SpaceX documents leak, TikTok ban escalates, and Grok goes open-source

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Hello friends, welcome to the Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch's regular newsletter, which recaps notable events that happened in the tech sector over the past few days.

This week, TechCrunch saw leaked documents from SpaceX that show some questionable practices related to employee stock options.

CEO of Grok – developed by Musk's AI startup, XAI – was released last year, equipped with features like access to “real-time” information on

Elsewhere, Ron interviews Slack CEO Dennis Dresser on his effort to bring stability to the Salesforce business, which has seen three CEOs in a single year.

And much more happened. We summarize it all in this edition of WiR – but first, a reminder to sign up to receive the WiR newsletter in your inbox every Saturday.

news

Leaked SpaceX documents: We've obtained some leaked SpaceX documents that show some unusual terms for stock awards that employees are required to agree to. Among other things, the company grants itself the right to ban former and current employees from participating in tender offers if they have been found to have “acted dishonestly against the company” or violated written company policies.

Phantom, now a ghost: Phantom Auto, a remote driving startup that launched seven years ago amid the buzz around autonomous vehicle technology, is shutting down after failing to secure new funding, according to Kirsten's special report.

Mem Stock: In a new SEC filing, Reddit revealed that, following its IPO, it will allow its community members to sell their shares immediately instead of being subject to the usual lock-up agreements that prevent IPO investors from selling shares for up to six months. Let's stop.

Grant

Banking as a Service: UK-based Griffin Bank, an API-driven banking-as-a-service (BaaS) platform, has recently secured the license to launch as a fully operational bank – and joins the likes of MassMutual Ventures, NordicNinja and Breega. Has raised $24 million from investors.

EU violates data rules: An investigation into the European Union's use of Microsoft 365 has found that the European Commission, the EU's government cabinet, breached the bloc's data protection rules through its use of cloud-based productivity software.

Analysis

Deepfakes become royal: Amanda writes how the photo of Kate Middleton and her children, possibly edited with the help of AI, is a sign of what is to come with the proliferation of AI deepfaking and editing tools.

Relaxation Tools: Haje works with Moonbird's relaxation tools, designed to help clients induce sleep and reduce stress through breathing exercises.

podcast

on this week equityAlex looks at data from Carta to see how startup compensation is changing, raises from Empathy and Bear Robotics, and growth from Bluesky, Brave, and Chamath Palihapitiya's VC firm Social Capital.

But foundBecca and Dom spoke to Rebecca Hu, CEO and co-founder of Glacier, an AI robotics company that is building robots to accurately sort recycling.

and on chain reaction, Jacqueline interviews Melody Hildebrandt, CTO of Fox Corporation, and Mike Blank, COO of Polygon Labs. This episode is part of Chain Reaction's monthly series based on various topics and subjects in crypto. This month's theme is Blockchain and AI Integration.

bonus round

Metaverse Royale: Readyverse Studios — co-founded by blockchain tech company Futureverse and Ernest Cline, the brains behind the sci-fi series Ready Player One — this week debuted OpenGL, a third-person battle royale experience. Lauren has a story.