Google fires a leading researcher, Stripe launches a new banking service and WarnerMedia shakes up the theatrical business model. This is your Daily Crunch for December 3, 2020.
The big story: Google fires co-lead of its Ethical AI team
Timnit Gebru, a leading researcher in the field of ethics and artificial intelligence, tweeted last night that Google fired her in response to a message she sent to an internal email list.
Casey Newton obtained the email in question, in which Gebru expressed frustration with her treatment at Google and disappointment at its diversity and inclusion efforts: “We just had a Black research all hands with such an emotional show of exasperation. Do you know what happened since? Silencing in the most fundamental way possible.”
Google declined to comment, except to point to an email from Jeff Dean, the head of Google Research, in which he said Gebru had threatened to resign unless certain conditions were met. (“I hadn’t resigned — I had asked for simple conditions first and said I would respond when I’m back from vacation,” Gebru said.)
The tech giants
YouTube introduces new feature to address toxic comments — The feature appears when users are about to post something offensive in a video’s comments section and warns them to “Keep comments respectful.”
Developers can now enroll in Apple’s ‘Small Business Program’ for reduced App Store fees — Just a few weeks back, we learned that Apple would be launching a program to reduce its fees from 30% to 15% for developers earning less than $1 million per year from the App Store.
Android’s winter update adds new features to Gboard, Maps, Books, Nearby Share and more — One of the more fun bits in the winter update will be a dramatic expansion of the Emoji Kitchen.
Startups, funding and venture capital
Stripe announces embedded business banking service Stripe Treasury — The company is partnering with banks to offer a banking-as-a-service API.
Everlywell raises $175M to expand virtual care options and scale its at-home health testing — Earlier this year, Everlywell launched an at-home COVID-19 test collection kit, the first test of its kind to receive an emergency authorization from the FDA.
VSCO acquires mobile app Trash to expand into AI-powered video editing — The deal will see Trash’s technology integrated into the VSCO app.
Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch
VCs who want better outcomes should use data to reduce founder team risk — Using an objective, data-backed process to evaluate teams will help VCs make better investment decisions.
This is a good time to start a proptech company — At least, it’s a good time according to Colton Pace of Fika Ventures.
Boost ROI with intent data and personalized multichannel marketing campaigns — More mass email blasts are not going to get you the connections with prospects you crave.
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)
All of Warner Bros.’ theatrical movies will get simultaneous releases on HBO Max next year — This includes movies like “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Mortal Kombat,” “In the Heights,” “Space Jam: A New Legacy” “The Suicide Squad,” “Dune,” the “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark” and “The Matrix 4.”
NASA selects four companies for moon material collection as it seeks to set precedent on private sector outer space mining — The four companies all have rides booked on future commercial lunar lander missions.
Bill Gates just released a plan for US leadership on climate change, including $35B in funding — Gates wrote that we “need to revolutionize the world’s physical economy.”
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