Elon exposes his burner, Tile embraces the cat life, and Elizabeth Holmes avoids prison
Hey, TechCrunch people. If you're looking for a recap of the week's news in tech, you've come to the right place. It's Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch's regular recap column. Glad to have you.
Before we get on with the meat of it, a PSA that tickets for TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 are available now. Disrupt, of course, is TechCrunch's flagship in-person event, focused on founders, investors and the future of tech year after year. In San Francisco on September 19–21, expect to hear from thought leaders in the fields of AI, fintech, hardware, sustainability, SaaS, security and more. It'll be well worth the trip.
In the nearer term, tune into the next TechCrunch Live show, which will spotlight Cambrian BioPharma, a startup billing itself as a pharmaceutical outfit with a revolutionary approach to managing drug development. Founder James Peyer will be joined by Maryanna Saenko of Future Ventures, who invested in Cambrian's Series A, B and C rounds.
Now, without further ado!
Elon exposed: Elon Musk tweeted a photo on Monday night that showed him logged into his Twitter account, advertising to content creators how they can activate monetization features on Twitter. Unfortunately for Musk, people weren’t paying much attention to the fact that he has 24.7K paid subscribers — instead, some users realized that he appeared to be logged into another account, Amanda writes -- possibly his burner. Oops.
SpaceX finds success in failure: SpaceX launched a fully integrated Starship launch vehicle for the first time last Thursday, a long-awaited and highly anticipated milestone in the vehicle development program. Despite its fiery fate, the test was a success, Aria reports: SpaceX got tons of valuable data that will inform future Starship and Super Heavy prototypes.
Tile, but for cats: Tile, the AirTag rival now owned by Life360, this week launched a new cat-tracking tag to help pet owners find their furry friends. The new device, "Tile for Cats," is essentially a modified version of the Tile Sticker with a silicone collar attachment that costs $39.99. Ivan has more.
Epic loss: Apple has won its antitrust-focused appeals court battle with Fortnite maker Epic Games over its App Store policies, Sarah reports. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals largely upheld the district court’s earlier ruling related to Epic Games’ antitrust claims in favor of Apple, but it also upheld the lower court’s judgment in favor of Epic under California’s Unfair Competition Law.
Holmes avoids prison: Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes will not be heading off to prison this week to begin serving an 11-year sentence, as first reported by the WSJ. Though earlier this month U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila denied her request to remain free while she appeals her conviction, this week she asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals directly if she could stay out of prison while her case makes its way through the appeals process; the request automatically puts her reporting date on hold while the court considers her request, writes Connie.
Protestors sting back: A Missouri government tip site for submitting complaints and concerns about gender-affirming care is down after people flooded it with fanfiction, rambling anecdotes and the "Bee Movie" script. The Missouri Attorney General’s office launched the online form for "Transgender Center Concerns" in late March, inviting those who’ve witnessed “troubling practices” at clinics that provide gender-affirming care to submit tips, Morgan reports.
Twitter pushes advertisers to pay up: As Twitter’s legacy blue check mark system finally comes to an end, the social network’s new paid-for verification system is causing more than a little chaos, with CEO Elon Musk himself stepping in to pay for some celebrities’ verification when they refuse to do so. However, another little nugget to emerge from the carnage this week is that anyone looking to advertise on Twitter will now seemingly have to have a verified account, Paul reports.
WhatsApp across devices: WhatsApp is finally rolling out multidevice login support for more than one phone. Mark Zuckerberg announced the feature’s rollout on Facebook and Instagram, clarifying that users can log into the same WhatsApp account on up to four phones. Until now, you could only use one WhatsApp account on one phone and multiple companion desktop devices.
TechCrunch is cross-medium, in case you weren't aware. The crew maintains a fantastic (in this writer's humble opinion) slate of podcasts for your edification and enjoyment -- so consider giving them a listen if you haven't already. This week on Equity, Ankur Nagpal, the entrepreneur behind Teachable, Ocho and Vibe Capital, spoke about the future of solo GPs; how Ankur built, sold, pivoted and launched in public; and the importance of brand and succession. And Found -- live from TechCrunch's Early Stage event in Boston -- was joined by Russ Wilcox, who founded E Ink and is currently a partner at Pillar VC.
TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and surveys -- which you know if you’re already a subscriber. If you’re not, consider signing up. Here are a few highlights from this week:
Slow revenue growth: Public tech firms are for the most part on a moderate pace of trailing growth in the most recent fiscal quarter. Alex breaks down what that means -- as well as the broader implications.
Founders change their pitch: More and more founders are adapting their pitches and business strategies to be more downturn-friendly, Natasha M writes. Now that it's been over a year since tech's current period correction first began, founders are getting more innovative in how they approach breaking their pitch.
Capital efficiency is the new VC filter for startups: Igor Shaversky, a partner at Waveup, writes about which metrics startups should track to understand where they stand on the capital efficiency scale.