Not everyone is stoked about AI

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By Alex Wilhelm

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Welcome to TechCrunch AM! Today we have good news for fintech and enterprise software companies; notes on yet another French startup; and how some petite EV trucks have found a surprising niche in the market. It's all in here, so let's dive in!


TechCrunch Top 3

  1. Not everyone's hyped about AI: While we're somewhat happy about AI (mostly because of how much time we spend talking about AI projects), it's useful to be reminded that not everyone shares that enthusiasm. At SXSW, for example, several speakers called for caution around AI and were met with sustained applause. There are a lot of perspectives out there, and it's a good idea to inform yourself of those.
  2. Indian fintech snags $1B valuation: Perfios is now a unicorn thanks to Teachers' Venture Growth, the late-stage investment arm of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. The company reached revenue of $49.1 million in its last fiscal year, which is a tidy sum indeed. The round is also a reminder of how much power Canada has in startup investing circles thanks to its public pension plans that are very active around the world.
  3. Bluesky launches DIY moderation tool: Decentralized social network BlueSky is opening up the source code for Ozone, a tool that "lets individuals and teams collaboratively review and label content on the network." This means individuals and teams can now choose their own moderation adventure. This sounds pretty neat, and moves some of the onus of responsibility for content choices away from the central powers that be towards users. Quite democratic.
TechCrunch Top 3 image

Image Credits: SXSW

Don't miss these

Glimmers of light for enterprise SaaS investment: Venture capital flows into business software startups has fallen dramatically in recent years, but new data from PitchBook indicates that VCs put more capital to work in enterprise SaaS startups in Q4 2023 than they did in Q3, reversing a long-running trend of declines. And when you consider that CRM-related startups gained investors' favor in the last quarter, you can see there's an interesting comeback story afoot.

Binance is in deep trouble in Nigeria: Nigeria has taken two Binance execs into custody – Tigran Gambaryan, its head of investigations, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, its regional manager for Africa. The country is also demanding a bunch of data from the company, including who the top users in Nigeria are, and info about a half-year's worth of transactions. Nigeria is worried about potentially lost tax revenue and opaque transactions. Add this to the list of Binance's woes around the world.

Today in France: It feels like we've been reading some news about one French startup or another every day lately. Today, it's Kolet, a startup that wants to make it easier for travelers to get an eSIM card. The eSIM market is too complex, so why not simplify it and staple mobile access to other travel services? That's Kolet's model, and it has raised $5.5 million for its project.

Is video going to kill the music streaming star? Spotify is rolling out music videos in select countries, and I'm sorry to report that list doesn't yet include the United States. But if you are in Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Netherlands, Poland, Philippines, Sweden or the UK, you should be able to see music videos in Spotify's desktop and mobile apps starting today. Spotify is hosting the videos itself, but didn't share notes about royalties when we asked, Perhaps the monetization method is similar to its music streaming model?

Captain Planet is now an AI bot: TechCrunch's Dominic-Madori Davis and Rebecca Szkutak recently interviewed Rebecca Hu, whose company Glacier wants to use AI-empowered cameras to simplify the sorting of recycling. The company's tech is neat, and the market it is working on could use the boost. This is one heck of a podcast so make sure to tune in!

Telo's pint-sized EV trucks raise $5.4M: I have a soft spot for small EVs. One look at my neighbor's giant new truck, and I'm overcome with giggles at how poorly it fits into the North East's narrow streets. Fortunately, Telos wants to build and sell small EV trucks that are very cute. The company is seeing demand from fleet companies, and just landed new capital to fuel its vision. I'm tempted to snag one myself, but would rather not spend $50,000 on anything, let alone a vehicle.

Don't miss these image

Image Credits: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket

Before you go

Stashpad is taking on Google Docs: If you are a developer, you might be familiar with Stashpad, which offers a simple app that lets users take notes. Now, Stashpad is expanding its product remit to include a Google Docs-style service that doesn't require a login. Frankly, Google could use the competition, so here's to Stashpad taking on a giant.

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