July 16, 2024

Signal announces usernames, Rivian fires employees, and Google offers new open LLMs.

February 25, 2024
3Min Reads

Greetings, everyone, and welcome to TechCrunch's weekly email, Week in Review (WiR), which highlights significant events within the IT sector.


In an ongoing attempt to dominate generative AI, Google this week unveiled Gemma 2B and Gemma 7B, two new open big language models. The LLMs are "inspired by Gemini," the company's flagship family of GenAI models, and can be used for both research and commercial purposes.

In other news, the troubled database startup MariaDB disclosed that a $37 million transaction could see it go private. Paul adds that the nonbinding request was made 14 months after MariaDB had its public debut through SPAC.

Many more things occurred. We go over everything in this issue of WiR, but before, don't forget to subscribe so you can get the WiR newsletter delivered straight to your inbox every Saturday.


Tragic: Marco Troper, the 19-year-old son of former YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, was discovered dead at UC Berkeley this week after reportedly overdosing on drugs.

Cake sale: According to Sean, the majority of Cake's U.S. inventory is moving to a buyer in Florida, but the future of the bankrupt electric motorbike business Cake is still unclear.

A cyberattack has been confirmed on the systems of Change Healthcare, one of the biggest healthcare IT businesses in the United States.

Layoffs at Rivian: In an effort to reduce expenses in the competitive market for electric vehicles, Rivian is letting go of 10% of its salaried staff. This will further strain the company's next, more reasonably priced EV, known as the R2.

Buyout of Dunzo: Manish claims that Indian e-commerce behemoth Flipkart has been in talks to acquire Reliance Retail-backed hyperlocal delivery firm Dunzo in recent weeks.

Increased privacy: Signal's introduction of usernames allows you to maintain the anonymity of your phone number.

YouTube victorious: According to a recent Nielsen report, YouTube dominates TV streaming in the United States.

Valuation cut: Byju's claims that its $200 million rights offering, which was issued recently, has been completely subscribed. However, Manish writes that the founder of the firm encouraged some of its significant investors to participate, citing a schism between the edtech business and some of its top shareholders.


Profitable grooming: To grow its software-as-a-service offering for hair salons, France-based Planity has raised $48 million.

Robots that lay bricks: Monumental, a Dutch firm, received a $25 million investment for its robotic arms and carts that assist in the production of bricks.


Alex and Ron examine the potential reasons why Twilio, the company's corporate parent, would consider selling Segment, a provider of consumer data. The influence of activists plays a major role in it.

Podcasts On Equity, the team discussed the impending IPO of Reddit as well as other noteworthy funding rounds for edtech startups, including Dili, Bioptimus, and Loora.

Found delved into the vast network of the wedding business alongside Zola's CEO and co-founder Shan-Lyn Ma. Ma discussed how trying to buy a present for a friend made her realize that wedding registries were relics from the past, which is why she decided to start the company.

Additionally, Chain Reaction included Steve Kaczynski, co-host of the web3 morning program "Coffee with Captain" and co-author of the book "The Everything Token."

Bonus phase
New AI chip venture: Masayoshi Son of SoftBank Group is reportedly looking to raise $100 billion to launch a new business that would aim to take on Nvidia and other companies in the AI chip space.

OnePlus is making a comeback to timepieces with its forthcoming Watch 2, which will be the company's first wristwatch in years and is expected to run an astounding 100 hours "in full Smart Mode."

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