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Good morning, beautiful specimens of humanity! It’s Friday and I’m writing this from the hammock in my sunny garden in North Oakland, so life isn’t that bad. (I can only assume that WFH stands for Work From Hammock).
Set aside some time this weekend to sign up for our Startup Battlefield 200. It gives you the chance to showcase your startup for free at TechCrunch Disrupt in October and win the $100,000 prize. Registrations close on August 5, so don’t miss out!
Have fun and see you next week! — He came
The TechCrunch Top 3
Startups and VC
It’s all go, go, go in the insurance world. Mary Ann reports that Lemonade acquired Metromile and promptly laid off about 20% of its staff. Logically, 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 dear colleagues.
And don’t miss it Aria‘s piece on how the Exploration Company is developing a brand new reusable orbital spacecraft. “The [space] exploration ecosystem is going to change dramatically in the next 10 to 15 years,” explains co-founder and CEO Hélène Huby. “If you get it done, you have a huge advantage of being one of the first on the market.”
A few more nuggets to head into the weekend:
- Take the fun out of everything: A startup charges $1.99 to write strings for platforms like DALL-E, and I despair for humanity. Come on, that’s half the fun! Not thank you at all Kylea because this afternoon I was boiling with confused rage. Jerk.
- Making it rain in Africa: Zedcrest Capital, a company known for its investments in debt and equity capital markets but which has recently started venture capital investments, has launched a $10 million “emergency fund” for African startups targeting pre-Series A companies, to take 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 an article by Devin that didn’t make me think, ‘Huh! I did not know that!” Today, Shinkei Systems’ AI-guided fish harvesting robot gave me that moment of delight.
All My Monkeys 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 variety of reasons, the company decided not to sue him for trademark infringement.
However, one wonders how the situation would have turned out 60 years later if Warhol had hit a string of NFTs with the iconic soup labels.
In her latest TC+ post, CORPlaw founder Kristen Corpion explored “the most interesting and important intellectual property legal issues currently affecting the creation, transfer and use of NFTs,” including trademark infringement, the first sales doctrine and why Seth Green ends up paying a $100,000 bounty to buy back his stolen Bored Ape.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams move forward. You can register here.)
Big Tech Inc.
It will never give you up. It will do its best to never let you down. It probably won’t run around and let you down. But TikTok may be considering a music service, reports 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.
In the meantime, annie reports that Kenya is considering hitting Facebook with the ban hammer after the country’s National Cohesion and Integration Commission determined that the social media platform is not doing enough to clean up hate speech.
- Is multimedia coming to Twitter?: Looks like the social media platform is testing so you can post images, videos and GIFs all in the same tweet, Ivan reports.
- We don’t want your stoneenking ads: Roku misses the mark on its quarterly results, blaming the advertising delay for falling short, Lauren reports.
- Bank balance falls, shares rise: Amazon reported its revenue and incurred a loss of $2 billion. Looks like stanks like that sort of thing as the stock price went up, reports Lauren.
- For you, special price. For you it’s doubleTwitter Blue gets price increase from $2.99 to $4.99 per month, reports Ivan.
- Where do you take someone after a peek-a-boo accident? To IC: Instagram pretty much copied BeReal for its dual camera feature, but kind of missed the point along the way, Amanda explains.
- Is there something they can’t do?: Video memes, maybe music soon (see above) and now TikTok is starting to test HTML5 minigames with a handful of partners, Sarah reports.