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Thursday is here — how in the world did that happen? Those days, they just keep on coming. If you’re still on the fence about whether you want to come along to Disrupt, we’ve got you covered: There’s a Disrupt pass for every role and budget.
It also seems like Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes isn’t headed to jail today after all. She was scheduled to start her 11-year sentence, but then Things Happened. Connie has the full story.
— Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- More layoffs: Dropbox CEO Drew Houston broke the news today that the company will be laying off 500 employees, or 16% of its staff. Ingrid reports Houston said the cuts are due to slowing growth and “the era of AI.”
- Get the popcorn ready: Warner Bros. is partnering with Viacom18 to bring “Succession” and other HBO content to India. Manish has more.
- Legacy learns to embrace AI: Jagmeet takes a deep dive into how legacy financial software giant Intuit decided to put out the welcome mat for artificial intelligence instead of closing the door and turning the deadbolt.
Startups and VC
Posh is an event management and ticketing platform for all users to host events large or small, regardless of whether you’re an event organizer, promoter, or just want to charge your friends a cover for drinking all the expensive alcohol at your birthday party. Lauren reports that Posh announced its public launch today after being in beta since October 2020. Alongside the launch, the company also announced its $5 million seed round.
The concept of SaaS as a business model changed the game in tech by moving users away from buying software outright and toward paying for service availability based on time-based subscriptions, typically with per-month or annual pricing, Ingrid reports. Today, a startup out of London called M3ter that is building tools to take the next step in that evolution — more granular usage-based pricing — is announcing funding on the back of strong demand. The company has raised $14 million.
More? Okay, fine, here’s another handful for you:
- Not having steak is a mis-steak: Christine writes how Chunk Foods is close to opening a factory to produce “millions” of plant-based steaks.
- That’s code for “help me out over here”: Kyle reports that Replit, the web-based IDE developing a GitHub Copilot competitor, raised $100 million.
- Swimming upstream: Sturgeon Capital launches $35 million fund aimed at emerging startups in Central Asia, Mike reports.
- Batten the hatches: Bastion is an all-in-one cybersecurity solution for small businesses, Romain writes.
- On yer bike: Rebecca reports how Grubhub and Joco team up to give NYC delivery workers access to e-bikes.
Capital efficiency is the new VC filter for startups
For some B2B SaaS startups, focusing solely on the LTV:CAC ratio is a great way to obscure weak customer metrics. Dividing Customer Lifetime Value by Customer Acquisition Cost can offer useful insights, but only if you have accurate retention data — and a lot of it.
“Today, investors zoom in on other efficiency metrics that paint a more reliable and comprehensive picture of the startup’s capital efficiency, and so should you,” says Igor Shaverskyi, a partner at VC firm Waveup.
In this TC+ column, he offers a formula and benchmarks for calculating CAC payback, which reveals to founders (and potential investors) “how long it will take for your customer acquisition costs to pay off.”
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Your school means nothing: Brian writes that sometimes you need to cut your startup’s school ties.
- Web2+1: Jacquelyn explores how OpenSea’s next journey is to help Web 2.0 brands get into web3.
- Neobanks hit stormy waters: Alex and Anna explore how Revolut’s valuation troubles signal a stormy horizon for less-profitable neobanks.
TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead of the pack. You can sign up here. Use code “DC” for a 15% discount on an annual subscription!
Big Tech Inc.
Let’s talk about Meta today, shall we? Yesterday, the company reported that its earnings beat revenue expectations, as covered by Amanda. But that’s not all: Our colleagues grabbed on to a few tidbits, including that the company said 10% of its global ad revenue was at risk from European Union data flows order. Natasha L has more on that. Also, time spent on Instagram grew 24%, thanks to TikTok-style AI Reel recommendations, reports Darrell.
Meanwhile, Meta also had a win in court, with an appeal court ruling in the tech giant’s favor regarding an antitrust case brought by state attorneys general. Sarah writes that “the States alleged Meta had illegally maintained monopoly power in the social networking market through its acquisitions of photo-sharing app Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014, and that it gained further power through data policies that harmed app developers.”
Now here’s five more for you:
- Ruffled feathers: NBCUniversal let go of its CEO and then reported higher Peacock losses. Lauren has more.
- More to Lyft’s layoffs: Last week, Kirsten reported that ride-hailing giant Lyft was going to lay off employees as part of a restructuring move. Today, she writes that those layoffs will affect 26% of its workforce.
- A conscious coupling: Morgan reports that senators from both sides of the aisle came together to introduce a bill today that would ban social media algorithms for minors.
- Truth time: Elon Musk may testify about his Autopilot statements, reports Rebecca.
- Get out the flashlight: Zack and Carly write about a ransomware attack that is leaving CommScope employees in the dark.