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The day is April 25, 2022. We spent most of the day keeping a close eye on Elon, but it seems (pending details and regulatory foibles), the deed is done. The sparky-space-sausage and battery-powered-car guy is now also the lucky owner of a bird-watching app. Alyssa and Taylor put together a handy timeline to the whole write-this-as-a-sitcom-writer-and-lose-your-job saga, if you’ve lost track of the Venn diagram intersections between ornithology and billionaire drama.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Elon Musk sealed the deal with Twitter: That’s a wrap, folks — after intimately following this for the past week, we will now have to find something else to obsess over. Musk and Twitter came to an agreement at $54.20 per share, valuing the social media giant at $44 billion. Musk continued to talk of “free speech,” which has us wondering if a certain former president’s account will be reinstated.
- Meta has a store, a real-life one: For a company trying to sell us on the metaverse, it’s interesting to find out that Meta’s way of doing this is to get us in a store so we can try out all their gadgets and gizmos a-plenty. Though maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised. I assume their target audience is one that likes to scrutinize things from every angle. Well played!
- Zenda is digitizing school pay in Africa: As someone preparing to send my oldest to college in two short years, I was intrigued by Annie’s coverage of how UAE-based Zenda is helping parents on the other side of the world, with its sights now set on Africa, pay school fees online rather than having to provide bank deposit slips as proof of payment. The company is also looking into some financial wellness products, which, let’s face it, we all need more of.
Startups and VC
It’s pretty rad what you can do with big data sets, and Kyle’s article takes a look at how some Swiss researchers are modeling and predicting future markets and what startups will be funded.
I’ve been pretty grumpy over the last couple of days, it appears. Today, I wrote about the dumbest photography product I’ve reviewed in many years, and over the weekend, a feature about how scammers are using expired domains to trick Google went up on our subscription site, TC+.
More? But yes, of course:
- Not enough humans? Make up some fake ones: You’d think that 8 billion humans would be quite enough, but tech disagrees, apparently. Mike explores why we’re going to be seeing a lot of artificial humans turn up in virtually every corner of the internet, very soon indeed.
- Pay me whenever, I guess: More than $15 billion worth of rent is paid late in the U.S. every month, which causes all sorts of stress. Circa wants to put an end to that and raised $2 million to figure things out for landlords that have between 1,000 and 10,000 renters.
- Fintech trading platform: Rooser created a seafood trading platform and raised $23 million bones or clams, or whatever you call them, to continue its journey.
- From Sea to sparkling Sea: Presumably singing sea-shaNFTys all the way, OpenSea bought Gem, soon after one of the latter’s co-founders was thrown overboard for allegedly acting like absolute human garbage.
A few TC+ stories you may have missed, too:
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On Tuesday, April 26, at 2:30 p.m. PT/5:30 p.m. ET, TechCrunch+ is hosting a Twitter Space with Sophie Alcorn, an immigration law attorney based in Silicon Valley and the author of the Dear Sophie column that appears on TechCrunch+ each Wednesday.
She’ll discuss a number of relevant issues for technology workers and founders who are considering setting up shop in the U.S., including H-1B visas, pathways for international student founders and her advice for members of the Ukrainian IT community who’ve been impacted by the ongoing Russian invasion.
This Space is open to everyone, so click through for the chat and submit your immigration-related questions so we can raise them during the Q&A.
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Big Tech Inc.
- You can’t write about Chevy’s Corvette without a little Prince in the background. So while that’s going, the new EV model at first glance will bring you back to the days of Michael Keaton in “Batman,” the soundtrack for which, you’ll recall, largely featured Price. Anyway, the video is absolute car porn, but the technology behind it may also have you purring. General Motors’ new battery technology taps into the car’s own heat to improve range, acceleration and efficiency. My husband’s been asking me what kind of car I want next, and I may have just found it.
- Lots of streaming news today: It looks like Apple’s App Store and Apple Music were still having issues as we went to press. Amazon Prime is now on TikTok with a little help from Jason Derulo. Lauren laid out a good argument for why Netflix should get into live sports (we’re talking big money, big, huge) and Spotify started a fund to support independent open source projects and help developers keep them going.
- It now looks like the Google Pixel Watch will be a thing. As Brian points out, it has been “a long, rocky road” for this watch, but I’m excited to show off some new frosting to my iPhone friends.
- Investors are getting in on “feature stores” and I am glad Kyle is here to explain all about what those are and why they are attractive.