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Today is Friday the 13th, and I hope nothing bad happened to you today. At least the weekend is here! At the very least, you can catch up on the latest news from Terraform Labs – Binance has halted Luna and UST trading – and some great podcasts from your favorite TechCrunchers. And be sure to reserve your “seat” for our June 1 TechCrunch Live event in Columbus. See you Monday! – Christina
TechCrunch’s top 3
- If Elon doesn’t buy Twitter, at least Snoop Dogg is ready to pounce: Early this morning, Elon Musk tweeted that his plan to buy Twitter was on hold while he calculates the percentage of fake accounts using the social media channel. Although he also tweeted he remains “committed to the acquisition”, I liked to see Snoop Dogg’s tweet his desire to maybe take a chance if Musk doesn’t. His plan for this isn’t bad, actually.
- Dine out on Dineout: In some news about online food ordering mergers and acquisitions, Swiggy said it was in the process of acquiring Dineout, the Indian equivalent of OpenTable. That puts Swiggy in the restaurant business, which for a time was dominated in the country by Zomato, whose market capitalization has fallen to around $5 billion. It also represents further consolidation within a giant market trying to make sense of its pandemic momentum.
- More layoffs: Natasha and Amanda were already busy last week catching up on the myriad of tech layoffs, and unfortunately have another roster today that includes Section4, Carvana, and Latch. Even Meta is not immune.
Startups and VCs
- On the hook: So says Better.com CEO Vishal Garg about a $750 million SoftBank loan. As Garg takes personal responsibility for the loan, he is liable for any loss. However, the company may also be affected as any loss could force it to sell a large portion of its Better.com holdings, which could negatively impact the stock. Always a mess no matter how you look at it.
- Dress with independent brands: China-based Body404 is betting that the West will welcome the next generation of clothing designers who want to give them something that isn’t just a cheaper counterfeit. This has paid off as the company is now valued at $50 million after raising $50 million in March. It’s also worth noting that customers don’t return the clothes – Body404’s return rate is around 2%, well below the fashion industry average of 10%.
- Delight in a cause: Frank Reig, head of Revel, a company that builds fast charging stations for electric vehicles, has caught up Rebecca to discuss the company’s shift to moped sharing and how far Revel has traveled to drive adoption of electric vehicles.
- Watch and get paid: Our attention is precious and often drawn in different directions. WeAre8 wants to reward you for doing what DVR has allowed us to skip for many years now: watching commercials. The company is run by advertising guru Sue Fennessy, which aims to divert ad funding from social media giants like Facebook and funnel it into a good cause.
Pitch Deck Teardown: The Netherlands’ $20 Million Series A Deck
As CEO and founder of the Dutch virtual veterinary care platform, Joe Spector originally planned to raise a $15 million Series A, but his pitch deck so skillfully blended visuals of adorable pets with market research and traction metrics, he ended up closing a $20 million round.
With flair, Dutch’s deck tells a compelling story of how the company used its seed funding to launch a service in three months, establish a brand identity, build a team, and grow from 12 to 32 states, writes Haje Jan Kamps in the weekly Pitch Dismantling the bridge.
If you’re working on a pitch deck and need some inspiration, start here: all 17 slides are available to TC+ members.
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams grow. You can join here.)
Big Tech inc.
Row, row, row your Platoon: That’s right, Peloton is trying to end a tough week on a high note by adding another oar to the competitive rower market. After selling my Peloton bike in 2019, it caught my eye as I discovered a love for rowing. I hope the price is a bit more in line with my budget than the bike was.
Zoom gets its customer service day: The video communications giant is acquiring conversational AI company Solvvy in a bid to deliver customer service experiences within Zoom’s toolset. The company’s shares are on the rise, so it looks like Zoom has chosen wisely.
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