Startups Weekly: Ups, downs and pros

Welcome to Startups Weekly — Come ona weekly overview of everything you can’t miss from the world of startups. Anna will cover it this week. sign up here to receive in your inbox every Friday.

The most interesting startup stories of the week

As the end of 0% interest rates continues to take its toll, SoftBank-backed online supermarket delivery startup Oda has confirmed 150 layoffs and refocusing on Norway and Swedenwhere he hopes to achieve profitability next year.

Letting people go is never good news, but Oda co-founder Jon Kåre Stene, now a partner at VC firm Skyfall Ventures, hopes it «could spur the birth of a few new startups in the Norwegian tech scene or strengthen established companies along the way.» Europe already has several of them startup factories — think of Skype — and now it could be Norway’s turn.

Oh yeah
As 150 people have been laid off from Oda, let’s hope they move on to better things.
Image credits: Oh yeah

Hardware is heavy, episode 234: We already knew that about Humane Starting Ai Pin everything was not going smoothly. Now the startup is urging customers to stop using its charging box due to battery fire concerns. According to Humane, this is «out of an abundance of caution» and based on a single complaint, but is unlikely to help his case.

Reinventing the walkie-talkie: The two co-founders of the French startup ten ten are getting little sleep these days as their original social app went viralwith 1 million downloads in its home country and 6 million worldwide.

Sued, fined and evicted: AI mortgage startup LoanSnap is not doing well. With endorsements from the likes of Reid Hoffman, Richard Branson and the Chainsmokers, employees are deeply concerned about its future as worries pile up.

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Falling from a height: The inside story of Fisker’s collapse is fascinating and TechCrunch has it. Sean O’Kane has been working on this for weeks and the result is a a story of hubris, power struggles and repeated failure to set the basic processes that are the foundation of every car manufacturer.

We will dance again: Firefly co-founder and CTO Joseph «Sefi» Genis was among the hundreds killed by Hamas on October 7. It is now an Israeli startup forge further.

This week’s most interesting fundraisers

Solutions by Text (SBT), a company that enables people to pay bills and apply for loans via text messages, raised $110 million in funding. But as TechCrunch’s Mary Ann Azevedo noted, «this isn’t your typical startup fundraising.» The company was launched from its foundation in 2008 to 2021.

Another difference between SBT and the average startup is that it has positive EBITDA and is working toward full profitability this year, according to its CEO, David Baxter, who takes over in 2021.

Founded by brothers Danny and Mike Cantrell, the company turned around under Baxter’s helm.

«We’ve really transformed the business from more of a family-run, founder-driven, lifestyle-type business, from about 20 million messages a month to about 150 to 200 million messages a month,» Baxter told TechCrunch.

Sword health
Sword Health is an AI-powered virtual physical therapy startup.
Image credits: Sword Health / Company
  • To live by the sword: Sword Health, an AI-powered virtual physical therapy startup, has raised a $30 million primary funding round and a $130 million secondary funding round that estimated at 3 billion dollars. That’s a 50% increase from the November 2021 Series D valuation.
  • EV design in 18 months: Swiss startup Neural Concept raised $27 million cut electric vehicle design times to 18 months, a strong selling advantage as Europe and America seek to lower EV manufacturing costs to compete with China.
  • We can understand why: GetWhy, a consumer research technology company that uses AI to help companies conduct market studies and extract insights from video interviews, raised $34.5 million from California VC firm PeakSpan Capital and others.
  • Where is your head: Austrian startup Storyblok raised $80 million add more AI to your «headless» content management system (CMS) for non-techies.
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Other must-see stories from TechCrunch…

The hearing on Ticketmaster’s antitrust lawsuit has some of us wondering if it could give hope to ticketing startups.

And now Ticketmaster owner Live Nation confirms that Ticketmaster has been hacked. If your personal information is caught in a hack, it’s not great. But if it’s another step towards getting alternatives, maybe there’s an upside.

More important news:

  • Walk walk: SAP is forking out a whopping $1.5 billion in cash to acquire WalkMe, a «digital adoption» platform provider.
  • A large nest egg: Private equity firm Bridgepoint entered the A $650 million contract to buy a majority stake in LumApps, the French «intranet super app» — and that could spur more acquisitions.
  • Noticed in the writings: We knew that Salesforce acquired Spiff in February. Now we know how much is paid for a sales commission management company: 419 million dollarsincluding $374 million in cash.
  • 11 figures: Spanish startups reached 100 billion euros in total value last year, as the tech scene continues to mature. Yet with the combined value of 191 billion dollarsthe Cambridge ecosystem alone is almost twice the value of Spain’s.

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