Daily Crunch: Meet Disney Imagineering’s new robot

We get up close with a robotic Groot, SpaceX has a successful astronaut launch and cryptocurrency prices tumble. This is your Daily Crunch for April 23, 2021.

The big story: Meet Disney Imagineering’s new robot

Disney Imagineering’s Project Kiwi represents a real robotics milestone — a free-walking robot that seems to fully capture the personality of the original character. In this case, the original is Groot, the beloved tree character from “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

I’m not just saying that based on the demo video, either. Matthew Panzarino has seen Project Kiwi in person and reports:

The pint-sized character has accurately rendered textures on its face, hands and feet. It’s dressed in a distressed red flight suit that you may remember from the films. And its eyes are expressive as it looks at me and waves. This is the moment, the one that Disney Imagineers and park goers alike have been waiting decades to realize.

Startups, funding and venture capital

SpaceX successfully launches astronauts with a re-used Dragon spacecraft for the first time — This was SpaceX’s second official astronaut delivery mission for NASA.

Hyundai invests in teleoperations startup Ottopia as part of $9M round — Ottopia’s first product is a universal teleoperation platform that allows a human operator to monitor and control any type of vehicle from thousands of miles away.

Introvoke raises $2.7M to power online events that can be embedded anywhere — While there’s been plenty of attention and money lavished on virtual event platforms over the past year, Introvoke co-founder and CEO Oana Manolache predicted that we’re only at the beginning of a “third wave of digital transformation.”

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

2021 should be a banner year for biotech startups that make smart choices early — Be wise when managing legal risk and choosing investors.

After going public, once-hot startups are riding a valuation roller coaster — A short meditation on value.

Should you give an anchor investor a stake in your fund’s management company? — A GP stake investor brings significant advantages and disadvantages.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Crypto market takes a dive with Bitcoin leading the way — Cryptocurrency prices continued to tumble today, with Bitcoin leading the charge.

India restricts American Express from adding new customers for violating data storage rules — In a statement, the Reserve Bank of India said existing customers of either of the two card companies (American Express and Diners Club) will not be impacted by the new order, which goes into effect May 1.

Just one week left to save $100 on TC Early Stage 2021: Marketing & Fundraising — Get ready to join your community of early-inning startup founders for a two-day bootcamp July 8-9.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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