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December is getting long in the tooth, there’s Christmas music on every radio station, and the poinsettias are in full bloom. It looks like the year is getting close to the end, and we, for two, are perfectly happy to see the back of it. Bring on the last 300 or so hours of the year, and we can start pondering what the new year will bring. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
Will he or won’t he?: The poll has spoken — a majority of people who came across Elon Musk’s post asking if he should step down as the head of Twitter felt he should, Ingrid reports. Musk says a lot of things, and then says some more things, so we’ll see if he actually takes his advice and abides by the results of the poll.
Gaming for a fine: Fortnite maker Epic Games agreed to take its lumps from the Federal Trade Commission, which fined the company $520 million related to children’s privacy charges. Amanda has more about the fines and what this means for Epic.
Here’s a gaggle of Google news: Google is doing a lot in India, and Jagmeet, Manish and Ivan were there for it. First, the company addressed official documents with a DigiLocker integration to the Files app, and said that India’s regulations should provide legal and innovation certainty to firms. New features for the country include multisearch and in-video search features and being able to decode a doctor’s bad handwriting. There are also some new YouTube features, like watching a video in multiple languages and Courses, the video unit’s new edtech experience.
Startups and VC
Life as a startup founder is never dull. That’s doubly true for Black founders, who routinely struggle to raise funds, be noticed and get their fair share of attention, Dominic-Madori reports. For the new year, she conducted a mini-survey to find out what Black founders are expecting in 2023. All three founders brought up the same concerns — the economy, the environment and equality.
Connie had the chance to catch up with Fabrice Grinda, a French, New York–based serial entrepreneur who co-founded the free classifieds site OLX — now owned by Prosus — and who has in recent years been building up his venture firm, FJ Labs. He often likens the outfit to an angel investor “at scale,” saying that like a lot of angel investors, “We don’t lead, we don’t price, we don’t take board seats. We decide after two one-hour meetings over the course of a week whether we invest or not.”
We have a few more for you, just to scratch that curiosity itch:
AI see what they did there: ImagenAI, which uses AI to personalize photo editing styles, lands $30 million, reports Kyle.
Really going places: Helm.ai snags $31 million to scale its ‘unsupervised’ autonomous driving software, reports Kirsten.
Very NFTy: Jacquelyn reports that Revel raised $7.8 million to become the Instagram and Robinhood of NFT platforms.
A cut above: Rita reports that salon software Mangomint raises $13 million as it booms in post-COVID labor shortage.
These keyboards really click: Frederic writes up a gift guide for the mechanically (keyboard) inclined.
3 Black founders predict little will change in VC in 2023
A rising tide lifts all boats, but when free-flowing venture capital starts to recede, underrepresented founders are the first to find themselves on dry ground.
Dominic-Madori Davis spoke to three Black founders to get their thoughts on the current funding landscape and the issues that are top of mind for them as we head into the new year.
Vernon Coleman, founder and CEO, Realtime
Sevetri Wilson, founder and CEO, Resilia
Abimbola Adebayo, founder and CEO, Pinnu Analytics
Okay, fine, if that ain’t enough for you, here’s three more TC+ stories to rest thine eyes on:
EVs r the worst: Toyota president keeps pushing idea that people hate EVs, despite epic waitlists, Tim reports.
Less risk, more dollars: The fundraising stages are not about dollar values — they’re about risk, Haje muses.
Chained to a desk: Tech’s latest controversy? The return of the five-day, in-person work week, reports Natasha M.
Big Tech Inc.
Deleting on WhatsApp didn’t always mean delete for everyone, until now. WhatsApp lets you undo that deletion in case you moved too fast. Jagmeet writes that the “new feature, called ‘accidental delete,’ brings a five-second window to let users reverse the action of deleting messages for their own in an individual or group chat and delete them for everyone.” Delete away!
And we have five more for you:
A buyer for Voyager Digital: It’s been a tough year for Voyager Digital, Romain writes, but there is some good news: Binance.US has agreed to buy Voyager Digital’s assets for $1 billion.
Market monopoly: The European Union is proceeding with an investigation into Meta, after some preliminary findings suggest the company abused its dominant market position to benefit Facebook Marketplace, Paul writes.
Get ready for the recap: We all enjoy seeing what the year was about. Remember the top nine? Well, Instagram’s new Reels template lets you create your own 2022 recap, Aisha reports.
Is the WFHer the new slacker?: Marc Benioff made some statements about work-from-home that had Ron scratching his head. He went to the company for some clarification only to find these new statements also muddle the message about Salesforce’s view of WFH.
Bored Apes gets a new Chief Ape: Bored Apes creator Yuga Labs appointed a new CEO — former Activision COO Daniel Alegre, Amanda reports.