Daily Crunch: AI-driven fintech Candidly nabs $20.5M Series B to help consumers 'crush debt'

Daily Crunch: AI-driven fintech Candidly nabs $20.5M Series B to help consumers 'crush debt'
Mar 2023

To get a roundup of TechCrunch's biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PST, subscribe here.

Hellooooo, Crunchers! We're back for another round of tech news from your very favorite news site. It's been a busy news day, and Haje is on deadline trying to finish this week's pitch deck teardown, so let's not dilly-dally and get right to it! -- Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

Like a student debt Superman: Candidly, a company that helps financial institutions and employers embed student debt and savings optimization products into employee benefits, swoops in with $20.5 million in new funding to pick up student debt relief where new U.S. policies leave off. Christine has more.Draw to your little heart's content: Devin powers up reMarkable's e-paper tablet and examined every inch to bring you a product review worthy of getting rid of paper for good.Then I saw your game, and now I'm a Believer: Believer scored $55 million in new funding from big names in venture capital, like Lightspeed and Andreessen Horowitz, to focus on a new approach to multiplayer gaming that Ingrid writes will start with "original IP and stories 'where player choices matter.'"

Startups and VC

The economy is a bit better -- kind of, maybe, sort of? While things appear to be trending in the right direction, it's going to be a long road. Besides, if you're unable to find work, positive macroeconomic trends are cold comfort. One of the nice things Brian enjoys about having a platform like TechCrunch is the opportunity to help people in that difficult position -- so here is a list of robotics companies that are hiring.

The enterprise is about to get hit by the generative AI hype train, as Salesforce prepares to invest in startups developing what it calls "responsible generative AI," Paul writes.

Here's another fistful:

I can see clearly now: Brian reports that Plus One raises $50 million for its parcel robotics vision systems.NFTs, get yer NFTs: Jacquelyn reports that Tensor raises $3 million for a Solana-focused NFT trading platform.What's the catch?: Christine reports that health benefits startup Catch is shutting down, according to its founders.This is the news: Sarah takes a look at the tech behind Artifact, the newly launched news aggregator from Instagram's co-founders.Wait, what was I doing?: Mike reports that ADHD startups are exploding, and now there's even a dedicated browser.

Gatik's Gautam Narang on the importance of knowing your customer

Daily Crunch: AI-driven fintech Candidly nabs $20.5M Series B to help consumers 'crush debt'

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

As the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, illustrates, our brittle legacy supply chains are long overdue for an overhaul.

Autonomous vehicle startup Gatik operates approximately 40 driverless heavy-duty semitrailer trucks on routes up to 300 miles long, connecting distribution centers with smaller hubs.

Rebecca Bellan interviewed Gatik CEO and co-founder Gautam Narang to learn more about the company's operations and investor expectations, and how a shortage of human drivers is impacting growth.

"We have not done any free delivery ever," he says. "So we have been doing commercial deliveries since 2019, meaning every trip that we have made, we have been paid for."

Gatik's Gautam Narang on the importance of knowing your customer

Three more from the TC+ team:

Modeling the future: The best way to start an AI project is to not think about the models, Eran Shlomo writes.Okay, fess up: Alex wonders, Who's to blame for all the SPAC implosions?Corporates march in: Despite the downturn, CVC gains traction in Brazil's startup ecosystem, Matheus Tavares Dos Santos writes.

TechCrunch+ is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams get ahead of the pack. You can sign up here. Use code "DC" for a 15% discount on an annual subscription!

Big Tech Inc.

Sonos is getting ready to launch two new speakers, so Brian got the scoop from company CEO Patrick Spence on right to repair, spatial audio and those never-ending lawsuits.

Speaking of Sonos, Brian also wrote about the company replacing its One with a spatial audio speaker called Era 100. Also, Sonos is adding support for spatial audio on Apple Music, Aisha reports.

Thank you for reading, and have a Sonos day!

It's a busy day, so how about six more:

Is that a banana in your pocket?: For those of you who like sunshine, daffodils and lemons, Apple has a new yellow iPhone 14 and 14 Plus that you need to get your hands on, Ivan writes.Talk to me: Ever wanted to chat face-to-face with photorealistic AI? Give D-ID's new web app a whirl. Aisha has more.Smarty pants: Salesforce is getting into generative AI with some new technology it is calling "Einstein GPT," Ron reports.App inside of an app: Even Facebook wants a redo every now and again. It's testing bringing back in-app messaging, Aisha writes.Healthy competition: Kenya's competition regulator is looking at online food delivery platforms to make sure they aren't delivering more than just their orders, Annie writes.More job cuts: Atlassian cuts 5% of its workforce following a reorganization. Frederic has more.