Top tech startup news for today, Tuesday, January 3, 2023: Apple, ByteDance, FTX, Glip, SpaceX, and Tesla
Good evening! Below are some of the top tech startup news stories for Tuesday, January 3, 2023.
Apple’s market cap falls under $2 trillion for the first time since May 2022
After briefly hitting a $3 trillion valuation in January 2022, shares of Apple fell by more than 3% during intraday trading Tuesday, giving it a market value under $2 trillion. As we reported on January 3, 2022, Apple became the first publicly traded U.S. company to hit a $3 trillion market capitalization, as shares of the iPhone giant broke the $182.86 barrier during intraday trading boosted by sales of its products for remote work and school during the pandemic.
Since then, Apple has faced global supply challenges as the company struggled with the shipments of its iPhone 14 Pro to meet the holiday season’s demand. Three years ago, Apple became the first U.S. company in history to hit a market valuation of $1 trillion — an achievement that the tech giant reached on August 2, 2018. On August 19, 2021, Apple became the first publicly-traded company to hit a $2 trillion market valuation. Apple was founded on April 1, 1976, by Steven Paul Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Gerald Wayne.
Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried pleads not guilty to federal fraud charges
FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty in New York court Tuesday to eight federal fraud charges related to the collapse of the now bankrupt crypto exchange FTX. His not-guilty lead came just two weeks after FTX co-founder Gary Wang and Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison pleaded guilty to fraud and cut a deal with federal prosecutors for $250,000 bail.
The one-time crypto billionaire arrived outside the New York federal courthouse in a black SUV. According to multiple media reports, Bankman-Fried’s mother was unable to exit the vehicle and later fell onto the wet pavement as cameras scrambled to catch a glimpse of her son.
Bankman-Fried was indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud, individual charges of securities fraud and wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to avoid campaign finance regulations. The trial will begin on Oct. 2.
Before its collapse, FTX raised more than $1.8 billion from equity investors in a years-long fraud. The is a complex web of 134 corporate entities around the world, collectively referred to now as FTX Group. All of these 134 companies are now been put into bankruptcy. Bankman-Fried first came into the spotlight in 2020 after he donated a whopping $5.2 million to Joe Biden’s campaign, making him the second-biggest donor.
Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX is reportedly raising $750 million in a new round of funding that values the company at $137 billion. The announcement came just three days after the SpaceX Falcon team achieved a major milestone with its 61st successful launch in 2021.
The latest funding round will be by Andreessen Horowitz (also known as a16z) with participation from early SpaceX investors including Founders Fund, Sequoia, Gigafund, and many others, CNBC reported, citing an e-mail sent to prospective SpaceX investors.
Back in November, Reuters had reported that SpaceX was in talks about an offering of mostly secondary shares that could value the company at up to $150 billion, representing a 20% increase in valuation. But all that changed last month when Bloomberg that SpaceX was allowing insiders to sell at $77 per share, which would have put the company’s valuation near $140 billion.
Spokespersons for SpaceX and Horowitz did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Horowitz was also a co-investor in Musk’s Twitter buyout deal worth $44 billion. As we reported back in June, SpaceX raised $1.68 billion in equity financing, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The June fundraising came just about a month after the company raised over $1.5 billion to fund expansion.
A new wave of startups is springing from the ashes of the recession as layoffs forced laid-off tech workers and created new opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs and founders. At least 1,013 tech companies had laid off 153,160 tech workers, according to Layoff.fyi, a website that tracks technology job losses.
But it’s not all bad news for laid-off tech workers. A recent survey of new hires published in the Wall Street Journal found that most laid-off tech workers quickly found jobs shortly after beginning their search, as employers continue to struggle to find qualified workers in a tight labor market.
However, not all laid-off tech workers wanted to return back to the workforce. Some wanted to start their own business and launch their own startups. Among this group is Nic Szerman. He lost his job at Meta Platforms in November, just two months after joining the social media giant as a full-time employee. He later fell victim to a sweeping Meta’s 13% reduction of the workforce as the advertising market cratered.
TikTok-owner ByteDance cuts hundreds of jobs in China to streamline operations amid the global slowdown
ByteDance, the parent company of the popular video app TikTok, is the latest in a series of companies to announce layoffs amid recession anxiety and global slowdown. ByteDance laid off hundreds of staff in December last year, according to a Tuesday report from South China Morning Post (SCMP), citing two people familiar with the matter.
The sources told the SCMP that the layoff, which was announced at the end of 2022, was part of a cost-cutting measure to streamline the company’s operations. The job cuts affected employees at Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok with about 600 million daily users, as well as ByteDance’s gaming and real estate operations, SCMP reported, citing the sources.
ByteDance’s CEO Liang Rubo told employees back in December that the company needs to ‘get fit and beef up the muscle’ to streamline operations. The report also added that the job cuts only represent a small percentage of ByteDance’s workforce.
India-based startup global web3 game discovery and wallet app Glip has surpassed 1 million created wallets and over 100,000 onboarded users for web3 games in three months. In addition, the app noted strong demand for Web3 gaming, resulting in over 50,000 confirmed earners.
The announcement came just two months after the startup landed $2.5 million in funding led by Hashed Emergent with participation from Beenext and existing investor Prime Venture Partners with the goal of bringing millions of gamers to web3. The news followed months of strong growth with the Glip app hitting 7 million downloads across India, SEA, and Brazil.
The Web3 gaming industry is growing, but acquiring real players – rather than speculators – is a key challenge. In addition, existing Web2 platforms don’t allow for crypto ads, and the play-to-earn scholarship model notes little interest during rough market conditions.
Founded by high school gaming friends & second-time founders Parth & Ishan, Glip has undergone a series of rapid pivots since they started in the middle of the first lockdown in 2020. With an organically growing gaming community and partnerships with web3 games, Glip is poised to be a category leader.