Connect with us


This Week in Apps: ChatGPT app scammers, Instagram revamp and a consumer spending slowdown



Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.

The app economy in 2023 hit a few snags, as consumer spending last year dropped for the first time by 2% to $167 billion, according to the latest “State of Mobile” report by (previously App Annie). However, downloads are continuing to grow, up 11% year-over-year in 2022 to reach 255 billion. Consumers are also spending more time using mobile apps than ever before. On Android devices alone, hours spent in 2022 grew 9%, reaching 4.1 trillion.

This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and much more.

Do you want This Week in Apps in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here:

State of Mobile 2023 arrives, consumer spending slows’s anticipated review of the app ecosystem, “State of Mobile 2023,” arrived this week, finding that consumer spending on apps has been hit by the same macroeconomic forces impacting the broader economy. That led to a first-time drop in consumer spending after years of record growth. However, there are some bright spots in the report’s findings. For starters, it seems that non-game apps are more resilient than games in a down economy. Though consumer spend on mobile games dropped 5% to $110 billion, spending on non-game apps increased 6% to $58 billion — driven by streaming subscriptions, dating apps and short-form video apps.

Image Credits:

The data also indicated that despite the tightening of wallets, consumer engagement on mobile continues to grow. Across top mobile markets, consumers were spending 5 hours, 2 minutes per day in 2022 using their apps, up 9% from 2020. That’s remarkable, given that 2020 was the onset of the COVID pandemic, which tied everyone to their phone and rapidly changed consumer behavior. However, there is a caveat to this news: Much of mobile users’ time is monopolized by three app categories, which accounted for half the time spent on mobile: Social Media/Communication (19.5% of total time); Entertainment/Short Video (17% of total time); and Entertainment/Video Sharing (12.7% of total time).

Image Credits:

In addition, while mobile ad spend growth will also slow alongside the economy, it will not decline. is forecasting that mobile ad spend in 2023 will hit $262 billion, up from $336 billion this year as short video apps drive growth. TikTok, for example, became the second-ever non-game app to top $6 billion in all-time consumer spending, the report noted.

The first category — Social Media/Communication — includes WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, Telegram, LINE and Discord, while the Entertainment and Short Video category is where you’ll find TikTok as well as Kwai, Vido Video, Baidu Haokan and Snack Video. The last category of Entertainment and Video Sharing includes long-form video like YouTube, YouTube Kids and bilibili.

Image Credits:

One finding that jumped out at me is that TikTok this year lost its No. 1 position on the Top Charts by Downloads to Instagram, the Meta-owned social app that has been desperately trying to clone TikTok’s feature set with Reels.’s report indicated that Meta had a bit of a comeback this year, with Instagram bumping TikTok on downloads, though TikTok remained No. 1 by consumer spending. However, in terms of real-world use, TikTok is much further down the charts.

In 2022, the top four non-game apps by monthly active users were all owned by Facebook. In order, they were Facebook, WhatsApp Messenger, Instagram, then Facebook Messenger. TikTok was No. 5. Amazon, which was No. 5 last year, slipped to No. 7 while Telegram moved up to No. 6 from No. 7 in 2021. Twitter, Spotify and Netflix rounded out the charts.

Image Credits:

The report delves into other interesting trends related to specific categories of apps (some of which we may get into later), but one particular area of interest to us involved the detailed habits of Gen Z consumers. Unlike the top apps used by older generations, which tend to be more utilitarian and practical (think Amazon, eBay, Walmart, The Weather Channel, Waze, Ring, PayPal and others), Gen Z is still devoted to video apps, user-generated content and mindfulness apps, said. (Ah, youth!) They also have a preference for Meta’s Instagram over Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, Netflix and Spotify.

Another trend driven by younger users was the rise of BeReal, a more authentic photo-sharing app that prompts users once a day to take candid photos of themselves and what they’re doing. found that no other social app added more new users in the U.S. over the past five years than the 5.3 million users BeReal gained in August 2022. But the firm suggested BeReal may struggle to grow engagement since the app only asks people to use it for brief periods. However, in speaking with those close to the company, we understand BeReal is purposefully trying to build a non-addictive social app — it just doesn’t know how to monetize that sort of creation.

Another app category driven by Gen Z trends is friend-finding, which includes apps like Yubo, Hoop, Bumble (for its BFF feature), Live Talk and others.

Image Credits:

Meanwhile, in terms of gaming, the Gen Z demographic showed a preference for party, simulation and shooters, and counted Roblox as their No. 1 app. If there’s any wonder why Meta is spending billions trying to develop a virtual gaming landscape with Horizon Worlds, just look at Roblox’s growth and traction among the younger demographic. “Creative Sandbox” games like Roblox as well as Minecraft saw a global increase in time spent last year, up 25% from 2021 to 2022.

Image Credits, above and below:

A few other interesting highlights:

  • The most-searched iOS App Store keywords in the U.S. for entertainment apps were, in order: netflix, disney+, hulu, HBO max, paramount, paramount+, amazon prime, peacock tv, prime video and tubi. Maybe Netflix will be okay after all.
  • Genshin Impact reached $3 billion in in-app purchases in Q2 2022.
  • Game publishers in China drove a third of consumer game spending.
  • Crypto apps’ downloads fell in 2022, even as other fintechs grew.
  • Average MAUs among the top five neobanks in the U.S. climbed from 1.4 million in 2020 to 2.2 million in 2022. Chime is the market leader in both active users and user engagement.

Image Credits:

  • Consumers spent nearly 110 billion hours in shopping apps in 2022, up 9% globally. Cost-conscious shoppers drove growth.
  • Total time spent in social apps climbed 17% year-over-year to over 2 trillion hours on Android phones in 2022. The U.S. accounted for more than one-fourth of social app consumer spending.
  • Sports betting app downloads hit 4.3 million at the start of the 2022-2023 NFL season, up 8% year-over-year from 2021.
  • Language learning apps saw 31% year-over-year growth as travel returned post-pandemic.
  • Consumer spend in dating apps grew 12% year-over-year in 2022, and 91% year-over-year compared to pre-pandemic spend.

Apple let scammy “ChatGPT” apps flood the App Store

What, no I mean, what is going on with App Review? For years, Apple has been caught off guard at times, allowing violative apps to slip through its review process to be published on the App Store until users or the media called out the mistake.

But in the case of the scam “ChatGPT” apps that flooded the App Store over the past couple of weeks, one has to wonder if Apple is even paying attention at all. ChatGPT’s maker OpenAI doesn’t offer a public API, so that should have been a red flag to reviewers about any app claiming a ChatGPT or OpenAI connection in its name or description, then charging money for access. One app, called “ChatGPT Chat GPT AI With GPT-3,” even managed to reach the Top Charts in the productivity category in multiple countries as a result of consumer demand for ChatGPT and Apple’s inattention. (The app was removed shortly after reporters, including ourselves, reached out to Apple for comment. Apple never answered our emails.)

Google Play had the same problem, but frankly, consumers expect more from Apple’s App Store. In fact, Apple’s argument against antitrust concerns, like its ban on sideloading and third-party app stores, has to do with the safety and security of its users. Apple says only it should be trusted to keep consumers safe. But surely that means Apple should also be protecting consumers from scam apps and subscription scams. But it is not.

And while no system is perfect, it seems like the apps that are at the top of the App Store’s charts — or those that quickly moved up the charts for unknown reasons — should go under an additional review by Apple, just to make sure they’re playing by the rules. Developers have long argued that Apple should be cracking down on apps with high-priced subscriptions or those that are charging users for basic utilities or otherwise free features — in other words, the apps that are profiting from scamming users. If it did so, a subscription-based app that appeared to be charging for access to a free service with a non-public API wouldn’t have made the cut.

These things aren’t hard to spot either — third-party app intelligence services can parse customer reviews for negative sentiments and keywords, so surely Apple could implement a system of its own, if it wanted to. In the case of the scammy ChatGPT apps, customer reviews called the apps fake and non-functional, warning others not to get scammed. Where was Apple on this issue? Until the media coverage, it was quietly collecting its cut of the scammers’ subscription revenues.

In other App Store news, activist investors have pressured Apple for more insight into app removals, the FT reported, but their interest lies in wanting a better understanding of when Apple acquiesces to foreign governments’ requests. The company will begin including additional information in its Transparency Report about whether removals are related to local laws and how many apps were pulled in each country.

Goodbye, Instagram Shop. Move over, Reels. 

Image Credits: Instagram

Instagram announced this week it will simplify its in-app navigation after years of confusing changes designed to push various products like Instagram Shop and Reels. The company said, starting in February, it will return the Compose button (the plus sign “+”) to the front and center of the navigation bar at the bottom of the app and it will remove the Shop tab entirely.

As a result, the Reels button will now move over to the right of Compose, losing its prime spot.

The earlier changes that had pushed Reels over Compose had been fairly controversial as Instagram users felt as if the company was forcing them to use the app’s new products at the expense of the overall user experience. Instagram defended the changes in prior years as a way to introduce users to its new products. But in more recent months, there’s been increased backlash over how far Instagram has deviated from its original mission. Even the Kardashians criticized the app for “trying to be TikTok.”

Instagram said shopping on Instagram will continue to be supported despite the removal of the tab. We’ll see.

Android Updates

  • Google is working to fix a Google Play issue impacting missing app changelogs, according to an Android Police report.
  • The latest stable release of the official IDE for building Android applications, Android Studio Electric Eel (2022.1.1), arrived. The release includes updates and new features that cover design, build & dependencies, emulators & devices, and IntelliJ, Google said.
  • Google released the Extension SDK to developers, bringing features like the Android 13 Photo Picker API and AdServices APIs to Android 11 and up.

[embedded content]

Apple News

  • Second developer betas for iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3, watchOS 9.3, macOS Ventura 13.2 and tvOS 16.3 have arrived. One notable change impacts the new Emergency SOS feature. The “Call with Hold” option is renamed to “Call with Hold and Release,” as now the call to emergency services won’t go through until users let go of the buttons they press down to start the SOS call. More here. The change may be an attempt to address issues over mistakenly triggered calls.
  • Seems like Apple pushed Flickr to update its SafeSearch filtering. The company said it updated the feature so it won’t return results for “bad words” when it’s enabled in order “to act in compliance with Apple’s policies.”
  • Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that iOS 17 is going to be a smaller release with fewer changes as Apple focuses on its mixed-reality headset.
  • Apple Maps now lets businesses update their listings and tout promotions via a new Apple Business Connect portal. No plans yet for any sort of Maps ads offering, however.
  • In a year-end review, Apple announced it has now paid out a record $320 billion to app developers since 2008 — a number that reflects the revenue apps have generated, minus Apple’s commission. The company now has more than 900 million paid subscriptions across Apple services, with subscriptions on the App Store driving a “significant” part of that figure, it said.

Image Credits: Apple


  • Google and Nvidia shared concerns with the FTC as to how Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal would give it an unfair advantage in cloud, subscription and mobile gaming.
  • JioGames, part of Reliance Industries’ telecom platform Jio, announced a 10-year strategic partnership with France’s Gamestream. The latter will assist JioGames in bringing cloud gaming to “1.4 billion” Indians by helping scale the JioGamesCloud platform. JioGames’ titles can be played on Android, web (PC, Mac and iPhone), and Jio’s set-top boxes.
  • Roblox could be coming to a new platform: Meta Quest. Sources told The Verge that Roblox will be expanding its VR footprint — it already works on Rift and HTC’s Vive — by releasing to Meta’s Quest, which doesn’t require a PC to play.
  • Stardew Valley’s big update, patch 1.5, finally reached iOS and Android users. The update, which arrived on consoles in 2021, includes a number of new features and changes, including a new beach farm layout, new NPCs and enemies, ostriches (!!) and a new location called Ginger Island.
Stardew Valley screenshot

Image Credits: Stardew Valley

Twitter Drama

  • Twitter’s API began experiencing issues that are impacting third-party Twitter apps like Tweetbot, Echofon and Twitterrific. The app makers confirmed the problems have been causing log-in issues for users and their apps no longer work.
  • Online publishing platform Medium, originally created by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, announced that it’s embracing the open source Mastodon platform by creating its own instance to support its authors and their publications. Access to the instance will be offered through a Medium membership, which means in a way, it’s the first paid instance to come to Mastodon.
  • Twitter’s Blue subscription, which is the new way to be verified and get your checkmark — degrading the value of checks in the process!rolled out to Japan. Users can subscribe for ¥980 (around $7.40) per month on the web and ¥1,380 ($10.42) per month on iOS, a bit lower than U.S. prices of $8 per month on the web and $11 per month on iOS.
  • Twitter made the algorithmic timeline the default and renamed it the “For You” feed. (Eye roll). You can now swipe between the For You feed and a chronological timeline, as well as lists.


  • TikTok is alpha testing a Talent Manager Portal with select talent agencies. The service would allow creators’ agents and reps to oversee, execute and analyze brand deals their clients are being offered.
  • Apple Music and the Apple TV apps quietly launched on the Microsoft Store — a few months after Microsoft said the apps would be coming to Windows 11.
  • YouTube will begin sharing ad revenue with Shorts creators on February 1, and will update its YPP terms to reflect this. (Take that, TikTok!)


  • Failed discount movie tickets service MoviePass is trying for a comeback with funding from crypto backers, Animoca Brands. ?
  • Google added emoji reactions to Meet video calls, starting on iOS and web, with Android to follow. The feature was announced last year.
  • Not so super. Tata Group’s super app Tata Neu is expected to meet only half its sales target in its first year — $4 billion versus an $8 billion target. The app had been modeled on successful apps like Alipay and WeChat.
  • Tinder and other Match dating apps will introduce tips on how to avoid romance scams. Someone watched “The Tinder Swindler,” apparently!
  • TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, met with senior European Union lawmakers to answer a number of questions including privacy, data protection, DSA compliance, child safety, Russian disinformation and the transparency of paid political content. The inquiry follows what’s expected to be increased regulatory scrutiny of the app, including possible oversight by the European Commission.
  • After being fined $400 million by Ireland’s Data Protection Commission over how Instagram handled minors’ accounts and data, Meta announced it would remove the ability for advertisers to target teen users by gender. The company will also end personalized ad targeting to users under 18 based on in-app activity, like who they follow on Instagram and what Facebook pages they like.
  • New Jersey and Ohio have now joined 20 other U.S. states in banning TikTok on government-owned devices over security concerns.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court declined to block a lawsuit filed by WhatsApp that challenged the alleged mass phone hacking by Israeli spyware maker NSO Group. The spyware maker had argued the suit should be dropped because it was acting on behalf of a foreign government, but the Supreme Court rejected this claim.
  • A Twitter rival called ‘T2’ raised its first outside funding, with $1.1 million from a group of high-profile angels including Bradley Horowitz, Rich Miner and the former CEO of Wikipedia, Katherine Maher. T2 founder Gabor Cselle has sold startups to Twitter and Google previously.
  • Payments technology platform Butter Payments raised $21.5 million in Series A funding led by Norwest at a ~$100 million valuation. The company leverages AI to help end accidental churn.
  • Kakao Entertainment, which publishes apps for popular animated shows and novels, raised $930 million from Saudi Arabia’s PIF and Singapore’s GIC.
  • A company developing a cognitive behavioral therapy platform for ADHD, Inflow, raised $11 million in Series A funding. Inflow’s self-help app offers daily exercises and challenges focused on habit development, mindfulness techniques, community support and more.
  • Social crypto wallet app The Easy Company raised $14.2 million in seed funding. The iOS and Android app offers an Instagram-like experience for showcasing NFTs.

Image Credits: The Easy Company

  • Tokyo-based news aggregator SmartNews laid off 120 people in the U.S. and China, with plans to implement a voluntary workforce reduction in Japan.
  • Fintech for kids Greenlight, which lets kids use a debit card and app with parental monitoring, laid off 104 employees — or more than 21% of its total headcount of 485 employees.
  • Crime-reporting app Citizen laid off 33 employees, including at least 10 engineers. The app uses public police blotters to notify users about verified incidents in their area, but also allows users in select markets to upload their own reports and livestream.
  • Right-leaning Twitter alternative Parler’s parent company laid off 75% of staff and chief execs, leaving Parler with just 20 employees. Kanye, as many expected, didn’t actually buy it.


Tesla brings back European referral program as end of Q1 nears



Tesla is bringing back its referral program to Europe, a strategy that taps into the brand loyalty of customers as it seeks to preserve market share and boost sales before the first quarter of 2023 closes.

The referral program follows Tesla’s move to reduce prices in a variety of markets, including Europe, China and North America.

Starting Tuesday in Europe, new Tesla buyers can receive 100 so-called “Loot Box Credits” when referred by a current Tesla owner, who will get 2,000 credits for the referral. If the referred customer takes delivery before March 31, 2023, they’ll get a bonus of 5,000 free Supercharging kilometres, and the referrer will get 10,000 credits. Those credits can be redeemed for software upgrades, up to 10,000 kilometers of free Supercharging “and more.”

Tesla has never used traditional advertising, so the company has historically used its referral program to get its loyal customer base to promote vehicles. Those rewards have changed over the last few years. At certain points, owners could win rewards like having a photo of their choosing launched into deep space orbit, an invite to an upcoming Tesla event, or even free new Roadsters to owners who accumulated enough referrals.

Tesla realized such extravagant rewards were starting to eat into profits, so in 2019 the automaker paused the program and came back with a more reasonable one that gives the referral giver and receiver 1,000 miles of free Supercharging each.

Last November, Tesla launched a revamped referral program in the U.S., which gives out credits that can be put towards the purchase of Tesla solar products, like the Solar Roof and Solar Panels. Tesla also launched a program in China called Treasure Box, where owners get credits that can be used towards the purchase of accessories like vehicle chargers, t-shirts or shot glasses.

The move in Europe suggests that Tesla is trying to hold onto, or even grow, its market share dominance. Tesla was the most popular EV brand in Europe last year, with the Model Y and Model 3 topping the ranks at 138,373 and 91,257 sales, respectively. Following behind were the Volkswagen ID.4 with 68,409 unit sales, the Fiat 500 electric with 66,732, and the Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid EV with 55,018 sales, according to Inside EVs.

While Tesla was the most popular EV brand in Europe last year, it actually falls behind the large multi-brand OEMs. Volkswagen Group, which includes brands like Audi and VW, actually has the largest market share of plug-in EVs with 20.6%. Stellantis, BMW Group and Hyundai follow with 14.6%, 10.5% and 10.1%, respectively. Mercedes and Tesla are tied at around 9% share.

As of this week, Tesla has finally hit production capacity of 5,000 vehicles per week at its Berlin gigafactory — a milestone CEO Elon Musk had originally promised for the end of 2022. While production numbers don’t equal sales, it’s possible that the increased production in Europe could help the automaker maintain its position and gain even more market share in the future.

The referral program isn’t the only move Tesla has made to boost sales, particularly before it reports quarterly earnings. In January, Tesla cut prices for Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in the U.S. and Europe by 20%. Earlier this month, the automaker slashed Model S and Model X prices in the U.S. as well.

In December 2022, Tesla also provided up to $7,500 discounts for vehicles purchased and delivered before the end of the year in the hopes of attracting buyers who might otherwise wait for the new year when Inflation Reduction Act incentives would kick in.

Continue Reading


Pinterest brings shopping capabilities to Shuffles, its collage-making app



Pinterest announced today that it’s testing ways to integrate Shuffles collage content into Pinterest, starting with shopping. Shuffles, which is Pinterest’s collage-making app, launched to general public last November. To use Shuffles, users build collages using Pinterest’s own photo library or by snapping photos of objects they want to include with their iPhone’s camera. The iOS-only app is available in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Shuffles will now have all of the shopping capabilities as regular pins. Users will be able to tap individual cutouts used in collages, see the brand, price, and other product metadata along with similar products to shop.

“Unlike typical product exploration, Shuffles bring an interactivity that makes the experience inspirational and fun,” the company said in a blog post. “Gen-Z is curating fresh, relevant content alongside their peers, which is quickly making for a marketplace of trendy, shoppable ideas. The high density nature of Shuffles, which can include layers of product cutouts from multiple Pins, allows consumers to dig deeper and also connect to other Shuffles that include the same Pins. As we look ahead to how consumer behavior is evolving, we’re testing ways of integrating Shuffles collage content into Pinterest, starting with shopping.”

Although Shuffles surged to become the No. 1 Lifestyle app on the U.S. App Store in August when it was invite-only, the app’s popularity has since declined. By bringing shopping capabilities to Shuffles, Pinterest is likely looking for ways to retain users on the standalone app.

Image Credits: Pinterest

Pinterest also announced that it’s exploring a new takeover feature for advertisers called “Pinterest Premiere Spotlight” that prominently showcases a brand on search. The company says the feature is designed give advertisers a new way to reach users on Pinterest.

The company says 97% of top searches on Pinterest are unbranded, which means users typically don’t type a brand name into their searches on the platform. This gives brands the opportunity to be discovered as they help consumers go from discovery to decision to purchase, Pinterest says. In the coming months, the company planes to offer additional ways to help brands connect with shoppers.

Pinterest also shared some new stats about its Catalogs offering, which lets brands upload their full catalog to the platform and turn their products into dynamic Product Pins. The company says it has seen a 66% increase in retailers setting up shop by uploading or integrating their digital catalogs on its platform, along with 70% growth in active shopping feeds year over year globally.

As part of its most recent earnings release, Pinterest revealed that its platform now has 450 million monthly active users globally, a 4% jump year-on-year. Pinterest has been focused on enhancing the shopping experience on its platform over the past few years, and said during its earnings call that it wants to make every pin shoppable, including videos.

Continue Reading


The tide has shifted for solo GPs



Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced take on this week’s startup news and trends by Senior Reporter and Equity co-host Natasha Mascarenhas. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.

It’s hard to be proactive after the tide has already shifted. However, that’s what we’re seeing happen in the solo GP world, where investors, hearing about institutional investor risk appetite changing, are extending fundraising timelines, cutting investment vehicle targets or planning to leave venture altogether. Some have learned it the hard way, while others, like Sahil Lavingia, are telling LPs to literally cancel their checks if they feel guilty about investing in venture capital while the market rocks and interest rates boom.

It’s a shift from the fund of fund mentality that felt commonplace last year, in which investment firms cut checks to early-stage, experimental investors to de-risk and even lead first checks into a generation of new startups. Now, the idea of backing just one, feels like a harder sell — depending on which institution you’re speaking to.

For my full take on this burgeoning tension within the venture world read my TC+ column: “Are solo GPs screwed?”

I know some of us are still reeling from the SVB mess, which is still very much unfolding. My hope with this piece is to offer nuance on how the market moves on from here for a very specific subset of check writers. In other words, yes, there’s a dreary dark cloud that is now more visible than before. But umbrellas exist. Somewhere.

In the rest of this newsletter we’re talking AI, icons and demo days. As always, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram to continue the conversation. You can also send me tips at or on Signal at +1 925 271 0912. No pitches, please.

It’s never GM; it’s only AI

Now that I apparently live in Cerebral Valley, it’s quite easy to find investors, founders or my great friends in the middle of a passionate conversation about artificial intelligence. Heck, we even screencast ChatGPT trying to explain SVB during wine night, recently.

Despite the overactive news scene, thanks to ChatGPT plug-ins, Google’s entrance and Canva’s magic, the best piece I read all week came from our own Devin Coldeway. In this analysis, Coldeway published a head-to-head comparison of top generative AI tools — asking them to create everything from a phishing email to code.

Here’s what to know: In the AI world, the compounding effect is almost impossible to encapsulate. Tech keeps beating itself, and advancement is only to be celebrated with a grain of hopeful salt. But, see it yourself if you don’t believe me!

Digital generated image of silhouette of male head with multicoloured gears inside on white background.

Image Credits: Andriy Onufriyenko (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Overheard at Techstars’ demo day

I went to an in-person demo day for the first time since 2019 this week, courtesy of 500 Global. There was a special, earnest energy in the room, partially because, as 500’s CEO Christine Tsai said, the 19 companies are sharing their vision for the future “around one of the darkest backdrops of Silicon Valley.” More to come on specific learnings, but below I thought I’d bullet point some of the tidbits I overheard while at the accelerator’s pitch session.

  • “I find it very insightful to compare your revenue growth with your team growth — I personally don’t like operations-heavy companies, I definitely want to see more investment in the R&D and product [teams],” Cindy BI, partner at CapitalX.
  • “We’re officially teenagers,” Tsai said on the accelerator’s 13th birthday.
  • “When you think of a brand, you probably think of something like Nike. But to Gen Z, some of the biggest brands are people,” Detoure founder and CEO Meghan Russell.
  • “We know how to get exits done,” Peter Wachira, CEO of Tripitaca, later adding, “We know how to get shit done.”

Image Credits: ContemporAd / Getty Images

One of venture’s most iconic duos wants to have a word with you

I published a podcast interview with Kapor Capital’s Freada Kapor Klein and Mitch Kapor, the entrepreneurial investing couple behind the top-tier impact investing outfit. The duo published a book recently, so we talk about that, their choice to step away from investing and the legacy they’re continuing to build out.

Here’s one key moment from the podcast: “It’s also worth pointing out, in the early days, there were a couple of people, white men, who were thinking about working with us and decided we weren’t going to make enough money so they went elsewhere. So I hope they’re kicking themselves and I hope they’ve learned something,” said Kapor Klein.

  • I was on comedian Alexis Gay’s podcast, Non-technical, earlier this month to talk about everything other than my day job. Come for the croissant hate; stay for the devil’s advocate advocacy.
  • Also, listen to Found, a podcast about the stories behind the startups. This week, the team published an interview with the brains behind “a genetics startup that looks to bring extinct species back to life to help with environmental conservation efforts.” Jaw = dropped.

Image Credits: Clark Studio

Etc., etc.

Seen on TechCrunch

Startup says the seaweed blobbing toward Florida has a silver lining

Hivemapper is 1M kilometers closer to goal of beating Google Maps

Twitter will kill ‘legacy’ blue checks on April 1

China reminds US that it can and will kill a forced TikTok sale

Seen on TechCrunch+

Threading the needle: Exploring 5 ideas with the founders of LGBT+ VC

Investors want best-of-the-best ESG data. Here’s how to give it to them

As TikTok and Coinbase face regulators, some questions are simpler than others

Pitch Deck Teardown:’s $1.5M seed deck

How Fellow bootstrapped for 8 years to build a coffee empire

Talk soon,


Continue Reading