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Day: June 29, 2023

Day: June 29, 2023

VW subsidiary Electrify America to add Tesla connectors to EV charging network

Electrify America has become the latest company to align itself with Tesla’s EV charging standard. The company, which was created as part of a settlement of the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal, said Thursday it will add Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector to Electrify America and Electrify Canada’s fast charging networks by 2025.  Electrify America said it will also continue to provide the Combined Charging System (CCS-1) connector throughout its network.  “Since our founding, we have focused on building an inclusive and open hyper-fast charging network to facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles,” Electrify America CEO and president Robert

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Scriptic scores $5.7M as it expands its phone-first generative AI content library

Scriptic (previously ElectricNoir), the immersive storytelling platform, announced Thursday that it raised $5.7 million in funding to expand its catalog of phone-first interactive games created using generative AI tools. The studio will also use the funding to build out its team of TV and gaming talent as well as introduce a new initiative — user-generated content. Scriptic plans to bring on external writers, who will be given access to AI-enabled creator tools, to share and monetize their own phone-first stories on the platform. The funding round was led by Bitkraft Ventures with participation from the Amazon Alexa Fund and Tower

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Runway, a startup building generative AI for content creators, raises $141M

It’s a big day for generative AI funding. On the heels of Inflection AI landing a $1.3 billion investment, Runway, a startup building generative AI tools for multimedia content creators, today announced a $141 million extension to its Series C round from Google, Nvidia and Salesforce, among others. Building on the Series C the company announced in December, Runway says that the new capital will be used to scale its in-house research efforts and expand Runway’s headcount. “We’re focused on how we can continue pushing the boundaries of creativity,” Runway CEO Cris Valenzuela told TechCrunch via email. “The additional funding

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Signal talks privacy, encryption, AI and more at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023’s Security Stage

In our tech-driven world, the right to privacy — once the cornerstone of democracy — is disappearing at an alarming rate. But not everyone is keen on having Big Tech companies and nation-states surveilling every digital communication. This may be one reason why Signal, the end-to-end encrypted messaging app, has been downloaded more than 100 million times to date. Signal Foundation, the app’s nonprofit developer, is a staunch defender of privacy and security. Indeed, it said it would leave the United Kingdom rather than weaken its encryption. The organization’s principles — based on retaining as little user data as possible

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Big tech corporate venture capital 🤝 generative AI startups

As the race to build generative AI tools for the enterprise devolves into a battle royale, big tech companies are busy wielding their most powerful weapons: checkbooks. The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. Read it every morning on TechCrunch+ or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday. Earlier today, Typeface raised $100 million at a $1 billion valuation, mere months after a $65 million round in February. It’s something to think about considering that the company was founded in 2022. But besides the fact that we are once again seeing rapid-fire venture rounds at unicorn valuations, the investor list in

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Millions affected by MOVEit mass-hacks as list of casualties continues to grow

Hackers have compromised the personal data of more than 15 million individuals by exploiting a security vulnerability in the MOVEit file transfer tool, as the number of victim organizations continues to grow. There are more than 140 known victims of Clop ransomware attacks targeting a vulnerability in MOVEit Transfer, an enterprise file transfer tool developed by Progress Software. Brett Callow, a ransomware expert and threat analyst at Emsisoft, tells TechCrunch that while only 10 of these victims have so far confirmed the number of people affected, the number already exceeds more than 15.5 million individuals. This includes approximately 3.5 million Oregon driver

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Meituan buys founder’s months-old ‘OpenAI for China’ for $234M

One of China’s most highly anticipated artificial intelligence startups is undergoing a significant change of direction. Guangnian Zhiwai, or Light Years Beyond, which was founded merely four months ago by Wang Huiwen, a co-founder of Meituan, with the ambition of becoming the “OpenAI for China”, is getting bought out. In a filing released on Thursday, Meituan announced that it will be fully acquiring Light Years Beyond for $233.7 million in cash. The deal also includes $50.66 million worth of debt. The acquisition came shortly after Meituan announced Wang Huiwen was resigning from all his corporate roles at the food delivery

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Speakeasy is using AI to automate API creation and distribution

Just about every developer wants to create APIs to help other companies connect to their services more easily, but creating and documenting an API is a time consuming process. Speakeasy, an early stage startup, wants to make that an easier and more automated set of activities. Today, the company emerged from stealth with a $7.6 million seed investment. Speakeasy co-founder and CEO Sagar Batchu describes his startup as an API infrastructure company, and that means it’s building tools to make it easier to create and distribute APIs, something that is near and dear to him as a developer himself. “We’ve

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How Porsche plans to grow margins with luxury and speed

Porsche — with CEO Oliver Blume behind the wheel — has zipped by a number of milestones over the past several years. Its share price has gained more than 36% since its IPO in September 2022 and profit margins are at an enviable 18%. And yet, Blume isn’t satisfied. “We are driving the company like a sports team,” Blume said earlier this month on the sidelines of the company’s 75th anniversary celebration. “After a success, focusing [on] what we can do more… going for the next goal.” The next goal, Blume said, is 20% margins. The road to get there

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Batteries beat oil and gas as AI startup pivots to critical minerals exploration

There’s been a lot of talk about how the energy transition could cost jobs in key sectors of the economy like oil and gas. But what often goes unmentioned are the number of jobs that could be gained in the process. Take one Canadian startup as an example. GeologicAI started life under a different name, serving oil and gas clients. Those clients would drill core samples from deep underground and send them to its facility in Calgary, where it would use sophisticated equipment to scan samples and offer its assessment on whether the client was homing in on a significant

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