Thursday May 19, 2022, and it’s the last day of our in-person Mobility event. Tomorrow we take the journey to the mean streets of the world wide web, and you can still join us virtually! — Haje and Christine

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Tl;dr: We know you don’t have 32 minutes to read Meta global affairs president’s new manifesto, so Natasha skim-read it for you. In short, the future of the metaverse, excuse us, “metaverse spaces,” is uncertain, complicated and needs a truckload of developers to do it. We also still don’t have the 411 on how Meta plans to make money in the metaverse, particularly, as Natasha points out, since the company does a lot of tracking and profiling. That may come in Nick Clegg’s next manifesto. We’re here for it.
  • What happens when a vertical farming company cracks the code?: Spoiler alert, it’s delicious! Oishii started out selling strawberries from its New Jersey facility at $50 for eight to 11 berries, and with a new facility up and running, the company is now able to reduce that to $20. Not on par yet with what we get at the grocery store, but if food prices keep rising, they may eventually meet in the middle.
  • Turn the beat around: Could tech valuations be lower than they need to be? That’s certainly the argument Alex is making, with one chart showing how Okta’s shares are now selling even below early 2019 — before the pandemic and before all of the revenue multiples went sky-high. He lays out some examples of why the tech sell-off may have gone too far.

Startups and VC

The team at Y Combinator just waded in and told its founders to strap in and prepare for the worst. “If your plan is to raise money in the next 6–12 months, you might be raising at the peak of the downturn. We recommend you change your plan,” Manish reports.

We’ve spent the last couple of days immersing ourselves in the world of mobility at TC Sessions. Here’s the top three takeaways from Nuro’s awesome session, as distilled by Rebecca.

For TechCrunch Plus, Haje did a teardown of BoxedUp’s $2.3 million seed round pitch deck. It has some really elegant storytelling and some fixable quirks; we think you’ll pick up a tip or two from this story for your own fundraising efforts, so come check it out!

A smattering more:

  • Spend now, pay later: Untapped Global wanted to rethink the collateral gap for African companies by allowing small businesses to use their ongoing revenues as collateral, Mike reports.
  • Home is where the buffalo roam: Belong, a startup that aims to shake up property management, has just raised $50 million to grow its footprint, Mary Ann reports.
  • A little bit o’ this, a little bit o’ that: Framework’s user-repairable laptop gets an upgrade. It’s a little ironic at first glance, but Brian outlines why it makes sense.
  • Soaring over the Sahara: A new deal sets a lofty goal of deploying 12,000 of Wingcopter’s 198 drone systems across Africa over the course of the next 5 years, Brian reports.
  • A budding romance: Brian is on a roll today, also covering the launch of the $200 LinkBuds earbuds from Sony.
  • Game on, my wayward son: Andreessen Horowitz debuts $600 million fund for games investments. The new vehicle, called Games Fund One, joins other industry-specific arms at a16z, including its crypto and bio divisions, Lucas reports.

Dear Sophie: Can I do anything to speed up the EAD renewal process?

Dear Sophie,

I’m on an L-2 visa as a dependent spouse to my husband’s L-1A.

My EAD (work permit) is expiring in May — we filed for the extension of both my visa and EAD a few months ago. How long is the current process?

Might there be anything I can do so my employment isn’t affected?

— Career Centered

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

WhatsApp’s new business app should have companies on cloud nine. The new version of the Business API is not only free, which will attract smaller businesses, but will also take minutes instead of weeks to implement and reduce some of those pesky server costs.

In Netflix news, we were initially excited at the prospect of a “Mystery Box” feature. Granted, maybe we put too much on a pedestal. As it turns out, it’s a way for children to rewatch their favorite shows more easily. In addition, Netflix is also rolling out some additional features so that content is more accessible — think subtitles and languages.

Twitter has a new crisis misinformation policy that will slap a warning on tweets that are deemed “misleading” during times of crisis and will prioritize those on high-profile accounts or tweets that have gone viral.

Here are a few more for your Thursday:

More information is being uncovered regarding the Buffalo shooter and how he used social media in the days leading up to the incident that left 10 people dead and three injured.

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