Former Apple employee pleads guilty to stealing self-driving car design parts – TechCrunch

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Good [time of day] dear [name]. You know what worries us? The agenda for TC Disrupt has just been canceled, and it will be an absolute event. Aaaah. See what’s happening on our four (count ’em! Four!) stages and see an incredible line-up of performers. Then buy tickets and book flights – it will be wonderful. See you there! — Christina and Haje

TechCrunch Top 3

  • Facetime: While Mark Zuckerberg promises the best avatars for the metaverse, Estonian company Ready Player Me delivers. Andreessen Horowitz led the company’s recent $56 million funding round for a company that creates dynamic animated gaming avatars for virtual worlds, Ingrid writes.
  • Leaving with secrets: Rita wrote a juicy article about a former Apple employee who left with more than just the best wishes of his former colleagues. Xiaolan Zhang pleaded guilty this week to stealing confidential driving information from the tech giant and then taking a job at an electric car company.
  • They lit it: on TechCrunch+, Tim reports on US Sen. Joe Manchin’s ultimatum to automakers to either move most of their lithium-ion battery supply chain out of China or give up some of the tax breaks included in the Inflation Reduction Act. Tim writes that this could backfire, or that “the United States will finally become a key player in the battery industry.”

Startups and VCs

The world has taken privacy and data protection much more seriously, but in many cases business models that rely on personalization of one kind or another are struggling to keep up. Today, a startup from Paris called Ravel Technologies is coming out of hiding approach, he believes, may be the missing link between these two Ingrid reports.

​​​​​​​​While new consumer social apps usually have a hard time gaining traction, 9count apps (friend-finding app Wink and dating app Summer) have already seen some of the trend — and investors have noticed by investing an additional $28 millionwrites Sara.

Today we liked five more:

Should founders announce down rounds? This PR guy says you have nothing to hide

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

If your house was damaged in an earthquake, would you feel embarrassed?

Likewise, founders don’t need to be dismissive of funding that lowers their valuation, advises Kate Johnson, BLASTmedia’s vice president of public affairs.

“Instead of pretending the lower rating didn’t happen, change your mindset,” she writes.

“You have nothing to hide, and from a PR perspective, no news is not good news. So focus on adjusting your expectations.”

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps startup founders and teams get ahead. You can subscribe here.)

Big Tech Inc.

After reading about the ex-Apple employee, we have more ex-employees in the news today, including Twitter’s former head of security, Peter “Madge” Zatko, who reported the social media giant’s alleged mismanagement of cybersecurity. He was nearby Carlybut the team started working from several different angles, and here are the fruits of their labor:

Meanwhile in the flowing land, Lauren writes about Thor: Love and Thunder coming to Disney+ next monthand Home of the Dragon premieres on HBO., which attracted 10 million viewers. Also, pay attention to Netflix’s version of the popular Heads Up game, Aisha reports.

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