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Greetings, and happy Wednesday! I had to check the calendar before I said the day because does anyone really know what day it is anymore? Amanda had me cracking up with her story on waiting for a new release of Nintendo Switch, only to have the news be something else. I also enjoyed the latest Equity podcast where Natasha and Alex discussed why everyone is copying off each other. Anyway, big tech and crypto news dominated our homepage today, so I have a lot of that for you. Let’s get started! — Christine
The TechCrunch Top 3
When one falls, another falls: Manish is on a roll this week, writing another top story, this time about Voyager Digital, a crypto broker, filing for bankruptcy. It seemed to be a domino effect for the company, which cited Three Arrows Capital’s bankruptcy announcement from last week as one of the factors. Seems Three Arrows owed Voyager Digital some $650 million. Not chump change for sure.
Scraping by: Meta is suing Octopus Data, the U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese company alleging this company offered data-scraping services for Facebook and Instagram, Paul reports. So you don’t have to look that up, data scraping is a means of using automated tools to gather data from websites “en masse.” Paul says this is particularly timely as a U.S. court “reaffirmed an earlier ruling that web scraping is legal” less than 3 months ago. Back to the drawing board they go.
Biting into food delivery: Amazon is trying a new approach to not only get a foot into restaurant delivery, but also attract more Prime members. The marketplace giant is partnering with Grubhub to offer free membership to Grubhub+ (everyone has a “plus,” huh?) for 1 year, Ingrid writes.
Startups and VC
It seems that Bolt and Authentic Brands Group, Forever 21’s parent company, have kissed and made up. Authentic was initially suing Bolt with claims that Bolt had not delivered the one-click checkout technology that was promised, which resulted in the company missing out on some $150 million in sales. Mary Ann reports that the suit was settled “amicably,” and Authentic is now even a shareholder. That was some negotiation.
Crypto gaming startup Cauldron closed on $6.6 million toward the goal of becoming the “Pixar of web3,” Jacquelyn writes. The company told her it wants to do more storytelling and create a legacy with its Project Nightshade game à la how Pixar did with “Toy Story.” To infinity and beyond!
Celus wants to automate the way circuit boards are designed and picked up $25.6 million in new capital to leverage its artificial intelligence technology so that a printed circuit board could be redesigned in a matter of minutes, Paul writes.
What else have we got? Here’s some more:
This fund is on fire: Rita writes about Bonfire Union, Mask Network’s venture arm, and its first fund of $42 million to “invest in web3 like Tencent does in web2.” Oh, and she also wrote about Nothing and its Black Dot NFT.
Everyone deserves digital: I wrote about Finli, a startup that raised $6 million in new funds to continue developing its payment management app for service-based businesses.
An apple for the teacher: Online testing software startup Azota took in $2.4 million to assist Vietnam’s teachers in creating and grading tests, Catherine writes.
At it again: Kate reported that Korean telecom company KT definitely liked what it saw in Rebellions, an AI chipmaker. The startup got another $22.8 million funding from KT just a month after KT poured $50 million into it.
Blop, blop, fizz, fizz: Jordan spoke with Wonderbelly founders Noah Kraft and Lucas Kraft, the Doppler Labs founder, to discuss the antacid startup’s new $3.3 million funding and its mission to take on Tums.
Dear Sophie: How can we transfer a candidate’s H-1B and green card?
My startup needs to hire an AI expert, and our top candidate has a complicated immigration situation. She’s from India and has been on an H-1B for more than 6 years. Her current employer applied for an EB-2 green card on her behalf about 4 years ago through the PERM process. She’s been waiting for a green card number since she was approved and says it may take several more years before she receives it.
She is asking us to transfer her H-1B and green card to our company. Can we do it? Do we have additional options to retain her?
— Advancing AI
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
In cybersecurity news, hotel giant Marriott found itself on the wrong side of another data breach, Carly writes. She also laid out a claim by the U.S. government that North Korean hackers are targeting some of the country’s healthcare organizations with their ransomware. Meanwhile, Zack reports that Apple’s new lockdown mode “will switch off certain features aimed at helping targeted individuals combat government-grade spyware.”
Do you want a ride? In automobile news, Jaclyn reported on Rivian’s goal of delivering 25,000 vehicles this year and whether Polestar can pull off a SPAC where other electric vehicles have failed. She also covered a lawsuit brought against Tesla by some former workers who say they shouldn’t have to sign a release in exchange for lower severance than federal law provides. Then Harri discussed the highs and lows of Tesla’s solar trailer.
Activision’s blizzard ahead: The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority has launched an antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s $69 billion proposal to acquire Activision to see if it will reduce competition with any U.K. goods or services, Ingrid reports.
Here’s your delivery: Amazon isn’t alone in its food delivery efforts. Aisha writes that Walmart is making its InHome grocery delivery service part of Walmart+ (see? Told you.) as an optional add-on. Meanwhile, the European Union is looking at Delivery Hero and Glovo with regard to antitrust inspections, Natasha reports.
Speaking of inspections: Ivan writes that India’s anti–money laundering agency raided Vivo’s offices.
Time to drool: Brian tempts us with pictures of the new M2 MacBook Air.