“Black Semiconductor from Germany Secures $273M in Funding for Revolutionary Graphene Chip Technology”

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Tech sovereignty has become a looming priority for a number of nations these days, and now a startup working in semiconductors has received a major boost in aid of that effort for Germany and Europe. The sum is one of the largest to date raised by a European startup working in semiconductors. Black is a spin-out from the University of Aachen co-founded by brothers Daniel and Sebastian Schall (respectively the CEO and CFO). The funding, a Series A, is important not just for its size but also because of the intention behind it. Porsche Ventures and Project A Ventures are co-leads, with participation from Scania Growth, Capnamic, Tech Vision Fonds, and NRW.BANK.

FTC Targets “Mob Bosses” in Big Tech: Lina Khan Leads Efforts

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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is focusing its efforts on going after Big Tech, according to FTC Chair Lina Khan, who spoke at TechCrunch’s Strictly VC event in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Khan said the agency is focused on going after the players that are doing the biggest harm, as opposed to just increasing the number of cases that it brings forward. “One thing that’s been important for me is to make sure that we’re actually looking at where we see the biggest harm,” Khan said. The FTC and the Department of Justice have struck a deal to investigate Microsoft, Open AI and Nvidia over potential antitrust violations, according to The New York Times. The types of cases that the FTC selects can act as a deterrent, she said, noting that the FTC is already seeing that happen.

Cognigy Secures Funding to Expand Contact Center Automation Enterprise

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“Big tech companies have ‘mis-set’ expectations when it comes to AI,” Heltewig told TechCrunch. According to one survey, over half of businesses have already invested in AI capabilities to support their customer service operations. Per market research firm Markets and Markets, revenue in the market for call center AI alone is set to climb from $1.6 billion in 2022 to $4.1 billion by year-end 2027. And it’s scalable; Cognigy manages AI agents that can handle up to tens of thousands of customer conversations at once. Image Credits: Cognigy“Cognigy provides a platform to build, operate and analyze AI agents for customer experiences in the contact center,” Heltewig said.

“Raspberry Pi Goes Public: Shares Surge Following Successful IPO Pricing”

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Who would have thought that Raspberry Pi, the maker of cheap, single-board computers, would become a public company? It means that Raspberry Pi could end up raising more than $200 million during its IPO process. If you’re looking to buy Raspberry Pi shares as a retail investor, this isn’t possible just yet. Raspberry Pi Ltd, the public company, is the commercial subsidiary of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Arm previously announced that it intended to increase its stake in Raspberry Pi with the public listing.

VisionOS 2 Unveiled by Apple

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Today at its annual WorldWide Developer Conference in Cupertino, Apple announced updates to VisionOS, the operating system running on the Vision Pro. The upgraded VisionOS — VisionOS 2 — brings with it productivity enhancements and “new immersive experiences.” One lets you “spatialize” photos from regular photos, leveraging AI tech. Another is a new navigation option: VisionOS 2 lets you switch to the home screen by just tapping, or flip your hand over to bring up the control center with notifications, shortcuts and more.

NEA Invests $20M in Anterior to Accelerate AI-powered Health Insurance Approvals

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Anterior, a company that uses AI to expedite health insurance approval for medical procedures, has raised a $20 million Series A round at a $95 million post-money valuation led by NEA, according to two people familiar with the deal. Existing investors Sequoia, which led Anterior’s $3.2 million seed round last September, and Neo, an accelerator that helped the company launch in the summer of 2022, also participated in the Series A financing. The company has built an LLM-powered co-pilot that helps nurses and doctors save hours on gathering medical documentation required by insurance. While Anterior’s initial offering is in prior authorization automation, the company eventually plans to expand into other medical administrative functions. Makhzoimi also backed Xaira, an AI drug discovery startup that launched this year with $1 billion in funding.

a16z-Funded Twitter Rival “Post News” Will Be Ceasing Operations

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Post News, a microblogging site that emerged in the days after Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition, is shutting down just a year and a half after launching in beta. Founder Noam Bardin, previously CEO of Waze, broke the news in a post on Friday. “At the end of the day, our service is not growing fast enough to become a real business or a significant platform,” Bardin said. Instead of subscribing to various different publications, Post users could purchase individual articles from certain partner outlets. But perhaps it was too soon to try to capture this nascent movement in a social platform.

Ibotta’s Initial Public Offering Experiences Favourable Reception, Signaling Growing Interest in Technology Stocks from the Public Market

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Shares are not continuing to climb in early trading, but are holding steady above its IPO price, at around $100 at the time of writing. Its successful debut marks the third major tech IPO in the United States this year, and is the third in a row to price well and immediately trade higher. Investor eagerness for Ibotta indicates that “there is an increasing appetite for IPOs again” Smith said, “particularly in the tech space.”Don’t pop the champagne yet for the tech IPO market coming roaring back, however. Classic tech IPOs tend to feature tech companies still in growth mode and deeply in the red. Smith agrees, calling the upcoming Rubrik IPO “an even bigger test” for tech debuts “given its weaker current financial picture.”We’ll find out next week.

“Closing the Gap: Trellis Climate’s Mission to Overcome the ‘Commercial Valley of Death’ for Climate Technology”

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Some call it the “commercial valley of death,” and it’s the point at which many climate tech startups struggle. Climate nonprofit Prime Coalition is hoping to bridge the valley with a new program, Trellis Climate. Trellis Climate follows the latter model with a focus on middle stages, where capital has grown scarce. “There are more and more philanthropists that are really interested in solving the climate problem,” Lara Pierpoint, director of Trellis Climate, told TechCrunch. “It is the most flexible and potentially risk-forward set of dollars that are out there.”For founders in climate tech, that sort of funding is likely welcome news.

“Exploring the Potential of AirChat: Will it Soar or Follow in Clubhouse’s Footsteps?”

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AirChat, the buzzy new social app, could be great – or, it could succumb to the same fate as ClubhouseOver the weekend, another social media platform exploded into the fray: AirChat. Built by AngelList founder Naval Ravikant and former Tinder exec Brian Norgard, Airchat takes a refreshingly intimate approach to social media. What I do consider a red flag is AirChat’s naive approach to content moderation. Clubhouse’s approach to content moderation was even more permissive, since there was no way to block people for months after launch – AirChat already has block and mute features, thankfully. With this minimalist approach to content moderation, it’s not hard to see how AirChat could get into hot water.