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Hello, and welcome to June 2, 2022. Where we are sitting, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and we are celebrating adding Becca Szkutak to the TechCrunch team. She’ll be covering venture capital and startup news for our subscription service, TechCrunch+. You can find her very first story in the Top 3, below! — Haje and Christine
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Amazon’s invite-only party: This is going to take people back, but remember shopping at Toys “R” Us for high-demand items they kept in the back of the store, and you would grab one of the pricing slips and take it to the cash register? Amazon is creating a digital version of that with its new invite-based ordering experience for high-demand, low-supply products. Users can request an invitation to buy certain items — initially it will be video game consoles, which the company says will help prevent inventory shortages and keep bots from driving up the price.
- If you’re headed to Worldwide Developers Conference, we have your insider’s guide: Apple’s WWDC kicks off June 6, and the TechCrunch staff is here for it. Brian breaks down what to expect.
- Pro rata, what’s the matta?: Please give a warm, Daily Crunch welcome to Becca Szkutak, one of our newest venture reporters at TechCrunch+, who posted her first story today. She examines how lead investors in funding rounds are rethinking their pro rata allocation strategy in this particularly challenged funding environment.
Startups and VC
Yesterday was our City Spotlight: Columbus, Ohio, and it was awesome to see you all there! We were excited to watch the startup pitch-off and congratulate SureImpact on its win! They pick up a spot in TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield 200.
Apropos events, we just announced the agenda for TC: Sessions Robotics, taking place on July 21, and it’s going to be really bloody awesome. It’s a virtual event, so you can attend from anywhere in the galaxy. Get your tickets, get involved!
Moar news? We’ve got moar news:
- Crypto hitting the brakes: Gemini lays off 10% of its workforce as its founders describe how crypto is hitting a “contraction phase,” Anita and Natasha report.
- Crypto gets more investment: Developer infrastructure expert Anand Iyer goes solo with new $20 million crypto fund, Anita reports.
- More layoffs looming: Collaboration video messaging service Loom laid off 34 employees, or 14% of its total staff, writes Natasha.
- Not looking too healthy: The healthcare sector isn’t immune to contractions either. Virtual healthcare company Carbon Health said in a letter Thursday that it laid off 250 people, or 8% of its workforce, Christine reports.
- So here’s what’s new: LaunchNotes looks to transform how software product teams communicate changes to customers, and raised $15 million to do so, Ron reports.
- If you permit it, they will build: Pulley raises a $4.4 million seed round to make permitting for construction projects dramatically more efficient, Mary Ann reports.
- This tasty treat is going places: Yummy’s $47 million round helps grow its delivery, ride-sharing super app in LatAm, Christine reports.
- Because Instagram is for old people: Poparazzi, the anti-Instagram Gen Z social app that hit the top of the App Store last year, is today claiming its iOS-only has seen over 5 million installs in its first year, and it raised $15 million to continue its growth, Sarah reports.
What connects the stock market contraction to startup valuations?
Without striking a gloomy note: it’s clear that winds are shifting in the tech industry.
Layoffs are mounting, investors are urging their portfolio companies to hunker down and founders are doing everything but chanting spells to extend runways.
“But are valuations really down?” asks Daniel Faloppa, founder of Equidam. “For all startups? If so, why, and what can we expect in the short and mid-term?”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
What does the fox say?: A Foxconn factory in Mexico was hit with ransomware, the company confirmed. While this is not the first time Foxconn has had this happen, a company spokesperson says the factory’s operations are returning to normal, though they did not go into detail on whether any data was accessed.
Meta’s new features: The company’s big news of the week is still that Sheryl Sandberg is leaving, but time marches on, and there are features that need to go out. In a move to provide some TikTok-like features, Meta rolled out some new Reels features to Facebook and extended the length of Reels on Instagram to 90 seconds. The Instagram one might be more exciting because more meme posters are doing Reels, which, in our opinion, makes it difficult to read them. The extra seconds might redeem them. In addition, Messenger is getting a dedicated “Calls” tab so you can make fewer clicks to communicate with your peeps.
We have more to help exercise your eyes:
- Gotta get that engagement: Twitter Communities, the social giant’s private network, is getting its own algorithmic-based timelines. Users now have the option of filtering from “Latest,” which is the standard view, to “For You,” which is based on top conversations.
- South Korean app service fees get higher: In light of Google changing its in-app payment policy, South Korean app developers and content providers are promptly raising paid subscription and service fees on Google Play’s marketplace.
- Ford’s $3.7B EV plan: Yesterday we brought you news that Buick was going EV, and today Ford said it would invest $3.7 billion toward its plan to sell 2 million electric vehicles a year by the end of 2026. Some of that investment will go to adding over 6,000 union manufacturing jobs. Here’s more on how Ford plans to do this.