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good [time of day] dear [name]. You know what we’re excited about? The agenda for TC Disrupt just dropped, and it will be an absolute show stopper. Aaaah. See what’s happening on our four (count ’em! Four!) stages and see the amazing line-up of speakers. Then get your tickets and book your flights — it’s going to be great. See you there! — Christine and Hadje
TechCrunch’s Top 3
- Facetime: While Mark Zuckerberg promises better avatars in the metaverse, Estonia-based Ready Player Me is delivering on them. Andreessen Horowitz led the company’s recent $56 million round of fundraising, which builds dynamic, animated gaming avatars for virtual worlds. Ingrid write.
- Exorcism with secrets: Rita wrote a juicy post about a former Apple employee who left with more than best wishes from his former colleagues. Xiaolang Zhang pleaded guilty this week to stealing confidential driving information from the tech giant and then started working at an electric vehicle company.
- Light it up: At TechCrunch+, Tim reported on US Senator Joe Manchin’s ultimatum to automakers to either move more of their lithium-ion battery supply chain out of China or give up some tax incentives that are part of the Deflation Act. Tim writes that this could backfire, or that “the United States will finally become a key player in the battery industry.”
Startups and VCs
The world has become much more serious about privacy and data protection, but in many cases business models that rely on personalization of one kind or another are struggling to keep up. Today, a startup from Paris called Ravel Technologies is coming out of stealth with an approach he believes could be the missing link between these two Ingrid reports.
While it’s usually hard for new consumer social apps to gain widespread traction, 9count’s apps (friend wink and dating app Summer) have already seen some early traction — and investors have noticed, investing an additional $28 millionwrite Sarah.
Five more we enjoyed today:
Should founders announce reduction rounds? This PR expert says you have nothing to hide
If your home was damaged in an earthquake, would you feel uncomfortable?
Likewise, founders shouldn’t feel embarrassed about accepting funding that lowers their valuation, advises Kate Johnson, VP of PR at BLASTmedia.
“Instead of pretending the downgrade didn’t happen, change your mindset,” she writes.
“You have nothing to hide, and from a PR point of view, no news is not good news. So, focus on adjusting your expectations.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can register here.)
Big Tech Inc.
After reading about the ex-Apple employee, we’ve got more ex-employees who were in the news today, including Twitter’s ex-security chief Petar “Mudge” Zatko blowing the whistle the alleged mismanagement of cybersecurity by the social media giant. This one was by Carlybut the team had to work on several different angles and here are the fruits of their labor:
Meanwhile, in streaming land, Lauren writes as for Thor: Love and Thunder, coming to Disney+ next monthand Premiere of the series “House of the Dragon” on HBO, which attracted 10 million viewers. Also, watch out for The Netflix version of the popular game “Heads Up”., Aisha reports.