The era of laptops


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.

Damn, how’s Friday going again? It feels like I wrote one of those newsletters yesterday. There have, however, been a ton of exciting moves in the startup world: ups, downs, drama, and fun new trends.

My big contribution this week was a deep dive into the world of crowdfunding – and whether you should use it to raise money for your startup.

Okay, what else happened this week? . .

The Most Interesting Startup Story

Image credits: Cory Green/Yahoo

Okay, my newsletter is called “Startups Weekly,” but I want to dedicate part of it to Apple. For what? Because, as I wrote last year, I think Apple’s Vision Pro will be a huge game changer for startups.

We finally got our mitts on Apple’s laptop. And what can I say, it’s quite astonishing.

Brian spent an hour with the Apple Vision Pro in January, then blogged his heart out as the Vision Pro finally arrived home, in a series of fascinating (and often hilarious) posts covering Day one And Day twoand an in-depth review that concludes this is the best consumer headset on the market, where he hopes that the current experience will seem outdated a generation or two later. Although there is currently a powerful use case, in the form of immersive mindfulness.

But there is an opportunity here, especially in business.

600 apps at your fingertips: Developers are preparing quickly 600 new apps and games, joining more than a million iOS and iPadOS compatible apps. This surge in app development flies in the face of concerns about developer interest due to Apple’s deal. controversial compliance with EU digital markets law.

No YouTube app: With the release of the Apple Vision Pro headset, a third-party developer steps in to fill the YouTube app void with Juno, a $5 one-time purchase app which leverages YouTube’s embedding API for a native experience. The app offers features such as resizable windows and playback controls, with plans for further improvements.

Reasons to be excited: Lauren and Ivan collected some of the visionOS applications small developers that users can try when their headset arrives.

The most interesting fundraisers this week

Utility worker repairing power lines under blue sky

Image credits: Getty Images/pkfawcett

In a world where throwing food into landfills seems as American as apple pie, startups are springing up like mushrooms to combat the absurdity of food waste. Enter ProducePay, which has decided enough is enough. With a mission that seems more like a superhero wish than a business plan, ProducePay wants to argue the chaos of the fresh produce supply chain. With a whopping $38 million from its latest funding round, it’s ready to expand its crusade globally. Because ultimately, faced with a planet where throwing away food is a pastime, what do a few million dollars between friends represent? Let’s hope their plan doesn’t rot on the vine.

Oh, how the mighty rivers of venture capital money have dried up and become mere trickles for cybersecurity startups. After a deluge in 2021 in which $23 billion rained into the sector, 2023 saw these new arrivals reap less than a third. Against the tide of financial drought, NinjaOne struts, secure $230 million in Series C funding like it’s no big deal. Apparently, they didn’t even try: investors just couldn’t help but throw money at them. With this round, NinjaOne’s valuation reached $1.9 billion. In a world where cash is king, NinjaOne is smiling all the way to the bank, planning to sprinkle in some of that VC gold to expand its empire and make IT glitches a thing of the past.

A handful more:

It’s electrifying: Armed with an additional $20 million and the dream of making fusion energy much simpler, Thea Energy relies heavily on software to do the heavy lifting. Forget painstakingly precise magnet construction; Thea’s plan is to play plasma puppeteer with clever coding.

To transform is to transform: On the power grid, transformers have been dutifully ponying up since the 1800s. Enter the Ampèreluettebrandishing a $12.5 million seed round, ready to drag these grid gatekeepers into the 21st century with solid-state technology.

Bitcoin on the stock market: We asked TechCrunch readers if they intended to buy bitcoin through one of the new spot ETFswhether they owned bitcoin elsewhere and what impact they expected these new investment vehicles to have on its value and crypto.

The big trend of the week: everything is social, all the time

Drone Pixy Snap

Image credits: Snap Inc.

I loved Sarah’s analysis this week of what’s always happening on Twitter. In the wake of Twitter’s identity crisis under Elon Musk, the social media landscape is blossoming with alternatives like Mastodon, Bluesky, and Meta’s Threads, creating a buffet of short-post platforms. It’s a golden age for those fleeing X (formerly Twitter), but a headache for early adopters juggling half a dozen apps. Amid this chaos, Tapestry and other aggregators aim to be the Marie Kondo of social media, promising to bring order to our digital mess with a unified app. Good luck in a world where even aggregators need to band together.

There has been a lot of movement in the world of social media startups over the past few weeks. Perhaps most notable is that Bluesky reaches for the sky. After nearly a year as an invite-only app, Bluesky, funded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, opened its doors to the public, position itself as a promising microblogging platform. Bluesky differentiates itself from its decentralized infrastructure, the AT protocol, which is open source, allowing transparency and the possibility for developers to draw inspiration from it. As the platform opens to the public, its CEO faces her biggest challenge yetand the platform obtained almost a million new users overnight.

As Bluesky opens, Meta’s Facebook goes the other way. Meta’s announcement close its Facebook groups API has left businesses and social media marketers in turmoil, signaling a significant shift in its operating philosophy. The shutdown is bad news for many startups building tools on the API. This is yet another reminder to build a business, not a feature.

X, born Twitter, got a big boost this week, after Tucker Carlson announces his interview with Vladimir Putin propelled the X app to the top of the US App Store, overtaking Instagram Threads. The interview, Putin’s first with a Western media outlet since the invasion of Ukraine, is seen as a strategic move by Putin to reach a wider and potentially sympathetic audience through Carlson, known for his positions controversial.

Other tweet-sized pieces of social media news from this week:

Oh snap: Snap reshuffle the company again, cutting 10% of its workforce to “support growth,” which seems to be corporate speak for “we’re not making enough money.” This sequence of the saga of last year’s layoffs has a tab of $55 million to $75 million for severance and a side to reduce the hierarchy. In the meantime, Snap’s hardware adventures fail harder than a Pixy drone in a recall.

Put this away: Meta steps up its fight against sextortion with new updates and a global awareness campaign. The company is Improved Take It Down tool, which helps teens remove non-consensual intimate images from the internet. This initiative allows users to generate a digital fingerprint of the image without sharing the actual content.

TikTok on the rise: The Pew Research Center has once again shared its biennial overview of America’s social media closet, revealing – unsurprisingly – that platforms rise and fall like the tides. This year, they discovered the shocking news that TikTok is here, BeReal is just an incident and Facebook is still clinging to its relevance like a cat in front of a screen door.

Other must-read TechCrunch stories. . .

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

Baby Rivian: Rivian prepares to launch the R2, a budget-friendly electric SUV, at a swanky event in Laguna Beach. Despite their current financial hemorrhage, they are betting big on this cheaper route to finally turn a profit. Don’t hold your breath; it will only be on the roads in 2026.

New phone that says: Okta is playing the layoff game again, cutting 400 souls (7% of its crew) in an effort to transform itself into a for-profit unicorn. Despite a cash harvest with a 21% increase in revenue, they are still in a cost-cutting frenzy. Employees around the world are biting their nails waiting for the dreaded email. In the meantime, Proofpoint also joins the league of layoffs. Tough times in the tech city continue. . .

Oh thank goodness it’s so tedious to navigate: Arc Browser’s mission is to dethrone Google by creating an AI that directly retrieves web content, avoiding the intermediary of search engines. With new tools like “browse for me” and “instant links,” it streamlines the search process, aiming to serve the Internet on a silver platter.

This worked very well last time: Adam Neumann, WeWork’s Controversial Former CEO, Eyes Dramatic Comeback By attempt to buy bankrupt workspace giant.

Water is a good idea: Water filtration titan Brita has acquired Larq, the Bay Area innovator behind smart water bottles. Larq’s journey from a niche online brand to a key player in Brita’s global strategy highlights the changing landscape of consumer goods in the digital age.


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