Hello friends. Looking for a summary of this week’s news? You are in the right place. It’s Week in Review (WiR), the (more or less) regular newsletter that summarizes the top stories of the past few days written by the talented TC team. (Woot, alliteration.) There’s no faster way to catch up on the things that matter. Of course we are a bit biased.
Before we move on to the good stuff, a reminder that businessroundups.org Early Stage 2023 is just around the corner – April 20 in Boston. I will refrain from repeating my pitch in previous columns at a lot, but believe me when I say you want to be there. Not only are you treated to a healthy portion of the TC editorial on the go – a rarity! – but you also have access to expert panels that cover the many aspects of building startups.
Don’t forget that Disrupt, businessroundups.org’s annual flagship conference, kicks off September 19 elsewhere in the event land. We are especially excited about the AI Stage, which is new this year. Tickets are available here.
With that out of the way, on to the news:
Private no more: This week, numerous Twitter users reported a bug where Circle tweets – which are supposed to reach a select group, such as an Instagram Close Friends story – showed up on the algorithmically generated For You timeline. That meant some people’s supposedly private messages broke the containment to reach an unintended audience, which quickly led to awkward situations, Amanda reports.
They let me do it: In a recent interview with BBC reporter James Clayton on Twitter Spaces, Twitter CEO Elon Musk admitted what many suspected: he bought Twitter because he believed he would be forced to. To recap, Twitter took Musk to court last year to force him to honor his signed commitment to acquire the company for the agreed price of $44 billion, or $54.20 per share. After some legal back and forth, Musk — staring into the course of a lengthy lawsuit — agreed to buy the company for the price he originally set.
Twitter becomes X: In even more Twitter news (it’s a lot, I know), Twitter, Inc. now X Corp., according to a file in court in California. Amanda writes that Elon Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion last year, has the ambition to build what he calls “X, the everything app.” This proposed app may be similar to WeChat in China, which supports messaging, payments, ride-sharing, food delivery, and other services all in one place.
Hijacked reviews: The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved a final consent order in the first-ever enforcement action in a review hijacking case, or when a marketer steals consumer reviews of another product to boost sales of its own product. Sara writes that in this case, the FTC ordered supplement retailer The Bountiful Company, the maker of The abundance of nature vitamins and other brands, to pay $600,000 for defrauding and misleading customers on Amazon.
If it’s free, it’s for me: GoogleTV, Google’s smart TV operating system that powers Chromecast devices and several TVs, received a major update this week to expand access to free streaming content. Google TV now integrates access to free streaming channels like Tubi, Plex and Haystack News directly into the redesigned Live tab, alongside the existing set of channels from free streamer Pluto TV.
New phone, who dis?: In an effort to expand its reach, based in Stockholm real caller introduces an update that brings live caller ID support on iOS, available to people using the paid tiers. Jagmeet writes that the new feature comes as Truecaller continues to see a lot of growth, but also some bumps in its strongest markets, such as India.
Clay is the new plastic: Disposable plastic and paper cups are one environment rubbish. GaeaStara startup based in Berlin and San Francisco thinks it can do better with just clay, water, salt and sand, Harry reports. To make the disposable containers, the startup says it developed a special 3D printer that makes them in “30 seconds or less” — quite a claim.
New Android Coming: Google’s Android development cycle runs at a rather predictable cadence these days. To wit, this week, after two developer previews, the company launched the first of four planned public betas of Android 14, Frederick reports. As with previous versions, the first beta is also the first release that anyone can install over the air, assuming they have a supported Pixel device, going back to the Pixel 4a 5G (but not the Pixel 4).
businessroundups.org’s list of podcasts hasn’t gotten any less impressive, in case you haven’t listened to it yet. At Equity, the crew dug into deals of the week, regulations and field dynamics at play in the AI space, and the opportunity that funds can offer venture companies. And this week’s Found itcame to talk to Lauren Markler about how her company, Cofertility, aims to rebrand egg donation by making the process less transactional — and much more affordable.
TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and surveys – which you’ll know if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are a few highlights from this week:
SaaS metrics that attract investors: Oleksandr Yaroshenko, head of strategy and investment at Headway, writes about which engagement metrics spark the most investor interest, including engagement over long periods of time at the end of a subscription and the frequency of interactions with core app features.
What exhaust regulations mean for investors: The Environmental Protection Agency suggests new rules that would go into effect in 2027, paving the way for a new car market dominated by electric vehicles. Tim writes about how many investment opportunities there are now that the rules are pushing EVs to the forefront.
Robot Revolution: Brian spoke to more than a dozen VCs about the state of robotics investment in 2023. As he notes, despite the recent downtrend, robotics remains vibrant and exciting, and undoubtedly has a bright future of exponential growth ahead.