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Welcome to the Daily Crunch for Friday, April 15, 2022, where we continue to put our heads in the sand regarding the war in Ukraine and the Earth slowly roasting in favor of…a loud-mouthed billionaire wanting to buy a deranged bird sanctuary .
On our Equity podcast today, which we recorded during our amazing sold-out Early Stage event, Alex and Natasha dipped into social fintech. About events – are you coming to our mobility event? If you want to pitch, this is your last chance to get your applications. Speaking of podcasts – Found, the TechCrunch podcast where founders tell the stories of their startups, is nominated for a Webby for Best Tech Podcast! Vote before April 21! – Christina and Go on
TechCrunch’s top 3
- Twitter adopts ‘poison pill’ to block plan to buy Elon Musk: For what seems like all week now, Twitter is in the news again today. This time he announced that he was taking steps to block purchase by “one who will not be named”. Literally, the company didn’t mention Elon Musk by name. I hope you’re not like, “What happened?” but if you are: Musk has said he wants to buy the social media giant. Some of his language in the proposal suggested a hostile takeover, so Kyle took a look at the history of hostile takeovers and what that might mean for Twitter’s case.
- US Links North Korea to Latest Crypto Hack: The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control says a North Korean state-backed hacking group known as Lazarus is responsible for the recent theft of $625 million in cryptocurrency from the Ronin network, an Ethereum-based sidechain designed for the popular game-to-win game Axie Infinity. We report that “this is the biggest decentralized finance hack to date”.
- European startups are having a good year so far: We’ve written about a slowdown in venture-backed deals across different regions, including the US, Asia and Latin America, so it’s refreshing to see Europe come out on top in Q1 – a 20% increase quarter over quarter, in fact.
Startups and VCs
You’ll be forgiven for humming a little Aloe Blacc on your breath as you file your expenses. Those on the other side of those expense reports tend to be more likely to swear than whistle a tune – and Itilite just raised $29 million to make them smile and give them a boost by automating business expense workflows.
One for the money, two for the show, three for the getting ready, now go ahead, cat, go ahead, and don’t step on my shrewd, weighted views:
- Like Affirm, but for your business: The buy now, pay later market, led by Afterpay, Affirm, Klarna and others, is primarily focused on consumer spending. Slope wants to bring the same mechanics to B2B purchases and just raised $24 million to put that dream aside.
- Like Uber, but on two wheels: Indian food delivery giant Swiggy has just invested $180 million in bike taxi startup Rapido.
- Like Chrome, but scrambled: Opera is one of those companies that refuses to die, even if they have only found an extremely niche audience. Today it launched an iOS version of its web3 and crypto-friendly browser.
- Like HubSpot, but HubSport: TeamSnap makes it easy to manage youth sports organizations – planning, team management, and more. The company has been around since 2009 and just launched a new set of tools.
MLB takes a foray into the future with new technology for the old ball game
Baseball has come a long way since 1897, when a Princeton math professor designed a pitching machine that ran on gunpowder.
Today, baseball is a technology-driven business where team owners, players, media organizations, and individual fans have access to tons of raw stats.
To learn more about Major League Baseball’s technology stack, corporate journalist Ron Miller interviewed its CPO and chief engineering officer, Vasanth Williams.
“MLB has a long history of harnessing data and technology and has been an early adopter of many technologies, which I love doing,” he said.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams grow. You can join here.)
Big Tech inc.
- China changes its policy on foreign games: Continuing from yesterday with some news from China, it looks like the country is preparing to close a loophole that has been left open for people to access unauthorized video games. This week, online game company Tencent announced that it would “terminate its game booster that allows users to play games overseas”, which means that all games without a license issued by the government to operate in the country will be adieu.
- Meta brings Horizon Worlds to the web: Meta’s social virtual reality platform, Horizon Worlds, is getting a facelift for Quest VR headset users to try out. We point out that with all the company talk about the metaverse, it seems counter-intuitive to have VR and web versions of the same things, but we’re guessing a lot of people have asked for it, otherwise it wouldn’t be fact.
- Take a trip inside the 2023 Toyota bZ4X: Buckle up, we’ve got the ‘nuts and volt’ on one of Toyota’s newest EVs. For a rather clunky name, we report that this one promises an all-inclusive price of just under $50,000 for what’s an “impressive” range on a single charge.