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Emergence thinks it can crack the AI agent code

Yet another generative AI venture has raised a bundle of money. And, like the others before it, it’s promising the moon. Emergence, whose co-founders...
HomeTechnologyFisker collapsed under the weight of its founder's promises

Fisker collapsed under the weight of its founder’s promises


Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review — TechCrunch’s newsletter recapping the week’s biggest news. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here.

Over the past eight years, famed vehicle designer Henrik Fisker suggested his EV startup would deliver on a lot of promises, but none came true. As Fisker looks for an unlikely rescue, employees told TechCrunch that the blame rests largely on the shoulders of the husband-and-wife team who steer the company.

This week also had a major disturbance in the fintech space. After years of missteps and struggles, the banking-as-a-service fintech Synapse officially went bankrupt. Based on Synapse’s filings, as many as 100 fintechs and 10 million end customers could have been impacted by the company’s collapse.

Elon Musk just got a lot of cash for xAI. The AI startup raised $6 billion at an $18 billion pre-money valuation as it aims to compete with OpenAI, Microsoft and Alphabet.

In other big money moves, Google is investing nearly $350 million into Flipkart. The new investment gives the Walmart-owned Indian e-commerce startup a valuation of $36 billion. Google, which reaches more than half a billion people in India, identifies the South Asian nation as a key overseas market. 

News

Sam Altman walking away from a dissolving OpenAI logo
Image Credits: Darrell Etherington with files from Getty under license

Was Sam Altman fired from Y Combinator?: Paul Graham is setting the record straight. In a series of posts on X, the Y Combinator co-founder brushed off claims that Sam Altman was pressured to resign in 2019 due to potential conflicts of interest. Read More

Spotify doles out Car Thing refunds: Spotify is facing backlash over its decision to discontinue support for its in-car streaming device, Car Thing. Spotify has now instituted a refund process, but some users are asking the company not to brick their devices. Read More

Are earbuds the future of AI hardware?: Unlike generative AI gadgets like Humane’s Ai Pin and Rabbit’s R1, Iyo is aiming to build its technology into an already successful category: the Bluetooth earbud. Read More

Firefly forges on: On the heels of personal tragedy, the Tel Aviv-based startup has raised $23 million for its “infrastructure as code” solution to the growing issue of cloud asset management. Read More

Is Apple going to “sherlock” Arc?: Apple is reportedly planning to release a new technology called “smart recaps” in iOS 18, which appears to closely mimic Arc Search’s innovative “Browse for me” functionality. Read More

Misinformation is so back: A pair of new studies offers evidence that misinformation on social media has the power to change people’s minds. Find out who was most responsible for the vast majority of “fake news” in the studied time periods. Read More

AI models have favorite numbers too: Engineers at Gramener performed an experiment where they asked several major LLM chatbots to pick a random number between 0 and 100 — and the results were fascinating. Read More

Mistral unveils coding model: The French AI startup has released its first generative AI model for coding, dubbed Codestral, which is designed to help developers write and interact with code. Read More

Say hello to meme tech: Is it time to disrupt the meme industry? With Meme Depot, founder Alex Taub aspires to build a comprehensive archive of any meme imaginable with a crypto-focused business model. Read More

AI comes for tutors: The arrival of AI bots is posing a threat to long-established tutoring franchises and professional tutors, and the leading apps are from China. But do they actually help students learn? Read More

Analysis

onyx motorbikes-james Khatiblou
Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

What happens to a company when its founder dies?: Onyx Motorbikes was already in trouble — and then its 37-year-old owner passed away unexpectedly with no will or succession plan, leaving behind millions of dollars in debt. Rebecca Bellan reports on how the ensuing battle for control has put Onyx in legal limbo. Read More

The ‘edgelords’ at OpenAI: Meredith Whittaker has some candid thoughts about the current leadership at OpenAI. Mike Butcher sat down with the Signal president to discuss what she describes as a disrespectful “frat house” contingent of the tech industry in a wide-ranging conversation. Read More

Don’t expect IPOs from these startups: While 2024 is looking to be a better year for tech startups going public, there’s still a number of high-profile companies that are wanting to wait just a little bit longer. From Plaid to Figma, Rebecca Szkutak rounds up the companies that aren’t itching to go public just yet. Read More



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