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Threads hits 100M customers, pedestrians battle again in opposition to AVs, and VanMoof skids astray

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Hey, mates — welcome to Week in Overview (WiR), TechCrunch’s common roundup of the week in tech. If life’s gotten in the way in which of following the main tales on TC, don’t sweat it. You’ve come to the proper place.

On this version, we cowl the 19-year-old MIT dropout “changing gunpowder” for the protection business, in addition to VanMoof, the e-bike darling, which paused gross sales as execs head for the exits. Elsewhere, robotaxi haters in San Francisco have been disabling AVs with site visitors cones, Twitter CEO Elon Musk launched an AI group and Instagram’s Threads app reached 100 million downloads. Whew.

Learn on for extra of the highest tales from the week — and for those who haven’t already, join right here to get WiR in your inbox each Saturday.

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Hydrogen-powered defenses: Aria writes about Mach Industries, a protection startup that has captured the eye of VCs and the DoD. The corporate’s 19-year-old founder, Ethan Thornton, is spearheading the R&D of hydrogen-powered platforms for the navy, together with unmanned aerial autos, munitions and hydrogen-generation techniques.

VanMoof skids off observe: Dutch e-bike startup VanMoof sped into the mobility world with greater than $200 million in enterprise backing. However its fortune seems to have taken a flip for the more serious. The corporate stopped taking orders in late June, and sources declare that senior employees, together with the CEO and a co-founder, left govt roles as VanMoof makes an attempt to safe a bridge spherical to stave off chapter.

Pedestrians battle again: A decentralized group of protected streets activists in San Francisco realized they will disable Cruise and Waymo robotaxis by putting a site visitors cone on a car’s hood — and so they’re encouraging others to do it, too. The protest comes within the lead-up to a listening to that can seemingly see Waymo and Cruise develop their robotaxi providers in San Francisco.

Threads hits one other milestone: Regardless of missing options resembling put up search, direct messages and hashtags, Instagram’s text-based app and Twitter competitor Threads achieved the mark of 100 million sign-ups this week. The Twitter rival was launched on June 6 (or June 5 within the Americas), in keeping with a tracker.

Google Calendar will get availability sharing: This week, Google launched new scheduling-related options for Gmail with a Google Calendar integration, together with fast occasion creation and straightforward availability sharing. Gmail will now have a calendar icon on the backside of the dialog view, which could have two choices — “Create an occasion” and “Provide occasions you’re free.”

Satellites get dodgy: Starlink satellites are making 1000’s of avoidance maneuvers as low Earth orbit turns into extra crowded — feeding worries {that a} catastrophic affect is inevitable. SpaceX’s orbital communication satellites carried out maneuvers simply over 25,000 occasions within the six-month interval between December 1, 2022, and Could 21, 2023, double the variety of avoidance maneuvers that Starlink satellites made within the earlier reporting interval.

Making interstellar house journey a actuality: House propulsion firm Pulsar Fusion has began development on a big nuclear fusion chamber in England because it races to develop into the primary agency to fireside a nuclear fusion–powered propulsion system in house. Nuclear fusion propulsion tech, ought to it show commercially viable, may scale back the journey time to Mars by half and the time to Titan, Saturn’s moon, to 2 years as a substitute of 10.

Anthropic releases Claude 2: This week, Anthropic, the AI startup co-founded by ex-OpenAI execs, introduced the discharge of a brand new text-generating AI mannequin known as Claude 2. Anthropic claims that Claude 2 is superior to its predecessor, Claude 1.3, in a number of areas and is particularly succesful in duties like looking throughout paperwork, summarizing, writing and coding and answering questions on specific subjects.

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On Equitythe crew talked a couple of vary of subjects, together with a brand new Chinese language AI mannequin that had them questioning who’s actually going to win the AI warfare; Founders Fund scooping up a brand new associate; Connetic Ventures utilizing AI fashions to create a less-biased panorama for entrepreneurs; and the cooling tech layoffs and inflation.

And over at Chain ReactionJacquelyn interviewed Maria Shen, a normal associate on the funding staff at Electrical Capital, an early-stage enterprise agency centered on crypto, blockchain, fintech and marketplaces. In March 2022, the agency introduced that it closed $1 billion for a pair of crypto funds — a $400 million car for making fairness investments in startups and a $600 million fund supposed to speculate immediately in crypto tokens.

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TC+ subscribers get entry to in-depth commentary, evaluation and surveys — which you recognize for those who’re already a subscriber. When you’re not, take into account signing up. Listed here are a number of highlights from this week:

Gentle on the finish of the tunnel:“There’s good motive to consider that the huge correction in enterprise capital exercise that we’ve seen over the previous six quarters has run its course,” Alex writes.

Amazon and the manufacturers it kills: Haje studies on the destiny of Digital Images Overview, finest often called DPReview, which was thought to be among the best evaluation and information websites. Amazon acquired it in 2007, slowly changing the employees with contractors and freelancers till killing it in March.

ESG, protected for now: Company executives is likely to be making a number of noise about ESG (environmental, social and governance) — a few of it optimistic, some not. However Tim writes that on the subject of buyers, sustainability issues look like right here to remain.

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