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On this beautiful June 8, 2022, we celebrate the arrival of Dominic-Madori Davis in the TechCrunch team. Check out his first post on the site and his first TechCrunch Plus feature, and follow her on Twitter! Woohoo, new colleagues!! — haje and Christina
TechCrunch’s top 3
- Shake, disassemble: Several US law enforcement agencies are blowing bottles following news that they were able to seize website domains believed to belong to SSNDOB, a notorious market known for profiting from social security numbers and American credit card. This group had listed information on some 24 million people and generated $19 million in revenue.
- Go out on a branch: Branch may have struggled to secure early funding, but even amid a cooling in insurtech stocks, the company is seeing its money tree grow. Branch has raised $147 million in Series C funding. His tree is so big there’s now room for a unicorn to frolic under it.
- All the features of iOS 16 suitable for printing: We know you’ve been following Apple’s WWDC this week, but there are so many new features that Ivanour new consumer tech reporter, has rounded up a few you may not have heard of yet.
Startups and VCs
NGL, we like to bask in solid anarchy on a Wednesday morning, and Tux has that in spades. AnitaToday’s interview is: The Chef’s Kiss: Definitely Worth Reading.
- Try (with fake data) before you buy (with real money): TestBox aims to make it easy to test the software you want to buy in your own environment. Plus, it’s pre-populated with synthetic data similar to yours to make that even easier, Ron explains, and he covers his $10 million seed round.
- Om nom, and indeed, nom: Christina reports how SCiFi Foods, formerly Artemys Foods, is combining plant-based and cultured meat technology to create its first hamburger product, and its mission just received a big venture capital boost from a16z.
- Eat healthy, stretch and watch your money: Fruitful emerges from stealth with $33 million in funding and an app that aims to fuel healthy financial habits, Mary Ann reports.
- Out of beta and into the fire: Continual, a startup focused on simplifying operational AI in addition to a modern data stack, announced today that it has raised $14.5 million in Series A funding. Additionally, the company today announced that its cloud platform is now generally available, reports Frederic.
- Just take care of our fucking data, already: A huge treasure trove of more than 120,000 passports, driving licenses and identity documents uploaded by users of the Mobike bike-sharing service have been found online, Zack and Rita report.
- Zoom! To improve! For photographers sitting on an old library of photos that leave something to be desired in terms of resolution and clarity, Picsart has just launched an AI enhancement tool that’s pretty close to magic, haje reports.
As Markets Fall, Government Tech Spending Remains Stable: How Can Investors Benefit?
Federal spending on technology should remain flat even if a recession looms, and investors and startups should capitalize on this opportunity, write Hangar co-founders Josh Mendelsohn and Mike Ference.
“Current government spending, much of which won’t start moving to states until the end of their legislative sessions this summer, means businesses have a once-a-decade (or more) chance to get in on a funded marketplace looking for new ideas.
Given that the infrastructure spending bill included $110 billion for more than 4,300 projects, “for investors, this is an incredible opportunity to support the next wave of innovation.”
(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams grow. You can register here.)
Big Tech inc.
You didn’t think you’d go through the day without some news from Twitter and Elon Musk, did you? Musk’s legal team called for more transparency on spam and bot accounts earlier this week, and now new reports suggest he might just get them. It won’t be a well-arranged package, however. More like a “fire hose”, Amanda reports. Oh, and Twitter also dropped a new merchant teaser feature so you can let your customers set a reminder to know when a new product is on the way.
While we’re thinking about features, we have some bad news to share: GitHub has decided to throw Atom on the hook. The text editor for software development had been moving forward for years — it’s over 10 years old — and GitHub says it wants to refocus its efforts on other tools. Despite this, we also have some good feature news. YouTube TV extends surround sound to other devices – Meta’s Crayta game development platform will now let you play games with friends in real time.