Daily Crunch: Finnish tech conference yanks $1M pitch contest prize from Russian co-founders


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What’s up, Crunchers! Haje is back from his away-ness, and we are chomping at the bit to bring you a wall of amazing stories from our dastardly team of TC wordcraftspeople. Let’s goooooo! — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

Here yesterday, gone today: “We should have reviewed all participants’ operations more closely before entering into the competition.” That’s what Slush organizers said after they and VC pitch judges decided to revoke a $1 million award to Immigram after discovering the company had ties to Russia. Mike has more.
Dark times at Tesla: Tesla recalled about 350,000, or 1% of electric vehicles it sold over the past two years or so for some pretty major issues, including taillights that go out and front passenger airbags that malfunction, Jaclyn writes.
Cloudy with a chance of doom and gloom: There is no rosy outlook for startups here. Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy doesn’t mince words when he warns startups that “a lot of turmoil and volatility” is in the funding forecast over the next 12 to 18 months, Manish reports.

Startups and VC

Actor Noah Schnapp, who plays Will on Netflix’s hit original series “Stranger Things,” is passionate about tbh, a company he co-founded that aims to “reinvent” hazelnut cocoa spread Nutella, reports Mary Ann. The company is turning to crowdfunding to raise money for the vegan alternative.

At our TC Sessions: Crypto event last week in Miami, Darrell sat down a veritable who-is-who in crypto to talk about the crypto regulation landscape. The key takeaways that all three panelists essentially agreed upon is that the benefit of the FTX situation is that there’s now more impetus than ever to arrive at some kind of regulatory framework specific to crypto in the U.S. You can watch the segment on the site.

Here’s a fellowship of stories to see you through the rest of your Monday. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.

One ring to bind us: Christine reports that custom jeweler Wove circled $3.85 million worth of investment to make engagement ring purchases less stressful.
They know about second breakfast: Gopuff launches scheduled deliveries, gifting and in-store pickup, reports Kyle.
If more of us valued cheer and song above hoarded gold…:  Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to 11 years in prison for her part in the Theranos fraud debacle, Amanda reports.
Even the smallest fund can change the course of the future: Becca reports that fund of funds Sweetwood Ventures bets big on VC’s smallest funds.
Let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall: Kyle and Amanda dive into the murky underbelly of AI-generated porn, as they meet Unstable Diffusion, the group trying to monetize that slice of tech.

Get your product and customer success teams on the same page to improve net retention

Image Credits: Richard Drury (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

You don’t need to move the needle far to optimize customer success. SaaS startups that incrementally improve will stack small wins that have the potential to alter the company’s trajectory.

Instead of a traditional siloed approach, rolling product and CX teams into a single unit helps align incentives, writes Bryan House, SVP of product and customer success at Elastic Path.

“Regardless of what you call the role, product management, UX and customer success should report to the same person,” he advises. “This leader should create a structure that shares incentives and common goals aligned to your customers’ measures of success.”

Three more from the TC+ team:

Easy like A-B-C: Well, not C, Alex explores, as he argues that Series C is the new venture-startup bottleneck.
De-oiling to de-carbonize: The era of oil-driven foreign policy is over. Welcome to decarbonization diplomacy, writes Tim.
Rolling back: Natasha M writes that she takes back what she said about tech layoffs.

TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead of the pack. You can sign up here. Use code “DC” for a 15% discount on an annual subscription!

Big Tech Inc.

It’s a bit of déjà vu for Broadcom, which is back under the watchful eye of competition regulators. This time, the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority is looking into the chip giant’s proposed $61 billion deal to buy virtualization software giant VMware. If you don’t recall the last time, it was when Broadcom tried to acquire rival Qualcomm in 2018. The deal was scrapped after former president Donald Trump cited national security concerns. Paul writes that “both the political and competitive optics are different this time around, so it’s difficult to predict how this will all unfold,” but he did get a comment from Broadcom on what the company thinks.

Oh, and FIFA is back. Lauren has your guide to streaming it.

Five more for your Monday:

Where do we go from here?: Amazon-owned secure communications provider Wickr said it’s shutting down its free encrypted messaging app. Carly has more.
Fantastic voyage: Kirsten, Harri and Abigail tell you what they drooled over at the 2022 LA Auto Show, and Kirsten has your look inside the Waymo-Zeekr robotaxi, among other mobility stories.
“Privacy”: Facebook and Instagram users under the age of 16 — or 18, depending on where you live — will see more privacy settings be the default, Aisha reports.
We don’t really buy that: India’s regulators are now moving forward with new rules to curb fake reviews on e-commerce platforms, Jagmeet writes.
Finding other places to tweet: Sarah reports that Twitter alternative Hive saw sign-ups surge, propelling it into the top 20 in the U.S. App Store.

UPDATE: The first version of the Daily Crunch incorrectly stated that the Slush conference was in Sweden. So as to not incur the wrath from both sets of Vikings, we’ve corrected the headline. Slush is an annual tech conference that happens, of course, in Helsinki, Finland. As an honorary Scandinavian, Haje is suitably ashamed of the mistake. Det skal ikke skje igjen, folkens! 

Daily Crunch: Finnish tech conference yanks $1M pitch contest prize from Russian co-founders by Christine Hall originally published on TechCrunch

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