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This Week in Apps: Google goes visual, Twitter copies TikTok, OG app drama

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Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy. Global app spending reached $65 billion in the first half of 2022, up only slightly from the $64.4 billion during the same period in 2021, as hypergrowth fueled by the pandemic has diminished. But overall, the app economy is continuing to grow, having produced a record number of downloads and consumer spending across both the iOS and Google Play stores combined in 2021, according to the latest year-end reports . Global spending across iOS and Google Play last year was $133 billion, and consumers downloaded 143.6 billion apps. This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and much more. Do you want This Week in Apps in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here: techcrunch.com/newslet

It’s unclear what will happen in VC in Q4, but it definitely won’t be boring

Venture capital has been on a roller coaster this year. It came into 2022 riding the wave of the strongest year for venture deployment on record, just before the stock market plummeted and dragged venture down with it. As the third quarter comes to a close, things have started to get really interesting — again. Venture deals are back ! Adam Neumann is the head of a billion-dollar company! Figma sold itself for $20 billion in what multiple data sources believe is the largest venture-backed acquisition ever! In a year that has proven time and again to be unpredictable, what will 2022 bring to its final episode? It’s unclear what will happen in VC in Q4, but it definitely won’t be boring by Rebecca Szkutak originally published on TechCrunch source https://techcrunch.com/2022/10/01/its-unclear-what-will-happen-in-vc-in-q4-but-it-definitely-wont-be-boring/

The rise of product-led growth is creating opportunities for startups

Welcome to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s inspired by the daily TechCrunch+ column where it gets its name. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here . More companies are adopting product-led growth (PLG), in which the product itself does most of the selling, and usage-based pricing (UBP) — meaning users are charged based on consumption, not seats — than ever before. A new wave of startups is helping them succeed at it. Let’s explore. — Anna Enabling product-led growth SaaS companies that adopt product-led growth — as more and more do — often have a problem: They know that droves of people are signing up for their product, but they don’t know which of these users their customer success team should reach out to in order to pitch a paid tier or upsell features. Uncovering the right leads is one of the key challenges of freemium models: Some customers will never convert out of the free tier, while others could bring very valuable rev

Stadia died because no one trusts Google

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There’s a lot of chatter right now about the “surprise” shutdown of Stadia , Google’s game-streaming service. While it’s true that rivals like Geforce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming presented entrenched competition, and that Google knows next to nothing about gaming, the main trouble — as with most of its products these days — is that no one trusted them to keep it alive longer than a year or two. It really is that simple: No one trusts Google. It has exhibited such poor understanding of what people want, need, and will pay for that at this point, people are wary of investing in even its more popular products. The technical implementation certainly wasn’t to be faulted. I will admit to being a skeptic when they said they could hit the framerates and response times they advertised, but by Jove they did it. At its best, Stadia was better than its competitors and almost magical in how it fulfilled the promise of going from zero to in-game in one second. The business side of things was never

Build for the future now with Mammoth Biosciences and Mayfield

Trevor Martin’s Mammoth Biosciences aims to use CRISPR technology to democratize disease detection. Join this TechCrunch Live event to hear from Trevor Martin and Mayfield investor Ursheet Parikh on how Mammoth Biosciences positioned itself to achieve the lofty goal. Spoiler: Trevor Martin spent time putting the basics in place to ensure future success. This TechCrunch Live event opens on October 5 at 11:30 a.m. PDT/2:30 p.m. EDT with networking. The interview begins at 12:00 p.m. PDT followed by the TCL Pitch Practice at 12:30 p.m. PDT. Apply for TCL Pitch Practice by completing this application . If you haven’t joined us before on Grip — our TCL online platform —   click here to register for free and gain access to all TechCrunch Live events, including TechCrunch Live, City Spotlight, Startup Pitch Practice, Networking and other TechCrunch community events, with just one registration. Already part of the TechCrunch Live on Grip community? Click this lin

Web3 banking platform Juno raises $18 million, launches tokenized loyalty program

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Juno, a startup that provides checking accounts to crypto enthusiasts and allows them to take their paychecks in digital tokens, has raised a new funding round as it expands its offerings to include a tokenized loyalty program. The one-and-a-half-year old startup has amassed over 75,000 customers in the U.S. who take their salaries (some in entirety, rest in portions) in crypto and invest consistently in digital assets each month. Customers are able to spend their crypto or cash using the startup’s Mastercard-powered debit card, make bill payments and easily move funds to and from traditional banks if they so desire. Juno also offers direct onramps to customers from a checking account to layer 2 blockchains such as Polygon, Arbitrum, and Optimism for zero fees. The eponymous platform integrates with all popular payroll platforms in the U.S., making it easier for customers who are long term believers in crypto to keep doubling down on their bets without having to worry about manually

Firefly Aerospace reaches orbit for the first time

There’s another space-proven private launch company in the club — Firefly Aerospace. The company’s small payload Alpha rocket reached orbit successfully early on Saturday morning after taking of from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. This is a major achievement for Firefly, which has been a lot to get here: The company originally began operations as Firefly Space Systems, which went bankrupt, and was then reborn as Firefly Aerospace after its assets were acquired by Max Polyakov’s Noosphere ventures in 2017. Tom Markusic, who founded the company and led it as CEO, also departed the post in June . Markusic shifted into a technical advisory and full-time board member role, but his departure was preceded by the very public leaving of Max Polyakov, who in February shared a post pointing the finger at the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the Air Force and other U.S. agencies for his forced exit. Polyakov is a UK citizen but was born in the Ukraine. F

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