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Google releases new open LLMs, Rivian lays off staff and Signal rolls out usernames

Welcome, folks, to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular newsletter covering noteworthy happenings in the tech industry.

This week, Google launched two new open large language models, Gemma 2B and Gemma 7B, in its continued bid for generative AI dominance. The company, which describes the LLMs as “inspired by Gemini,” its flagship family of GenAI models, made each available for commercial and research usage.

Elsewhere, embattled database company MariaDB revealed that it could be taken private in a $37 million deal. The nonbinding proposal comes 14 months after MariaDB went public via SPAC, Paul writes.

Lots else happened. We recap it all in this edition of WiR — but first, a reminder to sign up to receive the WiR newsletter in your inbox every Saturday.


Tragedy: Earlier this week, Marco Troper, the 19-year-old son of former YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, was found dead at UC Berkeley of an apparent drug overdose.

Cake sale: The future of bankrupt electric motorbike startup Cake is still uncertain, but the majority of its U.S. inventory is going to a man in Florida, Sean reports.

Change Healthcare hit: Change Healthcare, one of the largest healthcare tech companies in the U.S., confirmed that a cyberattack on its systems occurred recently.

Rivan layoffs: Rivian is laying off 10% of its salaried workforce in a bid to cut costs in an increasingly tough market for electric vehicles, putting even more pressure on its future, more affordable EV called the R2.

Dunzo buyout: Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart has held discussions in recent weeks about potentially acquiring Dunzo, the hyperlocal delivery startup backed by Reliance Retail, Manish reports.

More privacy: Signal now lets you keep your phone number private with the launch of usernames.

YouTube triumphant: YouTube dominates TV streaming in the U.S., per Nielsen’s latest report.

Valuation cut: Byju’s says its recently launched $200 million rights issue has been fully subscribed, but the startup’s founder urged some of its major investors to participate amid a rift between the edtech group and some of its largest shareholders, Manish writes.


Lucrative grooming: France-based Planity has raised $48 million to expand its software-as-a-service product for hair salons.

Brick-laying robots: Dutch startup Monumental landed a $25 million tranche for its robotic carts and arms that help lay bricks for construction.


Segment under threat: Alex and Ron take a look at the reasons why Segment, the customer data company, could be put up for sale by corporate parent Twilio. Activist pressure has a lot to do with it.


On Equity, the crew talked about Reddit’s upcoming IPO, along with some impressive raises for edtech startup Loora, Bioptimus and Dili.

Found dove into the enormous web of the wedding industry with Shan-Lyn Ma, the co-founder and CEO of Zola. Ma talked about why she decided to launch the business after trying to buy a gift for a friend and realizing that wedding registries were still living in the past.

And Chain Reaction had on Steve Kaczynski, co-author of the book “The Everything Token” and co-host of the web3 morning show “Coffee with Captain.” 

Bonus round

New AI chip venture: SoftBank Group’s Masayoshi Son is reportedly seeking $100 billion to build a new venture that’d compete with the likes of Nvidia in the area of AI chips.

OnePlus returns to watches: OnePlus’ upcoming Watch 2 — the company’s first smartwatch in years — promises a jaw-dropping 100 hours “in full Smart Mode.”

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