Picture credits: Bryce Durbin / Tech Crunch
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The event horizon for which we can expect to find ourselves in (literal) hot water in climate matters has come much closer. Want to know how far? The climate deadline is close enough for it to be interesting again for VCs. VC is an asset class with a 10-year cycle. In other words: some of the most powerful money people believe they will see a return on their investments within the next 10 years. In a nutshell, as I wrote in my TC+ column this week, it scares me.
Drama on social mediaaaaaaaaaa
I'm sure Twitter is relieved to see Reddit making headlines this week. Reddit's management team appears to have pressed the slow-motion button and taken control of a few trains before hitting the "full steam" button and pointing the trains at each other.
This idle train wreck is quite a thing, and it's all tied to Reddit's new API pricing. Popular third-party Reddit app Apollo announced its closure, and the Reddit CEO wasn't a big fan of how it went, giving Apollo's developer both barrels in a drama-filled AMA. Reddit briefly goes down, subreddits and moderators were protesting — thousands of them, in fact — and it looks like many of them plan to stay down indefinitely. My goodness it's a one way trip to Yikes City all around.
Elon shouldn't be too relieved, though; the bird sanctuary got its own titles, and most of them were… not very encouraging. On the bright side, Elon no longer needed to be CEO, as Linda Yaccarino officially took the big chair as CEO of Twitter. The very next news story was that Twitter was being evicted from its Boulder office for unpaid rent. Whoops. Alex explained how Twitter's ad revenue has fallen. TL; DR: It's not pretty.
The robots are coming! The robots are coming!
AI continues to dominate our news coverage, as there is a lot of movement in this space.
Mistral AI hits in France raised a $113 million seed round to take on OpenAI. This may prove to have an edge in the notoriously privacy-focused EU - but, I'm not going to lie, I also raised my eyebrows at the company's $260m valuation - that's a lot of equity to be given up during a round of table trading.
There was a whole bunch of corporate AI news, not all of which is relevant to startups, but the recap is that Meta is opening up an AI-powered music generator, while Itoka wants to allow the AI-generated music via blockchain. I've made little secret of my disdain for blockchain technology in general (and the painful irony of blockchain for the climate in particular), but this one seems to be a particularly powerful non-starter. Prove me wrong, Itoka, prove me wrong.
Powerful Apropos - Morgan argues that Blush, the AI buff on the same team as Replika, is more than just a sexbot. I'm kinda into it, actually - sexting is fun, and I'm intrigued by the creative possibilities of getting sassy with a robot. As long as I don't catch a textually transmitted infection. Hmm.
Man, where's my… do we still call them cars?
Carvana was on an incredible rally in the stock price, until it hit the railings. Harri and Alex make out the dizzying heights, crushing depths, and weird bouncing in between the company seems to find itself in. the company forecasts record profits. It sucks if you were one of the WallStreetBets brothers sure the company was gone, but I'm sure the startup itself was relieved.
The other big story that's been on our radar is Tesla and its charging standard. We reported that GM and Ford could help spark a charging standards war and concluded that EV charging networks are turning to the Tesla standard as support for it accelerates. On TC+, Tim wonders if Tesla's Supercharger network will be strained under the weight of the GM and Ford deals - but also that Tesla has a winner on its hands. In February, Google added electric vehicle chargers to its Google Maps product, and this week Apple followed suit – Apple Maps will show open locations near you.
Also this week, I lamented that EVs are receding, in that they're getting bigger, heavier, and dumber - only for Harri to report two counterpoints: Telo bets America is ready for a little pick-up Dream-up and Fiat's little Topolino concept that looks like a catch-all. adore. Yass.
Not Exactly startup news, but worth keeping on your radar as a startup founder in this space:
Top reads on TechCrunch this week
That's it, friends! If you'd like to send me topical tips, here's what I cover and how to reach me. And if you like a good pitch deck, here's the full list of my Pitch Deck Teardowns on TechCrunch+ and how you can submit yours.
Peace, see you next week!