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Happy Friday, June 3, 2022. Or, while this damn pandemic is still kicking in, it might be March 824, 2020, who knows. Whatever is going on in your world, we hope you experience peace and know the source of peace. Can you say we’ve been reading hippie literature lately? These people seem pretty peaceful – maybe they’re onto something. Have a nice weekend and I take you on the flip side! — haje and Christina
TechCrunch’s top 3
- Brrrr, it’s cold in here – there must be hiring freezes in the atmosphere: It’s been quite a week of layoffs and hiring freezes, as you’ll see later in our trade show newsletter. So perhaps it’s no surprise that after telling Tesla employees to get you into the office, it has now emerged that Elon Musk told executives to freeze hiring. Not only did the news do a number of Tesla stocks, but it also gave President Joe Biden fodder for his jobs report.
- The delivery men are not well: Delivery startups, once the ‘darlings’ of venture capital investing Kyle Put it on, found its groove when neither of us could go anywhere else for the last 2 years. But it seems that the faster the delivery times, or the promise of them, the more some companies were failing to deliver. Sources say the correction is imminent.
- “Inflation and layoffs and supply chain issues, oh my!”: It was Ronassessment of what is happening there. However, as he discovered while listening to Salesforce’s Q1 performance call, CEO Marc Benioff revealed that his company didn’t experience the quarter down the way some other companies did.
Startups and VCs
Sometimes you come across companies that speak with a forked tongue. I’m not saying that’s the case for Blackbaud’s self-proclaimed “social good” cloud provider business, but it’s certainly a bit mind-boggling to have the National Rifle Association as a client since 1997, as reported Guess.
But wait, there’s more:
- Bad contractor, no customer data for you: Kyle reports that Reco, a company using AI to map a company’s data sharing, announced today that it has raised $30 million.
- You spin me the right way, baby, the right way, like a startup, baby, the right way: Mast hosted one of our favorite TechCrunch’s City Spotlight sessions this week, exploring how 10-year-old startup Olive ended up pivoting 27 (!) times before accelerating the company into a $4 billion valuation.
- Bosch cleans up: Famous for hand tools and washing machines, and less famous (but hugely known in the industry) for automotive components, the 135-year-old Bosch company has just announced that it has a $295 million venture capital fund to invest in climate, IoT and autonomous vehicles, Harris reports.
- Chips for dipping: South Korean chipmaker AI Rebellions has just secured a $50 million investment from Pavillion Capital, kate reports.
- Yes please to AI: As Pinterest plans to improve the online shopping experience on its platform, the company announced this afternoon that it is acquiring the AI-powered shopping service for fashion known as name of The Yes, Sarah reports.
- Moar layoffs today: Social app IRL and Insurtech company PolicyGenius have cut their respective workforces by 25% as the great belt-tightening of 2022 continues.
Black Founders Matter urges VCs to commit to diversity
In an interview with new TechCrunch reporter Dominic-Madori Davis, Marceau Michel, Founder and Managing Partner of the Black Founders Matter VC Fund, spoke about a new initiative aimed at boosting diversity in tech.
“It’s about changing the power dynamics in venture capital,” he told TechCrunch. “You have to start with those who are left behind and bring them to the starting line.”
As part of the 25 by 25 commitment, investors would pledge to allocate 25% of their funds to the female founders of BIPOC by 2025.
“If a fund doesn’t want to make that commitment…the question is why,” Michel said. “The status quo no longer holds. Keeping people who look like us out of the picture just doesn’t work.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams grow. You can register here.)
Big Tech inc.
Microsoft said it thwarted a plan by a Lebanon-based hacking group believed to be working with Iranian intelligence services to allegedly target Israeli organizations. The group, called Polonium, created Microsoft OneDrive accounts and then used them to attempt the hacks.
Longtime Amazon consumer division CEO Dave Clark said he was leaving the company in July after 23 years with the company. It’s unclear why he’s leaving after taking on the role just two years ago, but Clark tweeted that “it’s time for me to rebuild.”
News about new features:
You may have missed these gems from yesterday, but Coinbase surprised us by announcing that it was freezing its hiring process. Initial reports indicated that the company was rescinding offers to new employees who had already been accepted, but those people had not yet started. Now we learn that their jobs are safe. Don’t worry, we’re on it and hope to clear this up soon. Next, General Motors’ self-driving vehicle unit Cruise is now able to charge for driverless robotaxi rides in San Francisco. And we’re looking at a report showing how hard it is to get an app to the top of the App Store.