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It’s Friday, and we’re slumping back in our office chairs with a hot cup of coffee after a week that’s been as slow as mid-winter molasses.
For Black History Month, we are in awe of the story of Sojourner Truth, who was an American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Born into slavery, she escaped with her infant daughter and became the first Black woman to successfully sue for a family member’s freedom in 1828. To learn more about her, this Ted-Ed mini documentary is a great place to start, and if you want to go deeper, don’t miss the stirring biography by Patricia and Frederick McKissack.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Game on: Amazon is in talks to acquire Indian video streaming giant MX Player from Times Internet, Manish reports. He writes that the video app is “popular for supporting a wide range of video formats and reliability on low-cost Android smartphones, has expanded to original content in recent years and has amassed more than 300 million users globally.”
- Gone phishing: Reddit confirmed that hackers accessed its internal data in what it is calling “a sophisticated phishing attack” that targeted its employees, Carly writes. The company said the attack gave hackers access to documents and source code.
- And, just as quickly as it came, it left: Five days ago, India banned over 90 apps, some associated with China, related to lending. Today, Manish writes that this ban on apps, like PayU’s LazyPay, Kissht, KreditBee and Indiabulls’ Home Loans, was lifted.
Startups and VC
It’s been a pretty slow day on the news front today — I think everyone has a case of the Fridays today. Here’s a few of the stories worth taking a closer look at, though:
- Ka-ching: Catherine reports that Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia backs cross-border payments startup Tazapay.
- Oh, you fancy: Jendaya raises funding to scale its Africa-focused luxury e-commerce platform, Tage reports.
- Table stakes: Low-code database APITable is another Airtable challenger, reports Rita.
- Spend the money, get the customers: If you’re a startup, “we haven’t spent a penny on marketing” (TC+) isn’t the flex you think it is, Haje explains.
- Get customers, make money from customers: Also on TC+, Haje explains how to think about your business model as part of your pitch to investors.
How to manage third-party cybersecurity risks that are too costly to ignore
Every early-stage startup relies on third-party vendors to handle some aspect of their operations: No one wants to build a shopping cart, credit card processing or ID verification app from scratch.
But now that third-party data breaches are a regular occurrence, teams need to make managing that risk a part of their day-to-day operations, writes Jon Siegler, co-founder and chief product officer of LogicGate.
“No matter how well you clean things up, the reputational hit to your organization will continue to cost you in lost business down the road,” he writes.
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Batten the hatches: Can your startup survive the economic downturn? Becca and Ron wonder.
- Actual Intelligence: Women-founded AI startups see a boost in VC funding, Dominic-Madori reports.
- We’re just getting started: Tage dives into the African startup ecosystem and talks to eight investors, who argue it’s “still just Day 1” for African startups.
Big Tech Inc.
Connected automotive company Otonomo is being acquired by Urgently in a reverse merger, Ingrid reports. Otonomo went public in a 2021 SPAC, at the time valued at $1.4 billion, but that has since dipped to $70 million. Ingrid writes, “It’s been a bumpy road for smart mobility technology — with macroeconomic pressures, the slower development and rollouts of next-generation technology like autonomous systems and the cooling tech investing market all making it harder for younger businesses to sustain and grow their businesses. Otonomo is perhaps the latest casualty in that pile-up, but it may not be the last.”
If you’re into classic games, one of our popular stories from late yesterday was Sarah’s about a remastered, free-to-try version of Myst arriving on iOS.
And we have five more for you:
- On the hunt: Digital rights defenders infiltrate alleged mercenary hacking group, Lorenzo writes.
- Shut up and drive: Tim Stevens gives an inside look at the electric 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQE.
- Pay attention: Is Google losing control? Devin thinks so, writing, “Google rushing its shot and tripping up so visibly speaks to a lack of readiness even at a limited, experimental level — let alone a global rollout like the one Microsoft has already begun.”
- Like a waterfall, only with information: Taiwan fined iRent, a car renting giant in the country, for customer data and identity documents being spilled onto the open web for months, Zack reports.
- Where you headed?: Uber is integrating Apple CarPlay with its own driver app, Rebecca writes.