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Happy Monday Crunch! There’s just one month left to submit nominations for Startup Battlefield 200, so if you want to be on the TechCrunch stage and catapult yourself to fame, fortune, and the attention of every startup, investor, and journalist in the room, maybe get on that!
Oh, and did you know that our podcast Found is up for a Webby award?
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Welcome to our inner circle, made of Swiss cheese: Amanda has a PSA for you: “Do not post your deepest darkest secrets on your Twitter Circle.” There’s a bug (yes, another one) going around that makes those tweets go out to people who aren’t in your “circle of trust.”
- All the perks, none of the ads: YouTube Premium, the platform’s $11.99-per-month version, now has some new features, including Apple SharePlay support, higher quality video and ways to manage your queue. Sarah has more.
- I knew the way you know about a good melon: Rob Solomon, former GoFundMe chairman and president, is finding his next big thing in digital commerce by starting Kite with investment firms Juxtapose and Blackstone. The firms pumped $200 million into the new endeavor, which will invest in, acquire and operate high-potential, digital-first consumer product brands, Christine reports.
Startups and VC
Many insurtechs solve for insurance distribution and policy administration. Instead, Axle provides access to real-time insurance data, automated insurance verification and monitoring of ongoing coverage so that customers, like rental car companies, can reduce their operational costs, Christine reports.
Things were a bit slower over the holiday weekend, but here’s a few more to feast your eyes on:
- AI can do that, probably: Devin sat through the Y Combinator Demo Day and notes that the latest batch sure was a lot of “maybe AI can do…this?”
- Who’s a good boy?: Pet influencers are hotter than ever. But how do dogs do taxes? Amanda wonders, then finds out and shares it with us.
- Like a website for your ears: Don’t miss today’s episode of our Equity podcast, where the team is diving into the world of crypto price stability, Uber selling Careem, and valuations for YC.
- A long, slow march: Over on TC+, Ron examines what happens when your startup fails.
- We’re good, thanks: Also on TC+, Anna wonders, What if Scandinavian startups don’t need Y Combinator?
In the new normal for VC, builders will win
Large VC firms ensure deal access using a complex mix of strategy, research and relationship building, but “looking deep to the vision and initiative of each founder is the only way forward,” says Will Robbins, a general partner at Contrary Capital.
Because so much capital is readily available, “we are never going back to the days where venture capital firms can win by being the only term sheet on the table,” writes Robbins, who shares his perspective on collecting deal flow, building a tech stack, and productization “for LPs thinking about the decade to come.”
Three more from the TC+ team:
- They’re coming for you next: Anthony Cimino and Holli Heiles Pandol advise that the startup sector should keep its eye on the SEC.
- Like the matrix, for insurance: Anna and Ram break down everything you need to know about parametric insurance.
- You gotta pay yourself: If you’ve raised venture capital, pay yourself, Haje advises.
TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead of the pack. You can sign up here. Use code “DC” for a 15% discount on an annual subscription!
Big Tech Inc.
Please give a big TechCrunch welcome to one of our newest writers, Morgan Sung. Today, she has her first story on Meta Verified, which gives you a little blue check next to your name. However, to get that check, you have to use your legal name, a policy that is raising concerns among sex work circles.
Meanwhile, Uber sold its stake in super app Careem to Emirates Telecommunications for $400 million. Kirsten writes that Careem was founded in 2012 as a ride-hailing rival to Uber and had since added other delivery features, including food and packages, bus services and credit transfers. Following the close of the sale, it will be broken into two companies.
And we have five more for you:
- Put ’em on watch: Ron writes that U.K. regulators could be right about cloud portability obstacles.
- I’m going to hug him and squeeze him and call him George: If you’ve ever wanted your own chatbot, now you can make one. Sarah reports on Poe’s AI chatbot app, which lets you make your bots using prompts.
- How’d you get that chicken on your head?: Basic virtual backgrounds are so 2021. A chicken on your head or a hug from a koala are soooo now, thanks to Snapchat Lenses, which can be accessed during Microsoft Teams meetings. Aisha has more.
- Where have all the PCs gone?: Brian reports that global PC shipments dropped by a third in Q1, which is the fourth consecutive drop, by the way.
- If you didn’t get enough Twitter above…: We’ve got more for you here. Missing those official Russian accounts? Don’t worry, you can find them again in search results, Ivan reports. Oh, and there was this whole thing about how Twitter won’t let you retweet, like or reply to Substack links. Amanda has more.