Hello friends. Looking for a recap of this week’s news? You are in the right place. It’s Week in Review (WiR), the (more or less) regular newsletter that recaps the best stories of the past few days written by the talented team at TC. (Woot, alliteration.) There’s no faster way to catch up on what matters. Of course, we are a bit biased.
Before we get to the good stuff, a reminder that TechCrunch Early Stage 2023 is almost upon us – taking place April 20 in Boston. I will refrain from rehashing my pitch in past columns Also a lot, but trust me when I say you’ll want to be there. Not only will you be treated to a good chunk of TC’s editorial team on the go – a rarity! – but you will also have access to panels of experts covering the many aspects of creating startups.
Elsewhere in the events, don’t forget that Disrupt, TechCrunch’s annual flagship conference, kicks off on September 19th. We are particularly excited about the AI scene, which is new this year. Tickets are available here.
That said, on to the news:
Private either: This week, many Twitter users reported a bug where Tweets from Circle – which are meant to reach a select group, like a Close Friends Instagram story – were surfacing on the algorithmically generated For You timeline. This meant that some people’s supposedly private posts were breaking the lockdown to reach an unintended audience, which quickly sparked uncomfortable situations, Amanda reports.
They made me do: In a recent interview with BBC journalist James Clayton on Twitter Spaces, Twitter CEO Elon Musk admitted what many suspected: He bought Twitter because he thought he would be forced to. To recap, Twitter sued Musk last year to force him to honor his signed obligation to acquire the company for the agreed price of $44 billion, or $54.20 per share. After some legal back and forth, Musk – staring down the barrel of a lengthy legal battle – agreed to buy the company at the price he originally set.
Twitter becomes X: In even more Twitter news (it’s a lot, I know), Twitter, Inc., is now called X Corp., according to a California court filing. Amanda writes that Elon Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion last year, aspired to build what he calls “X, the all-in-one application.” This proposed app might look like China’s WeChat, which supports messaging, payments, carpooling, food delivery and other services all in one place.
Hacked reviews: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved a final consent order in its first-ever enforcement action in a case of “review misappropriation,” or when one marketer steals consumer reviews from another. product to increase its own sales. Sarah writes that in this case, the FTC ordered supplement retailer The Bountiful Company, maker of Nature’s Bounty vitamins and other brands, to pay $600,000 for misleading and deceiving customers on Amazon.
If it’s free, it’s for me: Google TV, Google’s smart TV operating system that powers Chromecast devices and various TVs, received a major update this week aimed at expanding access to free streaming content. Google TV now integrates access to free streaming channels like Tubi, Plex and Haystack News directly into its redesigned Live tab, alongside free streamer Pluto TV’s existing range of channels.
New phone, which is? : In an effort to expand its reach, Stockholm-based Truecaller is introducing an update that will provide live caller ID support on iOS, available to people using its paid tiers. Jagmeet writes that the new feature comes as Truecaller continues to experience strong growth, but also hits in its strongest markets, such as India.
Clay is the new plastic: Disposable plastic and paper cups are an environmental mess. GaeaStar, a startup based in Berlin and San Francisco, thinks it can do better with just clay, water, salt and sand, Harris reports. To make the disposable containers, the startup says it developed a special 3D printer that produces them in “30 seconds or less” – quite the claim.
New Android on the block: Google’s Android development cycle runs at a rather predictable pace these days. To wit, this week, after two developer previews, the company launched the first of four planned public betas of Android 14, Frederic reports. As with previous versions, the first beta is also the first version anyone can install over the air, assuming they have a supported Pixel device, going back to the Pixel 4a 5G (but not the Pixel 4).
TechCrunch’s list of podcasts is no less impressive, in case you haven’t listened to any. On Equity, the team dove into the deals of the week, the regulations and on-the-ground dynamics at play in the AI space, and the opportunity that funds can offer venture capital firms. And in this week’s Found, Lauren Markler explained how her company, Cofertility, aims to rebrand egg donation by making the process less transactional — and much more affordable.
TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and polls, which you know if you’re already a subscriber. If not, consider signing up. Here are some highlights from this week:
SaaS metrics that attract investors: Oleksandr Yaroshenko, head of strategy and investments at Headway, writes about the engagement metrics that are generating the most interest from investors, including engagement over long periods at the end of a subscription and the frequency of interactions with the main features of the application.
What the exhaust regulations mean for investors: The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new rules that would take effect in 2027 and pave the way for a new vehicle market dominated by electric vehicles. Tim writes about how investment opportunities abound as rules push electric vehicles to the fore.
Robotic revolution: brian spoke to more than a dozen venture capitalists about the state of robotics investment in 2023. As he notes, despite the recent downtrend, robotics remains vibrant and exciting, and it undoubtedly has a bright future of exponential growth ahead of it.