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By Alex Wilhelm

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Good morning, and welcome to TechCrunch AM for February 7, 2024. On the docket this morning we have news on who wants to buy WeWork out of bankruptcy, Microsoft’s AI pride, a nine-figure acquisition, what’s left of Snap’s market cap, several startup stories, and a long-form interview with the founder of The Honey Pot.

It’s a great mix of stories this morning, so let’s get reading!


TechCrunch Top 3

  1. Adam Neumann wants to buy WeWork: The founder and former CEO of WeWork wants to use his new real estate startup – backed by a16z – to buy his previous globe-spanning, office-sharing company out of bankruptcy. WeWork doesn’t seem too interested, and Neumann is not pleased. All this drama has me wondering just what Flow, his new startup, actually does, seeing as Neumann has time to tangle with a public company that is struggling to keep its light on.
  2. What does $400M buy? For identity and security company Entrust, that’s enough to acquire Onfido. The tie-up makes sense, as Onfido offers identity verification using computer vision, machine learning and other AI tools. The deal value is, per our sources, “well above” the $400 million mark.
  3. Microsoft’s CEO has something to be smug about: During a keynote in India urging local businesses to adopt AI to boost their productivity, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said his company is “waiting for the competition to arrive” to challenge GPT4, the OpenAI model used in some of Microsoft’s products and services. The CEO allowed that competition would catch up in time, but this is the second time we’ve seen Nadella strut a bit about his company’s arrangement with OpenAI.
TechCrunch Top 3 image

Image Credits: Shahar Azran / Getty Images

Don't miss these

Snap Thanos-snaps its market cap: After reporting its fourth-quarter results yesterday, shares of Snap plunged in after-hours trading. This morning, they are off just over 30%, a dramatic and shocking loss of value. What was so bad in the Q4 report? Sarah Perez cites Snap’s “underwhelming revenue figures, tepid user growth and weak first-quarter guidance.” Ouch.

But don’t worry! Snap is cutting costs by deleting jobs, and is working to harmonize the user experience between different Snapchat products. It also wants to grow more in North America, where user monetization runs hotter than in other markets. Sadly for its employees and other shareholders, investors seem more focused on what the company said in its earnings report than its plans for future platform updates.

How to intelligently crowdfund: Crowdfunding is not for every company, so before you embark on a journey to raise capital from your audience, consider if you want to offer rewards, shares, or both. What you offer in exchange for capital will greatly shape how you go about passing the hat.

On record with Beatrice Dixon: The founder and CEO of The Honey Pot, which offers feminine care products made with natural ingredients, Dixon came on Found recently to chat with Dominic-Madori Davis and Rebecca Szkutak. They dove deep into how Dixon got her company off the ground, into major retailers, and how she handled what the duo describe as “the company’s first consumer blowback storm.”

Vertical SaaS is not dead yet: You might think vertical SaaS startups are struggling to raise cash now that software companies are trading at a fraction of their former values, and companies and consumers are suffering from subscription fatigue. Nope! At least not in the case of Goodshuffle, which just raised $5 million for its software aimed at the event rental and production industry.

Meesho wants to unify India’s logistics industry: India’s large population, rapid economic growth, and online population make it a popular market for tech companies. But if you want to get into e-commerce, you will find that its logistics industry is a bit antiquated. Enter e-commerce company Meesho’s new idea, Valmo, which wants to bring together the various pieces of India’s logistics world with a focus on micro-entrepreneurs.

Dutch capital for UK AI: Every country wants to become the source of a number of big, valuable AI companies out of fear the future might pass right by their economy. Following the UK’s recent noise about investing in AI, Dutch recycling giant Bollegraaf Group is investing in UK-based Greyparrot, which “uses computer vision for waste analytics.” Waste analytics and recycling aren’t the first to spring to mind when we think of AGI, but they are an example of a practical application for AI in a massive, critical industry.

Vision Pro? How about Vision Gaming? TechCrunch’s review of the Apple Vision Pro continues to land as the intrepid Brian Heater spends more time with the device. He thinks that while the Vision Pro has an enterprise and productivity focus, the technology — and a lower, consumer-friendly price point — could see Apple shine “more of a spotlight on immersive entertainment.” Excellent. I want to use the Apple face computer to play through my Steam library. Chop chop, Cupertino!

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Image Credits: TechCrunch

Before you go

Who will win the race for cheap EVs? It could be Ford, interestingly enough. The TechCrunch transport desk reports that a former Tesla denizen is working at Ford on a little internal project to build a cheap EV. This gets a big thumbs-up from me, as I am at once very cheap and afraid of the idea of changing oil without expert help.

Before you go image

Image Credits: Jakub Porzycki / Getty Images

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