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Waymo, UPS, others pressure Gov. Newsom to allow autonomous trucking in California

Waymo, Aurora, UPS and Luminar are among a group of 34 autonomous vehicle developers, California business organizations, and automotive and logistics companies that have signed an open letter to Governor Gavin Newsom asking him to revisit the California Department of Motor Vehicles’s 2015 prohibition on the operation of autonomous trucks in the state. California began regulating autonomous vehicles in 2012 , and has been the key battleground state for robotaxi operations. Late last week, Cruise began charging for fully driverless rides , and Waymo recently opened up driverless testing for employees in San Francisco. Despite opening up AV regulations to larger AVs for the purposes of delivery in 2019 , the DMV’s regulations continue to exclude autonomous testing or deployment of vehicles weighing more than 10,001 pounds. Texas, the state that’s getting all of Silicon Valley’s tax refugees, has been home to most of the nation’s autonomous trucking operations, with companies like Waym

Degreed’s co-founder is back at the company he left…with the startup he built

Edtech up-skilling platform Degreed has acquired Learn In , which creates talent resource hubs for employers to better spin up education services for their teams. While we’d nearly always cover a notable acquisition in a relevant tech sector, the extra interesting bit here is a personnel one: both companies were co-founded by the same entrepreneur, David Blake. It feels rare to see serial entrepreneurs have one of their startups acquire another one of their startups. Part of the reason is that there can be a conflict of interest, or power imbalance, when making decisions. After all, most people agree with themselves. For example , Tesla shareholders somewhat famously sued CEO Elon Musk when Tesla acquired SolarCity, where Musk was also chairman and the largest shareholder. (They accused him of bailing out the solar installer; a judge later determined that Tesla didn’t overpay for the company.) Blake said that he disclosed all conflicts and recused himself from representing Degreed

These four iconic European founders plan to kick the asses of VCs who never started a company

Until recently, Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of Wise, and Sten Tamkivi, co-founder of Teleport, had banded together as a sort of “mini Angel brand” known as “Taavet+Sten.” Tamkivi has done around 50 angel deals, Hinrikus has, reportedly, done as many as 150. But they were effectively pooling their personal capital as angel investors. However, evidently this wasn’t enough for either, plus as former co-founders, they were viscerally aware that almost no VC funds in Europe have been founded by actual former entrepreneurs. And if you think about it, they’re right. Atomico might have Niklas Zennström, or PROfounders might have (or rather had, as both are far more concentrated elsewhere) Brent Hoberman (LastMinute.com) and Michael Birch (Bebo), but these are hardly recent entrepreneurs, to put it mildly. In the U.S., founder-founded VCs are far more in abundance than in Europe, a fact that has not escaped many a European entrepreneur. So today’s launch of a new project involving Hinrikus an

Daily Crunch: Truth Social says federal grand jury probe could block its planned SPAC merger

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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 . Hello, friends! I’m back from being OOTO for the past week. My inbox is a hot mess, but the beach was very relaxing, and I’m still thinking of those watermelon margaritas. As you can see, my partner in crime, Haje , is still enjoying his adventures, but we have a full day of news to dive into, so shall we get started? — Christine P.S. Want to bring a friend for free to TechCrunch Disrupt ? You’re in luck because we have our July 4th two-for-one flash sale. Fourth of July flash sale: Two-for-one passes to TechCrunch Disrupt The TechCrunch Top 3 Truth Social SPAC hits a snag : A New York–based federal grand jury sent subpoenas to members of Digital World’s board, Ivan reported. That’s the special purpose acquisition company getting ready to acquire Donald Trump’s media group responsible for Truth Social. According to an SEC filing, the subpoen

Max Q: Acronyms rule everything around me

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Hello and welcome back to Max Q. In this issue: NASA sees a future for nuclear energy on the moon Epsilon3 closes funding for space industry OS News from AWS, SpaceX and more Don’t forget to sign up to get the free newsletter version of Max Q delivered to your inbox. NASA taps three companies to design nuclear power plants for the moon In a rather cool bit of news, NASA said that it’s contracting three suppliers for nuclear fission energy system concept designs for use on the lunar surface. Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse and IX (a joint venture from Intuitive Machine and X-Energy) were the three winning bidders. Each will work with partners to develop “initial concepts,” and will receive around $5 million for that work, which is expected to take around 12 months. NASA is aptly partnering with the Department of Energy (DOE) on this project, and the specs include a 40-kilowatt power-generation capability, capable of generating that for at least a decade. That’s about what a full

Incredibuild powers up with $35M to boost its distributed, faster approach to games and software development

Incredibuild , an Israeli startup that has picked up a lot of traction in the worlds of gaming and software development for a platform that drastically speeds up (and reduces the cost of) the shipment of code and related collateral during building and testing — has raised some capital to speed up its own development. The company has picked up $35 million in a Series B round of funding — money that it will be using for product development, as well as to strengthen its ecosystem with more investment into community, developer relations and cloud programs across more markets. This all-equity round is being led by Hiro Capital, with past backer Insight Partners also participating. We understand from sources close to the startup that the money is coming with a doubling of its valuation: when Incredibuild last raised funds — $140 million in March 2021 led by Insight, which took a big stake in the company at the time — it was at a valuation of $300 to $400 million. The company has doubled it

UK’s Magical Mushroom Company uses Mycelium to replace plastic packaging

Global plastic waste has more than doubled , and 40 percent of that waste comes from packaging. Luckily there are no shortage of sustainable packaging startups in Europe. Just take a look: Circleback (Germany), Recup (Germany), Sourceful (UK), one • five (Germany), Shellworks (UK), Woola (Estonia), Papkot (France), Biotic (Israel), FunCell (France) and Traceless (Germany). The latest to join those ranks is Magical Mushroom Company (MMC). It’s now raised a £3m Seed round led by Ecovative Design LLC with participation by Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity – a green energy company in the UK; Robert Del Naja (activist); and Marcus Watson, co-founder of Adoreum Partners, who brought 30 other investors. The investment will be used to fund the opening of its first raw material production plant. MMC’s solution is a direct replacement for plastic-based packaging such as polystyrene and cardboard. It does this by combining agricultural waste with mycelium – the root structure of a mushroom. T

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