Hey everyone, welcome to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular roundup of tech from the past week. Too busy to check the headlines this week? Don’t sweat it. That’s why WiR exists. We will keep you updated.
This issue of WiR features an article about a fake South Park episode generated by AI. Threads, an app of the same name as Meta’s Twitter competitor, has seen a surge in downloads. And build Tesla’s first Cybertruck. We also summarize the resignation of the CEO of OnlyFans. A new tool from Wix that lets you create websites on the fly using generative AI. And a free music player inspired by Plex’s Winamp.
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in. Oh, and if you haven’t signed up yet, sign up here to get WiR in your inbox every Saturday.
Bad timing for AI-generated TV: AI startup Fable Studios demoed its platform this week, using it to create a fully fake “South Park” episode in which Cartman attempts to apply deepfake technology to the media industry. The tech was impressive, Devin writes, but said the stunt seemed a little unnatural in tandem with ongoing strikes by TV and film creators.
Not so good for Microsoft security: Microsoft still doesn’t know how the Chinese-backed hackers stole a key that could covertly compromise dozens of email inboxes, including those belonging to multiple government agencies, and doesn’t want to share it. The company first publicly disclosed the incident last Tuesday, attributing the month-long activity to a newly discovered spy group it calls Storm-0558, which it believes has strong ties to China.
of other Threads surge to new heights: Instagram’s Twitter clone, Threads, enjoyed a fairly fruitful first week of service, surpassing 30 million users in the first 24 hours. But this had the unintended effect of shining a spotlight on an unrelated app, Threads, which was originally marketed as a replacement for Slack. Threads (the Slack alternative) reportedly had over 880,000 downloads on iOS between July 6th and he July 12th after the launch of Meta’s Threads, but had very few downloads before then.
Telsa Announces First Cybertruck Build: Tesla announced over the weekend that its first long-awaited Cybertruck has left its production line in Texas. The long-delayed futuristic-looking pickup truck’s debut comes ahead of Tesla’s second-quarter 2023 earnings report.
OnlyFans CEO Steps Down: After almost two and a half years at the helm, Ami Gan will be leaving OnlyFans. Chief Strategy and Operations Officer Kayleigh Blair will become CEO. As Amanda writes, OnlyFans is probably the most famous creator platform that supports adult his content. Gunn said the company paid $10 billion to creators while she was CEO.
New site generated by AI: Wix, a longtime contributor to the web building space, believes that today’s customers don’t particularly mind spending time customizing every aspect of their site’s appearance. The company’s new AI Site Generator tool, announced this week, will allow Wix users to describe their intent and generate his website complete with homepage, internal pages, text and images, and even business-specific sections such as events and bookings.
Plex offers a free Winamp-inspired player. Plexamp is a music player originally developed by the Labs division of media company Plex and is now free. The project first launched in 2017 as a subscription-based take on the classic Winamp media player app, offering song-to-song visualizations, tools for programming mixes, and most recently, ChatGPT-powered “Sonic Sage” functionality to build your own playlists from your music library.
VanMoof e-bike, saved: Ever since struggling e-bike startup VanMoof admitted to asking for payment deferrals in the Netherlands, questions have been looming over VanMoof’s bikes in the wild. Although unlikely, riding to the rescue cowboy, VanMoof’s e-bike competitor across the Belgian border.cowboy’s “Bikey” Mike writes that the app allows VanMoof riders to generate their own digital keys to keep them riding.
TechCrunch’s list of podcasts, as the kids say, give. Enjoy some great new content this week!
upon capitalKyle Stanford, PitchBook venture guru, came to chat with the VC staff of Q2 2023 about the good, the bad, and the late stages.
latest episode of foundMeanwhile, we spotlighted Catherine Tabor, founder and CEO of Sparkfly, a company that helps brands with marketing and customer engagement. Tabor talked about building a company liquid enough to adapt to changing technology trends over the past decade, and how he was fired by venture capitalists despite winning high-profile clients.
TC+ subscribers have access to detailed commentary, analysis and surveys. If you’re already a subscriber, you know these things. If not, please consider signing up. Here are some highlights from the week.
Power companies direct customers to startups. Of all the companies that should be keen to transition to electricity, utility companies appear to be at the top of the list. But they also seem to be the most hesitant. Startups are taking advantage of the situation, Tim wrote.
Mixed-gender founding team raises over $1 billion: According to the latest data from PitchBook, US startups with mixed founding teams (that is, with at least one female founder) raised $24.1 billion in the first half of 2023, of which $17.2 billion in Q1 and $6.9 billion in Q2. That’s a big question, but it’s important to note that: all women The founding team is still struggling to raise money this year.
Ripple’s XRP affair and lack of regulatory clarity: Last week, the crypto community celebrated a U.S. federal court case that ruled that Ripple’s XRP token does not constitute an illegal securities sale, but only in some cases. While many applauded the ruling, it’s not a true victory for cryptocurrencies – Jacqueline explains why.
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