Hey folks, welcome to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular newsletter summarizing Tech Week. I hope summer treats you all – it’s a balmy 30’s here in NYC! – and that some much-needed R&R is on the agenda.
Speaking of the agenda, put your calendars on Disrupt, TC’s annual conference starting in September. Whether you’re a startup newbie learning the basics or a founder desperate to change the world, Disrupt gives you the tools, knowledge, and connections to help you do it to reach. You don’t want to miss it.
Elsewhere, stay tuned for City Spotlight on June 7 (Wednesday), which will feature Atlanta, Georgia this round. Atlanta has emerged as one of the country’s most vibrant new hubs, with booming cybersecurity and software-as-a-service sectors and a plethora of investors eager to support the metro area’s hot new startups. City Spotlight speakers include Mayor Andre Dickens – we’re excited to hear his thoughts.
Now that the PSAs are out of the way, here’s your WiR!
Fidelity mad at Reddit: This week, Fidelity, the lead investor in Reddit’s latest 2021 funding round, cut the estimated value of its equity stake in the social media platform by 41% since investing. The devaluation is part of a broader trend that has gripped a number of growth-stage startups around the world over the past year. It raises uncertainty about whether Reddit will maintain its original intent of allegedly going public at around $15 billion.
Amazon Prime dates: According to a new report from Amazon, Amazon is considering offering low-cost or potentially free nationwide cellular service to Prime subscribers in the US Bloomberg. The tech giant is reportedly in talks with Verizon, T-Mobile, Dish Network and AT&T.
Gig workers are paid: Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and other app-based ride-hailing and delivery companies may have to reimburse California gig workers millions of dollars for unpaid vehicle expenses between 2022 and 2023. The back payments stem from a provision in Proposition 22, the controversial law that classifies gig workers as independent contractors rather than employees and promises them half-hearted protections and benefits.
The ace up Volkswagen’s sleeve: Volkswagen is banking heavily on the upcoming ID.Buzz electric van. With the vehicle only a year away, the automaker is looking forward to years of anticipation not only selling the nostalgia-shrouded bus, but having it act as a Halo product to engage customers with the brand’s full electric vehicle lineup .
Shopify launches Shop Cash: Shopify’s Shop app is introducing a new rewards program called Shop Cash, the e-commerce platform announced on Friday. Funded by Shopify, the new program earns shoppers a 1% refund on purchases made through online checkout service Shop Pay.
Stripe enters the lending business: Stripe wants to make it easier for companies to access credit. The private financial infrastructure giant today announced a new credit card program strip output, its commercial card issuing product. Denise Ho, Product Lead at Stripe, gave TechCrunch the exclusive details – read the article Mary Ann.
AI conquers Minecraft: AI researchers have built a Minecraft bot that can explore and expand its abilities in the game’s open world – but unlike other bots, this one basically wrote its own code through trial and error and many of GPT-4 requests. This experimental system, called Voyager, is an example of an “embodied agent,” an AI that can move and act freely and purposefully in a simulated or real environment.
YouTube shorts, in minutes: Dumb, a startup that practically uses AI in video editing, is already generating demand before it is released to the public. The Y Combinator-backed company has hundreds of video creators testing its product, which uses AI to create short videos from YouTube content, and has a waiting list of over 20,000 before launch, they say.
Need a new podcast to get your weekend off to a good start? Good news – TC has it all for you (and then some). At Equity capitalthe crew took a look at the latest from Web Roulette, Stripe’s acquisition of Okay, what Klarna’s Q1 means for the fintech market and the early stage strategies of QED and a16z. Found spoke to dr Stacy Blain, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of Concarlo Therapeutics, on the company’s novel therapeutic solutions for drug-resistant cancer. At chain reactionGary Vaynerchuk, Chairman of VaynerX and CEO of VaynerMedia and NFT collection VeeFriends, shared his experiences in the creative media industry. And the TechCrunch Live People have grappled with how overblown AI doomerism is — and why the gits blowing it want it that way.
TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and polls – what you know if you’re already a subscriber. If not, consider signing up. Here are a few highlights from this week:
Competitive Concerns in the Age of AI: AI is rapidly changing the way companies perceive, reason and adapt to the market. But these game-changing capabilities are disrupting the way companies interact with competitors and consumers. Henry Hauser is advice in Perkins Coie‘s antitrust and litigation practice groups. He reflects on this in an informative article.
Salesforce becomes a data company: Could the amount of data generated by the Salesforce family of products become more valuable than the products themselves—at least in terms of new revenue streams? This piece examines the possibility.
Why aren’t more scientists becoming founders?: Why is it so common for outsiders to bring research out of the lab rather than the scientists themselves? It is difficult to solve the problem, but Rebecca manages it skillfully.