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The TechCrunch Top 3
- Cutting out the middle ticket vendor: Move over Ticketmaster and Eventbrite, Spotify has a new website that sells certain live music tickets directly to account holders, Ivan writes.
- Quite a run already: We’re not quite sure how long it should take a company to reach $100 million in annual recurring revenue, but if you are cloud security company Wiz, and it takes only 18 months to reach that milestone, we pay attention. Ron has more.
- Nikola’s new CEO: Electric truck maker Nikola has found its next CEO in current president Michael Lohscheller, who will move into the position on January 1 following Mark Russell’s retirement, Jaclyn writes. The company has had some struggles, so we’ll keep an eye on this one for you.
Startups and VC
QED Investors, a U.S. fintech-focused venture capital firm, has made its first African investment. The firm deployed a rumored $50 million into TeamApt, a Nigerian fintech that provides business payments and banking platforms, Tage reports.
Looks like LongHash ventures are on a roll, Jacquelyn reports, as it launches its second fund, weighing in at $100 million. The firm is investing in startups that are supporting web3 infrastructure. The second fund is substantially larger than the first fund, which came in at $15 million.
- Who will guard the guardians: Carly reports that DNSFilter acquired Guardian, an iOS firewall app. The goal is to build taller walls to help users better hide from web threats.
- Like paperwork, but smarter: Expedock uses AI to digitize freight paperwork and categorize it into existing logistics management tools, and today it closed a $13.5 million Series A, Kyle reports.
- From warmer coffee to colder vaccines?: Brian reports that smart mug maker Ember just made an interesting move, launching a a life sciences company, with sensors that can track whether something shipped cold stays cold in transit.
- I’ll wax lyrical about you on Friday: Beauty and wellness scheduling tool Boulevard raises $70 million, reports Ingrid.
- So, who owns this?: Haje has been taking a closer look at AI-generated art and is curious if copyright law is going to get interesting in the near future.
How to conduct a reduction in force: Planning, execution and follow-up
It’s hard to argue with “measure twice and cut once,” especially when it comes to laying off employees.
Few managers have overseen a reduction in force, which is why Nigel Morris, co-founder and managing partner of QED Investors, has been sharing a five-page document with his portfolio company CEOs to give them guidance.
“We broke the process down into three parts: planning, execution and follow-up,” he writes in a TC+ post that condenses the advice he’s giving the founders he works with.
“The unavoidable reality is that while you’ll need to conduct the RIFs in an organized manner that is grounded in strong business rationale, there is always an overarching need to deliver the message with empathy and respect.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
Jagmeet wins “Big Tech headline of the day” for his story, Snapchat+ arrives in India and it costs just 62 cents. The social media channel joins others in launching a paid version in India at a fraction of the cost it charges globally. Meanwhile, Manish brings us more news from India that the country is putting some guidelines in place for more lending app transparency and consumer controls.
Brian continues to be our Samsung guru with more from the electronics giant, including the new version of the Galaxy Buds, the latest additions to the Galaxy Watch and a look at the new foldable products coming out later this month.
The next time you go into Whole Foods, stick out your palm. Lauren reports that Amazon is expanding its palm-scanning payment technology to 65 more locations. Grocery tech is a hot topic these days, so look out for some TechCrunch+ love for the industry this week.
- Tipping a hat to open source: Ron brings news from the Black Hat USA conference that a group of security companies are teaming up to launch an open source product so that companies like them can share data between security tools.
- Here comes the sun: Ford will begin buying solar energy from DTE Energy, Jaclyn writes.
- Cashing in: SoftBank plans to reduce its stake in Alibaba to 14.6%, Rita reports.
- All eyes on Malaysia: The country is getting a boost from some big tech. First, Ivan reports that Apple Pay launched there, while Kyle unveils that Malaysia is one of the upcoming regions for Google Cloud.
- Exit stage left: Looks like Deliveroo will be getting out of the Netherlands. Natasha L reports that the region accounted for less than 1% of the food delivery company’s gross transaction value, making the cost “too much to try to increase usage in the market to boost its positioning.”
Again, we had a number of stories from yesterday that seem to still be on readers’ minds, so let’s dig in to a few: Elon Musk was having an “okay” good day. SpaceX’s Starship hit a milestone, Aria writes, but Rebecca reports Musk sold nearly $7 billion in Tesla shares, perhaps because that $44 billion check to Twitter is going to bite. Meanwhile, there were layoffs for Microsoft, iRobot and Hootsuite. And Coinbase’s earnings were as expected, Jacquelyn, Alex, and Anita write.