Fisker loses customers' money, Robinhood launches credit card, and Google creates travel itineraries | Tech Crunch

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Hey, folks, welcome to the Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch's newsletter recapping the most important events in tech over the past few days.

This week, TC's auto reporter Sean O'Kane revealed how EV startup Fisker temporarily lost millions of dollars in customer payments after ramping up deliveries, prompting an internal audit that began in December and took months to complete.

Elsewhere, Lorenzo reported how Facebook snooped on users' Snapchat traffic in a secret project dubbed “Project Ghostbusters” internally at Meta. According to court documents, the goal is to intercept and decrypt network traffic between the Snapchat app and people using its servers.

And Manish wrote about the resignation of Stability AI founder and CEO Emad Mostak late last week. Mostak's departure from Stability AI — the startup best known for its popular image generation tool Stable Diffusion — comes amid an ongoing struggle for stability (pun intended) at the company, which by October 2023 is spending ~$8 million a month on low revenue. Show for it.

A lot more happened. We'll recap it all in this edition of WiR – but first, a reminder to sign up to receive the WiR newsletter in your inbox every Saturday.

News

Fisker suspended: Fisker's Bad Week Has Stopped Trading in Startup Stock The New York Stock Exchange moved to delist Fisker from the exchange, citing its “abnormally low” stock levels.

AI-powered travel plans: In an upgrade to its search productivity experience, Google has added the ability to ask Google Search to plan a travel itinerary. Using AI, Search pulls ideas from websites across the web, along with reviews, photos and other details.

Robinhood New Card: Nine months after buying credit card startup X1 for $95 million, Robinhood on Wednesday announced the launch of its new gold card, powered by X1 technology, with a list of features that would make Apple card users jealous.

At AT&T, mom's word: The personal information of nearly 73 million AT&T customers was leaked online this week. But AT&T won't say how — even though it claimed responsibility for the hack three years ago.

funds

Booming Copilot: Copilot, a budget app, has raised $6 million in a Series A round led by Nico Wittenborn's Adjacent. The app is partly benefiting from the demise of Mint, Intuit's financial management product.

Liquid Assets: Looking at the broader VC-backed beverage industry, Rebecca and Christine noted canned water startup Liquid Death's recent $67 million fundraising, which brought the company's total to over $267 million. Talk about liquidity.

HVAC Venture: Dan Laffer, a former Nextdoor executive, raised $25 million from Canvas Ventures and others for PipeDreams, a startup that buys mom-and-pop HVAC and plumbing companies and scales them using software that helps with scheduling and marketing.

Analysis

Nvidia Next AWS?: Ron writes about how there are many parallels in the growth trajectories of Nvidia and AWS.

Podcasts

This week Equity, the crew spent $10 million to spin up Robinhood's new credit card, Fisker's latest woes, and Databricks' new AI model. They also identified two companies building startups with kids in mind, and to top it all off, looked at a new $100 million fund to support innovative climate technology.

Meanwhile, Ann foundAllison Wolff, co-founder and CEO of Vibrant Planet, a cloud-based planning and monitoring tool for adaptive land management, discusses why the wildfires we're seeing today are hotter and spread faster than we could have, and how the right land is. Management helps to grow small, slow-burning fires.

and on A chain reaction, Jacqueline interviewed Scott Dykstra, CTO and co-founder of Space and Time. Space and Time aims to be a verifiable compute layer for Web3 that scales zero-knowledge proofs, a cryptographic operation used to prove something about a piece of data without revealing the underlying data.

Bonus round

Spotify Online Learning Tests: In its ongoing efforts to get its 600 million+ users to spend more time and money on its platform, Spotify is spinning out a new content line: e-learning. Starting with a rollout in the UK, the (traditionally audio) streaming platform is testing the waters for an online education offering of freemium video courses.



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