Thursday, July 18, 2024

Tesla makes Musk best-paid CEO of all time and Fisker bites the mud

Tesla makes Musk best-paid CEO of all time and Fisker bites the mud

Welcome to Startups Weekly — Haje‘s weekly recap of every part you possibly can’t miss from the world of startups. Join right here to get it in your inbox each Friday.

Elon Musk simply satisfied Tesla shareholders to approve his $56 billion pay package deal, making him the highest-paid CEO in historical past — assuming he can dodge a Delaware decide’s disapproval. And the place higher to stage this circus than Texas, house of huge every part, together with egos? Shareholders erupted in applause at Tesla’s Texas gigafactory when the vote outcomes have been introduced. In the meantime, Musk juggles extra firms than a clown with chainsaws and faces two new lawsuits (being sued simply as soon as per week is for wimps). Oh, and neglect about any fancy ESG initiatives; these acquired shot down quicker than you possibly can say “company accountability.” Who wants sustainability once you’ve acquired Elon dancing onstage with 0.7 Twitter’s value of money in a suitcase?

Most attention-grabbing startup tales from the week

It appears Henrik Fisker’s knack for designing automobiles is simply matched by his expertise for driving firms into chapter 11. Regardless of aiming to be the Apple of EVs (with Magna taking part in Foxconn), the much-touted Ocean SUV sank quicker than the Titanic with software program glitches, remembers, and lemon lawsuits galore. Now submitting for Chapter 11 in Delaware, Fisker has gone from goals of revolutionizing the auto business to simply making an attempt to not get caught with a $500 million invoice. This marks Fisker’s second go of bankrupting an eponymous firm. Can he make it to a few? Keep tuned.

  • Yeah, noticed that one coming: Ever really feel like your subscription providers are plotting in opposition to you? Properly, Adobe simply acquired referred to as out by the DOJ for allegedly making it simpler to flee from Alcatraz than cancel considered one of their subscriptions.
  • You will watch our adverts: YouTube is at it once more, people. This time they’re pushing their anti-ad blocker campaign to new heights with server-side advert injections, ensuring these pesky adverts greet you earlier than the video even lands in your machine. Oh, and I summarized this story within the TechCrunch Minute collection, if you happen to’re extra of a watcher than a reader.
  • Goin’ spherical in circles: Appears to be like like Loop, the insurance coverage startup with a noble mission to overthrow biased pricing fashions, has hit a large fundraising wall. After 20 months of making an attempt (and failing) to reel in some money, co-founder John Henry had the unenviable activity of saying layoffs through Instagram.
colorful bird: Adobe Firefly image
Adobe: Makes fairly AI issues however makes it nigh inconceivable to unsubscribe from its providers.
Picture Credit: Adobe

Pattern of the week: All eyes on AI

Apple has lastly thrown its hat into the AI icon circus, becoming a member of the likes of Google and OpenAI in a determined bid to depict AI with a emblem that makes any sense in any respect. Spoiler alert: They’re as clueless as everybody else. Apple’s new visible for “Intelligence” is basically a psychedelic circle — wait, no — a lopsided infinity image? Really, it’s New Siri. Or perhaps it’s when your cellphone edges glow like an alien spaceship touchdown. The true takeaway right here? Nobody is aware of what AI ought to appear to be, however let’s slap on some pleasant pastel colours and name it innovation.

In the meantime, Ilya Sutskever, the AI brainiac who final month determined OpenAI wasn’t thrilling sufficient anymore, has began his personal shindig referred to as Protected Superintelligence Inc. (SSI) with a few different ex-OpenAI buddies. After a dramatic exit from OpenAI (presumably over the way to keep away from Skynet taking on), Sutskever is doubling down on ensuring super-smart AI doesn’t grow to be our overlord anytime quickly. SSI’s mission? To stability mind-blowing AI developments with security measures so we don’t find yourself starring in our very personal “Black Mirror” episode.

Siri's AI updates being revealed during WWDC 2024
Certain, that appears AI-y, doesn’t it?
Picture Credit: Apple

Most attention-grabbing fundraises this week

Meet the dynamic duo who appear to have skipped their quarter-life disaster and went straight to swimming in money. Edward Tian and Alex Cui, founders of GPTZero, live proof that top faculty friendships can result in multimillion-dollar ventures. In only a yr and a half, they’ve turned their AI detection startup right into a moneymaking machine that’s outpacing your favourite viral app. With $10 million freshly bagged from keen VCs who couldn’t anticipate an official elevate, these guys are on observe to create an web the place we will nonetheless inform in case your essay was written by you or ChatGPT’s stoned-beyond-words cousin named Cheech.

Tender Food, plant-based meat, alternative protein
Tender Meals’s plant-based shredded “pork” product.
Picture Credit: Tender Meals

Different unmissable TechCrunch tales …

Each week, there’s at all times just a few tales I need to share with you that by some means don’t match into the classes above. It’d be a disgrace if you happen to missed ’em, so right here’s a random seize bag of goodies for ya:

  • So what occurred with Fisker?: As soon as once more, Fisker proves it’s the little engine that couldn’t. Regardless of outsourcing their manufacturing to automotive large Magna and aiming for a fast launch, the EV startup ignored one obvious problem: It wasn’t able to be an precise automobile firm.
  • Robust instances to be an Apple developer: Get able to pour one out in your favourite third-party apps as a result of iOS 18 is on the best way, and it’s bringing its wrecking ball. Apple’s infamous behavior of “sherlocking” — aka swiping concepts from third-party builders and baking them into its OS — might hit almost $400 million in app income.
  • Vita-minus: Properly, it appears to be like like personalised vitamin subscription firm Care/of is formally calling it quits. The corporate introduced all subscriptions will finish by June 17. Regardless of being propped up with $46 million from traders and a hefty Bayer buy-in valued at $225 million again in 2020, it simply couldn’t maintain the lights on.
  • That’s not how privateness works: In a stunning show of cybersecurity cluelessness, the EU lawmakers are as soon as once more making an attempt to tug off the legislative equal of juggling saber-tooth tigers whereas blindfolded. Meredith Whittaker, president of Sign and bearer of widespread sense, slammed the EU’s newest plan to scan personal messages for CSAM as a surefire strategy to throw internet safety underneath the bus.

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