Helloooooo from team Daily Crunch! Haje is back from dealing with all sorts of little disasters, and Christine is still going strong. Let’s goooooo. It’s still Black History Month, so for today’s feature, get yourself a TC+ subscription (use code DC for a discount), and read why our very own Dominic-Madori believes that for Black founders and investors, ringing Nasdaq’s opening bell symbolizes progress. — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
The beat goes on: Our music listening is getting way too smart for its own good. Spotify’s new feature, called “DJ,” is injecting some artificial intelligence into our music — because what doesn’t have AI powering it at this point — and claims to be so good at knowing what you want to listen to that you’ll have a personalized music experience every time you tap the DJ button. It will even give you commentary on what you’re listening to. Sarah has more. United States for the win: Mary Ann spoke exclusively with Klarna’s co-founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski and learned that the U.S. is now the payment giant’s largest market. She has the scoop on how the U.S. surpassed Europe. Hey! You! Get into my car: Uber redesigned its app to create a more simplified and personalized experience for customers so you can see all the ride-hailing giant can offer. Rebecca walks us through the changes.
Startups and VC
Whatever you do, don’t miss our Wednesday Equity show — this week Natasha M interviewed Kaisa Snellman, an economic sociologist and an associate professor of organizational behavior and academic director of the INSEAD Gender Initiative, digging into how data shows that female check-writers alone aren’t enough to close the female fundraising gap. A year after completing its special purpose acquisition with FirstMark Horizon Acquisition Corp. to go public, Starry Group Holdings, an internet service provider, said that it filed for bankruptcy in efforts to reduce its debt while maintaining customer and network operations in five cities, Christine reports. And another few to keep you piqued: Like video, but different: Scoot lands $12 million to inject customization into videoconferencing, reports Kyle. Like sensitive data, but more secure: Ron reports that Metomic helps prevent employees from sharing sensitive data in SaaS apps. Like the news, but Instagrammier: Instagram’s co-founders’ personalized news app Artifact launches to the public with new features, Sarah reports. Like customer success, but more successful: Kyle writes that customer success platforms haven’t lost steam, exemplified by Vitally’s $30 million round of financing. Like branding you could go have a beer with: Tracksuit raises $5 million to make brand tracking more accessible, Rebecca reports.
Go long or go short? A VC reveals when it’s time to sell and how to maximize buyer interest
GettyImages-1405804515-1 Will your startup IPO and grab a giant slice of your market, or is it a value-add that will be acquired by a hard-charging unicorn? “When you can’t quite make it to product-market fit, there’s a third choice that too many entrepreneurs, and their investors, overlook: selling out,” says Kittu Kolluri, founder and managing director of Neotribe Ventures. In an article aimed at early-stage founders, Kolluri shares a detailed framework with timelines that can help decide whether it’s time to look for a buyer or keep reaching for the stars. “How can you choose? While it isn’t a trivial decision, it’s also not as hard as you might think. There are only two gates: value and growth.” Three more from the TC+ team: Pour one out for the giga-rounds: Alex opines that the $100 million venture round is going extinct. Well, that wasn’t awful: Jacquelyn and Alex dig into Coinbase’s better-than-expected Q4 results. Be better: Becca writes that VCs should want to hold early-stage companies more accountable. 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.
“Hey @Bing.” That’s what you can text now to bring Bing into your conversation. The search engine may have had its ups and downs, but that is not stopping Microsoft. Frederic writes that the company now brings the new AI-powered Bing to mobile and Skype so you can ask questions in a chat mode. This week, the Supreme Court heard arguments related to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields internet companies from liability for the user-generated content they host. Taylor writes, “It’s become an unlikely nexus of controversy in recent years.” Why? “Plaintiffs…argue that the tech platforms in question should face legal liability for the Islamic State content that they hosted or promoted in the lead-up to attacks that together claimed more than 150 lives,” she reports. What do you want? More stories! Tap that: Stripe expands its Tap to Pay feature to Android. This turns NFC-enabled Android devices into payment terminals, Ingrid reports. You can be verified, but you can’t make changes: Meta is taking its new Verified feature seriously. It won’t let you change your name, username or profile photo for now, Ivan writes. Weaving a web3: Google Cloud partners with Tezos blockchain to become Tezos “bakers,” or network validators, Jacquelyn writes. Developer’s delight: OpenAI’s Foundry will let customers buy dedicated capacity to run its AI models, Kyle reports. Open up: A new Elon Musk tweet suggests Twitter could open source its algorithm as early as next week. Sarah has more. Daily Crunch: Spotify says new AI DJ feature currently in beta testing has ‘stunningly realistic voice’ by Christine Hall originally published on TechCrunch