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Friday Crunch is here! Friday Crunch is here! We are ready to go sit by the proverbial pool with an umbrella-ed drink in it. (Realistically, it’ll be the TV and a beer, while embodying fancy cocktails and a pool. The mind is powerful like that.) For now, on with the news! — Christine and Haje
The TechCrunch Top 3
Probably nothing to see here: For a few moments there, cryptocurrency giant Binance had to temporarily suspend spot trading, deposits and withdrawals, Manish reports. Everything was back to normal as of this morning.
Gone: Google removed hundreds of Kenya-focused loan apps from its Play Store following a new policy that digital lenders needed to provide proof of license, Annie writes. We watched something similar play out with the Indian government and lending apps in February.
Huge investment in EV: Ford is stepping on the accelerator when it comes to electric vehicles and will manufacture a next-generation electric truck at its $5.6 billion factory in Tennessee in 2025, Kirsten reports.
Startups and VC
Zigazoo, the startup known for its TikTok-style video-sharing app for kids, is launching a separate app targeted at Gen Z users, Lauren reports. The new app will take the flagship name and is meant for ages 13 and older, whereas the original kid-focused app is for Generation Alpha (ages 3–12) and has been rebranded to “Zigazoo Kids.” Previous users in the younger age range will be automatically migrated to Zigazoo Kids.
WebAssembly (Wasm for short) is an open standard that enables browser-based applications to run with near-native performance, Frederic reports. It has also expanded to support non-browser environments, which is what is driving a lot of the recent hype around it. But like any emerging technology, it needs a stronger tooling ecosystem to realize its full potential, and Dylibso raises $6.6 million to help developers take the tech to production.
And here are six more, as we are spinning our wheels getting ready for the weekend:
The circle of checks: Well, it was fun while it lasted! Rebecca reports that Twitter will kill "legacy" blue checks on April 1, while Ivan reports that new Twitter accounts now have to wait only 30 days for Twitter Blue.
The circle of seaweed: Harri talks to a startup that believes there’s value in seaweed, saying that the seaweed blobbing toward Florida has a silver lining.
The circle of life: What if the bacteria already within us could help cure cancer? Devin reports that Pragma Bio is searching for cancer remedies hidden in our microbiome.
Just going in circles: It’s a bold goal to take on Google Maps at its own game, but Hivemapper is 1 million kilometers closer to that goal, reports Rebecca.
Pitch Deck Teardown: Prelaunch.com's $1.5M Seed deck
Image Credits: Prelaunch.com (opens in a new window)
Earlier this week, Haje Jan Kamps interviewed Prelaunch.com CEO Narek Vardanyan to get his perspective on how hardware startups can validate products before going to market.
In a follow-up, he analyzed the pitch deck for Prelaunch.com's $1.5 million seed round, which showed investors how the company monetizes its product forecasts:
Market context slide
Problem with the existing solution slide
Product slide 1
Product slide 2
Product slide 3
Product slide 4
Value prop slide
Traction and metrics slide
Business model and pricing slide
Market trends slide
Why now slide
The Ask slide
Contact us slide
Three more from the TC+ team:
Time for a bit of sleuthing: Becca teaches how you can use the secondary market to find clues about who will IPO first.
A cryptic future: Coinbase execs weigh in on the crypto’s future in US amid regulatory scrutiny, writes Jacquelyn.
Big Tech Inc.
Remember yesterday when we discussed that Terraform Labs’ CEO Do Kwon was reportedly taken into custody? Well, Kate has an update, and it seems like Kwon was quite naughty, among other things, trying to flee to Dubai with falsified documents. Both the U.S. and South Korea seek Do Kwon’s extradition so he can face multiple charges. It’s not known yet where he will end up.
Now let’s round out our TikTok coverage from yesterday. It looks like CEO Shou Zi Chew did not impress the Congressional audience. We did learn some new things, though: Sarah reports that the social media giant scans public videos to determine users’ ages. Chew also denied that there was spying going on when ByteDance employees surveilled journalists. Taylor has more on that.
And we have five more for you:
On the other side of the pond: Natasha L has a pair of overseas government news items. The United Kingdom’s antitrust watchdog said new evidence “provisionally alleviates” concerns in relation to the supply of video game consoles in the U.K. related to the antitrust probe of the Microsoft–Activision deal. And the French parliament voted for biometric surveillance at Paris Olympics.
Cancel anytime: The Federal Trade Commission proposes a new rule to make it easier to cancel free trials and subscriptions. Aisha has more.
Testing, testing 1, 2, 3: Battery swapping provider Gogoro plans to scale in new markets via B2B partners, like Foodpanda in Singapore, Rebecca reports.