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Good morning, you wonderful specimens of humanity! It’s Friday, and I’m writing this from the hammock in my sunny North Oakland garden, so life ain’t all that bad. (I can only assume that WFH stands for Work From Hammock).
This weekend, earmark a bit of time to apply to our Startup Battlefield 200. It gives you the chance to exhibit your startup for free at TechCrunch Disrupt in October and win the $100,000 prize. Applications close August 5, so get cracking!
Have a good one, and see you next week! — Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
Startups and VC
It’s all go, go, go in the world of insurance. Mary Ann reports that Lemonade acquired Metromile and promptly laid off about 20% of its staff. Makes sense, of course, in a world where there’s probably a fair amount of administrative and operational overlap between the two companies, but it’s always sad to say goodbye to beloved colleagues.
And don’t miss Aria’s piece about how the Exploration Company is developing a brand-new reusable orbital spacecraft. “The [space] exploration ecosystem is going to change dramatically in the probably next 10 to 15 years,” co-founder and CEO Hélène Huby explained. “If you make it happen, you have a huge advantage of being one of the first in the market.”
A few more nuggets to take you into the weekend:
- Taking the fun out of everything: A startup is charging $1.99 to write strings to feed into platforms like DALL-E, and I despair for humanity. Come on, that’s half the fun! No thanks at all to Kyle for making me seethe with confused anger this afternoon. Jerk.
- Making it rain down in Africa: Zedcrest Capital, a firm known for its debt and equity capital markets investments but who recently started dabbling in venture investments, has launched a $10 million “emergency fund” for African startups, aimed at pre-Series A stage companies, Tage reports.
- Driving lessons for industrial vehicles: Polymath Robotics launches to bring plug-and-play autonomy software to any industrial vehicle, Kirsten reports.
- The more you learn: You know what, I’ve never read one of Devin’s articles that didn’t make me go, “Huh! I didn’t know that!” Today, Shinkei Systems’ AI-guided fish harvesting robot gave me that moment of delight.
All my apes gone: Legal disputes at the intersection of IP and NFTs
When Andy Warhol appropriated images of Campbell’s Soup in 1962, he was lucky: For a host of reasons, the company decided not to sue him for infringing its trademark.
One wonders how the situation would have played out 60 years later if Warhol had minted a series of NFTs with the iconic soup labels, however.
In her latest TC+ post, CORPlaw founder Kristen Corpion examined “the most interesting and important IP legal issues that are currently impacting the creation, transfer and use of NFTs,” including trademark infringement, the first sale doctrine and why Seth Green ended up paying a $100,000 premium to buy back his stolen Bored Ape.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)
Big Tech Inc.
It’s never gonna give you up. It’ll make an effort to never let you down. It probably won’t run around and desert you. But TikTok may be considering a music service, report Aisha and Ivan in an article that unfortunately falls short of the mandatory quota of musical puns. Don’t worry, folks, I’ll talk to her about it.
Meanwhile, Annie reports that Kenya is contemplating giving Facebook a smack with the ban-hammer, after the country’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission finds that the social media platform isn’t doing enough to clear out hate speech.
- Is multimedia coming to Twitter?: Looks like the social media platform is testing letting you post images, videos, and GIFs all in the same tweet, Ivan reports.
- We don’t want your steeenking ads: Roku misses the mark on its quarterly results, and blames advertising slowdown for coming up short, Lauren reports.
- Bank balance goes down, shares go up: Amazon reported its earnings and ran at a $2 billion loss. Seems like stonks love that sort of thing, because the share price went up, reports Lauren.
- For you, special price. For you, it’s double: Twitter Blue gets a price hike from $2.99 to $4.99 per month, reports Ivan.
- Where do you take someone after a “peekaboo” accident? To ICU: Instagram pretty much copied BeReal for its Dual camera feature, but kinda missed the point along the way, Amanda explains.
- Is there anything they can’t do?: Video memes, maybe music soon (see above) and now TikTok begins testing HTML5 minigames with a handful of partners, Sarah reports.