Happy Saturday, of us, and welcome to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s publication that covers the key tales in tech over the previous a number of days.
I really feel inclined to start this version with a sobering notice concerning the current occasions in Israel and Gaza. It’s clearly impacted the tech ecosystem there, however from a purely humanistic standpoint, it’s troublesome to fathom, to make sense of, the extent of destruction and bloodshed. We’re doing our greatest to amplify the voices of these on the bottom, and, because the heartbreaking tales pour in, we’re hoping for indicators of a peaceable decision to the continuing battle.
In different information, the trial of disgraced crypto startup founder Sam Bankman-Fried continued, Atlassian acquired Loom, OpenAI reportedly explored growing its personal AI chips, and Google made passkeys the default sign-in methodology for all customers. Elsewhere, Adobe upgraded its generative AI tech, indicators of a Spotify “Superpremium” service emerged, California handed an funding range disclosure regulation, and Brian reviewed the Meta Quest 3.
It’s rather a lot to get to, so we gained’t delay. But first, a reminder to enroll right here to get WiR in your inbox each Saturday if you happen to haven’t already completed so.
Alameda Research allegedly bribed Chinese officers: During the Sam Bankman-Fried trial on Wednesday, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison testified that the crypto buying and selling agency paid Chinese officers to get their Alameda buying and selling accounts on OKX and Huobi in China unlocked. That’s one of many many bombshells this week out of the Manhattan courthouse the place SBF is being tried — see my dogged colleague Jacquelyn’s different reporting for extra.
Atlassian acquires Loom for ~$1 billion: Atlassian introduced on Thursday that it’s buying video messaging service Loom for $975 million. As Ron notes, Loom, which has 25 million clients and hosts greater than 5 million video conversations per 30 days, had a $1.53 billion valuation in May 2021 — however that was when corporations have been nonetheless fascinated about all work being cloud-based and the longer term appeared oh so shiny.
OpenAI explores making AI chips: OpenAI, one of many best-funded AI startups in enterprise, is contemplating making its personal AI chips. Discussions of AI chip methods inside the firm have been ongoing since at the very least final 12 months, in accordance with Reuters, because the scarcity of chips to coach AI fashions worsens. OpenAI is reportedly weighing quite a few paths to advance its chip ambitions, together with buying an AI chip producer or mounting an effort to design chips internally.
Google makes passkeys the default: Google has introduced that passkeys, touted by the tech big because the “beginning of the end” for passwords, have gotten the default sign-in methodology for all customers. As Carly writes, passkeys are a phishing-resistant different to passwords that enable customers to signal into accounts utilizing the identical biometrics or PINs they use to unlock their units, or with a bodily safety key.
Adobe upgrades Firefly: At Max, its annual convention for creatives, Adobe introduced that it’s up to date the fashions that energy Firefly, its generative AI picture creation service. According to Adobe, the Firefly Image 2 Model (because it’s formally known as) will likely be higher at rendering people, for instance, together with facial options, pores and skin, physique and fingers — which have lengthy vexed comparable fashions.
Spotify goes super-premium: Spotify’s rumored “Superpremium” providing is perhaps gearing up for launch. According to references found within the Spotify app’s code by Chris Messina, the Superpremium service has a flashy brand and an extended listing of options past the 24-bit lossless audio that’s been anticipated. The function set seems to incorporate AI playlist era instruments, superior mixing, further hours of audiobook listening and a customized providing known as “Your Sound Capsule,” Sarah reviews.
California mandates range investing disclosures: California governor Gavin Newsom has signed into regulation a invoice that’ll require enterprise capital companies within the state to yearly report the range of the founders that they’re backing. The invoice is scheduled to enter impact on March 1, 2025. It’s the U.S.’s first piece of laws that goals to extend range inside the VC panorama, Dominic-Madori writes — a serious win for activists.
Meta Quest 3 evaluate: Brian reviewed the Meta Quest 3 this week, Meta’s newest VR headset. His total impression? In a world the place a $500 worth level qualifies as low cost, Meta continues to be the perfect resolution for informal prolonged actuality. He writes: “If you’ve been waiting for a good excuse to pull the trigger on a VR headset, the Quest 3 presents a compelling case.”
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The Equity crew parsed by the week’s information in startups and enterprise, starting with ALIAVIA Ventures’ new fund, Canopy Servicing’s Series A1, a $200 million deal between a personal fairness group and EVPassport, which startups have flown by turbulence currently and, lastly, whether or not expertise can resolve a labor scarcity in building.
Found featured a dialog with Giovanni Fili, the founder and CEO of Exeger, a startup that builds versatile photo voltaic cells that may create electrical power off of any mild situation. Fili talked about what it’s been like devoting the final 15 years of his profession to an organization based mostly on tech that hadn’t beforehand been confirmed to work and the way he’s constructed a capital-intensive startup off of comparatively little funding.
And Chain Reaction had a double function this week. For the October 12 episode, Jacquelyn interviewed Grace Torrellas, Polygon Labs’ VP of product and zkEVM product lead and co-founder and government director of Blockchain for Humanity. And this morning, Jacquelyn and Alex dove again into the Sam Bankman-Fried trial and what’s transpired over the previous few days.
TC+ subscribers get entry to in-depth commentary, evaluation and surveys — which you recognize if you happen to’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, take into account signing up. Here are just a few highlights from this week:
Medium climbs towards profitability: Medium has tried a number of completely different enterprise fashions over time — permitting particular person publications on its platform to supply paywalls, constructing its personal publications and extra — and seen various ranges of success within the course of. But Alex writes about how the corporate expects to get into the black within the first half of 2024.
Decarbonizing skyscrapers: Tim writes about how Bedrock Energy, a startup growing geothermal heating and cooling options for giant buildings, is making an attempt to interrupt into markets that had beforehand ignored the expertise.
Fearless Fund fallout: Fearless Fund, which supplies grants and investments to ladies of colour, has been indefinitely barred from deploying $20,000 grants to Black ladies in a judgment in a lawsuit introduced by the American Alliance for Equal Rights. Dominic-Madori writes about how the swimsuit might lead to important opposed ripple results on the enterprise neighborhood’s efforts to advertise range, fairness and inclusion inside the startup ecosystem.