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How angel investors lose their money, in 7 easy steps



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I know it’s perhaps unfair to assume that angels have the same approach to investors as professional, institutional pre-seed investors. And yet, amateur investors could def do with taking a couple of leaves out of the pro playbook. In this thinly veiled rant that admittedly comes from someone who doesn’t have enough money to throw around to do angel investing at any meaningful scale and so would be easily ignorable by anyone who does write an angel check or two on a regular basis, I break down some of the mistakes I see angels make all the damn time.

Okay, with that somewhat-relevant-to-startups tirade out of the way, let’s look at what else has been keeping our cunning club of company correspondents chirographing away this fine week . . .

Another bite of the Apple

Image Credits: Haje Kamps / Midjourney

Unless you’ve been hiding behind a stalled-out humanoid robot (or an android, if you will) all week, you’ll probably have been aware that our friendly neighborhood orchard has grown some new apples. New iPhones — in the form of iPhone 15 and the titanium-clad iPhone 15 Pro — now come with USB-C. In fact, there’s a whole bunch of Apple products in the USB-C lineup these days. On the phone front, the cameras are better (and can now shoot 3D video). There was a new Apple Watch (also in pink!) and much more.

One fun story we didn’t see coming was Olivia Rodrigo releasing a brand-new video — “Get him back!” — filmed on an iPhone 15 Pro. Of course, it looks amazing.

Look, I know whatever Apple gets up to is not always relevant to startups, but you’d be very silly indeed to not pay attention to what the world’s most valuable company is doing. Darrell had a great angle on this: As the iPhone gets more powerful, he argues that it becomes more and more viable as a games console for high-budget titles.

I bet you’re curious what our most-read Apple stories are, yeah? Well, I’m pretty sure this is proprietary information that the editors would hate me sharing with you, but everyone is prepping for Disrupt next week, so I’m sure nobody will notice me sneaking this into the newsletter:

The roundup: Y’all love a good “just tell us what matters” story, so it’s no surprise that Christine’s summary of the event did really well: Apple Event 2023: Everything announced so far.

iPhone 15 launches: Of course, everyone was going to be super curious about what the iPhone 15 held in store. Brian dug in with the full story, with Apple’s iPhone 15 arrives with USB-C (finally). Brian’s iPhone 15 Pro post was also fantastically popular.

Bye-bye, Lightning: Okay, fine, perhaps I just wanted to do this list because I spotted that one of my stories got a bit popular: Apple ditches the Lightning connector in favor of USB-C after exactly 11 years.

What’s happening in fintech land?

Image Credits: Haje Kamps / Midjourney

After the 2008 global financial crisis, central banks slashed interest rates to almost zero. As a result, money flooded elsewhere — and a not insignificant amount of it flowed into LP funds, from there to VC funds, and from there into promising young startups. Michael Sindicich argues that allowed for the emergence of business models that, in any other circumstance, would be completely unviable, asking whether perhaps the time of reckoning is coming: Is the house of cards coming down?

Entrepreneurs are gonna entrepreneur, so why not create a company for helping other companies shut down faster and cheaper? It’s a bold proposition, but it seems like there’s a market for it — SimpleClosure raised $1.5 million in less than a day to help faltering startups pull the plug with greater alacrity.

Some fintech startup glimmers of hope to stave off the grim darkness:

Neobank growth: Many startups looking for new equity investors may still be feeling the chill of the funding winter, but things continue to heat up in the world of debt: U.K. neobank Zopa raises another $93 million as it hits the 1 million customers mark.

Taking on Coinbase and Binance: After the collapse of FTX, crypto traders have been looking for decentralized, noncustodial and safer ways to execute orders and store their assets. Brine Fi just raised at a $100 million valuation to help fill that gap.

Inclusion is hot: Banking the underbanks and supporting the undersupported is a tough business to be in, but Alza just emerged from stealth to offer affordable and inclusive financial tools to immigrants.

Why, combinator?

person with one hand typing on a laptop and the other working a calculator

Image Credits: Krisanapong Detraphiphat / Getty Images

It was Y Combinator Demo Day last week, which means there’s another wall of investment opportunities streaming into VC firms like salmon swimming up the proverbial fallopian tube of gestation on its way to . . . okay, this mixed metaphor has officially gone TOO FAR. Some investors skipped YC Demo Day this year. Here are our favorite startups from YC’s Day 1 and  Day 2. We talked to a bunch of founders who have done YC several times to find out what the value was of going back to the well.

Elsewhere in startup news, we got excited about AI reading coach startup Ello raising $15 million to bolster child literacy.

Apropos education, I did a pitch deck teardown of Tomorrow University, which, despite gearing up to offer an MBA program, read a lot like a manifesto instead of a pitch deck. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good manifesto — my most (and least) favorite manifestos were written in German — but they aren’t typically very helpful when it comes to raising funds.

Some funding rounds to keep an eye on:

Hey, Siri, print me a house: Kyle reports that Mighty Buildings raised $52 million to build 3D-printed prefab homes.

That seems like a good investment: Perfios, an Indian fintech that provides real-time credit underwriting solutions to banks and nonbanking financial institutions, has raised $229 million in a new funding round as it looks to deepen its expansion into North America and Europe, Manish reports.

Safety third: Fresh back from Burning Man, it seems only fair to highlight That Thing In The Desert operates on a “safety third” motto. The rest of the world, not so much, and Kyle reports that compliance and risk management startup Certa raised $35 million.

Top reads on TechCrunch this week

Here’s the hottest-off-the-presses, most-read stories for the week:

Snake eyes: Seems like MGM Resorts are having some issues; it blamed a “cybersecurity issue” for an ongoing outage that dragged on for at least four days.

Trucking on: Tesla’s Cybertruck is inching its way toward production. This week, one was spotted with updated interior. There was also a robotaxi concept that looks a bit like a two-seater Cybertruck.

You can truck right off: In a blow to the autonomous trucking industry (but a boon to the 6% or so of the U.S. population who drive trucks for a living), the California Senate passed a bill Monday that requires a trained human safety operator to be present any time a self-driving, heavy-duty vehicle operates on public roads in the state. In effect, the bill bans driverless AV trucks.

A cheeky subscription: BMW got in some hot water (and became the butt of many a joke) for charging a subscription to enable your seat warmers. Pretty silly, and the German car manufacturer finally stopped charging for warming cheeks.

Grab your pass to TC Disrupt 2023

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Disclaimer – This is just shared content from above mentioned source for knowledge sharing.


TC Startup Battlefield master class with Canvas Ventures: Creating strategic defensibility as an early-stage startup



Each year, TechCrunch selects the top 200 early-stage founders from across the globe to feature at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. And as part of our programming, we host master classes with industry experts and venture capitalists to provide tactical advice and insight to these founders.

Today, I’m excited to share the first of a four-part series with Canvas Ventures’ Mike Ghaffary. In this session, Ghaffary outlined the important components of startup defensibility, the key strategic advantage buckets, and what startups can do to stay competitive as they build and scale.

This private session took place in August, and we are sharing these now so all of you can also reap the benefits of Startup Battlefield.

Disclaimer – This is just shared content from above mentioned source for knowledge sharing.

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Meta’s $500 Quest 3 targets consumer mixed reality



Meta’s Quest Pro arrived to a mixed reaction when it launched late last year. The consensus – if one can be found – was that the headset presented some impressive technological leaps over its consumer predecessor (the Quest 2), but the $1,500 price tag was ultimately prohibitively expensive. If that sounds at all familiar, it’s because that’s more or less the same feedback we see every time an intriguing new headset his the market.

I had the opportunity to try the headset out back in January at CES, along with the latest from HTC, Magic Leap and Sony PlayStation. I probably shouldn’t have tried it on immediately after the Magic Leap 2 – which was the ultimate example of very good, but entirely too expensive XR technology.

The Quest Pro isn’t the Magic Leap, even though the two are effectively going after the same subset of users: enterprise clients. Meta and Magic Leap both – I think rightfully – determined that the real money is in selling headsets for training, prototyping and other business-minded functions. Many big corporations will spend $1,500 (or even $3,300) without batting an eye, if it means saving money in the long run.

But Meta is not quite ready to abandon the consumer market just yet – nor is it ready to put all its eggs in the AR basket. Sticking to mixed reality affords a fuller spectrum of applications, including more immersive VR experiences – including games. For the AR bit, opaque headset like the Quest Pro rely on passthrough technology, using on-board cameras to effectively reconstruct an image of the world around you.

It’s no surprise, then that the new Quest 3 maintains that technology. The big question is why the Quest Pro is sticking around. The obvious answer is that the Pro is less than a year old. The Quest 2, on the other hand, if a week or two short of its third birthday – in fact, it was released so long ago that it still carried the Oculus name.

The Meta Quest 3 mixed reality headset, sitting on Meta's first-party charging stand

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

Ultimately, however, there is a lot on this new headset that makes the pro version seem almost redundant – or, at very least, very overpriced. While it’s true that new headset lacks some of that enterprise edition’s more premium features, the Pro’s starting price is around 3x that of the Quest 3. That’s not easy to justify. Of course, Meta’s not really thinking much about enterprise year.

Last week, we attended briefing in the Bay Area, featuring the new headset. The Meta Quest 3 inherets a lot of DNA from the Pro, including its mixed reality platform. Even if the company had already invested years and millions into the VR content side of things, maintaining both categories would be foundational, as full immersion lends itself better to the non-casual end of the gaming spectrum. With the exception of a relative handful of titles like Pokemon Go, the current generation of titles don’t require a player to be tied to a fixed real-world location.

According to Meta, the Quest 3’s full-color Passthrough tech has 10x as many pixels as its predecessor and 3x more than the significantly pricier Quest Pro. The visuals are powered by a pair of displays (one per eye) that measure in at 2064 x 2208 pixels (“4K+ Inifinite Display”). It’s the highest res display on any Meta/Oculus device. The 110-degree field of view is roughly 15% wider than the 2. 

Man wearing the Meta Quest 3 mixed reality headset, holding a controller, viewed from the side

Man wearing the Meta Quest 3 mixed reality headset, holding a controller, viewed from the side

The system is powered by the newly announced Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip, which itself promises double the GPU processing power than the Gen 1. In keeping with that 50 upcoming titles are actually graphicly improved versions of older games. Or you can just go ahead and play any of the 500 or so Quest 2-compatible games/apps. There are also 50 entirely new titles coming up on the platform.

Our hands on experience with the handset involved some quick game demos, none of them nearly long enough to give you a full-on review. But that’s kind of the whole deal with these sorts of events. Among the titles were Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord, Samba de Amiga and Stranger Things: Tender Claws. Of the three, Ghostbusters is the one that really stuck with me. I admit I’ve got a childhood soft spot for that one – but also, when I close my eyes and think about VR’s promise, it’s these sorts of immersive experiences.

The headset is fairly comfortable. Again, I admit that I didn’t have a ton of time with it – I’ll have to save the more comprehensive writeup for a review. But at 515 grams, it’s a good bit lighter than the notoriously heavy 722 gram Quest Pro. It’s also not a huge bump from the Quest 2’s 500 grams. It’s far easier to imagine working out in Quest 3, versus the professional model.

The visuals are a marked improvement over the last generation. They’re higher res and crisper, which goes a long way toward adding immersion to the whole experience. So, too, does the 40% louder speakers, pai4red with 3D spatial audio tech.

Close up of the top of the Meta Quest 3 touch controller

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

The headset looks a good bit like the Quest 2, though there are now three slits in the front of the visor, positioning the cameras directly in front of the eye. The system also uses SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) to map the environment and determine the position of walls and other landmarks. This is more or less the same technology found in autonomous cars and robotic systems. This can help you avoid getting too close when in VR and tie graphics to real world object in AR. They do, however, drop the Pro’s face and eye tracking — so that’s a point in the pricier model’s favor.

The system ships with a pair of refined Touch Plus controllers, which drop their predecessor’s rings, while getting improved haptic feedback. “Feel more connected to every experience with ergonomic, ring-free Touch Plus controllers that let you experience realistic sensations and fine-tuned precision – as if you’re actually holding a bow, scrambling up skyscrapers or blasting through space,” Meta writes. “You can even explore without controllers, thanks to Direct Touch that follows your gestures, letting you use just your hands to find your way.”

The Meta Quest 3 mixed reality headset, sitting on a first-party charger with an orange headstrap

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

The controllers weigh in at 126 grams (including the AAA battery) — 38 grams lighter than the older Touch controllers. The headset should take around two hours to charge from 0-100%. 

Meta is promising roughly the same battery life for the headset as the Quest 2, which was rated at 2-3 hours. Here’s a more complete breakdown directly from the company,

  • Overall: Up to 2.2 hours of usage on average
  • Media: 2.9 hours of usage on average
  •  Gaming: 2.4 hours of usage on average
  • Social: 2.2 hours of usage on average
  •  Productivity: 1.5 hours of usage on average

Pre-order starts today, shipping on 10/10. If you buy the 128GB model ($499) before 1/27/24, Meta will toss in a free company of Asgard’s Wrath 2. Pick up the 512GB model ($650), and you get the game, along with a six month Meta Quest+ subscription. 

Read more about Meta Connect on TechCrunch

Disclaimer – This is just shared content from above mentioned source for knowledge sharing.

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The Dungeons & Dragons DLC for Minecraft includes dice rolls, magic missiles and more



Minecraft just dropped its newest DLC for Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) players to enjoy. In partnership with D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast and Everbloom Games, the DLC takes players on an adventure into the Forgotten Realms, letting them explore classic locations like Candlekeep, Icewind Dale, Revel’s End and more.

The most interesting part about the new DLC is that it introduces new mechanics from the tabletop roleplaying game that many Minecraft players may not be familiar with. However, note that it isn’t a direct D&D simulator and still has the same framework as Minecraft.

The D&D DLC allows players to unlock various spells, customize stats, roll d20s, chat with NPCs, level up their character as well as choose from four classes: barbarian, paladin, rogue and wizard. (You can cast fireball in Minecraft, now? Sign us up).

There are also new monsters to attack, including goblins, dragons, mind flayers, mimics, displacer beasts and beholders, among other iconic creatures from D&D lore. Plus, it features a new interface with a quest log, inventory and glossary screens.

Alongside the launch, Minecraft is introducing a free adventure made for 3rd-level characters called Lightning Keep, where players have to save refugees from a dragon. In addition, Wizards of the Coast released a new Minecraft-themed Monstrous Compendium, providing information on Minecraft mobs like a creeper’s defense stats or an ender dragon’s dexterity.

The new DLC pack is available on the Minecraft Marketplace for 1510 Minecoins (approximately $8 USD).

Disclaimer – This is just shared content from above mentioned source for knowledge sharing.

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