Amazon says it’s ‘disappointed’ after Staten Island fulfillment center workers unionize – TechCrunch

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Have a nice day and welcome to Daily Crunch for Friday April 1, 2022! It’s been a sluggish news day at TC Towers because we checked every PR pitch for April Fools’ Day and every PR agency in the world advised their clients to put embargoes on literally every other day of the year.

Alex and Mary Ann reiterated Equity’s position in a particularly encouraging episode this week, which included the downgrade of Instacart’s rating. Now, if you’ll forgive us, we’re just hearing Rick Astley on repeat. Trick is on you 900 people who tried to get us to click on these links. – Christine and hey

PS Before we forget – TechCrunch Disrupt is back with a personal event in October. Join us! We even have a Twofer offer code for you so you can bring a friend!

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Another Amazon center votes to organize: Today’s big news was no laughing matter for Amazon, but left employees at the e-commerce giant’s JFK8 fulfillment center in Staten Island feeling happy for the weekend. They voted for union organization. Brian has been keeping a close eye on this for TechCrunch and reports that Amazon is likely to contest the voting results and has seven days from today to do so.
  • This is not an exercise: In case you missed last night’s one, President Joe Biden plans to pass the Defense Production Act so the US can avert a potential shortage of minerals and materials needed for electric vehicle batteries and energy storage.
  • Sad SaaS?: Speaking of ratings, it’s not just Instacart that might be seeing lower ratings. Alex Wilhelm unpacks a report from Silicon Valley Bank that suggests late-stage software-as-a-service companies may also see lower valuations, and startups trying to raise late-stage capital may not have such attractive price.

Startups and VCs

A quiet news day today, but a few fun gems surfaced:

  • British fashion rental company By Rotation is expanding its rent-from-the-community platform to the US
  • Gotta love how pizza has become one of the benchmarks for how agile robots areand I, for one, am pleased to see MIT relying on the phrase “complex dough manipulation.”
  • These robots are gentle on berries: Speaking of robots, a team of researchers has figured out a way for robots to pick very fragile fruits like raspberries.
  • game over: E3, one of the biggest games fairs in the world, has announced they are canceling E3 for another year and promised they will try to continue it next year.
  • Loyal Worldle players got the fuzzy end of the lollipop this week when the answer word didn’t match the word her friend found. I really wish this was the biggest problem the world is facing right now but as someone who uses puns as part of my mental health…thank you, Sarahto get to the bottom of this mystery!

As a startup nerd with a particular fondness for the art of VC pitching, I’m excited to be a part of Lotti Siniscalco’s Pitch Deck Teardown at TC Early Stage in a few weeks.

The how and why of raising OT security capital

Photo credit: SOPA images (opens in a new window) /Getty Images

Operational technology that enables 24/7 operation of critical infrastructure is an area at significant cybersecurity risk, and as the US government takes action to mitigate the threat, security companies dealing with this area are getting the most of it benefit, writes Matt Gatto, a managing director at Insight Partners.

In a guest post for TC+, he explains how recent attacks on critical infrastructure, upcoming regulation and increasing concerns about Russian cyberattacks are creating new opportunities for OT.

“It’s a good time for OT security vendors to seek funding,” says Gatto. “The combination of rising OT cyberattacks and the rise of government regulations is fueling a funding frenzy.”

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead. Sign up here.)

BigTech Inc.

  • It’s electric!: The US Department of Transportation announced some new domestic fuel economy standards for 2024 that will bring the country closer to President Joe Biden’s goal of having half of the vehicles sold in the US be battery-electric by 2030. That means the automakers have to figure out how to go from the industry standard of 37 miles per gallon to 49 mpg.
  • GoPro’s new battery pack packs a punch: Just when you thought it was safe to return to your camera bag for a new battery, GoPro introduces a new Volta battery grip that gives you three times the recording time. It’s great for perfecting your next Michael Bay impersonation.

April fool!

Image of the Formlabs 2D printer, an April Fool's joke

Photo credit: Formlabs

I don’t know about you, but I’m at my wit’s end, and between elections, pandemics, invasions, and the recent death of my favorite band’s drummer, I’ve lost at least 95% of my sense of humor over the last few years. Yet every year tech startups try to outsmart us the ever loving Bejesus. Here are the top five April Fool’s Day jokes this year.

  • 3D printing darlings Formlabs announced the release of a 2D printer. Given my extremely mixed results with the early printers I had from Formlabs, I’d hesitate to order one, but let’s be honest; If they released a 2D printer it would probably be better than a bunch of other junk I’ve had on my desk over the years, so who knows. I’m 99% sure this is a joke, unfortch.
  • Twitter trolled its user base and said it was working on an edit button. It’s the platform’s most requested feature since we all started tweeting in the wee hours of the morning, and everyone knows at this point that it’s unlikely to happen. (Plus, it’s a terrible idea.) But yeah. Way to piss off the masses!
  • Heardle makers had a subtle April Fool’s joke this 100% got me this morning. The Wordle imitation for music fans is super fun; The outrage I felt that it couldn’t be played today really disappointed me, made me cry and hurt me.
  • tvTV has launched a television specially designed for the Apple TV. I particularly appreciate the effort the company has put into creating renderings for a product that makes no sense in so many dimensions that I worry it might create a wormhole and suck us all into an alternate universe, in which there are 2D printers, there is a Twitter edit button, and the Apple TV becomes a cartridge for a toaster.
  • And finally, A stupid beer subscription site did a stupid stunt selling its stupid products through what can only be described as stupid bait-and-switch stupidity. I hope their stupid marketing team and the stupid executives who gave the green light to the stupid idea get into their stupid heads that you can’t just scam people and get away with it. They say all attention is good attention, but consider this my stupid hot attitude: That was stupid. Let’s not do stupid things like that again, and don’t give your money to stupid companies.

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