher and much more expensive. Pae Wu, general partner at SOSV and CTO at IndieBio, will join us onstage at TechCrunch Early Stage on April 20 in Boston. Don’t miss it — get your tickets today!
And we have five more for you:
- A tough pill to swallow: Swallowing this pill-shaped sensor could help you avoid invasive procedures, Brian reports.
- I see what you did there: Lauren reports that video is fueling the newest group of dating app startups.
- HireSpot: Kyle reports that YC-backed startup Crew aims to build the “HubSpot for recruiting” and recruited $2.45 million worth of funding so far.
- Letting the AI do your crafting: Writer deploys home-cooked large language models to power up enterprise copy, Devin reports.
- Just gonna stand there and watch me: Connie reports that Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty and a newer startup, FIT:MATCH, team up to sell better-fitting lingerie.
10 years of fintech failures: 5 innovations that didn’t live up to the hype
The tech industry (and the media that covers it) thrives on hype cycles.
Sometimes, relentless cheerleading can bear fruit: Clunky personal digital assistants from the 1990s evolved into sleek smartphones a decade later.
And other times, what seemed like a revolutionary idea turns out to be someone trying to jump-start a fad. (Remember the Google barge, Juicero, and iSmell?)
Looking back over the last decade, TC+ contributor Grant Easterbrook recaps five trends that flopped and the underpinning factors that prevented them from changing fintech “in the way the founders originally intended.”
Three more from the TC+ team, complete with a smattering of retro tunes to keep you going:
- 🎶 I get knocked down, but I get up again: Walter spoke with six VCs who share advice for laid-off tech workers planning to launch startups.
- 🎶 It wasn’t me: Security breach? Don’t blame your employees, advises Carly.
- 🎶 Bye bye, buy: Mary Ann asks if this is the end of the BNPL boom.
Big Tech Inc.
It’s easy to come away from a meeting not having caught every bit of what was discussed. That is where Otter.ai comes in with OtterPilot, its new AI meeting assistant. Aisha reports that this feature automatically sends an AI-generated summary of meeting topics to attendees with hyperlinks to key moments. It will also capture slide presentations and insert those in the summary, too. You can now safely get up and use the bathroom during your next virtual meeting and miss nothing.
And we have five more for you:
- Quiz master: BuzzFeed launches Infinity Quizzes, teaming up with OpenAI to create personalized stories, kind of like your own “Mad Libs,” Ingrid reports.
- Nope, not paying: Carly read some screenshots of an exchange between the Royal Mail and LockBit hacker group and found out Royal Mail refused to pay LockBit’s ransom.
- Breaking and driving: Hyundai and Kia now have free anti-theft software for more than 8 million vehicles after social media posts showed vulnerabilities. Kirsten has more.
- Closer to takeoff and landing: Rebecca writes that Joby is closer to its 2025 commercial launch after completing final assembly of its electric takeoff-and-landing vehicle.
- So I creep: As Sarah explains it, Meta is improving its consumer-facing tool so it will connect the dots between what you interact with on the site and why you are then seeing certain ads.