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I’m having a kind of weeks the place I’m simply consistently, very slowly shaking my head at individuals. As I sat right down to learn all of the tales on For Millionaires and write the Startups Weekly publication, nicely, issues didn’t get higher.

Simply whenever you thought the courting scene couldn’t get any extra unique, alongside comes Rating, the app that claims, “Love is within the air . . . however provided that you’ve acquired the credit score rating to breathe it.” That’s proper, people, in a world the place swiping proper might imply discovering your soul mate or the subsequent particular person to ghost you, Rating ensures that at the very least they received’t be ghosting you on account of your weak credit. Launched by a monetary platform (in fact — this smells like a advertising and marketing stunt), this app is for individuals who’ve managed to navigate the treacherous waters of adulting with a half-decent credit score. As a result of nothing says real love like a strong monetary report, proper? However wait, there’s a twist! The app is not only unique — it’s non permanent. For individuals who don’t make the minimize? Properly, they’re despatched off to monetary literacy boot camp, as a result of nothing heals a bruised ego like being instructed you’re not financially savvy sufficient for love.

America, girls and gents.

Anyway. Elsewhere within the land of unicorns . . .

Most attention-grabbing startup tales this week

Picture Credit: Tesla

Within the newest episode of “How To not Win Mates and Affect Authorities Companies,” the Daybreak Challenge, a security advocacy group that’s been on Tesla’s case for some time, determined to boost their Tremendous Bowl advert with an advert that was primarily a name to arms in opposition to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software program. It was meant to be a mic drop. As a substitute, it become a facepalm second when the Nationwide Transportation Security Board (NTSB) was like, “Um, excuse me, we didn’t join this.” The NTSB is thought for a lot of a factor — appearances in Tremendous Bowl adverts ain’t it, and the org was fast to challenge a “take our seal off your homework” order to the Daybreak Challenge. They identified that the Daybreak Challenge didn’t have permission to make use of the seal, and its inclusion falsely implied the NTSB’s endorsement of the marketing campaign. Dramaaaaaaaa.

Oh, however there was loads extra drama the place that got here from:

Some smoke, some mirrors: Boston Dynamics’s secret sauce is a mix of superior robotics and advertising and marketing genius, served with a aspect of “don’t do this at residence” warnings. However beware, not all that glitters in robotic movies is gold: Many robotic demo movies are bending the reality to various levels.

All the things is okay, AI promise: Within the newest episode of “AI’s Musical Chairs,” Andrej Karpathy, the AI maestro who was one of many founding members of OpenAI, has as soon as once more exited the corporate. No, it’s not a dramatic cleaning soap opera twist or a covert AI rebellion; Karpathy insists it’s all clean crusing, devoid of drama or clandestine plots.

Shut your piehole, AI: The Federal Communications Fee (FCC) has formally declared AI-voiced robocalls as the newest public enemy, branding them unlawful. Should you have been trying ahead to a private, albeit faux, name from a presidential candidate or two, you may need to alter your expectations. The FCC’s message is evident: AI voice clones, you’re formally on the naughty listing.

Most attention-grabbing fundraises this week

hands of two people tearing money with flames in the background

Picture Credit: Derek Berwin / Getty Photos

In a twist that’s acquired the enterprise capital world buzzing, Foundry Group, the Boulder-based VC agency identified for backing hits like Fitbit and Zynga, is hanging up its funding prime hat. After 18 years and practically $3.5 billion below administration, Foundry has determined its newest $500 million fund, Foundry 2022, will likely be its swan track. Foundry nonetheless plans to steer Sequence A and B financings with the remaining third of its final fund, however the resolution to not increase extra funds raises eyebrows and questions in regards to the future for its portfolio firms.

This transfer follows a similar unexpected announcement from Boston-based OpenView on the tail finish of final 12 months. Two closures don’t mark a development, in fact, however I’ll guess you billions of {dollars} to tens of millions of donuts that the For Millionaires group will maintain a veeeeeery shut eye on this one.

Huge increase for banking small firms: Finom, a European challenger financial institution tailor-made for SMEs and freelancers, has efficiently secured $54 million in a Sequence B funding spherical. This funding spherical underscores the rising demand for specialised monetary providers for SMEs.

Lettuce increase some more cash: Indoor farming, as soon as the darling of the startup world with a $3 billion funding inflow from 2012 to 2022, is going through a harsh actuality examine. Firms like AppHarvest and Fifth Season have hit chapter, whereas others like Iron Ox have been pressured into layoffs and valuation cuts. Regardless of these challenges, Hippo Harvest emerges as a beacon of hope, securing $21 million in Sequence B funding.

Properly completed — have a cookie: SocialCrowd, a efficiency administration startup, has efficiently raised $1.6 million in a pre-seed funding spherical led by Bread & Butter Ventures. Based in 2020, SocialCrowd presents a SaaS platform akin to a “Fitbit for work,” enabling firms to set and reward worker targets.

This week’s large development: {Hardware}

Picture Credit: Cory Inexperienced/Yahoo

Okay, superb, so maybe I’m a bit of bit biased — prior to now week I’ve modified gears a bit of, and I’m going to start out writing about {hardware} a bit extra once more (right here’s what I cover and how to pitch me). The {hardware} desk is hella punching above its weight, particularly this previous week — there’s a variety of issues taking place within the enterprise of atoms.

The commercial robotics sector, after having fun with a surge in orders through the pandemic, skilled a major downturn in 2023, with orders dropping by practically one-third, based on the Affiliation for Advancing Automation (A3). This 30% lower underscores a cooling interval for what was as soon as a booming business, though the decline was not totally surprising given the file gross sales within the previous years.

Extra {hardware} startup nuggets:

Technically, all telephones are foldable: And now, Apple is rumored to need to make ones that work after you fold them. Versus the final time that was taking place. We’ve been asking for folding iPhones for some time, come to consider it.

Dry powder for the massive weapons: Regardless of the controversial nature of firearms, Biofire has managed to draw institutional VC backing, elevating a $7 million spherical from notable buyers. This funding achievement highlights a shift within the enterprise capital panorama, the place deep tech and protection tech startups are more and more gaining consideration.

Open this app together with your face: Brian has been doing a unprecedented job masking all issues Apple Imaginative and prescient Professional. This week, he breaks down his favourite apps (up to now).

Different unmissable For Millionaires tales . . .

Each week, there’s all the time a number of tales I need to share with you that someway don’t match into the classes above. It’d be a disgrace when you missed ’em, so right here’s a random seize bag of goodies for ya:

Soiled cash, these cleansing charges: Airbnb’s latest earnings report reveals a major shift towards extra clear pricing, with practically 300,000 listings eliminating or decreasing cleansing charges. This transfer, affecting nearly 40% of energetic listings, addresses long-standing buyer grievances concerning surprising prices at checkout.

Notion, however secret-er: Notion lately expanded its suite with a privacy-centric acquisition, buying Skiff, a platform identified for its end-to-end encrypted file storage, paperwork, calendar occasions, and electronic mail providers.

Mozilla hits the brakes: Mozilla, the group famend for its Firefox browser, is present process vital strategic shifts. The corporate plans to scale back its funding in a number of merchandise, leading to layoffs impacting round 60 workers.

Put down the LSD, AI: Oh, the wonders of contemporary expertise, the place Google’s Gemini chatbot, as soon as often known as Bard, and Microsoft’s Copilot at the moment are apparently time vacationers. Forward of the 2024 Tremendous Bowl, the bots had stats and outcomes, earlier than the sport had even began. Whoops.

Burning rubber. And extra: A Waymo robotaxi discovered itself the goal of a fiery assault in San Francisco. The incident noticed a crowd flip their boredom or maybe technophobia into an act of vandalism that ended with the autonomous automobile in flames. To its credit score, it didn’t attempt to defend itself, so I assume there’s that.