TechCrunch+ roundup: 2022 stock options report, pivot to SaaS, crypto

We spend a lot of time praising tech investors and entrepreneurs for their risk appetite. But why don’t we put startup workers on the same pedestal? Who’s taking on more risk: A Stanford grad who leveraged their network to raise a seed round or an immigrant worker who relocates to an expensive city for a…

SunFi aims to be the fastest way for Nigerians to

SunFi, the Nigerian clean tech startup that connects people and businesses who want solar energy access to payment plans that match their needs, has raised $2.325 million in seed funding. The self-described energy financial tech platform received backing from lead investors Nairobi-based Factor[e] and SCM Capital Asset Management and participating investors such as Voltron Capital,…

Why invest in Ukrainian startups today?

Dmytro Bilash Contributor The EU will invest €13.5 billion in research and innovation for 2023-2024 as part of the Horizon Europe program. For the first time in the program’s history, it will include targeted support for Ukraine. This is one of the first real steps toward Ukraine’s integration with the EU and I can’t be…

Grocery deliverer JOKR doubles down on Brazil as it secures

After a challenging few months that included closing markets, instant grocery delivery company JOKR told TechCrunch it raised about $50 million in a Series C investment on a $1.3 billion post-money valuation. The funding, which The Information first reported that JOKR was seeking last September, follows a $260 million raise announced in November 2021. However,…

‘Nothing, Forever,’ an AI ‘Seinfeld’ spoof, is the next ‘Twitch

“So, I was at the store the other day, and as I’m checking out, the cashier asks me if I have any coupons, and I say, ‘No coupon problem!’” recalls a pixelated, barely three-dimensional figure that vaguely resembles Jerry Seinfeld. “So I’m walking down the street, and this guy comes up to me and says,…

Replika, a ‘virtual friendship’ AI chatbot, hit with data ban

San Francisco-based AI chatbot maker, Replika — which operates a freemium ‘virtual friendship’ service based on customizable digital avatars whose “personalized” responses are powered by artificial intelligence (and designed, per its pitch, to make human users feel better) — has been ordered by Italy’s privacy watchdog to stop processing local users’ data. The Garante said…

Political ads face tougher targeting restrictions in EU if MEPs

Europe has moved a step closer to having dedicated rules on online political ad targeting and transparency after the European Parliament fixed its negotiating position — paving the way for talks to start between MEPs and member states to agree to a final compromise text that can be passed into pan-EU law. MEPs said they…

Pitch Deck Teardown: Laoshi’s $570K angel deck

Most of the pitch deck teardowns to date (here’s a handy list of the more than 30 we have published so far) have been for institutional funding rounds, typically in the millions or tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars raised. Those are interesting to look at, of course, but I also know that many…

There are still robotics jobs to be found (if you

A lot has happened in the half-year since we caught up with Ayanna Howard, dean of the Ohio State University’s College of Engineering — not all of it good. The broader economic slowdown has been deeply felt by the robotics industry, across the board, from the smallest startups to the biggest tech giants like Alphabet…

New month, new crypto market moves?

To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important crypto stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday at 12 p.m. PT, subscribe here. Welcome back to Chain Reaction. Seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year, but we’ve coasted into February and all seems to be somewhat relaxed (for once) in…