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Something really scary is happening. It’s an Internet-driven horror story that unfolds before us in three interwoven acts: (1) AI technology is improving so rapidly that I recently suffered an existential crisis, wondering whether I There was also AI. (2) People do not know what is real and what is not on the Internet. (3) With the 2024 presidential election approaching, we have a recipe for disaster.
We can copulate so extensively at this point that digging our way out may prove impossible. Make a cup of coffee and breathe; I’m exploring the full depth of my fear in “On the Internet, No One Knows You’re a Bot”.
Fintech keeps printing dollars, pounds, dinars and rupees
Mary Ann reported earlier this year that even well-funded fintech companies were undergoing layoffs, but it appears that optimism has returned to the sector. This week, it was revealed that celebrity investors (including Paris Hilton) piled into consumer savings startup Checkmate, and Kyle reported that Nimbus raised $70 million to help move banks away from legacy tech and into the new-age digital age. Funded million.
Note though: You would be wrong to believe that all this innovation is happening only in the major, obvious financial centers of the world. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen major innovations around the world, including a major Brazilian player plotting to serve 11 African markets, a startup helping Indonesians take control of their credit scores, a bank is raising $78 million to expand operations across the South. Stories coming from Africa, Singapore and the Philippines, and India, Kenya, LATAM, France, and more. This is great news for startups looking to grow through international expansion. The playbook exists, as do the investment dollars.
- PhonePe continues to raisin: PhonePe gets additional $100 million from General Atlantic after investor Manish reports already Invested $100 million last month.
- “Possibly a job for the big banks”: Mary Ann reports that LGBTQ+-focused neobank Daylight calls it quits.
- Like Mint, but for startups: Frederick reports that Firmbase has raised $12M to modernize financial planning for startups.
doing it for lol
The social media landscape is evolving at neck-and-thumb speed, with stories coming thick and fast across the TechCrunch news desk. The Surgeon General took an oath this week suggesting that social media “may pose a profound risk of harm to the mental health and wellbeing of children and adolescents.” As an adult who often finds that social media harms my mental health and well-being gives me a deep shadow of wonder.
Some organizations are fighting back, including the state of Montana, which decided to try to ban TikTok outright, citing that it is “a threat to Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information harvested by the Chinese Communist Party.” Taking action to avoid leaving.” TikTok, in turn, sued, claiming the ban violates the First Amendment.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis decided to skip the announcement rally and announce his run for president on Twitter, bringing the entire social media platform to a halt. I’m wondering if we’re starting to see why Elon Musk was interested in buying Twitter: Being front and center seems to be something he enjoys. I won’t lie though: I’m pretty bored with the whole “Elon buys Twitter” saga, but I can’t look away. I am very grateful to Amanda and Alyssa for putting together what you need to know about Elon Musk’s Twitter overview.
Misinformation continues to proliferate on social media, especially as evidenced by what happened this week when a fake Pentagon attack hoax was posted by a Twitter Blue-verified Twitter user named @BloombergFeed, who is Bloomberg’s official website. was confusingly unrelated.
- ChatGPT comes in iOS: Sarah explained that OpenAI launched an official ChatGPT app for iOS, which quickly became available in a dozen countries, hitting 500,000 downloads in less than a week, and an Android app is coming soon. If you’re still a bit unclear about ChatGPT, Kyle and Alyssa have put together a ChatGPT primer for you.
- Instatweet: Amanda summarizes everything we know about Instagram’s Twitter clone, which is releasing later this summer.
- The first cut is the deepest (baby, I know): Meta had 87,000 employees in November. In the months since then, Amanda reported that she’s shed more than 21,000, and this week saw another round of layoffs; This time 6,000 people have been affected.
TechCrunch (virtually) in Atlanta
TechCrunch will host City Spotlight: Atlanta on June 7th. We have amazing programming planned, including a great chat with fintech Greenwood co-founder Ryan Glover, as well as a panel examining the venture ecosystem within the Atlanta area and identifying the best ways to grow and meet does. Local venture capitalist. but that’s not all. If you’re an early-stage Atlanta-based founder, apply for our live pitching contest to pitch to our panel of guest investors/judges; The winner gets a free booth at Disruption to showcase their company in our Startup Alley this year. register here.
hardware highs and lows
Humanoid robots are advancing with literal leaps and bounds. Brian has been on a roll covering Figueres’ humanoid robot’s first steps and the company’s $70 million fundraiser. Meanwhile, Aptronic has been teasing its upcoming-reveal-this-summer robot, and Sanctuary AI also showed off its slightly creepy-looking ‘bot last week. It seems the current flurry of enthusiasm about robots that look more like humans found an inhuman tail wind when Elon Musk showed off Tesla’s bipedal friend last September.
These days, we cover very few startups that are running crowdfunding campaigns on TechCrunch – and with very good reason. Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns are awesome, but, as I covered last month, when it comes to bringing a product to market, there are a lot of difficulties, and even well-meaning ones. Hardware drives also fail from time to time. Our own Mark Harris was hired a few years ago to do an in-depth report on a high-profile failed drone project and briefly discovered that the campaign’s founders were overly optimistic and under-competent. There are many failure modes; Even being highly successful and delivering well-performing products is no guarantee that the resulting company will be successful. To wit, even Pebble (maker of the first commercially viable smart watch) eventually had to close its doors.
The reason I bring this up is because the Nuva Pen team (who I met at CES in January this year) just launched their Kickstarter. I wasn’t going to cover this until I watched the crowdfunding video and noticed something odd: The pen the company showed me wasn’t capable of doing what the pen shown in the video was doing.
These things scare me. Image Credits: Shape
- robot in the skyAriya reveals that Geetai wants to create a robotic labor force for the Moon and Mars.
- for fresh air fans:Brian reports that Dyson has upgraded its vacuums and air purifiers.
- Some journalists have no sense of self-preservation: Brian reports that, unlike my first impressions of Shift’s Moonwalker Electric Shoe-Skates, so far it has resulted in zero injuries.
Everyone’s top reads on TechCrunch this week
- You can’t share it! Sarah reports that Netflix is launching a global password sharing crackdown in an effort to protect its bottom line.
- Wait, you want us to get hacked? Alex asks excellent question, why aren’t venture capitalists flocking to fund cyber security startups? (TC+)
- better late than never? Devin reports that after 28 years, Windows finally supports RAR files.
- To compel man to do human work: Evan reports that Apple reportedly limits internal use of AI-powered tools like ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot.
- There’s that P word again: Kate explores “profitability over growth” as 5 investors explain their mantra for startups. (TC+)
- The GIF that keeps on giving: Paul reports that Meta sold Shutterstock for $53 million after buying Giphy for $400 million, following a UK antitrust ruling.
Calling all early stage startups! Apply to join the Startup Battlefield 200 cohort at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023. All finalists receive expert training, VC networking, a booth at Disrupt, and the chance to compete for $100,000 in equity-free funding. Applications will close on 31 May. Apply today.
AI scares the bejesus out of me by Haje Jan Kamps, originally published on TechCrunch