Sony and Honda unveil Afeela, Hen Buddy launches a brand new sensible feeder, and Amazon secures an $8B mortgage • TechCrunch
Hey, of us, it’s Kyle, filling in for Greg, who’s out for the following few weeks on parental go away. Whereas he enjoys time along with his lovely, wholesome new child (what higher reward for the vacations, eh?), I’m studying the ropes of Week in Evaluation to verify y’all keep updated with the newest in tech. Hope I do Greg justice — they’re massive sneakers to fill!
Longtime readers know the drill, however for the newbies, WiR goals to pithily recap the previous seven days of TechCrunch tales. We publish on the location and ship WiR to subscribers’ inboxes each Saturday (join here for those who haven’t already) to make issues handy. Like a buttery croissant, WiR goes nice with a morning cup of espresso — or tea, if that’s your choice. Or sizzling cocoa. Take your choose — no judgment over right here.
Earlier than we dive into the information, a reminder that the TC Early Stage occasion in Boston is quick approaching. Tickets received’t final — they by no means do — so get ’em earlier than they’re gone for those who’ll be within the Larger Boston space towards the tip of April. We’d like to see your smiling face.
TikTok bans abound: The U.S. could be getting all the eye for banning TikTok on government devices, however India did it first — two and a half years in the past now, in reality. In current remarks, FCC commissioner Brendan Carr mentioned that the U.S. ought to comply with India’s lead extra broadly to “weed out … nefarious apps.” India has banned hundreds of apps apart from TikTok, together with PUBG Cellular, Battlegrounds Cellular India and UC Browser, with ties to China amid skirmishes on the border of the 2 neighboring nations.
I’m feeling Afeela: ‘Tis the season for the Client Electronics Present (CES), which continues to change into more and more car-centric. Living proof, Sony and Honda unveiled Afeela, their joint EV model, at a flashy press convention on Wednesday, the place they rolled a four-door sedan onstage. Preorders of the Afeelas are scheduled for the primary half of 2025, the businesses mentioned, with gross sales to start someday similar yr. Preliminary shipments will probably be delivered to clients in North America within the spring of 2026.
No appetite for risk: My colleague Natasha wrote a wonderful piece about how tech staff, burned by current layoffs, are reevaluating their relationships with the business — notably in gentle of doubtless tumultuous financial instances forward. Some are working a number of full-time jobs in adjoining industries, whereas others are choosing part-time contracting gigs to make ends meet. Few appear keen to depart tech altogether — however they’re definitely extra cynical than they was once.
For the birds: Hen Buddy, a startup behind “sensible” chicken feeders, took the wraps off of its newest mannequin at CES, which caters to hummingbirds. Like its authentic chicken feeder, Hen Buddy’s new feeder — which options recyclable and sustainable supplies — has a digital camera that’s triggered by movement, which prompts it to take photographs of chicken guests. These are then run by an AI algorithm to assist determine the species, alerting house owners by a companion cell app.
I didn’t do it, I swear: Sam Bankman-Fried’s not responsible plea to a number of federal fraud expenses was a tactical response, in response to consultants Jacquelyn spoke with. The previous CEO of the crypto trade FTX, whose firm collapsed in November, could be shopping for time to strike a cope with prosecutors, they mentioned. A trial date within the U.S. District Courtroom for the Southern District of New York is about for October 2.
Cutting the sales force: Salesforce introduced this week that it’s slicing roughly 10% of its workforce, impacting greater than 7,000 workers, whereas it shutters workplaces in “sure markets.” Just like different firms hit by vital layoffs over the previous yr, CEO Marc Benioff mentioned that Salesforce employed too many individuals by the pandemic in the course of the growth instances. The corporate claimed 79,000 employees last February, a 30% enhance on 2020.
Billions for Bezos: Amazon secured an $8 billion mortgage, in response to a submitting with the U.S. Securities and Trade Fee. In an announcement, an Amazon spokesperson informed TechCrunch that the mortgage provides to the vary of financing choices the corporate has tapped in current months to hedge towards the “unsure macroeconomic surroundings.” It additionally comes on the heels of a disappointing yr for the retailer, which over-expanded in the course of the pandemic; in its most up-to-date cost-cutting measure, Amazon internally announced plans to put off round 18,000 individuals.
I see you: Talking of Amazon, at CES, Amazon-owned Ring introduced again the Peephole Cam, a digital camera that matches over present door peepholes to report goings-on outdoor, in house constructing hallways and so forth. Now beginning at $129 — down from the unique worth of $199 — it ships with software program that brings its capabilities according to the remainder of Ring’s portfolio, like movement detection and real-time streaming video.
Have an urge for food for podcasts to kick off the brand new yr? Good, as a result of TC’s serving ’em up like hotcakes. On The TechCrunch Podcast, I talked with Darrell about CES-related AI product bulletins whereas Natasha spoke on the results of the mass layoffs in tech. In the meantime, the crew of Equity, TC’s startup-focused present, took a take a look at some early standouts from CES, USV and Doorstead’s offers of the week, plus the newest improvement within the FTX and SBF saga. And final however not least, Found sat down with Brex co-founder and co-CEO Henrique Dubugras to speak about his company bank card and expense administration startup.
Don’t subscribe to TC+ but? Disgrace, ’trigger there’s nice content material popping out of there. A few of the hottest this week have been:
Fintech predictions and opportunities for 2023: It’s been an eventful yr in fintech. The market has fallen a great distance from the highs of 2021, and whereas 2022 was largely concerning the reset of the funding surroundings, Victoria predicts 2023 goes to be a yr of recalibration for fintech firms. Learn her thorough piece for extra.
5 failure points between $5M and $100M in ARR: Tracy Younger, the previous CEO of PlanGrid, a building app for venture managers, breaks down PlanGrid’s key failure factors and what she’s realized from them through the years. As she says within the opening paragraphs: “If these reflections assist even one founder make one much less mistake, I’d think about this effort worthwhile.”
Is generative AI already becoming a bubble?: Rebecca surveyed greater than 35 traders working in numerous geographies, funding levels and sectors about how they have been feeling about generative AI — that’s, ChatGPT, Steady Diffusion and different tech alongside these strains. Apparently, whereas a number of traders mentioned they have been bullish on the brand new tech total, additionally they admitted that the sector was more likely to get misplaced in its personal hype.