Poor people don’t need to apply for this dating app


Welcome to Startups Weekly — your weekly recap of everything you can’t miss from the startup world. Register here to receive it in your inbox every Friday.

I’m having one of those weeks where I constantly and very slowly shake my head at people. As I sat down to read all the stories on TechCrunch and write the Startups Weekly newsletter, well, things didn’t get any better.

Just when you thought the dating scene couldn’t get any more exclusive, along comes Score, the app that says, “Love is in the air.” . . but only if you have the credit to breathe. That’s right, folks, in a world where swiping right could mean finding your soul mate or the next person to ghost you, Score guarantees that at least they won’t ghost you because of your bad credit. Launched by a financial platform (sure, it sounds like a marketing stunt), this app is aimed at those who have managed to navigate the dangerous waters of adulthood with half-decent credit. Because nothing says true love like a solid financial report, right? But wait, there’s a twist! The application is not only exclusive, it is temporary. For those who are not selected? Well, they’re sent to financial education boot camp, because nothing heals a bruised ego like being told you’re not financially savvy enough for love.

America, ladies and gentlemen.

Anyway. Somewhere else in the land of unicorns. . .

The most interesting startup stories this week

Tesla Autopilot NTSB FSD Software

Image credits: You’re here

In the latest episode of “How Not to Win Friends and Influence Government Agencies,” the Dawn Project, a security advocacy group that has been interested in the Tesla case for some time, decided to spice up its publicity for the Super Bowl with an ad that was essentially a call-out. in arms against Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software. It was supposed to be a mic drop. Instead, it turned into a facepalm moment when the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said, “Um, excuse me, we didn’t sign up for this.” » The NTSB is known for a lot of things – appearing in Super Bowl commercials isn’t it, and the organization was quick to issue a “remove our seal from your duties” order to Project Dawn. They emphasized that the Dawn Project did not have permission to use the seal, and its inclusion falsely implied NTSB approval of the campaign. Dramaaaaaaaa.

Oh, but there have been many other dramas where this comes from:

Smoke, mirrors: Boston Dynamics’ secret sauce is a blend of advanced robotics and marketing genius, complete with “don’t try this at home” warnings. But be careful, not everything that glitters in robot videos is gold: Many robot demonstration videos distort the truth to varying degrees.

Everything is fine, AI promise: In the latest episode of “AI’s Musical Chairs,” Andrej Karpathy, the AI ​​maestro who was one of the founding members of OpenAI, left the company again. No, this isn’t a soap opera or a secret AI uprising; Karpathy insists everything is going well, with no drama or clandestine plotting..

Shut your hole, AI: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has officially declared AI-made robocalls the latest public enemy, calling them illegal. If you’ve been looking forward to a personal, albeit fake, call from a presidential candidate or two, you may want to adjust your expectations. The message from the FCC is clear: AI voice clones, you’re officially on the naughty list.

The most interesting fundraisers this week

hands of two people tearing money with flames in the background

Image credits: Derek Berwin/Getty Images

In a twist that has rocked the venture capital world, Foundry Group, the Boulder-based venture capital firm known for backing successes like Fitbit and Zynga, is hang up your investment top hat. After 18 years and nearly $3.5 billion under management, Foundry has decided that its latest $500 million fund, Foundry 2022, will be its swan song. Foundry still plans to lead Series A and B funding with the remaining third of its latest fund, but the decision not to raise more funds raises eyebrows and questions about the future of its portfolio companies.

This movement follows a similar unexpected announcement from Boston-based OpenView at the end of last year. Two shutdowns don’t mark a trend, of course, but I’ll bet you billions of dollars, if not millions of donuts, that the TechCrunch team will be keeping a very close eye on this one.

Big increase for small business banks: Finom, a European challenger bank tailored to SMEs and the self-employed, has successfully obtained $54 million in a Series B funding round. This funding round highlights the growing demand for specialized financial services for SMEs.

Lettuce raises a little more money: Indoor farming, once the darling of the startup world with an influx of $3 billion in investment between 2012 and 2022, is facing a harsh reality. Companies like AppHarvest and Fifth Season went bankrupt, while others like Iron Ox was forced into layoffs and valuation cuts. Despite these challenges, Hippo Harvest appears as a beacon of hopesecuring $21 million in Series B funding.

Well done – have a cookie: SocialCrowd, a performance management startup, successfully raised $1.6 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Bread & Butter Ventures. Founded in 2020, SocialCrowd offers a SaaS platform similar to a “Fitbit for work” allow companies to set and reward their employees’ goals.

The big trend of the week: equipment

Image credits: Cory Green/Yahoo

Okay, great, so maybe I’m a little biased – last week I changed the topic a bit and I’m going to start writing a little more about hardware again (here’s what I cover and how to introduce myself). The hardware office is punching above its weight, especially in the last week – there’s a lot going on in the atoms business.

The industrial robotics sector, after benefiting from a sharp increase in orders during the pandemic, experienced a significant slowdown in 2023, with orders down by nearly a third, according to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3). The 30% drop highlights a cooling period for what was once a booming industry, although the drop wasn’t entirely unexpected given record sales in previous years.

More hardware startup nuggets:

Technically, all phones are foldable: And now, There are rumors that Apple wants to create ones that work After you fold them. Contrary to the last time this was happening. We have been ask for foldable iPhones for a moment, come to think of it.

Dry powder for big guns: Despite the controversial nature of guns, Biofire successfully attracted institutional support from venture capital, raising a $7 million seed round from notable investors. This funding success highlights a shift in the venture capital landscape, where deep tech and defense tech startups are attracting increasing attention.

Open this app with your face: Brian has done an amazing job on everything Apple Vision Pro. This week, he breaks down his favorite apps (so far).

Other must-read TechCrunch stories. . .

Every week there are always a few stories I want to share with you that somehow don’t fit into the categories above. It would be a shame if you missed them, so here’s a bag of random goodies for you:

Dirty money, these cleaning costs: Airbnb’s recent earnings report reveals a significant shift toward more transparent pricing, with nearly 300,000 listings eliminating or reducing cleaning fees. This decision, which affects nearly 40% of active registrations, addresses long-standing customer grievances about unexpected costs at checkout.

It’s an idea, but the secret is: Notion recently expanded its suite with an acquisition focused on privacy, the purchase of Skiffa platform known for its end-to-end encrypted file storage, documents, calendar events, and email services.

Mozilla slows down: Mozilla, the organization best known for its Firefox browser, is currently undergoing significant strategic changes. The company plans to reduce its investments in several products, leading to layoffs affecting around sixty employees.

Put down the LSD, AI: Oh, the wonders of modern technology, where Google’s Gemini chatbot, formerly known as Bard, and Microsoft’s Copilot are now apparently time travelers. Before the 2024 Super Bowl, robots had stats and results, before the game even begins. Oops.

Burnt rubber. And more: A Waymo robo-taxi found itself the target of a violent attack in San Francisco. The incident saw a crowd turn their boredom or perhaps technophobia into an act of vandalism that ended with the autonomous vehicle in flames. Admittedly he didn’t try to defend himself, so I guess that’s it.


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