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Happy Tuesday Crunch, our crunchiest of friends. So happy to see you again.
Yesterday, Haje wondered if he was an AI, so clearly he needs a holiday. Today, shall we bask in the glory of tech news together?
The TechCrunch Top 3
You got blocked: Sometimes technology does what it’s supposed to. In Apple’s case, researchers looking into spyware vulnerabilities said its “Lockdown Mode” was able to thwart the advances of the infamous mercenary hacking provider NSO Group. Lorenzo has more. Also, Apple opens its first retail store in India, but there are…challenges, Manish writes.
Don’t forget your boarding pass: Alaska Airlines is doing away with check-in kiosks in favor of a more modern look to its gate area. Fliers will need to print boarding passes at home or check in using their smartphones, Frederic reports.
Truth seeker: Elon Musk wants to develop his own chatbot called TruthGPT, which he describes as “a maximum truth-seeking AI,” reports Ivan.
Startups and VC
Mansa, a free ad-supported streaming service and content aggregator that offers a curated selection of Black cultural content, launched out of stealth today, Lauren reports. Mansa offers a wide variety of content, from on-demand titles and digital linear (FAST) channels to short-form videos and user-generated content.
And we have another loosely assembled melange of tasty morsels for you:
Like shopping but future-i-er: Christine reports that Rally bags $12 million to build the future of e-commerce checkout.
Eye see what you did there: AI-powered retina scanning startup Mediwhale raises $9 million, Kate reports.
One tool to rule them all: Avalor wants to unify cybersecurity tools by aggregating data, Kyle reports.
I’ll take a large, please: Christine reports that B Capital leads Odeko’s $53 million Series D to help small coffee shops scale.
Welcome to your customer service bot: Ron covers that Ada released an automated generative AI-driven customer service suite.
Fill that pit lest you fall in: Over on TC+, Haje explores 7 common pitfalls for hardware startups and how to avoid them.
SaaS retention benchmarks: How does your business stack up?
SaaS companies are like leaky rowboats. If retention rates aren’t strong enough to overcome customer churn, they’ll take on water until they sink to the bottom.
Sid Jain, a senior analyst with ChartMogul, researched 2,100 companies and found that “more than half of SaaS businesses had lower retention in 2022 when compared to 2021.”
In this detailed breakdown, he compares net revenue retention rates by ARR range and identifies benchmarks for companies that have yet to reach product-market fit.
“What is considered a good net retention rate differs by the stage of your business,” advises Jain. “When benchmarking, always keep the stage of your business in mind.”
Three more from the TC+ team:
Money? For NFTs? In this economy?: Jacquelyn has some advice for you if you want funding for your NFT project.
Make hay while the sun sh-ai-nes: So you want to launch an AI startup, Ron wonders.
Not all debt is created equal: Jeremy Abelson explores why investors prefer debt over equity (but not venture debt).
Big Tech Inc.
You gotta love Darrell’s headline for his article today, “Goodbye to the fat middle,” which at first glance might pay homage to ridding oneself of their fluffy abdominal fat, but really Darrell opines about Adobe’s new AI-powered features, and what that means for the human workforce, namely, that “what’s most in danger of future extinction within these bullet points provided by Adobe is effectively the fat middle of the bell curve of multimedia editing work.”
Some television platforms and shows are quieter than others, but Prime Video customers who need a little extra sound to hear dialogue just got boosted. Sarah reports that if you can’t watch television without subtitles, Prime Video has a new feature that makes dialogue easier to hear.
And we have five more for you:
It’s all so chill: More than a dozen open source bodies wrote a letter to the European Commission to reconsider some aspects of the Cyber Resilience Act, which they say could have a “‘chilling effect” on their software development, Paul reports.
Competition heating up: A new Instagram feature competes with Linktree and others to enable users to put up to five links in their bio. Sarah has more.
“The first bird that pokes its head out gets shot”: The U.S. government’s critique of TikTok is drawing in a number of other China-based tech companies, and now Shein and Temu find themselves facing scrutiny, Rita reports.
Who you gonna call?: When monsters attack, you need an army of fictional characters to fight back. Luckily, Niantic is making a real-world ‘Monster Hunter’ game, writes Ivan.
Can you hear me now?: It’s noisy out there, but Whisper Aero is out to create drones and other vehicles quieter, Aria reports.