Gig staff receives a commission, Constancy slashes Reddit’s valuation and AI conquers Minecraft

Hey, people, welcome to Week in Evaluation (WiR), TechCrunch’s common e-newsletter that recaps the week in tech. Hope the summer time’s treating y’all properly — it’s a balmy 90 levels right here in NYC! — and that some much-needed R&R is on the agenda.

Talking of “agenda,” mark your calendars for Disrupt, TC’s annual convention, kicking off in September. Whether or not you’re a startup rookie studying the ropes or a founder hell-bent on altering the world, Disrupt will ship the instruments, data and connections that can assist you make it occur. You don’t need to miss it.

Elsewhere, keep tuned for Metropolis Highlight on June 7 (Wednesday), which is able to spotlight Atlanta, Georgia, this go-round. Atlanta has emerged as one of many buzziest new hubs within the nation, with booming cybersecurity and software-as-a-service sectors in addition to a slew of buyers seeking to again the new new startups coming from the metro. Among the many audio system at Metropolis Highlight will probably be mayor Andre Dickens — we’re wanting ahead to listening to his perspective.

Now with the PSAs out of the best way, right here’s your WiR!

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Constancy sours on Reddit: This week, Constancy, the lead investor in Reddit’s most up-to-date funding spherical in 2021, slashed the estimated value of its fairness stake within the social media platform by 41% for the reason that funding. The devaluation, a part of a broader pattern that has hit quite a lot of growth-stage startups throughout the globe up to now yr, raises uncertainties about whether or not Reddit will keep its preliminary intent to reportedly go public at a valuation round $15 billion.

Amazon Prime Knowledge: Amazon is contemplating providing low-cost or presumably free nationwide cell phone service to Prime subscribers in the US, in accordance with a brand new report from Bloomberg. The tech big is reportedly in talks with Verizon, T-Cellular, Dish Community and AT&T.

Gig staff receives a commission: Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and different app-based ride-hail and supply companies should reimburse California gig staff probably hundreds of thousands of {dollars} for unpaid car bills between 2022 and 2023. The again funds come from a provision in Proposition 22, the controversial legislation that classifies gig staff as unbiased contractors fairly than staff and guarantees them half-hearted protections and advantages.

Volkswagen’s ace within the gap: Volkswagen is betting huge on the upcoming ID.Buzz electrical van. With availability of the car nonetheless a yr out, the automaker is relying on years of pent-up anticipation to not solely promote the bus shrouded in nostalgia, however to even have it act as a halo product to deliver prospects to the model’s whole EV lineup.

Shopify launches Store Money: Shopify’s Store app is introducing a brand new rewards program referred to as Store Money, the e-commerce platform introduced on Friday. The brand new program is funded by Shopify and earns customers 1% again on purchases made utilizing its Store Pay on-line checkout service.

Stripe will get into credit score: Stripe needs to make it simpler for companies to entry credit score. The personal monetary infrastructure big introduced a brand new cost card program at this time from Stripe Issuing, its business card issuing product. Denise Ho, head of product at Stripe, gave TechCrunch the unique particulars — go learn the piece by Mary Ann.

AI conquers Minecraft: AI researchers have constructed a Minecraft bot that may discover and broaden its capabilities within the sport’s open world — however in contrast to different bots, this one principally wrote its personal code by means of trial and error and heaps of GPT-4 queries. Known as Voyager, this experimental system is an instance of an “embodied agent,” an AI that may transfer and act freely and purposefully in a simulated or actual atmosphere.

YouTube Shorts, in minutes: Dumme, a startup placing AI to sensible use in video modifying, is already producing demand earlier than opening to the general public. The Y Combinator–backed firm has a whole lot of video creators testing its product, which leverages AI to create short-form movies from YouTube content material, and it has a waitlist of over 20,000 pre-launch, it says.


Want a brand new podcast to get your weekend began proper? Excellent news — TC has you lined (after which some). On Fairness, the crew took a take a look at the newest from Net Roulette, Stripe’s acquisition of Okay, what Klarna’s Q1 means for the fintech market and QED and a16z’s early-stage methods. Discovered spoke with Dr. Stacy Blain, the co-founder and chief science officer at Concarlo Therapeutics, in regards to the firm’s novel therapeutic options for drug-resistant most cancers. Over at Chain Response, Gary Vaynerchuk, the chairman of VaynerX and the CEO of VaynerMedia and NFT assortment VeeFriends, spoke on his experiences within the artistic media trade. And the TechCrunch Reside people dove into how AI doomerism is overblown — and why the blowhards doing the blowing need it that approach.


TC+ subscribers get entry to in-depth commentary, evaluation and surveys — which should you’re already a subscriber. In the event you’re not, contemplate signing up. Listed below are just a few highlights from this week:

Competitors considerations within the age of AI: AI is quickly altering how companies sense, cause and adapt available in the market. However these groundbreaking capabilities are creating an upheaval in how companies interact with rivals and customers. Henry Hauser is counsel in Perkins Coie’s antitrust and litigation follow teams. He muses on this in an informative piece.

Salesforce turns into a knowledge firm: May the information exhaust being generated by the Salesforce household of merchandise develop into extra beneficial than the merchandise themselves — at the very least by way of new income provides? This piece explores the chance.

Why don’t extra scientists develop into founders?: Why is it so frequent to see outsiders bringing analysis out of the lab and never the scientists themselves? It’s a posh situation to unravel, however Rebecca does it deftly.