Leaked Docs from SpaceX, TikTok Faces Possible Ban, and Grok Goes Open-Source

Hey, folks, welcome to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular newsletter recapping noteworthy happenings in tech over the past few days. This week, TechCrunch viewed leaked documents out of SpaceX showing some questionable practices related to employee stock options. X CEO Elon Musk announced that he would open source Grok, X’s AI-powered chatbot meant to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Grok — developed by Musk’s AI startup, xAI — was released last year, armed with features such as access to “real-time” information on X and views undeterred by “politically correct” norms. On Found, Becca and Dom spoke with Rebecca Hu, the CEO and co-founder of Glacier, an AI robotics company that’s building robots to accurately sort recycling.

Welcome to TechCrunch’s Week in Review (WiR), a newsletter recapping noteworthy happenings in the tech world over the past few days. This week, we take a closer look at leaked documents from SpaceX that reveal questionable practices related to employee stock options.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, also made headlines with his announcement to open source Grok, an AI-powered chatbot developed by his startup, xAI. The bot was released last year and aimed to rival OpenAI’s ChatGPT with features such as access to real-time information and opinions that were not swayed by political correctness norms.

In other news, Ron had an exclusive interview with Denise Dresser, CEO of Slack, on her efforts to bring stability to Salesforce after three CEO changes in one year.

But that’s not all. We cover all the important events from this week in this edition of WiR. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to receive WiR in your inbox every Saturday.

News

Leaked SpaceX Docs:

We’ve obtained leaked documents from SpaceX that reveal unusual terms for stock awards that employees must agree to. Among other things, the company reserves the right to ban past and present employees from participating in tender offers if they are found to have committed acts of dishonesty against the company or violated written company policies.

Phantom Auto Shutting Down:

Phantom Auto, a remote driving startup launched seven years ago amid the rise of autonomous vehicle technology, is shutting down after failing to secure new funding, as reported by Kirsten.

Reddit Stock:

In a new SEC filing, Reddit announces that after its IPO, community members will have the option to sell their shares immediately instead of being subject to the usual lock-up agreements that prevent IPO investors from selling shares for six months.

Funding

Banking as a Service:

Griffin Bank, a UK-based platform for API-driven banking services, has obtained a license to operate as a fully functional bank and raised $24 million from investors like MassMutual Ventures, NordicNinja, and Breega.

EU Breaches Data Rules:

An investigation into the European Union’s use of Microsoft 365 reveals that the European Commission, the cabinet government of the EU, has violated the bloc’s data protection rules through its use of the cloud-based productivity software.

Analysis

Deepfakes and Royalty:

Amanda writes about a possibly edited photo of Kate Middleton and her children, and how it serves as a warning of what’s to come as AI deepfaking and editing tools continue to become more prevalent.

Moonbird Relaxation Device:

Haje reviews Moonbird’s relaxation device, designed to assist with sleep and reduce stress through breathing exercises.

Podcasts

Equity:

In this week’s episode, Alex covers data from Carta on how startup compensation is changing, and highlights funding from Empathy and Bear Robotics. He also discusses updates from Bluesky, Brave, and Social Capital, the VC firm led by Chamath Palihapitiya.

Found:

Becca and Dom interview Rebecca Hu, CEO and co-founder of Glacier, an AI robotics company focused on sorting recycling accurately.

Chain Reaction:

In this month’s episode, Jacquelyn speaks with Melody Hildebrandt, CTO of Fox Corporation, and Mike Blank, COO at Polygon Labs, as part of Chain Reaction’s series exploring the intersection of blockchain and AI.

Bonus Round

Metaverse Royale:

Readyverse Studios, founded by Futureverse and Ernest Cline, creator of Ready Player One, has launched Open, a third-person battle royale experience. Read Lauren’s article for more information.

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Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

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