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Innovation

It’s your last day to apply to speak at TC Disrupt

Today’s your last chance to apply to speak at TechCrunch 2023
Why should you drop everything to get that application in by 11:59 p.m. PDT today? Not only will you help inform and educate the next generation of startups — and potential unicorns — but you’ll also establish or enhance your reputation as a valued thought leader and partner. Around here we call that a win-win situation.

How to apply to speak at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023
When you apply, you’ll choose one of the two formats below and submit a title and description of your topic:

Breakout Session: Up to two people (including moderator) lead a 30-minute presentation followed by a 20-minute Q&A from an audience of up to 100 attendees. You’ll be able to display a presentation and have limited AV capabilities. You’ll present one breakout during Disrupt.
Roundtable Discussion: One person leads a 30-minute interactive conversation for an audience of up to 25 attendees. There is no presentation or AV — it’s all about organic conversation. You may potentially repeat this roundtable twice during Disrupt.
TechCrunch vets every application and then selects the finalists who will participate in the Audience Choice voting round. We’ll post the topics, descriptions and speakers online, and then TechCrunch readers will vote for the sessions they would like to see at the event. The top vote-getters will present live at Disrupt.

These are the important dates you need to know:

Application deadline: Today, April 21, by 11:59 p.m. PDT
Finalists notified: April 27
Audience Choice voting: May 1–12
Winners notified: May 15
Once more — a little louder this time: It’s your last opportunity to submit your application to speak at TechCrunch Disrupt on September 19–21! The application window slams shut today, April 21, at 11:59 p.m. PDT. One more reminder: Save up to $825 with an early-bird ticket. Buy your Disrupt pass, and join us in San Francisco!

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Innovation

The Ashley Marie Collection – Natural Hair Care for Gen Z by Gen Z

As a new generation of beauty consumers emerges, the beauty industry is undergoing a significant transformation. Gen Z consumers, in particular, are highly conscious about the ingredients in their beauty products. With a population that accounts for almost 30% of the world, Gen Z (born roughly between 1996 and 2012) are a major focus for several brands.

The desire to be  environmentally and socially aware, has led to a change  in this generation’s values and spearheaded the movement, urging companies to take action on the climate crisis. This is not merely rhetoric. Based on a survey conducted by Capgemini, in 2021, approximately 69 percent of surveyed participants belonging to Generation Z stated that they were willing to spend more on health and beauty products that contain natural and clean ingredients.This trend has led to the rise of natural beauty products, and the Ashley Marie Collection is at the forefront of this movement.

Created by 17-year-old entrepreneur Ashley Marie Gibson, the Ashley Marie Collection features a range of natural hair care products that cater specifically to the evolving needs of Gen Z consumers. Don’t be fooled by her young age – Ashley is a total boss. As a Gen-Z entrepreneur, Ashley is passionate about creating products that use natural ingredients and prioritize health and well-being. The Ashley Marie Collection reflects Gen Z’s preference for natural and eco-friendly products with its commitment to using only the cleanest, ethically sourced ingredients. All products are cruelty-free, color-safe, paraben-free, sulfate-free, and formulated with natural ingredients.


If being clean wasn’t enough, this brand checks off another box – being diverse and inclusive!  The Ashley Marie Collection is an entire hair care line specifically for 4C hair, a hair type that is often overlooked in the beauty industry. The line features a range of uniquely formulated products, including a Clarifying Shampoo, Moisturizing Shampoo, Hydrating Conditioner, Protein Conditioner, Leave-in Conditioner, Coil Cream, and Curly Coil Styling Gel. All of which work wonders for kinky, thick coils and will leave strands feeling and looking even better!

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Innovation

TechCrunch+ roundup: Deep tech tips for SaaS VCs, toxic fundraising, student visa startup options

If someone said “startup” while we were playing a word association game, I’d respond with “fundraising.” (I bet you would, too.)

Asking people for money is a key aspect of every founder’s journey, but Techstars Managing Director Collin Wallace says it can also “accelerate your demise.”

For example, raising a round to rev up engineering, sales and marketing sounds positive — but what if the business itself has negative unit economics?.

“Most of the time, what stands between a company and its ability to achieve scale is not a lack of money,” writes Wallace in TC+.

“It’s better to ask: Do we have hustle problems? Product problems? Process problems? People problems? Is my business model fundamentally flawed?”

In this article, he examines four scenarios that often lead entrepreneurs to seek out new cash and explains why getting “a clear picture of what is fueling losses” is much more important.

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Innovation

Kate raises $7.6 million for its electric micro-cars

French startup Kate has raised a $7.6 million (€7 million) funding round from a bunch of business angels. As I wrote in my previous article on Kate, the company has ambitious goals when it comes to everyday mobility. It plans to use the funding to develop an alternative to regular cars (electric or not) by making something smaller, cheaper and easier to maintain.

Investors in the startup include Julien Lemoine (co-founder and CTO of Algolia), Emmanuelle Brizay (AC8 INVEST), Christophe Maurissen (Managing Director at Alcogroup), Romain Afflelou (CEO of Cosmo Connected), Benoît Charles-Lavauzelle (CEO of Theodo) and Antoine Leconte (founder of Cheerz).

And Kate isn’t starting from scratch. The company acquired NoSmoke, a small manufacturer of electric vehicles inspired by the Mini Moke. This way, Kate can reuse some parts and borrow some manufacturing processes that have been used to produce the leisure cars.

But Kate’s next car, which is currently called the K1, will be designed to be used every single day and not just for your vacation house. In Europe, people moving from A to B use a large vehicle — like a regular car — for 84% of their trips. It represents 11% of the CO2 emissions. And yet, 98% of trips are shorter than 80 kilometers (that’s 50 miles).

A rendering of the upcoming Kate K1
Image Credits: Kate

The Kate K1 is going to be a lightweight car that can reach a top speed of 90 km/h (56 mph). It isn’t designed for your long-distance trips. In that case, you’re better off renting a normal car. It isn’t designed for big cities either as public transportation, bikes and shared vehicles work better in this environment.

But the Kate K1 would work well for people living in the suburbs or the countryside. It would work fine to drop off your kid at school, head to work and swing by the supermarket. It will have four seats and the entry level should offer a battery range of 200 kilometers (124 miles).

Kate has an aggressive timeline as it wants to unveil the K1 in the third quarter of 2023. In addition to the mysterious renderings, here’s what the Original, the leisure car that is currently available, looks like:

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