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Fri-Yay! If you’ve got some time on your hands today, get your Disrupt tickets — early-bird savings end in 7 days!
Also, it seems a little daft to pick a fight against plant-based milks, but this advertisement by newly minted CEO Aubrey Plaza (yes, that Aubrey Plaza) at Wood Milk is delightfully bizarre and confusing. It makes for some great end-of-week wait-what-did-I-just-watch silliness.
— Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- The ABCs of AI: Kyle reports about how, with DeepFloyd, artificial intelligence finally learns to draw text on images. He writes, “Trained on a dataset of more than a billion images and text, DeepFloyd IF, which requires a GPU with at least 16GB of RAM to run, can create an image from a prompt like ‘a teddy bear wearing a shirt that reads Deep Floyd’ — optionally in a range of styles.”
- It’ll cost you a quarter: You all were very interested in the 20 new games that Apple introduced to Apple Arcade. Ivan has more.
- Fewer glitches: Lauren spoke with Warner Bros. Discovery’s CTO and CPO to get the scoop on how they made Max less buggy. She also writes about how its streaming business is set to become profitable in 2023.
Startups and VC
Is the grass greener on the other side? We’re not sure, but the sky is most certainly bluer. It’s been over a year since Elon Musk announced his bid to buy Twitter, and those who opposed the sale have tried setting up shop on platforms like Mastodon, Substack Notes, T2…but none of these Twitter alternatives have really captured lightning in a bottle like Bluesky. Amanda and Alyssa break down the highlights for everything you need to know about Bluesky.
Mary Ann reports that Peter Ackerson has departed from his role as general partner at fintech-focused venture firm Fin Capital and started a new firm, Audere Capital, with the rather vague thesis of “championing American innovation through early-stage technology investment.”
And we have a few more for you to kick off the weekend:
Down rounds are a ‘ticket to try again,’ says founder who raised 3 in a row
Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, a sustained drought is an exercise in humility for yacht owners and kayakers alike.
According to Carta, “the number of down rounds had nearly quadrupled in Q1 2023 compared to the same time last year,” writes Rebecca Szkutak.
With valuations falling, founders who accept down rounds no longer have the taint of failure, said Russ Wilcox, a partner at Pillar VC.
“When you set a $700 million valuation, it looks like you’re winning somehow and you’re not being diluted, but actually, you just raised the bar so high,” he said.
Three more from the TC+ team:
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.
Carly took an interesting call this week with an anonymous security researcher who found a trove of data exposed online that belonged to London-based outsourcing giant Capita. We’re talking over 3,000 files that included software files, server images, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations and text files. We’re going to leave the good stuff for you to read but will note you should check out how long those files were supposedly out there exposed “on the line.”
If you’re into earnings, here are some:
And now here’s four more: