Finnish tech conference yanks $1M pitch contest prize from Russian co-founders • TechCrunch – IGWIIKI

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What’s up, Crunchers! Haje is back from his away-ness, and we are chomping at the bit to bring you a wall of amazing stories from our dastardly team of TC wordcraftspeople. Let’s goooooo! — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Here yesterday, gone today: “We should have reviewed all participants’ operations more closely before entering into the competition.” That’s what Slush organizers said after they and VC pitch judges decided to revoke a $1 million award to Immigram after discovering the company had ties to Russia. Mike has more.
  • Dark times at Tesla: Tesla recalled about 350,000, or 1% of electric vehicles it sold over the past two years or so for some pretty major issues, including taillights that go out and front passenger airbags that malfunction, Jaclyn writes.
  • Cloudy with a chance of doom and gloom: There is no rosy outlook for startups here. Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy doesn’t mince words when he warns startups that “a lot of turmoil and volatility” is in the funding forecast over the next 12 to 18 months, Manish reports.

Startups and VC

Actor Noah Schnapp, who plays Will on Netflix’s hit original series “Stranger Things,” is passionate about tbh, a company he co-founded that aims to “reinvent” hazelnut cocoa spread Nutella, reports Mary Ann. The company is turning to crowdfunding to raise money for the vegan alternative.

At our TC Sessions: Crypto event last week in Miami, Darrell sat down a veritable who-is-who in crypto to talk about the crypto regulation landscape. The key takeaways that all three panelists essentially agreed upon is that the benefit of the FTX situation is that there’s now more impetus than ever to arrive at some kind of regulatory framework specific to crypto in the U.S. You can watch the segment on the site.

Here’s a fellowship of stories to see you through the rest of your Monday. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.

Get your product and customer success teams on the same page to improve net retention

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Image Credits: Richard Drury (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

You don’t need to move the needle far to optimize customer success. SaaS startups that incrementally improve will stack small wins that have the potential to alter the company’s trajectory.

Instead of a traditional siloed approach, rolling product and CX teams into a single unit helps align incentives, writes Bryan House, SVP of product and customer success at Elastic Path.

“Regardless of what you call the role, product management, UX and customer success should report to the same person,” he advises. “This leader should create a structure that shares incentives and common goals aligned to your customers’ measures of success.”

Three more from the TC+ team:

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.

It’s a bit of déjà vu for Broadcom, which is back under the watchful eye of competition regulators. This time, the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority is looking into the chip giant’s proposed $61 billion deal to buy virtualization software giant VMware. If you don’t recall the last time, it was when Broadcom tried to acquire rival Qualcomm in 2018. The deal was scrapped after former president Donald Trump cited national security concerns. Paul writes that “both the political and competitive optics are different this time around, so it’s difficult to predict how this will all unfold,” but he did get a comment from Broadcom on what the company thinks.

Oh, and FIFA is back. Lauren has your guide to streaming it.

Five more for your Monday:

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