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Daily Crunch: After buying Twitter, will Musk bite back at Apple’s in-app purchase fees?

Wednesday, and we’re excited to bring you another round of our esteemed Daily Crunch newsletter. There’s a wide variety of morsels, nuggets, and other bite-sized delights, so let’s go! — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

99 Twitter problems, and Apple might have one: It’s no secret that Elon Musk thinks Apple’s 30% IAP (“inventor assistance program” to those of us not up on tech lingo) transaction charge to developers is “a lot.” But as Darrell writes, “Musk has little stake in this fight” — that is, until Friday when he becomes Twitter’s new owner and “his zealous troll army” becomes further enabled. Rhymes with pillow: Zillow made another dent in its workforce. Jagmeet writes that the online real estate marketplace wants to “shift focus toward technology-related positions,” so it reduced its employee headcount by another 300 employees. The company already let go of about 2,000 people last November. On a clear day, you can see forever: Frederic reports on LatticeFlow’s latest funding round, $12 million, that it will use to eliminate computer vision blind spots.

Startups and VC

Asset management firm Stone Ridge has launched a startup accelerator, Wolf, that will be dedicated to growing Bitcoin-focused applications. The program will bring four cohorts per year, each consisting of about eight to 12 teams, or about 30 to 50 founders, to New York City from around the world for eight weeks at a time to focus on building on the Bitcoin-centric Lightning Network and Taro protocol, Kelly Brewster, CEO of Wolf, told Jacquelyn. Today, for a series of climate-related conversations organized by the global venture firm SOSV, Connie interviewed famed investor Chris Sacca. In their chat, Sacca dismissed questions around whether efforts like carbon capture can work at scale. (“The naysayers kind of fuel me, actually.”) He also said — naturally — that he has “no doubt we will have multiple companies worth trillions of dollars that emerge from our portfolio.” It wound up being a fairly wide-ranging conversation. Moar? Moar! Notch for nothing: Ingrid wonders if it’s time to say goodbye to the notch? OTI raises $55 million for technology to remove screen obstructions. Square peg, Southeast Asia–shaped hole: Square Peg Capital closes $550 million fund for Southeast Asia, Australia and Israel, Catherine reports. Startup launches earbuds like it’s Nothing: Brian — no doubt bored of the Daily Crunch team’s terrible Nothing puns by now — reports that Nothing’s third device is a pair of pared-down earbuds. In the haystack, looking for a…: Ivan reports that Needl wants to become the search engine for your accounts. A beast of a valuation: Amanda wonders if content creator MrBeast is actually worth $1.5 billion.

Investors are sitting on mountains of cash: Where will it be deployed?

GettyImages-172806670-2 No matter what’s happening in the public markets, bees make honey and venture capitalists raise money: It’s just what they do. But since the “extreme valuation recalibration” in the public markets, VCs are amassing more and more dry powder, write Jeremy Abelson and Jacob Sonnenberg of Irving Investors. More frustrating news for founders: Investor fundraising “is on pace to finish the year at $172 billion,” but capital deployment is way down. “Dollars are flowing and will continue to flow, but it will be more capital to fewer companies,” they write. Now that “traditional SaaS has become too expensive and secondarily saturated,” sectors like web3, life sciences and agtech will attract more investors, they predict. Three more from the TC+ team: Stretch, drink some water, then hit these items to survive due diligence: A prep checklist for startups about to undergo technical due diligence, by Matt Van Itallie. Nutanix! Get yer Nutanix! Who’s most likely to buy Nutanix?, by Ron and Alex. I promise you two things, you promise me two, too: Make 4 promises to hire better staff for your startup team, by Haje. 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.

Kirsten has some late-breaking news that Ford’s and VW’s autonomous vehicle startup Argo AI will be shut down and parts of it will be absorbed by the two companies. This story is still developing, so keep going back to it for more, particularly a comment from the companies in question. Who doesn’t like a good fraction yelled at them? Duolingo certainly does not. Natasha M writes that Duolingo’s owl will now shout all the fractions you want at you as part of its new math app that is now public after spending some months in beta. And we have five more for you: Spy game: Zack tells us a true story about a stalkerware network that includes TheTruthSpy, and how they spied on us and then leaked a bunch of our data it collected. Good times! Drone on: As someone who had a drone interrupt the enjoyment of an Alabama beach, we share Devin’s view that maybe drones in cities are a bad idea. Think of the birds. Implicated: The U.S. Department of Justice has charged a Ukrainian national with allegedly being part of the Raccoon Infostealer malware operation, Carly reports. Getting testy: Manish writes that Singapore’s central bank proposed a test for retail investors to take before they are able to trade cryptocurrency. We’ve got a ticket to ride: Chinese robotaxi operator WeRide and car maker Hyundai are coming together to fuel self-driving cars with hydrogen in China, Rita reports. Daily Crunch: After buying Twitter, will Musk bite back at Apple’s in-app purchase fees? by Christine Hall originally published on TechCrunch


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