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“Stellantis Chief Executive Spills Secrets on Waymo, Rivian Layoffs, and the Ongoing Decline of EV Enthusiasm”

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TechCrunch Mobility is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things transportation. Sign up here — just click TechCrunch Mobility — to receive the newsletter every weekend in your inbox. Welcome back to TechCrunch Mobility — your central hub for news and insights on the future of transportation. Of course, as he talked, I wondered if this was wishful thinking or an attempt to show the company was still part of the autonomous vehicle conversation? Robotic Research Autonomous Industries (RRAI), an autonomous vehicle company with a history of working with the Department of Defense, changed its name to Forterra.

“Latest Updates: Google Debuts Fresh Open LLMs, Rivian Enacts Employee Cutbacks, and Signal Introduces Usernames”

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Google releases new open LLMs, Rivian lays off staff and Signal rolls out usernamesWelcome, folks, to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular newsletter covering noteworthy happenings in the tech industry. This week, Google launched two new open large language models, Gemma 2B and Gemma 7B, in its continued bid for generative AI dominance. The company, which describes the LLMs as “inspired by Gemini,” its flagship family of GenAI models, made each available for commercial and research usage. Change Healthcare hit: Change Healthcare, one of the largest healthcare tech companies in the U.S., confirmed that a cyberattack on its systems occurred recently. YouTube triumphant: YouTube dominates TV streaming in the U.S., per Nielsen’s latest report.

Court Filing Reveals Struggle of DuckDuckGo and Neeva in Competition Against Google’s Dominance in Search Startups

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Google’s proposed “Findings of Fact” filing documents the history of search competition, including Google’s own beginnings, its innovations, the competitive landscape, Google’s search ads business, distribution agreements, and more. When shareholders sold stock to various VC firms, those funds were not used to improve the search engine, the filing argues. But it contradicts this point, too, noting that a third of DuckDuckGo’s 50 employees in 2018 were working on improving the search engine, for example. The search engine receives only about 2.5% of general search queries in the U.S., despite estimates that 10% of people in the U.S. claim to be users. This, DuckDuckGo’s leadership had explained, is due to the fact that people often use its search engine for some, but not all of their search queries.

Navigating the rough path of electric vehicle makers

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Well, it seems the EV market is a tad more cutthroat than anticipated, with pricing pressure mounting like the suspense in a bad thriller movie. Most interesting startup stories this weekStaying in the world of automotive, there’s been a lot of movement from the avant-garde of EV manufacturers. These price adjustments from Ford and Lucid come hot on the heels of EV industry poster child Tesla’s price reductions, suggesting that the EV market is maturing and that customers are becoming more price conscious. Despite all their rage, they’re still just a rat in a Faraday cage: Struggling EV startup Faraday Future owes the landlord of its Los Angeles headquarters nearly $1 million after missing the last two months’ rent. This week’s big trend: The AI train keeps rumblin’ alongOpenAI has introduced a new generative AI model named Sora, capable of creating videos from text descriptions or still images.

“Reddit’s Public Offering: A Meme-Lover’s Dream for Traders and Trolls Alike”

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As Reddit finally files to go public, the company wrote in its S-1 filing that “meme stock” schemes on r/WallStreetBets could pose a risk to investors. The stock was so volatile, jumping more than 600% within days, that trading was halted multiple times. Retail traders tried to replicate the GameStop saga by investing in other heavily shorted stocks like AMC and Bed, Bath & Beyond, solidifying this phenomenon of trading “meme stocks,” to mixed results. This is a rare move that would let community members buy stock at the same price as institutional investors upon IPO. In 2023, Reddit incurred a net loss of $90.8 million, adding to the company’s cumulative deficit of $716.6 million.

Two Years Later: Ukraine’s Startups Persevere Through Russia’s Invasion

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And tech companies in the West have rallied around the sector, increasingly working with Ukrainian tech firms on a range of initiatives. This week Google launched its second ‘Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund’ with a budget of $10M to support Ukrainian startups during 2024 and 2025. Selected Ukrainian startups will receive up to $200,000 in equity-free funding, as well as Google mentorship, product support, and $300,000 in Google Cloud credits. Meanwhile, Estonian accelerator Startup Wise Guys launched Growth Ukraine, a programme for startups in Ukraine. And the EU-funded project ‘Seeds of Bravery’ programme has five programmes to support Ukrainian tech startups with grants ranging from €10,000 to €50,000.

“Revolutionizing WordPress: 10web Introduces AI-Powered Website Creation for Armenia”

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Generative AI has done an impressive job in improving productivity in a wide range of areas, including website building. 10web, a company based out of Armenia, is entering the race and believes it has an edge. 10web allows users to quickly generate websites built with WordPress, the widely-used content management system that is notoriously hard to use for beginners, using text prompts. WordPress still powers around 40% of all the websites on the internet, thanks to its customization options, according to estimates by w3techs. “We have AI talent, which is probably four times cheaper in Armenia than in the U.S. And here, we can access the best AI talent possible,” the founder suggested.

Reddit rakes in over $200M through data licensing agreements

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In its IPO prospectus filed today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Reddit repeatedly emphasized how much it thinks it stands to gain — and has gained — from data licensing agreements with the companies training AI models on its over one billion posts and over 16 billion comments. “In January 2024, we entered into certain data licensing arrangements with an aggregate contract value of $203.0 million and terms ranging from two to three years,” the prospectus reads. “We expect a minimum of $66.4 million of revenue to be recognized during the year ending December 31, 2024 and the remaining thereafter.”Now, it’s a mystery as to which AI vendors are licensing data from Reddit so far. Why’s Reddit data valuable? Reddit previously didn’t gate access to its data for AI training purposes.

Reddit Finally Goes Public

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Social media giant Reddit filed to go public today. Today Reddit approaches the public markets with more than $800 million worth of revenue in 2023, up from $666.7 million in 2022. In 2022 Reddit generated a net loss of $158.6 million, and adjusted EBITDA of negative $108.4 million. That figure includes a massive $410 million Series F raised in 2021 and a smaller $368 million Series E raised earlier the same year. That makes it worth roughly 7.5% of its 2023 revenue, a very nice tailwind for its 2024 results.

Effortlessly Create Virtual Wish Lists and Collages for Your Shopping Links with Locker

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After years of copying and pasting shopping links into spreadsheets and taking screenshots of products to share with her friends and family, Kristine Locker finally decided to launch a social shopping platform (which she named after herself) that could take her endless tabs and organize them into a shareable, virtual wish list all in one place. Locker recently closed on a $2.5 million round from Wonder Ventures at a $9 million valuation, the company announced today. For instance, you get exclusive Locker merch if you refer 25 users to Locker. At 500 users, you get $750 to purchase an outfit from your Locker collection, the startup’s founder explains. Its average commission rate is around 12%, however, depending on how much exposure the brand wants, Locker raises the rate to as high as 25%.