Exploring Fisker’s downfall and the expansion of robotaxi services across American cities

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Your usual host Kirsten Korosec is taking a much deserved vacation, so I’ll be walking you through this week’s transportation news. A little birdImage Credits: Bryce DurbinA lot of little birds have been talking to senior reporter Sean O’Kane about what is going on behind EV startup Fisker. Other deals that got my attention …Euler Motors, an Indian manufacturer of commercial EVs, raised $24 million in a Series C extension. Gireve, a French B2B platform for EV charging, raised €20 million to expand further in Europe and internationally and develop new services. Zoox plans to test its robotaxis in Austin and Miami this summer, making them the Amazon-backed company’s fourth and fifth test cities.

“From Roadside Fueling to Revolutionary Transportation: The Evolution of Yoshi Mobility”

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Yoshi Mobility has come a long way since gassing up cars on the side of the roadAlmost 10 years ago, Bryan Frist, Nick Alexander and Daniel Hunter had an idea to inject some technology into the automotive industry. Using the initial entry point of gas, they started the Yoshi Mobility app to deliver gas to San Francisco-area consumers on their day of choice for $20 per month. Expansion and new businessToday, Nashville-based Yoshi Mobility is settled into three business lines: preventative maintenance, virtual vehicle inspections and electric vehicle charging. It has boots on the ground in 15 states, but can offer vehicle services to customers in all 50 states. Yoshi Mobility has increased its revenue 10x monthly since its Series B in late 2020, Frist said.

“The Premonition of Kate Middleton’s Photo Retouching Controversy”

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After frenzied speculation that a recent photo of Kate Middleton and her children was AI generated, the Duchess of Cambridge herself had to address the controversy. It’s an appropriate amount of hands — eight hands for four people — but they all look a bit off. So when official Royal Family accounts published the suspicious-looking photo of Kate and her children, the internet had a field day. Even British celebrities like Piers Morgan have weighed in, raising the question of why the Royal Family won’t quash the conspiracy theories by just releasing the unedited photo. It’s a good thing that the public was so skeptical about Middleton’s sketchy photo, since she admitted that it was edited.

Kinetics of Brex’s slash on cash spend

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In this edition, I’m going to look at Brex’s latest round of layoffs, the state of fintech investing in 2023 and more! I may be taking some time off in coming weeks but never fear, TechCrunch Fintech isn’t going away. While interest rates were low, the company saw a bump in business and VC money was easier to come by. The move came after reports the company burned $17 million in cash each month during the fourth quarter and that it is trying to preserve runway. Fintech investors injected $34.6 billion in startups across 2,055 deals in 2023, a –43.8% and –32.4% YoY drop, respectively, according to PitchBook data.

“Discover the Best Visa Options for Visiting Silicon Valley with Sophie!”

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Ask Sophie: What visas could work to come to Silicon Valley for customer discovery? Sophie Alcorn, attorney, author and founder of Alcorn Immigration Law in Silicon Valley, California, is an award-winning Certified Specialist Attorney in Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. But before you do, I recommend you consult a U.S. immigration attorney to devise a strategy for you based on your short-term and long-term goals. For example, the current filing fee for E, H, L, and O visa petitions is $460. The USCIS proposal called for increasing the filing fee for E visa petitions to $1,015, H visa petitions to $780, L-1 visa petitions to $1,385, and O visa petitions to $1,055.

“Merger of Tier and Dott: A Response to Unfounded Speculation”

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Deal Dive: Tier and Dott’s merger is not a sign of what’s to come in M&A this year Consolidation can be complicatedEarlier this week, European micromobility companies Tier and Dott said they had agreed to merge. The companies hope they can become profitable if they work together, my colleague Romain reported. This seems like a solid outcome for the two startups, since they likely weren’t going to reach IPO scale on their own. After all, if the companies weren’t going to survive as solo entities, it makes sense to at least try another direction. Last year I came up with a hypothesis about M&A in 2024; I was inspired by Getir acquiring FreshDirect to fill a gap it needed to potentially reach profitability.

Etsy’s Continued Layoffs: Predictable as Ever

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Once again, Etsy’s layoffs come as no surprise Junkification and fierce competition paint a tough path aheadRemember when we wrote that Spotify’s latest layoffs make sense? Well, we feel the same about Etsy’s announcement that it would lay off 11% of its workforce. This is not us being callous with employees affected by these layoffs, or making excuses for what led the NASDAQ-listed marketplace to that point and what could perhaps have been prevented. We are just saying that this isn’t much of a surprise. But more than quantitative, Etsy’s challenge is qualitative.

The Troubled Split: What the Adobe-Figma Breakup Tells us About Startup M&A in the Future

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Venture capitalists and founders were already worried about exits after Visa’s $5.6 billion acquisition of Plaid in 2020 was canceled after a tough battle with regulators. Still, Figma and Plaid are only two examples of startups being impacted by antitrust and competition regulations in recent history. Yet, since the Adobe-Figma news broke this morning, discourse is already leaning towards how this will hurt startup liquidity; some VCs are even saying that large startup acquisitions are going to be off the table. But if you look at the data around startup M&A, that sentiment feels more like fear mongering than an actual reflection of what the startup exit market looks like. In fact, the vast majority of startup deals look nothing like the Figma or Plaid deals.