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Daily Crunch: Meta backs SMB e-commerce app launched by former Facebook engineering manager

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Hello, Crunchers! Wait, that’s kind of a weird nickname, as if you’re munching on granola. What should we call y’all?

Never mind that. Tomorrow, we’re running a Twitter Spaces where Jacquelyn and Anita are talking about what’s new in the world of crypto with Ryan Selkis. It’s at 1:00 p.m. PDT, and you can easily set yourself a reminder here.

Have an awesome week!  — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

It’s getting hot in here: Software aimed at helping small businesses take online orders is on fire right now, and Meta is fanning the flames with a new investment in Take App — the Singapore-based startup that is providing simple tools for merchants to create a website and begin taking orders via WhatsApp, Paul reports.
Picturing Jared Leto’s next move: WeWork founder Adam Neumann didn’t have to look too far for his next investment check. Andreessen Horowitz just handed him $350 million for his new company, Flow, a residential real estate company, Anita writes. This amount, we are told, is the largest individual check a16z has ever written…and it went to Neumann, who the firm backed in May for another of his companies, Flowcarbon. If you’re shocked, you are not alone.
A little .bit country, a little .bit rock ‘n’ roll: Four Tencent veterans started .bit to become the universal identification system in web3. After registering over 110,000 accounts in the past year, the startup is now armed with $13 million in new funding and a goal of promoting .bit for decentralized autonomous organizations, Rita writes.

Startups and VC

Perhaps a surprise story on a tech site, but we closed out the week with some levity last week, as a bunch of our writers got into a discussion about what the best Taylor Swift song is. Because of course, our #watercooler discussion spills out onto the site from time to time.

Manhattan and Brooklyn are teeming with activity. It’s electrifying to be there after years spent relatively locked down, Connie writes, and asks herself if it might be time for companies in San Francisco to call employees’ bluff.

More news and analysis from your friendly neighborhood team of tech reporters:

Boxed shrimp in your lunch box: Christine reports that your future shrimp meal could come from Atarraya’s farming technology. The company raised a $3.9 million in Series A.
Hello, how may I help you?: E-commerce customer support is big business; Gorgias raised $30 million in new Series C capital in a round that boosted its valuation to $710 million, Christine reports.
Bit(go) off more than they could chew: BitGo is demanding $100 million in damages after Galaxy Digital calls off its $1.2 billion acquisition, Manish reports.
Be free, dall-eeee: Kyle reports that Stability AI is setting a DALL-E 2–like AI free, consequences be damned.
Get better, better: Roon invites you to skip Google and WebMD, giving patients freshly sourced info on their conditions, reports Andrew.

The subscription pie is getting bigger: How to leverage usage-based billing

Image Credits: Alexey Dulin / EyeEm (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

More than half of all SaaS companies plan to roll out usage-based billing by next year, according to Chargeable CMO Sanjay Manchanda.

To help founders capitalize on this trend, he wrote a TC+ guest post identifying some of the ways companies are evolving as they strive to copy the success of firms like Twilio, Snowflake and Frog.

“Subscriptions are not going anywhere,” says Manchanda. “They have been around since at least the 17th century for a good reason — people like them.”

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

VinFast is stepping on the gas pedal, or shall we say electric pedal, to give those who preorder one of its vehicles a $7,500 rebate even though the U.S. government changed its federal tax credit rules regarding electric vehicles, which makes the deduction a bit more difficult to get, Haje reports.

And the car talk doesn’t stop there. Porsche is now joining other car makers in signing solar energy deals, Jaclyn writes. The luxury car maker signed a 25-year deal with Cherry Street Energy in Georgia just days after Ford announced its deal for solar energy.

Making it rain for Snapchat+: In under two months, Snapchat+ crossed 1 million subscribers, Ivan writes.
Ride-hail loyalty comes at a price: Uber is phasing out its free loyalty program in favor of its subscription-based Uber One membership, Rebecca reports.
Hackers and researchers and cybersecurity, oh my!: Black Hat and Def Con 2022 wrapped up last week, and Carly has more on what you might have missed.

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