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For my file this week, I told nan communicative of really an ex-colleague was impersonated by an AI-powered spambot and almost tricked me. It a nutshell: AI is often utilized for good, but it is progressively utilized for nefarious purposes arsenic well. Of course, AI-powered spam is going to get really interesting, really fast: Some of nan generative AIs are bully capable to walk arsenic humans. So, what happens erstwhile each spam connection is customized to you, and different from each different spam message? Things are astir to get really bad — earlier they hopefully get better.
Let maine return you connected a circuit of nan highlights and lowlights of startup world complete nan past week.
Layoffs are back
Last month, Alex wrote that tech layoffs were beautiful overmuch a point of nan past. Shouldn’t person said that, buddy, you jinxed it.
Despite signs of economical betterment and predictions of avoiding a recession, tech companies proceed to laic disconnected employees. In October, Nokia announced it was laying disconnected 14,000 labor pursuing a 4th that saw profits driblet by 69%, and different awesome tech companies for illustration Qualcomm, Qualtrics, and LinkedIn besides announced important layoffs. Experts propose that while nan system is improving, nan betterment process is slow, starring galore companies to hole for a longer play of economical sluggishness. Moreover, a displacement successful investor mindset from maturation to ratio has led to cost-cutting measures, including layoffs. These trends, mixed pinch tighter buying budgets and slower income cycles, could proceed to effect nan tech assemblage into 2024. Ron has nan afloat skinny connected TC+ astatine “What’s down nan caller information of tech layoffs?”
Product Hunt slashes staff: Product Hunt, a find tract for startups, apps, and tech tools, has laid disconnected astir 60% of its team, including roles successful design, product, and sales. The cuts were made for “strategic reasons,” Sarah reports.
The stack overfloweth: Stack Overflow, a developer organization tract owned by Prosus, has announced a 28% simplification successful its workforce arsenic portion of its thrust toward profitability. The institution did not disclose nan nonstop number of affected employees. It seems for illustration AI whitethorn beryllium nan culprit, Ivan writes.
Don’t miss our broad guide: The tech manufacture has faced a important rustle successful 2023, pinch occupation losses exceeding 240,000, a 50% summation from nan erstwhile year. Major tech giants for illustration Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, Meta, and Zoom, on pinch galore startups, person announced important workforce reductions. We person our afloat guideline here.
Transportation panic and triumphs
The Rebelle Rally 2023, a 2,120-kilometer off-road and navigation title for women, has go a testing crushed for banal shaper vehicles, including electrical vehicles. Out of nan 65 teams that competed successful nan Rally’s eighth yearly event, 10 were electrified vehicles, including 4 Rivian R1T pickups, marking a important introduction of EVs into this traditionally non-tech event. A Rivian squad clinched first spot successful nan 4×4 class, marking the first clip an all-electric conveyance topped nan podium.
Meanwhile, Tesla released its Q3 net report. And it wasn’t ace pretty: The study showed a autumn successful gross separator to 17.9%, down from 25.1% past year. That caused a 44% profit drop (yikes). Tesla’s long-awaited Cybertruck is set to commencement first deliveries, and Elon Musk warned that it will return 18 months for nan pickup to go profitable.
It was stormy days for driverless taxis, too, arsenic Cruise’s licence to run arsenic a robotaxi was joinked: The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has suspended Cruise’s permits to run and complaint for its robotaxi work successful San Francisco, pursuing a akin move by nan DMV. The DMV’s suspension came aft Cruise allegedly withheld footage from an investigation into an incident wherein a pedestrian was deed and dragged by 1 of its autonomous vehicles. Cruise denied nan claims. The suspension comes conscionable 3 months aft it granted nan institution nan basal permits to complaint for rides. This led to more pushback against robotaxis successful LA.
More from proscription startups:
All aboard nan Tesla standard: Toyota and Lexus person announced plans to adopt Tesla’s chargers (NACS) for their electrical vehicles starting successful 2025. The only awesome automakers yet to adopt NACS are VW and Stellantis, but pinch nan momentum toward Tesla’s standard, their conversion whitethorn beryllium imminent, Harri reports.
Going places: Pebble has revealed a prototype of its flagship product, nan Pebble Flow, an all-electric recreation trailer designed for integer nomads. The 25-foot trailer, which tin slumber up to 4 people, tin beryllium preordered for a refundable $500, pinch a starting costs of $109,000. An upgraded version, including a dual centrifugal drivetrain, is disposable for $125,000, Kirsten reports.
Moar Tesla ineligible troubles: Tesla is nether scrutiny from nan U.S. Department of Justice again, related to the company’s advertised EV range, unit decisions, and perks. This comes aft an investigation suggested Tesla had been inflating its EV scope estimates, Kirsten reports.
Who’s raising, and for what?
I Own My Data (IOMD), a startup founded by erstwhile PayPal executive Rohan Mahadevan, is aiming to revolutionize online shopping by eliminating nan request for consumers to create caller accounts pinch each purchase, Mary Ann reports. IOMD’s Node level allows consumers to negociate and shop each their online interactions, purchases, and profiles connected their ain devices. Node has emerged from stealth pinch a $2.75 cardinal seed funding. The startup points retired it is not a payments institution but an accusation company, storing users’ backstage accusation connected their devices for instant transactions.
Navan (formerly known arsenic TripActions), a fintech startup specializing successful disbursal management, has collaborated pinch Citi to supply a jointly branded recreation and disbursal strategy for Citi Commercial cardholders, Mary Ann reports. The business is simply a immense deal, particularly fixed Citi’s position arsenic nan 3rd largest slope successful nan U.S, pinch complete 25,000 world commercialized paper programs and 7 cardinal cardholders, each of whom whitethorn soon beryllium capable to activity goodbye to disbursal reports. In different news, Darrell did his expenses successful VR this week and really enjoyed it. He is, truly, a unusual human.
FFS, that’s not moreover a rounding error: Black founders successful nan U.S. raised a specified 0.13% of each superior allocated to startups successful Q3, a important driblet from nan $1 cardinal they raised successful Q3 2022. The inclination has been accordant since 2020 contempt efforts, Dominic-Madori reports.
Back erstwhile again: Oh goodie, Tucker Carlson, nan arguable erstwhile Fox News host, plans to motorboat a media startup called Last Country, pursuing a $15 cardinal investment, Rebecca reports.
That’s a large sack o’ cash, y’all: Global finance patient KKR has announced nan last adjacent of its 3rd tech maturation money pinch approximately $3 cardinal successful superior commitments. The group targets companies pinch beardown semipermanent maturation prospects, typically penning checks ranging from $50 cardinal to $250 million, Connie reports.
Top sounds connected TechCrunch this week
Creating backstage AIs: ZenML, an unfastened root AI framework, is helping companies build their ain backstage AI models, reducing dependence connected API providers for illustration OpenAI and Anthropic. The Munich-based startup has raised $6.4 cardinal since its inception.
Sod it, let’s build our own: For TC+, Ron took a heavy dive to fig retired why Monday.com, a institution offering a suite of elastic business tools, has developed its ain database solution, MondayDB, to meet unsocial customer needs.
Web Summit play continues: Paddy Cosgrave, co-founder and CEO of Web Summit, has resigned amid controversy complete his comments astir Israel and Palestine. Despite his resignation, Cosgrave still owns 80% of nan business. The convention organizers person confirmed that Web Summit 2023 successful Lisbon and nan February 2024 arena successful Qatar will proceed arsenic planned.