Top tech startup stories of 2022
From the FTX scandal to tech layoffs, it has been an intense year, to say the least. If 2021 was the year of cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and massive funding for startups, 2022 was the complete opposite. This year, tech companies, large and small, laid off hundreds of thousands of people as the Federal Reserve tightened its monetary policies and increased interest rates which made it difficult for companies to borrow money to support their growth. Tech companies also saw $7.4 trillion wiped off their market capitalization.
Things didn’t fare well on the crypto front. In May, Terra Luna stablecoin collapsed 99% overnight causing investors to lose their life savings. And just when you think it can’t get any worse, the FTX scandal started to brew in early November. In what was described as worse than Enron, the FTX crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy on November 11. The disgraced founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried also resigned from the company after he was accused of using customers’ money to fund his lavish lifestyle.
With that, these were the top tech startup stories of 2022.
Israeli battery startup StoreDot develops extremely fast battery cells that take EV charging from hours to 5 minutes
Battery technology hasn’t changed in over three decades. Now, one Israeli tech startup is aiming to change the status quo and disrupt the electric vehicle (EV) battery market with extremely faster charging that takes EV charging from hours to minutes.
Enter StoreDot, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based tech startup that has revolutionized the conventional Li-ion battery by designing and synthesizing proprietary organic and inorganic compounds, making it possible to fully charge an EV in just five minutes – the same time it takes to refuel a conventional combustion engine vehicle.
To further complete its R&D and mass production scale-up of silicon dominant extreme fast charging (XFC) battery cells by 2024, StoreDot announced today it has announced the first close of its Series D funding round of up to $80 million, the majority of which have already been secured.
Pfizer developed an “ingestible pill” with a biological microchip that sends a wireless signal to relevant authorities after the pill is digested, unearthed video shows
What started out as a conspiracy theory and science fiction a few years ago became a reality in April 2021 after Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) revealed it has developed an implantable microchip that the agency said would continuously monitor the human body for signs of the virus.
Then in December 2021, a Stockholm-based Swedish tech startup DSruptive announced it has developed a covid passport microchip. Unlike DARPA’s implantable microchip that continuously monitors your body for signs of the virus, the rice-sized microchip can easily be inserted under the skin so that users can carry their covid passports in their arms. The microchip also stores all the patient covid-19 vaccine data. 6,000 people in Sweden already had the chip inserted under their skin as of the time we covered the story.
Fast forward five months later, an unearthed video going around social media confirmed that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer had developed an “ingestible pill” with a biological microchip that sends a wireless signal to relevant authorities after the pill is digested.
During an event on Transforming Health in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla explained Pfizer’s new tech to the Davos crowd saying: “ingestible pills” – a pill with a tiny chip that sends a wireless signal to relevant authorities when the pharmaceutical has been digested. “Imagine the compliance.”
FTX founder and former crypto billionaire Bankman-Fried may be going to jail. Here are 2 deleted tweets that may land him in prison
FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried first made headlines in 2020 after he donated a whopping $5.2 million to Joe Biden’s campaign, making him the second-biggest donor. But now the life of this former crypto billionaire is about to change for the worse as he faces US regulators’ probe into client funds and lending.
Bankman-Fried (also known as SBF) later took to Twitter to apologize for misusing clients’ money and tapping into customer accounts to fund risky bets. Contrary to what FTX told its customers, FTX had $16 billion in customer assets and then lent $10 billion of the money to its sister company, Alameda Research. After new revelations from FTX co-founder Gary Wang and Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, Bankman-Fried may spend the rest of his life in jail for fraud and the misuse of FTX customers’ funds.
Michigan-based EV battery startup ONE says its new battery gets a 750-mile driving range in Tesla Model S before recharging
Michigan-based tech startup Our Next Energy (ONE) announced it had successfully tested a prototype of its new battery that gets a 750-mile driving range in the Tesla Model S before recharging. ONE’s battery combines a structural cell-to-pack design that uses cobalt- and nickel-free cathodes, with a second, high-energy pack that can recharge the first. ONE said the testing was done in a road test across Michigan in late December, at an average speed of 55 miles per hour.
Founded just a year ago by 30-year industry veteran Mujeeb Ijaz, ONE said the company has demonstrated technologies that can double the range of electric vehicles. In addition to improving range, ONE said the company is also focused on lowering the cost with cobalt-free chemistries that don’t pose a thermal runaway risk.
Ijaz said ONE aims to begin producing battery packs that will deliver a similar range, about double that of most existing electric vehicles, by late 2023. “We plan to build (batteries) in North America, and believe it can be done economically,” Ijaz said in an interview.
Meet Cybercat, an accessories kit that transforms Tesla Cybertruck into an all-electric high-performance amphibious catamaran
Whether for fishing, daysailing, or world cruising, the use of catamarans has grown in popularity over the last decade. Catamarans are twin-hulled sailing and powered boats developed for sport and recreation in the second half of the 20th century. Unlike a sailboat which has only one displacement hull which allows them to travel more smoothly through the water, a catamaran is balanced on two hulls, with the sails in the middle.
However, a new cruising catamaran is not exactly affordable for an average Joe. A brand-new cruising catamaran costs between $200,000 and $1,000,000, with an average price of about $500,000. A used cruising catamaran will set you back for between $200,000 and $600,000, according to the sailing site LifeofSailing.com. But for some of you with a slightly lower budget, you may still be about to get one for less than $62,000. But there’s a catch–you first have to buy a Tesla Cybertruck.
In February, a Seattle-based startup called Cybercat unveiled a DIY conversion kit that quickly transforms the Tesla Cybertruck into an all-electric high-performance amphibious catamaran. With its large battery, tough construction, and adaptive air suspension, the Cybertruck is just a few components away from transforming into a capable all-electric amphibious watercraft. The kit also comes with a hydrofoil extension option. The accessories kit is estimated to be between $22,900-$32,900.
The metaverse is a digital world where the real and virtual worlds converge into a vision of science fiction. You can also think of the metaverse as a virtual world where millions of people could gather to work, play, and socialize in immersive virtual environments and communicate across shared spaces across different platforms.
However, that all changed on October 28, 2021, after Facebook announced it was changing its rebranding to Meta to reflect its focus on the metaverse. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg also said that the tech giant has committed $10 billion to transition from its much-criticized social network and related family of apps into what Zuckerberg describes as an “embodied internet.”
Snoop launched his own metaverse called Snoop Verse on The Sandbox, a virtual Metaverse where players can play, build, own, and monetize their virtual experiences. Immediately after building his mansion in the Snoop Verse, it didn’t take long before one of his fans paid $450,000 to become Snoop Dogg’s next-door neighbor. In the metaverse, of course.
In May, Terra Luna, the cryptocurrency associated with TerraUSD (UST), suddenly collapsed overnight losing 99% of its value as crypto investors lost their life savings. Terra, which ranked among the top 10 most valuable cryptocurrencies, dropped from its $120 peak last month to below $1 on Wednesday.
Luna plunged to $0 as UST dramatically lost its $1 peg, causing Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, to temporarily delisted UST and LUNA. Terra’s luna is a stablecoin designed to support UST’s one-to-one peg with the U.S. dollar. UST is not alone. Tether, the world’s largest stablecoin, also dropped below its $1 peg as crypto carnage continues.
The demise of the controversial stablecoin venture Terra has resulted in a meltdown in the crypto market, which erased billions of dollars in value in a single day.
Web 3.0 is slowly taking over the internet, the past few years have seen more people embrace the potential of a decentralized web following the debut of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. As it stands, most of the platforms that exist on the internet are built on Web 2.0; this includes social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook as well as centralized applications offering a range of services.
Unlike its predecessor, Web 3.0 changes the narrative through its distributed architecture. This new iteration of the web is based on a decentralized ecosystem, giving users more control over their content and data. In Web 2.0, that is not the case, large corporations have often been accused of violating their clients’ data privacy for monetary benefits. This is possible because the platforms on Web 2.0 are run by a single authority.
Well, thanks to the ever-evolving nature of technology, Web 3.0 has introduced community-driven ecosystems. Clients/users can participate in the governance of a particular ecosystem and reap profits from their content or personal data. Simply put, Web 3.0 is a decentralized version of the web whose focus is to bring power back to the users.
In early October, payment giant PayPal announced it would take $2,500 from your account if you spread misinformation. The payment giant later backed down after social media backlash saying the notice went “out in error” and will not seize funds from its customers for promoting “misinformation.”
Less than three weeks after it backtracked on its new policy, PayPal has now re-introduced the $2,500 fine in its newly updated policy. According to several posts on social media, it appears PayPal has added the $2,500 to its terms of service after the widespread criticism died down.
Meet Ashay Bhave, the 23-year-old founder of Indian footwear startup Thaely which makes $100 sustainable sneakers from the worldwide waste of plastic bags
Plastic pollution is a huge problem around the world. Even though many western nations have banned the use of plastic bags, developing countries in Africa and Asia still use plastic bags. The situation is no different in India, a country of 1.38 billion people.
According to estimates, India produces more than 25,000 tons of plastic waste every day, which accounts for 8-10 percent of the total waste generated by the country. Now, one Indian tech startup is on a mission to reduce the plastic pollution problem by reusing plastic waste to create sustainable shoes. Thaely is an Indian footwear startup founded by 23-year-old Ashay Bhave. Since July 2021, Bhave’s startup has recycled over 50,000 plastic bags and 35,000 discarded plastic bottles into ‘sustainable’ sneakers.
Duck Duck Gone: DuckDuckGo goes WOKE to censor search content; forcing users now flock to rival search engine Brave
DuckDuckGo has been viewed as an alternative search engine to Google. Unlike Google and Bing which track users, DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers’ privacy.
However, after many years of standing up for privacy and free speech, DuckDuckGo finally capitulates to the “woke” culture under the disguise of censoring Russian misinformation content. DuckDuckGo has now become DuckDuckGone after it embraces the woke culture and joins the big tech to censor search content. It all started on Wednesday when the company announced that it has “been rolling out search updates that down-rank sites associated with Russian disinformation,” making DuckDuckGo the arbiter of the truth.
Better.com founder Vishal Gargis made the headlines in December 2021 after he fired 900 hundred employees over a Zoom call. Now, he’s back and keeping his job as the CEO of the digital mortgage lending startup Better.com. What was so bizarre about the firing was that Vishal announced the layoff just days after receiving $750 million in cash.
According to an internal memo, Vishal Garg, founder and CEO of Better, is staying on as CEO. The announcement comes less than two months after Garg came under fire for laying off roughly 900 employees, or 9% of its workforce, via Zoom on Dec. 1. He later “took time off effective immediately” from the company he founded six years ago.
Founded in 2016 and led by CEO and Vishal Garg, CEO, Better.com democratized the home-financing ecosystem, replacing it with a digitized process that eliminates commissions, fees, unnecessary steps, and time-wasting branch appointments.
In July, tech layoffs eclipsed the 30,000 figure set a month earlier. Since then, the number has climbed to more than 91,000 laid-off workers as of the time of writing. More tech companies are also planning to trim their workforces to counter market challenges amid the global economic downturn. The mass layoff has also spread to big tech companies like Amazon and Facebook. Last week, Shopify also joined the ranks of tech companies laying off employees. The Canada-based company said that it was cutting 10% of its workforce.
Last month, Tesla let go of more than 200 employees from its autopilot unit. The electric car giant also closed its San Mateo, California office. Tesla CEO Elon Musk also added that the company would lay off around 3.5% of Tesla’s overall workforce, adding the actual amount was “not super material.”
China and Russia joined forces to establish a moon base to counter the $100 billion US space program
China and Russia have teamed up to set up a moon base by the year 2027, eight years earlier than originally planned, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported. The joint unmanned moon base, called the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS), is China’s response to NASA’s $100 billion Artemise program.
Although the United States has worked closely with Russia to send crews to the International Space Station (ISS) since 2011, China is barred from participating in joint projects with the US in space because of the Wolf Amendment, a law passed by the US Congress in 2011 that prohibits the NASA from using government funds to engage in direct, bilateral cooperation with the Chinese government and China-affiliated organizations from its activities without explicit authorization from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Congress.