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Does the iPhone 11 have a hidden feature waiting to be activated?

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Have Apple events lost their shine?
ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes sits down with Karen Roby to discuss if Apple events help sell iPhones, or are they a tool Apple uses to reassure investors and journalists? Read more: https://zd.net/2N9Xhoy

iPhone 11 rumors were swirling around for months prior to the official launch event earlier this month, and on the whole these rumors were pretty close to the mark. We knew what the iPhone looked like, what the camera array was mostly capable of, and even what the name was going to be. 

One feature that was rumored but that turned out to be a no-show was reverse charging (also known as bilateral charging).

Reverse charging would allow the iPhone to charge other devices that supported wireless charging, enabling it to become a power bank. This feature, which is present on Samsung’s S10 and Huawei’s P30 Pro, was tipped to be present on the iPhone 11 by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo back in April, before he later said it wouldn’t be present on the new iPhone.

However, according to tipster Sonny Dickson, the new iPhones contain the relevant hardware to pull this off.
Which raises the question of why Apple didn’t mention it at the launch.

There are a few possibilities. The first is that the new iPhone doesn’t contain the hardware needed to do reverse charging, and that this is just a rumor that won’t die. 

Another possibility is that the hardware is there but Apple decided not to activate it because of some issue. If this is the case then there’s a chance that a future iOS update might bring this feature to life, although I’m not holding my breath for it, because if Apple was confident that this was coming, no mention of it was made, and Apple was happy enough to offer a preview of another upcoming feature during the launch. If the hardware is present, it’s likely not enabled because it didn’t work as Apple intended and the idea was abandoned.

I’m assuming that when the hardware is released and the teardowns are being performed that the likes of iFixit will be looking for evidence of this feature.

What do you think? Is this feature inside the iPhone 11 waiting to be activated? Do you think Apple will add it later?

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How VC really works, longevity investor survey, choosing your angel – TechCrunch

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“Venture capital” is semantically equivalent to “dangerous money,” which is part of its mystique.

Essentially, VC is a high-stakes extreme sport in which top players can accumulate startling amounts of wealth and power. And sometimes, a massive pile of investor cash burns so brightly, it gets picked up on satellites.

But where does all that money actually come from, and how do VCs actually make money? Prior to joining TechCrunch, reporter Haje Jan Kamps worked at VC fund Bolt, where he interacted directly with early-stage founders.

“Once you’re on the VC-fueled treadmill, you can’t easily step back off,” he writes. “The corollary of that is that I suspect a lot of founders don’t really know how venture capital works.”

In this comprehensive explainer, he deconstructs venture capital to help readers understand how investors think about risk and return, pro-rata rights, and why “VC investing is a hits-driven business.”

It should go without saying, but it’s a bad idea to pitch an investor if you don’t have a solid grasp of how they operate.

“As a startup founder, you’d never dream of selling a product to a customer you don’t truly understand,” writes Haje. “Not understanding why your VC partner might be interested to invest in you is dangerous.”

Thanks very much for reading TC+ this week!

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

Planning to use your startup equity as collateral? Good luck

Image Credits: Colin Anderson Productions pty ltd (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Employee incentives are one of the oldest brain hacks. Offer the right person enough equity and delicious snacks and they will gladly work 60+ hours/week or take part in a weekend dev sprint.

But workers who are interested in accessing liquidity have just two options: wait for a tender offer from their employer, or find a private buyer in the secondary markets.

“You could claim the system is broken. I happen to agree,” says Max Brenner, part of the founding team at Compound.

Why do startup valuations go down when interest rates go up?

Digital generated image of pink popsicle in shape of DOLLAR sign melting on yellow background. Inflation concept.

Image Credits: Andri Onufriyenko (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The U.S. Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates to tamp down inflation, just one of several factors that are driving down startup valuations these days.

But why?

Higher inflation directly impacts access to capital, your customers’ ability to pay, and, not incidentally, the service you’ll receive from providers (which includes your own employees).

“If your customers benefit from inflation, then there’s a good chance that your company will, too,” says Equidam founder Daniel Faloppa.

“In most cases, though, when your customers benefit, your service providers suffer.”

Pitch Deck Teardown: Mi Terro’s $1.5M seed deck

Image Credits: Mi Terro (opens in a new window)

In March, Mi Terro raised a $1.5 million seed round to scale up efforts to turn agricultural waste into proteins that can be used to replace legacy plastics that have fouled our environment.

The company’s founders shared a 15-slide pitch deck with TC+ that runs through their plans to use spent grain to create material for everything from contact lenses to detergent pods.

Or, as the closing slide states, “Drink more beer, reduce more microplastic.”

Dear Sophie: How do I get an O-1 visa to freelance on web3 projects?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

I’m a UX/UI designer in Europe working at a web3 company in the United States.

I would like to resign from my current position and move to the U.S. to pursue work that allows me to have more autonomy, flexibility and the ability to take on a variety of projects with different clients in the U.S.

How can I make that happen? Thanks for your help!

—Worldly web3 Wonder

Choose your angel: Learn how they invest and what motivates them

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Image Credits: Newbird (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The “choose your fighter” meme can be traced back to the video game Mortal Kombat, but it’s also relevant for seed-stage founders who are looking for an investor.

Making money is top of mind for every angel, but according to Mack Kolarich, VP of Assure Analytics, most of them also “have a second or third motivator driving them to invest in startups.”

In a TC+ guest post, he lays out several factors entrepreneurs need to consider when investor-shopping: Are they supporting a local ecosystem? Do they write direct checks?

“Armed with this knowledge, you can strategically select the right partner for your business,” says Kolarich.

5 investors explain why longevity tech is a long-term play

person Lighting 93 candles on a cake; longevity tech investor survey

Image Credits: Lucy Lambriex (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

In the United States, average life expectancy has fallen for two years in a row. In 2019, it was 78.86 years, but by 2020, that figure shrank by 2 years and 3 months.

The decline was due to COVID-19, but reporter Anna Heim interviewed five investors who are backing startups developing technology that may allow us to live longer, healthier lives.

Longevity is a nascent vertical today, but “the space is only getting started now and will infiltrate all aspects of our life in the next five to 10 years,” said one respondent.

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Rivian has dropped its cheapest trim level due to low customer demand – TechCrunch

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Rivian is discontinuing the cheapest trim level of its all-electric truck and SUV known as the Explore package due to low demand, according to emails sent this week to customers.

The company said in the email, which was first cited in the Rivian Owners Forum, that customers  with a pre-order for the Explore package will need to reconfigure to the Adventure trim by September 1 or have their pre-order cancelled. Rivian also issued information on its customer support page that explains why it cancelled the package and what customers’ options are.

For customers who pre-ordered the Explore trim, the change means an increase of about $5,500. The base Adventure package, which includes a dual-motor and standard battery pack that gets more than 260 miles of range, starts at $73,000.

“In order to deliver as many vehicles as possible, we have made the decision to discontinue the Explore Package. We realize this news is unexpected and apologize for how it impacts your plans,” the email said.

A few customers on the forum expressed their anger at the changes. It’s unclear if Rivian will lose existing customers due to the change. Although with a reported backlog of orders, it may not matter. As of June 30, 2022, Rivian’s net R1 preorder backlog was about 98,000 from consumers in the U.S. and Canada, according to its second-quarter letter to shareholders.

The company initially launched its R1T truck and R1S SUV with two packages. The Explore was intended as the entry-level package and the Adventure was the higher priced trim that offered more features.

Rivian said in the email that it expected a large number of customers would choose Explore. It turns out, they have not.

“To date, only a small percentage of customers have chosen this configuration, with the vast majority selecting the Adventure trim. By focusing on the Adventure trim package, we’re able to streamline our supply chain and ultimately deliver vehicles more quickly,” the email stated.

Rivian has made other price changes this year that caused temporary outrage among customers.

In March 2022, Rivian raised the price of its R1T pickup by 17% and R1S SUV by about 20% in an effort to adjust to inflationary pressure, increases in the cost of raw materials and parts as well as a prolonged chip shortage. Those price increases initially included customers who had put down deposits.

CEO RJ Scaringe walked back those plans after public backlash and issued a press release that promised customers who placed their preorder for either vehicle prior to March 1 that their original price will be honored. He also offered to restore any preorders from customers who cancelled as a result of the planned change.

That price change was supposed to be part of Rivian’s broader plan to introduce a new dual-motor version of the truck and SUV in 2024. That new propulsion system includes motors designed and manufactured by Rivian.

The company  first introduced the R1T and R1S in 2018 as all-wheel drive EVs equipped with a quad-motor system that pumped up the horsepower and torque and helped the startup stand out. The base price of the quad-motor R1T and R1S were originally $67,500 and $70,000 respectively.

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What happens when a Black founder is ousted? – TechCrunch

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To play on a Langston Hughes poem — what happens to a Black founder ousted? Are they forgotten, like words on the tip of one’s tongue? Or revered like a deity and then thrown to the sun?

The topic is often awkward to ponder and layered in its probe since the reasons for a Black founder’s booting are shrouded in unknown intentions:

A Black founder could have messed up severely – but is the retaliation fair? Is it harsher than what their white counterparts would have received?

A Black founder could encounter an accusation – but was it doused in microaggressive anger?

Would things have unfolded in the way they did if the founder was white?

Each time a Black founder is removed from or criticized at their company, apprehension arises around figuring out what happened. This makes such conversations hard.

“It is in our best interest to operate with the understanding that our mistakes cost more, hurt more, and are rarely forgiven.” Oladosu Teyibo, founder of Analog Teams

For example, news broke last week that Kimberly Bryant, the founder of Black Girls Code, was fired from the organization she spent decades building. The reception was mixed. Founders who spoke to TechCrunch agreed that the employees who alleged misconduct by Bryant were right to speak out; they also said the board of BGC was too swift in Bryant’s ousting and denied her proper due process.

“Two things can be true at the same time,” Minda Harts, a consultant on equity and inclusion, told TechCrunch regarding the BGC situation. “All involved deserved better.”

Aside from Bryant, there have been a few high-profile cases of Black founders being ousted from their organizations. Marceau Michel was recently removed from his venture fund Black Founders Matter for matters still publicly undisclosed. Brian Brackeen was shown the door at his company, Kairos, in 2018, with the board citing “willful misconduct.” Other founder situations have flown under the radar; many are still too afraid to speak out.

What is known is that when Black founders are lost, the entire community suffers.

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