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The TC crew are a bunch of bookworms. Alex collected the top reads from 2022. Haje’s favorite was “A Deadly Education” (Naomi Novik’s first book in the Scholomance trilogy), which incidentally was recommended by both Alex and Amanda, which was how he found out about the books in the first place. Meanwhile, Christine was unable to put down “Blue Ticket” by Sophie Mackintosh. Get down to your local indie bookstore and sniff some freshly printed wood pulp!

In non-book news, there’s a bushel of stories from TechCrunch for ya! — Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Does anyone else miss paper maps?: A gaggle of companies, including Meta, Microsoft, AWS and TomTom, have partnered with the Linux Foundation to form the Overture Maps Foundation to do a few things: develop interoperable open map data and knock Google’s map dominance down a few pegs. Paul has more.
  • Another tool to decipher Salesforce: Too much data, not enough time. Thankfully there is Sweep, a new no-code config tool that can make the data in Salesforce more usable. The company raised $28 million to put companies back in control of their own data, Kyle writes.
  • Going Backstage: Paul also has a story on how Spotify is planning to monetize its open source Backstage project via premium plugins.

Startups and VC

Dakotah Rice, founder of Poolit, tells Mary Ann, “2023 will be a fantastic year in all likelihood for venture and private equity. It’s kind of like you’re starting from a new base.” The company raised millions to turn accredited investors into LPs in VC and private equity funds.

Ventures Platform, a Pan-African early-stage venture capital firm, has closed its fund at $46 million as it looks to double down on “category-leading” companies across the continent, Tage writes. Most of its limited partners in the first close were primarily African based, which was a deliberate effort.

And we have five more for you:

Which Instagram ad placement is more cost-effective: Reels, Feed Posts or Stories?

Row of ice creams with different amounts of scoops

Image Credits: Jonathan Knowles (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Consumer-facing startups are spending more on platforms like TikTok and Instagram to reach customers, but which ad products offer the best return?

In a case study based on Instagram campaigns for a site that facilitates bookings for freelance beauty professionals, digital marketer Angelina Liparteliani looked at Instagram Reels, Feed Posts and Stories.

Her highly detailed breakdown includes examples of the ads used in various campaigns, the process she used for optimizing creative materials, and a cost-per-click analysis that shows how she reduced CPC from $1.51 to 17 cents.

“Definitely don’t chase trends,” advises Liparteliani. “Diversify your ad strategy, test different ideas and don’t give up if your ad doesn’t show results right away.”

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.

Jacquelyn got a scoop that Coinbase created an asset recovery tool for unsupported Ethereum-based tokens. If you just went “Huh?” we’ll let her explain: “In the past, if you sent assets not supported by Coinbase to a user’s address on the exchange, you’d get a message saying the assets were successfully delivered on-chain, but they didn’t actually go to the receivers’ wallets.” Coinbase supports hundreds of cryptocurrencies, but there are thousands that it doesn’t. ERC-20 tokens are one of them, and the crypto exchange found like 4,000 of them sent to its ledger. Fortunately, it now has a way to help customers recover them.

And we have five more for you:

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