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When it comes to climate, the event horizon where we can expect to end up in (literally) hot water is getting pretty close. Do you want to know how close? The climate deadline is close enough that VCs are interested in it again. VC is a 10-year cycle asset class. In other words: some of the most powerful people believe they will see a return on their investment within the next 10 years. In short, as I wrote in my TC+ column this week, it freaks me out.
social media drama
I’m sure Twitter was relieved to see that Reddit made a lot of headlines this week. Reddit’s leadership team appeared to press the slow-motion button and control several trains, then hit the “full speed ahead” button and aimed the trains at each other.
This slow-motion train crash is a big deal, and it’s all about Reddit’s new API pricing. The popular third-party Reddit app Apollo announced it was shutting down, and Reddit’s CEO didn’t like the situation, giving Apollo developers two buckets in a drama-filled AMA. Reddit shut down briefly, with subreddits and moderators protesting — thousands, actually — and many of them appear to be planning to shut down indefinitely. Holy crap, it’s a one-way ticket to get around the city of Ikers.
Elon shouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief, though. Bird sanctuaries have their own headlines, most of which are… not particularly encouraging. On the bright side, Elon no longer needs to be CEO, as Linda Yaccarino has officially taken over as Twitter CEO. The next news story was that Twitter had been evicted from its Boulder office for nonpayment of rent. oops. Alex breaks down how much Twitter’s ad revenue has dropped. TL;DR: It’s not pretty.
The robots are coming! The robots are coming!
AI has been dominating our news coverage, as there have been many changes in the field.
France’s Mistral AI blows raised $113 million in seed funding to challenge OpenAI. In the notoriously privacy-centric EU, it might prove advantageous – but, I won’t lie, I’m also skeptical of the company’s $260 million valuation – the stake to give up in the seed round Too much.
There’s a whole bunch of enterprise AI news, not all of it startup-related, but in summary, Meta open-sourced an AI-powered music generator, and Itoka wants to empower AI-generated music via the blockchain. I’ve made no secret of my disdain for blockchain technology in general (especially blockchain’s painful satire on the climate), but this seems like a particularly valid impossibility. Prove me wrong, Itoka, prove me wrong.
Just right — Morgan believes that Blush, an AI enthusiast on the same team as Replika, is more than just a sex robot. In fact, I kind of like it — sexting is fun, and I’m intrigued by the creative possibilities of flirting with a robot. As long as I’m not infected by word spread. cough cough.
Man, my… do we even call them cars?
Carvana stock had an incredible rally until it hit the guardrail. Harri and Alex distinguish between soaring heights, overwhelming depths, and the odd mid-rally bounce the company seems to find itself in. The used-car platform saw an epic stock surge, with short-sold shares soaring 56% as companies forecast record profits. It would be too bad if you were one of the WallStreetBets bros sure the company would go under, but I’m sure the startup itself has breathed a sigh of relief.
Another big story we’re watching is Tesla and its charging standard. We reported that GM and Ford could spark a charging standards war, and concluded that EV charging networks are moving to Tesla standards as support for them accelerates. On TC+, Tim wondered if Tesla’s Supercharger network would be under pressure under the weight of the GM-Ford deal — but also wondered if Tesla had a winner on its hands. Back in February, Google added electric car chargers to its Google Maps product, and this week, Apple followed suit — with Apple Maps showing vacant spots near you.
Also this week, I lamented that EVs are going backwards as they get bigger, heavier, and dumber – just for Harri to report two contrasting points: Telo bets America is ready for the dream Like a small pickup truck and Fiat’s small Topolino concept car, it looks like a handbag decoration. oops.
no Exactly Startup news, but worth watching as a startup founder in this space:
Top reads on TechCrunch this week
That’s it, folks! If you’d like to send me news tips, This is what I’m going to introduce and how to contact me. If you love a good pitch deck, here’s a full list of my pitch deck teardowns on TechCrunch+, and how you can submit your own.
Peace and see you next week!