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Welcome to the Daily Crunch for Wednesday April 6th, 2022! Today Pinterest announced that it would ban all climate change misinformation from its platform and can we just say… it’s about time! May all other platforms follow.
Also, while we’re on the subject of our little soapbox, the earth isn’t flat and vaccines have little impact on your 5G reception. Too bad because we quiet can’t get more than a few bars at the supermarket.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Sources say Better.com is losing “$50 million a month.”: We think reporter Mary Ann Azevedo did a great job keeping tabs on the Better.com drama. In the latest episode, sources revealed to her some internal meeting details that the digital mortgage lender is losing “roughly $50 million a month.” Unsurprisingly, the company is now offering a severance package to employees it hasn’t laid off yet. There’s a town hall meeting today, so Mary Ann will most likely have more to share in the coming days.
- Navigate the choppy e-commerce seas: As reporter Ingrid Lunden writes, “E-commerce is synonymous with shopping on Amazon, but the reality is that a retailer has the opportunity to use a bunch of different channels to sell and market products.” Productsup wants retailers help decipher this complex and fragmented world with some marketing and sales tools you can manage from one place.
- Yes, Twitter looks at an edit button: We already played through this edit button thing, but even after that jokes about it last week, Twitter now says it’s been working on an edit button for a year, and it’s not because Elon Musk took part in a poll. To edit or not to edit has been the fodder of TC Slack this week, and it seems people are expecting one of two scenarios: typos will be fixed, or misinformation will be rife.
Startups and VCs
TechCrunch reached the size of Texas today with our first City Spotlight of 2022, where we’re doing everything we can to support Austin Wired. Connie spoke to billionaire investor Jim Breyer about why he left Silicon Valley for Austin, Brian took a look at how global politics and finance could bring more manufacturing to central Texas, Laura Lorek profiled the tech eccentric by Austin Whurley and Mary Ann summarized how Austin reinvented itself and earned its current reputation as a technology hub.
Outside of the Lone Star State, it was a big day of EV news. Rivian celebrated the production milestones that put it on track to meet its 2022 goals, which is great news for me because it could mean that at some point I’ll cross the wait list and take on one of the off-road pickup trucks because Obviously that’s what I need to drive to my local Whole Foods. General Motors finally figured out its supply chain issues and recall of 141,000 bolts and restarted its assembly line. And the US government has finally figured out that it has 99,000 problems in the form of a dire shortage of charging stations to power all the vehicles it wants to run if it wants to go fully electric.
Moar News, fresh from the TechCrunch Fire Department full of tasty news and commentary:
- I’m too sexy for Milan, New York and Hangzhou: Zhiyi Tech raises $100 million to help fashion brands predict best sellers.
- You turn me right side up baby, right side up like a rocket baby: SpinLaunch scores on NASA test mission to demonstrate its unique launch method.
- Know when to walk away, know when to run: The only mistake is not learning, and in the latest episode of TC’s Equity Podcast, the team discusses that for startups, failure is an adventure of your own choosing.
- A dollar is what I need (hey, hey): Docyt raises $11.5M Series A for its AI-powered accounting automation service.
- Non, je ne internete rien: Stackblitz raises $7.9 million to bring a better IDE to your browser.
- Bleep bloop, that’s the police tone: Prepared wants to bring the US 911 system into modern times.
- Draw me like one of your French grills: OpenAI’s new DALL-E model draws everything – but bigger, better and faster than before.
- Squeezes me gently with his song: Best known for its battery packs, Anker launches a Kickstarter campaign for its first 3D printer.
6 Questions Investors Should Ask When Evaluating Psychedelic Biotech Companies
A few years ago, taking small amounts of psychedelics to boost mood or productivity was the hot topic of small talk in Silicon Valley.
Today, psychedelic therapeutics are used to treat a variety of mental health issues. And as more regions decriminalize the use of herbal substances, investors are taking notice.
With plans to raise a $25 million fund and more than $15 million already invested, PsyMed Ventures focuses on early-stage startups developing psychedelic therapeutics.
In a TC+ guest post, partners Matias Serebrinsky and Greg Kubin elaborate on their investment thesis: “We believe in a future where psychedelic therapy will be as commonplace as going to the dentist, but the journey will not be easy.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead. Sign up here.)
Intel has joined other big tech companies such as Apple, AMD, Adobe and General Electric to cease operations in Russia. This follows the move to stop deliveries to customers in Russia and Belarus. And don’t miss the new TechCrunch feature from reporter Vadim Smyslov, covering the impact of the war on Russia’s tech workers.
We also learned today that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was targeting a massive botnet controlled by Russian intelligence and was able to take it down. Dubbed Cyclops Blink, this malware had apparently infiltrated thousands of devices, and we report: “Security researchers say the botnet is capable of intelligence gathering and spying and launching distributed denial of service attacks affecting websites and servers with junk traffic, and destructive attacks that render devices inoperable and cause system and network disruptions.” All of which makes us glad this one is down.
Here are two more bits of news to sink your teeth into:
- CNN+ downloads are more like a minus: CNN+ launched last week and has seen about half its downloads since its opening day. We might see a thing or two play out: people are tired of having an app for every channel, and/or the channel needs to up its content game.
- Visa opens the first innovation center in Africa: The Kenyan studio brings the global digital payments giant a deeper connection to the country’s developers and partners aiming to create payment and commerce tools.