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Gogoro to pilot battery swapping and Smartscooters in Philippines next year

Gogoro, the Taiwanese company that’s commercializing battery swapping ecosystems for electric scooters, is targeting the Philippines as its next market. The startup said Tuesday it has partnered with Filipino conglomerate Ayala Corporation, telecomms provider Globe and corporate venture builder 917Ventures to launch a B2B battery swapping pilot in Manila in the first quarter of 2023. 917Ventures is a subsidiary of Globe, which is part of Ayala Corporation’s umbrella. The partnership with heavy hitters in the Filipino ecosystem comes a few days after the Philippines approved the removal of import duties on electric vehicles and their parts for the next five years. The move is part of the Philippines’ Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act , signed into law this year, to promote clean energy innovation. Horace Luke, founder and CEO of Gogoro, told TechCrunch the tariff removal applies to battery charging and swapping equipment, as well, making it the perfect time for Gogoro to intr

Sequoia India backs Prismforce that helps IT companies build better talent supply chain

Prismforce, an India-U.S. startup that provides IT and tech services companies with tools to build better talent supply chain, has raised $13.6 million in a Series A round led by Sequoia Capital India. IT providers spend a large part of their variable costs on hiring skilled employees. But finding those employees from the ever-growing talent market and deploying them effectively to get adequate results is one of the most significant pain points for the industry worldwide. Prismforce is taking Amazon’s approach to matching the demand for talent with the supply for companies offering IT and tech services, said co-founder and CEO Somnath Chatterjee. “We are treating this as a supply chain problem, where you have to standardize demand, standardize supply, make the match happen, almost as if you are an e-commerce engine and e-commerce marketplace trying to make a talent marketplace,” he said in an interview with TechCrunch. After spending 14 years as a partner at McKinsey, Chatterjee f

Daily Crunch: Apple announces its 2022 App Store Award winners

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To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PDT, subscribe here . Oh hey! While we have you here, grab your calendar — we’ve got some things for you to add. For the stargazers among us, we’ll be in Los Angeles doing TC Sessions: Space on December 6. And on April 20, 2023, we’re heading to Boston for our TC Early Stage festival . Come to either. Come to both. Come to neither. We love you all just the same. But we’d prefer to see your faces in person if we can! Oh, and did you know it’s “Giving Tuesday”? That means it’s time to think about which of your favorite causes deserve some of your time or dollars, if you have some of either to spare. — Christine and Haje The TechCrunch Top 3 And the winner is… : Okay, all you fans of taking photos of yourself “in the now,” no matter where you are. Ivan writes that BeReal won “app of the year” for 2022 in Apple’s annual App Store Awards. Order up! : Nigerian restaurant

Magic creator Richard Garfield on why he put a paper game on the blockchain

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Richard Garfield is a name familiar to many in the tabletop gaming world, most notably as one of the creators of Magic: The Gathering, the most prominent trading card game out there. But Garfield is dipping his toes into the world of digital and in particular blockchain-adjacent games, and TechCrunch took the opportunity to quiz the veteran gamemaker on the pros and cons of this and other new approaches to gaming. It should be noted at the outset that unlike the dubious profit-focused gameplay of your Axie Infinity and suchlike, Garfield’s new game, technically a “mode” of Blockchain Brawlers , is not focused on speculation but more of an experiment in distribution of a complete card-based game outside traditional publishing methods. It should probably also be noted that the game platform is full of the usual NFT and monetization chatter, but the core game itself, a 1v1 bluffing style match, is capable of being played with ordinary playing cards or for that matter numbered pieces o

As Pipe’s founding team departs, tensions rise over allegations

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On November 22, alternative financing startup Pipe announced that its three co-founders were stepping down from their executive roles and that a search for a new, “veteran” CEO had commenced. In an exclusive interview, co-founder and former co-CEO Harry Hurst told TechCrunch that the trio were “0-1 builders, not at-scale operators.” He said the company’s revenue was growing year-over-year and that the company had five years of runway. Finding the right successor could take a while, however. For starters, Pipe — which has raised more than $300 million from investors since it was founded in 2019 — has just one outside board member in Peter Ackerson, a general partner at Fin Capital who himself became a VC just three years ago. Hurst and fellow founders Josh Mangel and Zain Allarakhia are the only other directors on the board. More, detractors seem bent on raising questions about the way the business has been run. Since that article was published, several sources who wished to remai

Cameroonian crypto and savings platform Ejara raises $8M, led by Anthemis and Dragonfly

Ejara , a Cameroonian fintech offering an investment app that allows users to buy crypto and save through decentralized wallets, has raised $8 million in Series A investment.  London-based venture capital firm Anthemis co-led the growth round alongside crypto-focused fund Dragonfly Capital. Anthemis is a follow-on investor in Ejara, having also led the fintech’s $2 million seed round announced last October.  Participating VC firms in this new financing include other follow-on investors Mercy Corps Ventures, Coinshares Ventures and Lateral Capital–and new investors such as Circle Ventures, Moonstake, Emurgo, Hashkey Group and BPI France. Jason Yanowitz, co-founder of Blockwoks is one of the angels in the round.  Ejara wants to “democratize access to investment and savings products across the region, using blockchain technology.” While its recently launched savings product where it tokenizes government bonds is one of the ways it uses blockchain, so is its crypto product which was piv

UK expands Online Safety Bill to criminalize encouraging self harm

The UK government has said it will further expand the scope of online safety legislation by criminalizing the encouragement of self-harm — in a bid to tackle what it describes as “tragic and avoidable deaths caused by people seeing self-harm content online”. The latest amendment to the controversial but populist Online Safety Bill will mean in-scope platforms will be required to remove content that deliberately encourages somebody to physically injure themselves — or else risk penalties under the legislation. Individuals posting such content online could also face prosecution under the new offence of encouraging self harm and the secretary of state for digital said the government wants to target “abhorrent trolls encouraging the young and vulnerable to self-harm”. The government said the maximum penalties will be set out in due course. It is already illegal to encourage or assist suicide, online or offline, in the UK so the creation of the new offence is intended to bring self harm

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