Daily Crunch: Falling short of analysts’ estimates, Warner Bros. Discovery posts $2.1B net loss for Q4 2022
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Folks, we’ve got some really sad news for you. The weekend is here, which means that you have to stop working for a couple days. We know, it’s a tragedy. But don’t worry, Monday is only two short weekend days away, and then you can get back to the grindstone.
Black History Month continues! Originally published in 1975, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf is a magnificent, passionate, and fearless story of what it meant to be a woman of color in the 20th century. Well worth a read — or seek it out onstage!
Much love and hugs and such, Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
- Money, money, money…must be funny: Warner Bros. Discovery revealed that it lost another $2.1 billion in the fourth quarter. This is despite the success of shows like “The Last of Us” on HBO and games like “Hogwarts Legacy.” Lauren explains more.
- Fashion layoffs: Secondhand apparel marketplace Poshmark is now laying off employees just two months after being acquired by Naver, Kate reports.
- Another brick in the wall: Ron explains why a possible U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit over competition could derail the pending $20 billion Adobe-Figma deal.
Startups and VC
The truth of the matter is that Mobile World Congress (MWC) was never a consumer tech show, per se, but the participation of various smartphone makers transformed it into a handy launching pad. Brian explores in What we expect from MWC 2021.
In the face of conscripted co-founders and blacked-out bunkers, Ukraine’s tech industry marches on. Mike explores how, a year on from Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian startups show astounding resilience.
And we have five more for you:
- Pay, pay pay: Telecom giant Airtel eyes a stake in Paytm, by Manish.
- Buy, buy, buy: Rebuy is out to change the customer buying experience, one personalization at a time, Christine reports.
- Deb, dev, dev: Alchemy launches a tool that enables devs to start building dApps within 4 minutes, Jacquelyn reports.
- Ai, ai, AI: Natasha L reports how Voicemod tools up with $14.5 million to ride the generative AI (sonic)boom.
- Pic, pic, pic: South Africa’s Envisionit Deep AI gets $1.65 million to expand access to medical imaging, reports Annie.
5 questions emerging managers should ask before selecting LPs
Before an emerging manager can start backing startups, they’ll first need to earn the trust of limited partners who are willing to bet on their investment thesis.
“Each step up the decision-making ladder increases the risk of dismissal, lost information or miscommunication, which can be mitigated if you can get in front of the decision-makers early on,” says Linda Greub, co-founder and managing partner of Avestria Ventures.
Drawing from her own experience, Greub shares five questions emerging managers can use “to find the investors most likely to believe in you.”
Three more from the TC+ team:
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.
A new hacker group going by the name CH01 defaced Russian websites to have them display a video of the Kremlin on fire. Lorenzo has more.
Google One subscribers can rejoice over this news that they now have access to Google Photos’ new AI-powered “Magic Eraser” that will remove unwanted content from images, Sarah reports.
We have a treat for you: six stories instead of five:
Just 7 days until the TC Early Stage early bird flies away
Budget-minded entrepreneurs and early-stage startup founders take heed — this is no time to procrastinate. We have only 7 days left of early-bird pricing to TechCrunch Early Stage 2023 in Boston on April 20.
Don’t wait…the early bird gets the…SAVINGS: Buy a $249 founder pass and save $200 before prices increase on April 1 — that’s no joke.
TC Early Stage is our only event where you get hands-on training with experts to help your business succeed. No need to reinvent the startup wheel — you’ll have access to leading experts across a range of specialties.
During this one-day startup bootcamp, you’ll learn about legal issues, fundraising, marketing, growth, product-market fit, pitching, recruiting and more. We’re talking more than 40 highly engaging presentations, workshops and roundtables with interactive Q&As and plenty of time for networking.
Here are just a few examples of the topics we have on tap. You’ll find plenty more listed in the event agenda.
How to Tell Your TAM: Dayna Grayson from Construct Capital invests in the rebuilding of the most foundational and broken industries of our economy. Industries such as manufacturing and logistics, among others, that formed in an analog world have been neglected by advanced technology. Dayna will talk about how, beyond the idea, founders can pitch investors on their TAM, including how they will wedge into the market and how they will eventually disrupt it.
How to Think About Accelerators and Incubators: Founders often hear they should get involved with an incubator or accelerator, but when is the “right” time for early-stage founders to apply to these types of startup support ecosystems, and how can they best engage if accepted? In this talk, Harvard Innovation Labs executive director Matt Segneri will cover everything from the types of incubators and accelerators available to early-stage founders, to what startups should consider before applying, and tips for getting the most out of these ecosystems.
How to Raise Outside of SV in a Down Market: Silicon Valley’s funding market tends to be more immune to macroeconomic conditions than elsewhere in the world. So how do you raise outside the Valley bubble? General Catalyst’s Mark Crane has ample experience on both the founder and VC side from all over Europe, as well as a firm understanding of the funding landscape in the northeastern U.S., so he’ll give practical advice on how to stay alive and thrive.
At TechCrunch Early Stage you’ll walk away with a deeper working understanding of topics and skills that are essential to startup success. Founders save $200 with an early-bird founder ticket — college students pay just $99!
Twitter will kill ‘legacy’ blue checks on April 1
Twitter has picked April Fool’s Day, otherwise known as April 1, to start removing legacy blue checkmarks from the platform.
Despite the significance of the day Twitter chose, the removal of legacy checkmarks has been anticipated for months now. Musk tweeted in December that the company would remove those checks “in a few months” because “the way in which they were given out was corrupt and nonsensical.”
Since then, legacy blue checkmark holders have been seeing a pop-up when they click on their checkmark that reads, “This is a legacy verified account. It may or may not be notable.”
Before Musk acquired the company, Twitter used checkmarks to verify individuals and entities as active, authentic and notable accounts of interest. Verified checkmarks were doled out for free.
Today, Twitter users can purchase a blue check through the Twitter Blue subscription model for $8 per month (iOS and Android signups will cost $11 per month, due to app store costs). There are also other checkmark colors and badges available for purchase to denote whether an account is a business or a government, for example.
Twitter says the purchase of a checkmark gives users access to subscriber-only features like fewer ads on their timeline, prioritized ranking in conversations, bookmark folders, and the ability to craft long tweets, edit tweets and undo tweets.
The news comes within hours of Twitter also announcing the availability of the Blue subscription globally.
Twitter did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for more information about how many users have already signed up for Twitter Blue.
Roofstock, valued at $1.9B last year, cuts 27% of staff in second round of layoffs
Proptech company Roofstock has laid off about 27% of its staff today, according to an email sent to employees viewed by TechCrunch. The cuts come just five months after the startup laid off 20% of its workforce.
The company’s website states that it has 400+ employees, or “Roofsters” as they’re dubbed, but it is not known if that figure is current.
Roofstock, an online marketplace for investing in leased single-family rental homes, one year ago raised $240 million at a $1.9 billion valuation. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led that financing, which included participation from existing and new backers including Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures and others. Roofstock has raised a total of over $365 million in funding since its 2015 inception, per Crunchbase.
According to the email seen by TechCrunch, co-founder and CEO Gary Beasley said today’s reduction in force (RIF) was “in response to the challenging macro environment” and the “negative impact” it is having on Roofstock’s business.
He added that the company was not expecting to have to cut more staff so soon but that it needed to “right size” in an effort “to reduce cash burn rate” and ensure it has “adequate capital runway until the market eventually turns.”
Beasley sent the email because apparently, the Zoom meeting where it was addressed “maxed out on attendees.”
Oakland, Calif.-based Roofstock lets people buy and sell rental homes in dozens of U.S. markets. The premise behind the company is that both institutional and retail investors can buy and sell homes without forcing renters to leave their homes. Meanwhile, buyers can also presumably generate income from day one.
At the time of its raise in March 2022, the company said that it had facilitated more than $5 billion in transaction volume, more than half of which had come from the last year alone.
Just days before its last round of layoffs last year, Roofstock made headlines for selling its first single-family home using NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.
Rising mortgage rates and a slowdown in the housing market led to challenges for many real estate technology companies in 2022 that continue this year. Opendoor, Redfin, Compass, Better.com and Homeward were among the other startups that also laid off workers. IBuyer Reali also announced it was shutting down after raising $100 million the year prior.
TechCrunch has reached out to Roofstock but had not heard back at the time of writing but multiple sources confirmed that layoffs had taken place today.
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