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Hello, you sparkling souls!

Thursday is upon us once again. Have you ever noticed how Thursdays seem to keep coming along with alarming regularity? It feels like roughly once per week, but that’s anecdotal. More research may be required. Our incredible team of writers has a trove of awesome news and analysis available for you today.

Less of our babbling, more of the news. Let’s do this. — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

More to the story: Carly has been following this month’s Twilio breach where about 125 customers’ and companies’ credentials were affected. Well, the hackers went wild and now it looks like close to 10,000 employees were compromised, according to her new story.
Get your learn on: Alchemy, a cryptocurrency developer platform, made its first acquisition in ChainShot, a bootstrapped education startup running coding bootcamps for aspiring web3 developers. Anita has more.
Weaving web3 threads: As Ingrid notes, there is “a lot of hype around web3,” but building platforms within the space is still relatively new. Which makes thirdweb banking $24 million in Series A funds a bit exciting. The startup, now with a $160 million valuation, is creating a toolkit for easier development of web3 products and has gained some big-name attention in just nine months.

Startups and VC

Haje’s Pitch Deck Teardown series continues, this time looking at the deck that helped Simba Chain raise its $20 million Series A. It’s available on TechCrunch+, which is our subscription product, but guess what — we were able to talk our subscription team into giving Daily Crunch readers a discount! Use promo code “DC” to get 15% off your annual subscription.

This week, we did a fascinating TechCrunch Live with Benchling and Benchmark, where the team discussed why it’s vital to build a moat around your early customers. The recordings are available now, and it’s well worth a watch or listen; we learned a bunch!

A few more startup highlights:

More web3 cash: Polygon founder raises $50 million for his new fund “Symbolic Capital,” focusing on emerging markets and web3, reports Anita.
Try before you commit rentals: Zumper raises $30 million to meet flexible, short-term rental demand, led by Kleiner Perkins, Mary Ann reports.
Dude, where’s your accounts?: Manish reports that Byju’s audited financial accounts are late and that India’s Ministry of Corporate Affairs ain’t too happy. The government org asked the company for an explanation.
Robots taking VC jobs: Manish writes that Worldcoin co-founder Novendstern leaves the startup to begin a new venture, an “AI venture capitalist that will run autonomously on-chain.”
It appears you’re about to leak some private data. Do you want to maybe avoid that?: What Grammarly did for writers, Privado wants to do for code privacy issues, reports Catherine.

In a down market, good messaging isn’t enough for managing international teams

Image Credits: mikroman6 (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Talent is distributed around the globe, which means startups that don’t respect cultural differences are setting themselves up for failure.

Now that many startups are in cost-cutting mode, it’s critical to follow local laws and social norms when it comes to laying off employees, according to John S. Kim, CEO of Sendbird.

After exiting two startups with international teams, he’s written a TC+ guest post to help founders communicate with workers during turbulent times.

“Not only does a company have a responsibility to keep employees informed about what’s going on, they must do it in a way that will best resonate with their respective audiences.”

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

At a time when the India central bank is cracking down on predatory practices, Google says it has removed over 2,000 personal loan apps from its Play Store in the country this year, Jagmeet writes. The apps in question were found to be doing things like charging high fees, “pushing ethical boundaries,” and in some cases, “firms are also using the lending business to launder money for Chinese companies,” he reported.

Over in Instagram land, the social media giant is now enabling users to share posts, Reels and locations through the use of QR codes, Ivan reports. Seems a lot easier than some of the other ways, including copying the post link, going over to another app, pasting it into there and then posting, amirite? In addition, Instagram now has a restrictive content default for new users under 16 and a prompt for existing teens, Sarah writes.

A check in the “don’t like” category: Heroku’s announcement that it is getting rid of its free plan ignited a fire in a few places today, including Hacker News and Twitter, Kyle writes.
This goes in the “yikes” file: Dan O’Dowd, a California U.S. Senate candidate, is behind an anti-Tesla ad showing the electric vehicle hitting child-sized mannequins, supposedly while in self-driving mode. Jaclyn has more.
Better get some more green: The price for PlayStation 5 just went up outside of the U.S. as Sony cites “challenging economic conditions,” Manish reports.
What’s Elon Musk up to?: Oh yes. A few days ago, Rebecca brought us a story about Tesla raising the price on its full self-driving, and now when one Tesla owner expressed frustration about it on Twitter, Elon Musk clapped back.

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