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I know it may be unfair to assume that angel investors have the same approach to investors as professional and institutional pre-seed investors. And yet, amateur investors could certainly stray from the professional playbook. In this thinly veiled rant that admittedly comes from someone who doesn’t have enough money to spend on angel investing on a significant scale and would therefore be easily ignored by anyone who regularly writes an angel check or two, I breaking down some of the mistakes I see angels make all the time.
Okay, with that somewhat startup-relevant tirade out of the way, let’s look at what kept our crafty club of business correspondents from chirping this great week. . .
Another bite of apple
Unless you’ve been hiding behind a stalled humanoid robot (or android, if you prefer) all week, you probably know that our friendly neighborhood orchard has been growing some new apples. The new iPhones – in the form of the iPhone 15 and the titanium-clad iPhone 15 Pro – now come with USB-C. In fact, there are a whole bunch of Apple products in the USB-C range these days. On the phone side, the cameras are better (and can now shoot 3D video). There was a new Apple Watch (also in pink!) and much more.
One fun story we didn’t see coming was Olivia Rodrigo releasing a brand new video: “Get It Back!” – filmed on an iPhone 15 Pro. Of course it looks amazing.
Look, I know not everything Apple does is always relevant to startups, but you’d be a damn fool not to pay attention to what the world’s most valuable company is doing. Darrell had a very interesting take on this: as the iPhone becomes more powerful, he says it becomes more and more viable as a games console for big-budget titles.
I bet you’re curious about our most read Apple stories, aren’t you? Well, I’m pretty sure this is proprietary information that the editors to hate I’m sharing with you, but everyone is gearing up for Disrupt next week, so I’m sure no one will notice that I’m sneaking this into the newsletter:
The roundup: You all love a good “just tell us what matters” type of story, so it’s no surprise that Christine’s summary of the event is very good: Apple Event 2023: Everything that’s been announced so far ‘now.
iPhone 15 launch: Of course, everyone was going to be super curious about what the iPhone 15 had in store. Brian discovered the full story, with Apple’s iPhone 15 arriving with USB-C (finally). Brian’s post about the iPhone 15 Pro was also incredibly popular.
Goodbye, Lightning: Okay, fine, maybe I just wanted to make this list because I noticed that one of my stories had become a bit popular: Apple ditching the Lightning connector in favor of USB-C after exactly 11 years old.
What is happening in the land of fintech?
After the 2008 global financial crisis, central banks cut interest rates to almost zero. As a result, money flowed elsewhere – and a sizable amount flowed into LP funds, from there to venture capital funds, and from there to promising young startups. Michael Sindicich argues that this has allowed the emergence of business models that would otherwise be completely unsustainable, asking whether perhaps the time for reckoning has come: the house of cards is collapsing does he?
Entrepreneurs are going to be entrepreneurs, so why not start a business to help other businesses go out of business faster and more cheaply? It’s a bold proposition, but it appears there’s a market for it: SimpleClosure raised $1.5 million in less than a day to help struggling startups pull the plug more eagerly.
Some glimmers of hope from fintech start-ups to ward off the dark darkness:
Growth of neobanks: Many startups looking for new equity investors may still be feeling the chill of the funding winter, but things continue to heat up in the debt world: UK neobank Zopa raises $93 million additional as it reaches the one million customer mark.
Taking on Coinbase and Binance: After the collapse of FTX, crypto traders sought decentralized, non-custodial, and more secure ways to execute orders and store their assets. Brine Fi was just valued at $100 million to help close that gap.
Inclusion is hot: It is difficult to finance disadvantaged banks and support those who are underfunded, but Alza has just come out of hiding to offer affordable and inclusive financial tools to immigrants.
It was Y Combinator Demo Day last week, which means there’s another wall of investment opportunities flowing into venture capital firms like salmon traveling up the proverbial fallopian tube from gestation to road to . . . ok, this mixed metaphor has officially gone TOO FAR. Some investors skipped YC Demo Day this year. Here are our favorite startups from Days 1 and 2 of YC. We spoke to a group of founders who have done YC multiple times to find out what the value of going back to the well is.
Elsewhere in startup news, we were excited about AI reading coach startup Ello, which raised $15 million to boost children’s literacy.
On the subject of education, I took apart Tomorrow University’s pitch deck, which, although it is preparing to offer an MBA program, reads a lot like a manifesto instead of a pitch deck. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good manifesto – my favorite (and least) manifestos are written in German – but they’re usually not very useful when it comes to fundraising.
Some fundraisers to watch:
Hey, Siri, print me a house: Kyle reports that Mighty Buildings has raised $52 million to build 3D printed prefab homes.
Seems like a good investment: Perfios, an Indian fintech that provides real-time credit underwriting solutions to banks and non-bank financial institutions, has raised $229 million in a new funding round as it seeks to deepen its expansion in North America and Europe, reports Manish.
Third security: Returning from Burning Man, it seems only fair to point out that That Thing In The Desert operates under the motto of “one third of security”. The rest of the world, not so much, and Kyle reports that compliance and risk management startup Certa has raised $35 million.
Best reads on TechCrunch this week
Here are the hottest and most read articles of the week:
Snake-eyes: Looks like MGM Resorts is having trouble; he blamed a “cybersecurity issue” for the ongoing outage that lasted at least four days.
Trucking on: Tesla’s Cybertruck is gradually heading towards production. This week, we spotted one with an updated interior. There was also a robotaxi concept that looks a bit like a two-seater Cybertruck.
You can truck right away: Dealing a blow to the autonomous trucking industry (but a boon to the roughly 6 percent of the U.S. population who drive trucks for a living), the California Senate on Monday passed a bill that requires a A qualified human safety operator is present at all times. an autonomous heavy vehicle travels on public roads in the State. In fact, the bill bans driverless AV trucks.
A cheeky subscription: BMW got itself into hot water (and became the butt of many jokes) for charging a subscription fee to activate your heated seats. Pretty silly, and the German automaker finally stopped charging for cheek warming.
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