This week marked the in-person return of TechCrunch Disrupt, with our team taking the show back into the real world after two years fully virtual. It was one helluva show, with appearances from people like tennis legend (turned investor) Serena Williams, comedian (also turned investor!) Kevin Hart, Lyft co-founder John Zimmer, and Figma CEO Dylan Field. Congrats to Minerva Lithium for winning the Startup Battlefield competition!
Google’s Ping-Pong robot: “As if it weren’t enough to have AI tanning humanity’s hide (figuratively for now) at every board game in existence,” writes Devin, “Google AI has got one working to destroy us all at Ping-Pong as well.”
Elon expects huge Twitter layoffs: Musk reportedly wants to cut up to 75% of Twitter’s workforce — roughly 5,600 jobs — if/when his acquisition of the company goes through. That number seems pretty absurd. Even much smaller layoffs have compounding effects on things like team morale and productivity — just imagine the amount of knowledge/insight that disappears if the majority of a company is let go.
Kanye West is buying Parler: Well, that’s a headline I never, ever, ever would’ve predicted. “Kanye West, the rapper who also goes by the name Ye, has reached an agreement to buy ‘uncancelable free speech platform’ Parler,” writes Manish, “in a move [the involved parties say] will help individuals express their conservative opinions freely.”
Stability AI raises $101 million: The company behind the AI-powered image generator Stable Diffusion and music-generating system Dance Diffusion has raised $101 million at a reported valuation of $1 billion.
Netflix explores cloud gaming: Just as Google gives up on its cloud gaming efforts, Netflix is diving in. At Disrupt this week, Netflix’s VP of Gaming said the company is “seriously exploring a cloud gaming offering,” saying that Google’s shuttered effort was a “technical success” with “issues with the business model.”
Here’s what’s up in TC podcast land this week:
- Equity was live and in person! After years in pandemic mode, the Equity crew (Alex, Natasha, and Mary Ann) kicked off Disrupt by recording a show face-to-face for the first time.
- On Found, Darrell and Jordan caught up with Jerrica Kirkley and Matthew Wetschler and learned the story of Plume, their telehealth company that focuses on transgender care.
What were TC+ members reading most behind the paywall? Here’s a peek:
2023 VC predictions: After a wild few years of ups and downs, what will venture capital look like in 2023? Contrary Capital founder Eric Tarczynski weighs in.
Ron explores Celonis and its $13 billion valuation: Celonis might not be a name that everyone recognizes…but the 11-year-old data-processing company has managed to raise billions of dollars in the last few years alone. What are they doing so right? Ron Miller takes us on a deep dive.