Sam Bankman-Fried’s case will go to trial in October. Also: SpaceX raises $750 million in investment and Tesla’s market value drops another $60 billion.

January 3, 2023: FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried arrives for the hearing at Manhattan Federal Court in New York.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Good morning! While you slept, work continued elsewhere in the digital scene.

The top topics:

FTX-Founder Sam Bankman-Fried has, as expected, pleaded not guilty at a first hearing in a US court on Tuesday. Although US authorities are accusing the crypto manager of “fraud of epic proportions” and money laundering, this is not unusual at first. Many of the defendants initially plead “not guilty” and change this again at a later point in time.

The actual trial is scheduled to begin on October 2nd. If convicted, the former CEO of the insolvent crypto exchange faces up to 115 years in prison. The 30-year-old is currently under house arrest and is staying at his parents’ house. Bail was set at $250 million. Two other FTX top executives have already pleaded guilty. Bankman-Fried, who had swapped his usual shorts and T-shirt for a suit and tie, endured the brief Manhattan hearing calmly, only occasionally leaning forward to talk to his attorneys. [Mehr bei Handelsblatt, The Guardian und Reuters]

on Founder Scene: We have put together for you which startups you should have on your screen this year. For example, because we expect large amounts of financing from them, the founders convince us, or because they are active in a market that has potential – for example in areas such as sustainability, saving money or e-mobility. The complete list of our Bearers of hope for 2023 and the respective reasons why we believe in success can be found with us today. [Mehr bei Gründerszene+]

And here are the other headlines of the night:

SpaceX collects 750 million US dollars in investments, as reported by the US broadcaster CNBC. The new round of financing is expected to value the company at $137 billion. Andreessen Horowitz (aka a16z) is set to lead Elon Musk’s space company’s new round of funding. Last month, SpaceX allowed investors to sell shares at $77 a share, valuing the company at nearly $140 billion. In 2022, the company raised more than two billion dollars. [Mehr bei CNBC]

Die TeslaShares plummeted more than 14 percent on Tuesday, continuing last year’s slide. Tesla, once worth more than $1 trillion, lost more than 65 percent of its market value in 2022. Tuesday’s price slide cost the US electric car maker a market value of almost $60 billion. The sell-off followed fourth-quarter results that showed Tesla delivered fewer vehicles than expected. [Mehr bei Wall Street Journal und The Guardian]

Also the Apple-Shares fell more than 3 percent on Tuesday. As a result, the iPhone maker has a market cap below $2 trillion for the first time since May. Apple fell 3.74 percent to $130.20 a share, a 52-week low. This gave the company a valuation of $1.99 trillion at the close on Tuesday. [Mehr bei Reuters und CNBC]

Microsoft has recognized its first workers’ union in the company’s 47-year history. While workers at airlines or automakers are often unionized, collective bargaining at big tech companies hasn’t caught on as workers often earn high wages. The software manufacturer announced last year that it would support approaches that would make it easier for its employees to join unions. [Mehr bei Techcrunch, Wall Street Journal und CNBC]

Tesla‘s head of China, Tom Zhu, will become the second most powerful position at the US electric car maker behind CEO Elon Musk. Zhu will oversee Tesla’s US factories and sales in North America and Europe. The promotion follows speculation that Zhu could become Musk’s successor. A Reuters report, citing an organizational chart from the company, explains that Musk still oversees the teams working on vehicle design and development. Zhu is said to still carry his title as vice president for Greater China and will continue to oversee production and sales in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. [Mehr bei Reuters]

Our reading tip on Gründerszene: The startup Bulletproof Ukraine equips NGOs and journalists with bulletproof body armor. Now the British locks Wise-Bank all accounts. The bank classifies the protective vest startup as a weapons producer. [Mehr bei Gründerszene]

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Happy Wednesday!

Your Gründerszene editors


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