Equity is TechCrunch's weekly podcast focused on all things money when it comes to startups. Massive rounds, notable acquisitions, and interesting IPOs are the fodder for hosts Connie Loizos, Danny Crichton and Alex Wilhelm with special appearances by Kate Clark. They'll help everyone understand the…
Hello and welcome back to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines.This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, Natasha asked: How are early-stage founders thinking about this downturn? The inimitable Alex teamed up with her to interview Joshua Ogundu, the founder and CEO of Heart to Heart about this timely topic.The question comes after Natasha's recent Startups Weekly column, "Everyone is drafting their own startup Black Swan memo." The column looked at a series of memos that venture capitalist firms sent to portfolio companies about the market downturn. Some were hopeful, some were simple, and others were a vibe check as straightforward as, Can you tell us your ARR and cash-burn in writing? Pretty please?To flip the script, as we do here on Equity, we're bringing in the founder perspective to fact check these memos and tell us what it's really like to be a founder. Ogundu told us what he's rethinking, the importance of honesty, and what to do before considering a layoff. It's not too often that we have guests on the show, so when we do, you know it's going to be a good one.
Hello and welcome back to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines.It's Monday, which means that Alex and Grace were back as a team to cover the biggest, boldest, and baddest technology news. We are once again back with your weekly kickoff! Here's what we got into:The stock market may not vomit all over itself today, which would be a nice break from recent weeks.Broadcom is working on buying VMware in what would prove to be a mega-deal. Shares of Broadcom are off on the news, while VMware stock is up sharply. The transaction would be worth tens and tens of billions of dollars, if consummated.Paytm earnings had lots to like, and some elements that were less salubrious. Shares of the Indian unicorn have recovered somewhat in recent days, but remains sharply depressed from its IPO price.In the startup world: BUD raised $36.8 million, SyIndr raised $12.6 million, and 1K Kirana put $25 million onto its balance sheet.And we closed out with the fact that there is no free lunch, even in the crypto world.Equity drops every Monday at 7 a.m. PDT and Wednesday and Friday at 6 a.m. PDT, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts.
The whole team was back together this week, which was pretty darn good as there was a lot to get through. Alex Wilhelm, Natasha Mascarenhas and Mary Ann Azevedo were on the mic, with Grace handling production.What did we get into? A better question might be what did we not get into:We started with an update from the TechCrunch Mobility event, thanks to Natasha who is on-site and up in the air.From there it was time to talk deals, with the crew parsing Arrived's latest round, and why Kolkata Chai took some external capital, but very much on its own terms.Then it was time to chat Zenly's new mapping news, and why startups are critical when it comes to taking on incumbents.From there we had to ask if Elon Musk really wants to buy Twitter (seemingly no?), and how tired we are about the topic itself.Then we chatted through the recent unicorn vibe check that the market got, and the fact that most unicorns are not true IPO candidates. (Along with news from SpotOn, and Unit!)And to close, we asked about the responsibilities of tech platforms in the wake of a number of mass shootings in the United States; where should our expectations for content moderation on platforms start, and end?Hugs from us to you, and we will talk to you Monday!
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, Natasha asked: How do digital health startups build in a post-Roe world?The question comes after Natasha's recent Startups Weekly column, "When your startup's core mission is set to be overturned." The piece explores the ripple effects of the looming Roe v. Wade overturn, specifically in how it impacts startups. But, let's not hypothesize. We brought on Kiki Freedman, the CEO and co-founder of Hey Jane, to answer our big questions about building, raising, and existing when so much regulatory scrutiny is weighing on your business. A direct-to-consumer health company that specializes in the delivery of abortion pills, Hey Jane about to kick off its fundraising process which makes for an interesting tension. The startup - especially today - really sits in the middle of two intense moments: an overturn to Roe v. Wade would threaten all of its work, and a toughening, risk-averse VC market could be a hurdle toward next financing.Enjoy the show, and let us know if you like this interview format. Also, here's the Found interview that we referenced during the show as well!
Hello and welcome back to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. Every Monday, Grace and Alex scour the news and record notes on what's going on to kick off the week.What was on our minds this morning? The following:Global markets are generally down, albeit nothing too terrifying. The American stock market is trying to regain its footing after weeks of selling.What's ahead for crypto startups in the wake of the Terra/Luna meltdown? Bloomberg wonders about a general slowdown, and we look at the Crunchbase data of who backed the ill-fated stablecoin.Startup layoffs are accelerating -- not as bad as before, but enough to warrant our attention. Layoffs.FYI is back, y'all!The Topship round, invested in by Y Combinator and Flexport, has our recent look at CVC hitting just right.It was an awful weekend in America, which leaked into the show somewhat. Take care of one another.A few housekeeping notes before we go: This is not a live-show week, so Equity will simply come out on Wednesday and Friday mornings. And this week is our TC Sessions: Mobility event, which you can learn more about here.
This week we recorded live, which is always good fun, meaning that we took some questions from the audience. If you want that version of the show, we have a YouTube archive of it here.For those of you more into audio, we have you covered here. Natasha, Alex, and Grace teamed up with Julio and Yashad to host the shindig, allowing us to cover the following:The end of iPod, a time to reflect on technology trends.The exit of a Modern Fertility co-founder, and the MARA round bringing more money to Africa's fintech scene.From there it was onto the Terra crash, Coinbase's earnings, and the general sentiment shift in the crypto scene.Next up was Tiger and the downturn in startup valuations.And we closed on some personal notes.All told we had a blast. Mary Ann is back with us next week! Chat soon!
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, Natasha and Alex asked: What does the most recent wave of layoffs mean for tech workers?The question comes after Natasha's recent Startups Weekly column, "The Great Resignation, meet the Great Reset." In the piece, which included a round up of recent tech layoffs, she explored the idea of employee whiplash, and why this moment in pullback is different than what we saw in March 2020.The goal of the episode was to humanize the tech layoffs we've seen ripple across the startup ecosystem, from buzzy, big names like Cameo, On Deck and Robinhood, to B2B platforms like Workrise and Thrasio. As our piece last week notes, the common thread between most of these layoffs, according to founders, is that there's been a shift in the market and a serious pivot in business is required. A pivot, that is, that hurts the employees that built your product up after high demand.Let us know how we did?If you or a friend has recently been laid off, tip Natasha Mascarenhas or Alex Wilhelm on Twitter @nmasc_ and @alex. Equity drops every Monday at 7 a.m. PT and Wednesday and Friday at 6 a.m. PT, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts.
Hello and welcome back to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. Every Monday, Grace and Alex scour the news and record notes on what's going on to kick off the week.Happily once again we did not start the day by talking about Elon Musk and Twitter, though the news was not really very good:Stocks are down sharply around the world. And crypto prices, which track larger asset prices, are also sharply lower in the last day, and week.Uber's CEO told his company that things are changing. Adjusted EBITDA is out, FCF is in. Hiring? Going to slow. Capital expenses? Those will get harder looks, and so on. During the show, we asked about the slowdown, and how it may, or may not impact the bouyant crypto startup market.Neat funding rounds from Pyramid, which raised $120 million, and Paymob, which raised $50 million.We are recording live this weekend, so catch the show on Thursday as we record our Friday episode! Chat soon!
The crew was back at full-speed, and maybe even full excitement meets exhaustion, this week. Alex Wilhelm, Natasha Mascarenhas and Mary Ann Azevedo were on the mic with moral and edit support from the wonderful Grace. If we had to give this episode it's own autobiography we'd call it: "Drama, tech twitter and therapeutic moments in between."We got into a whole ton of news including:Musk's new best friends back his $44 billion bid for Twitter - and why one of them are probably experiencing deja vu.For deals of the week, Natasha spoke about Line's play for more inclusive fintech, Mary Ann got into Truist paying attention (and money) to a fintech startup and Alex took us to the music world with the latest on SoundCloud's thought bubbles. Then we talked about how digital health startups are bracing for a Post-Roe world, and which companies to pay attention to. (Insider tip: We're taking about this topic in more depth on Equity Wednesday, coming up next week!)Next up, how early can early stage investor go? Recent news from Backstage Capital includes a milestone and a pause - and has us scratching our heads on what other pivots we may see from investment firms.Finally, we ended with our favorite part of the show and spoke about the latest Stripe and Plaid drama. The two companies went from partners to competitors this week, and we talk about the tensions that result.Equity drops every Monday at 7 a.m. PDT and Wednesday and Friday at 6 a.m. PDT, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotifyand all the casts.
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, Natasha and Alex asked: What do the crypto-curious need to know to be more savvy about the space? Better than our question, though, was our company: we brought on Anita Ramaswamy and Lucas Matney, the minds behind TechCrunch's newest podcast Chain Reaction. The crypto-focused pod launched a few weeks ago and already has a lot of folks' attention. We highly recommend a listen, and maybe start with the one that will glow up your retirement savings strategy. Back to today, though, us four chatted through some of the largest questions that entrants into crypto may be thinking about, including untangling web3's complex jargon around decentralization to examine whether it really is different from what other tech companies are already doing. We also took a reporter's notebook lens to crypto coverage, asking if journalists need to be investors in order to report and understanding just how hard conflicts of interests can be to extract. Super light topics, you know us!https://techcrunch.com/2022/03/24/techcrunch-debuts-chain-reaction-a-new-podcast-about-the-wild-world-of-web3/Thanks again to our favorite duo for joining us and don't forget that Equity is very present on Twitter these days, so follow us there for other mid-week musings.
Hello and welcome back to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. Every Monday, Grace and Alex scour the news and record notes on what's going on to kick off the week.Thankfully we did not start this episode by talking about Elon Musk and Twitter! You are welcome!Instead we started with bleak Chinese economic news, that segued into falling venture capital totals for a key startup sector in that country. It turns out that a massive regulatory crackdown will have in-market impacts!From there it was time to chat Yuga Labs and its recent minting chaos. Bloomberg has more.Then it was time to chat neobanks, in particular the recent rounds from Open ($50 million) and Cogni ($23 million).This is not a live show week, so Equity will simply come out on Friday as usual. That said, we do have a Twitter space scheduled for today with our own Kirsten Korosec, so follow us on Twitter and we will see you there.
This was a live week! Which meant that Mary Ann Azevedo was on the mic with Alex Wilhelm, and Grace Mendenhall, our ever-trusty producer, helped us power through. A big shoutout to Dennis, Julio, and Yashad for getting all the tech working well.Right, what did we dive into during our live taping? A lot!The latest from the Elon Musk-Twitter saga, including the social media company's earnings and how it is somewhat sensitive to market sentiment; Musk won't have infinite room with which to maneuver once he owns Twitter.For rounds of the week, Mary Ann chatted through the recent Umaro raise -- who doesn't love talking about bacon? -- and Alex picked the latest from the self-driving front.From there it was time to talk layoffs at Robinhood and other companies, focused around how some companies that did well in the pandemic are now suffering from what could be described as at least a hangover.And we closed with notes on Copper and Step and the ethics of teens investing in crypto. Which led us to question putting crypto in your 401k. Views vary!Equity is back Monday! Chat then!
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, Natasha was out due to a family matter, so Alex and Amanda came together to chat through the larger Elon Musk-Twitter saga.Yes, the TechCrunch crew got together on Tuesday for a very long, fun, and relaxed Twitter Space when the news broke. However, instead of going back through all that audio to just pull out the key bits, we decided to focus ourselves down to the core elements of that team chat and produce something a bit tighter.Here's our question set:How much of an active participant will Elon really be?What does the deal mean for Twitter employees?What impact will the sale have on security, and algorithmic transparency?The free speech questionWhat does the transaction mean for users?In case you need more, our coverage of locked code changes is here, more on the privacy question here, and our larger tick-tock can be read here. Ok, we are live on Thursday for the live show! Chat then!
Every Monday, Grace and Alex scour the news and record notes on what's going on to kick off the week.Stocks are down, and cryptos not looking too impressive as the world gears up for a packed week of mega-tech earnings.The Twitter-Elon Musk deal could happen soon? As soon as today? It appears that after Musk dropped a filing indicating that he actually had the funds to buy the deal, talks shook loose. What's ahead? I have precisely and exactly no idea.Hopin is perhaps enduring some turbulence, per the FT. The company, once riding a torrid wave of market demand, is seeing its business molt into a more steady form. That meant layoffs earlier in the year, and a decline in its share price on secondary exchanges.Startups! From the startup-realm this morning, new rounds for Zenda and Rooser. Not Rooster, mind, just Rooser.And there's a general climate of fear out there, which won't do much for market sentiment. Alas, 2022 is not 2021 when it comes to investor excitement.And we have a live show coming this week! Get stoked, details to follow.
This week was a good week because we had the full team back together. Natasha Mascarenhas was on hand, Mary Ann Azevedo was on the mic, and Alex Wilhelm was around as well. Grace, our ever-trusty producer and lead on the Friday show, was on the dials.As with nearly every week this year, we had to cut and cut to make the show fit into its allotted time. This is what we got into:Brief updates on SoftBank, Better.com, and Elon's quest to buy Twitter.On the deals front, we talked about Mary Ann's coverage of Kindred, the latest from the Indian crypto scene and Chipotle. Why Chipotle? Because it turns out that it is cooking up more than lunch!From there we dug into Natasha's coverage of the latest early-stage effort from a16z, and what it could mean for competition with Y Combinator, among other entities. The theme of large funds going earlier and earlier-stage will be with us forever, it seems.Shares of Netflix took a hammering this week. Why? Growth at the company is on hold, at least from a user perspective. We took the chance to chat about the pandemic's tailwinds tailing off. This impacts a host of startups, both big and small.From there we kept the cheery note afloat by talking about live audio apps and their future. There's some tremors afoot, even if everyone likes to talk.And with that we are back next week!
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, fresh off of a reunion that included pasta and green rooms, Natasha and Alex asked: What are some startup assumptions that get it wrong?The question comes after one of Natasha's recent Startups Weekly column, "Let's stop pretending there are silos in startup land." In the piece, which was teased out in her newsletter, she talked about how separations between late-stage and early-stage companies aren't as iron as investors may try to sell. Of course, that spiraled into an op-ed about what other startup notions we have, and the difference between a silo and a semblance of one.Here's an excerpt from the piece:You don't need to be a web3 company to benefit from the growing mindshare around decentralization and alternative assets; just like you don't need to be an angel investor to adopt the idea that your advice is worthy of equity in a company; and, as I've hopefully shown above, you don't need to be a late-stage company to refocus on and prioritize profitability.Our podcast continues the conversation, getting into five specific myths that we're about ready to bust. I won't ruin what we specifically get into, but phrases like "Web 2.5" and "IPO pricing" and "poetry magazines" certainly make an appearance. It's the perfect episode for people starting out in tech, or folks who are in the mood to unlearn some of their assumptions.Don't forget that Equity is very present on Twitter these days so follow us there for other mid-week musings.
Every Monday, Grace and Alex scour the news and record notes on what's going on to kick off the week.We are sitting on the precipice of a very busy few weeks, so let's get right to work!Stocks are mixed around the world to start the day, cryptos are off a little more but nothing too scary.Didi will vote on leaving the US public markets this May, and has promised to not list anywhere else in the interim. This saga is nearly behind us, but what a mess it will leave in its wake.The Beanstalk exploit was bad news this weekend, but my hunch is that so long as votes are tied to economic might, many neat ideas in crypto-land will remain open to exploit.Zambian fintech startup Union54 raised a $12 million Seed extension, led by Tiger, that caught our eye. And over in India, food-delivery rivals Swiggy and Zomato are both backing UrbanPiper.Finally, it seems that some private-market investors are not stoked about poison pills, a defensive setup by public companies to prevent a hostile takeover. Which makes me laugh, as dual-class shares that many VCs either back, or at least help fund amongst hot startups are similar in that they are also designed to prevent changes of control.To close, we have a live show this week! Yes, a live show. So come hang out with us on Thursday as we record our Friday episode!
This week was TechCrunch Early Stage, so Natasha and Alex got together - in person - to record the episode for the very first time. Shout out to Grace for somehow helping us figure out a tech set up in the middle of a sold out event.We started with a recap of TechCrunch Early Stage so far, but check out TechCrunch+ for posts about every single panel next week. Pro listener tip: use code "EQUITY" for a solid discount, for your TechCrunch+ subscription.Then we of course pivoted to Elon, who is still making news about his newest fixation Twitter. This time, we led with the fact that he's trying to buy the whole darn thing.Deel made news with an ARR number that actually had some weight behind it, which got us thinking more about remote work bets.We had to talk about Braid, a new social fintech startup that wants to make shared wallets easier. We got into crypto culture without the coins, and then it took a turn when we started getting into Love is Blind and The Ultimatum.Finally, we ended the show with SoftBank's latest pivot: a spin out of its early-stage LatAm fund into a new firm called Upload Ventures.And with that, we are back Monday morning. Chat soon!
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, given a parade of headlines and news that Fast shut down, Natasha and Alex brought on our new senior TechCrunch+ reporter Jacquelyn Melinek to ask: How is ‘Web3' blowing up venture's traditional playbook?The question comes after Jacquelyn and Natasha looked into how crypto companies are altering the investing landscape for even the most disciplined VCs. Use code "EQUITY" for a sweet, sweet discount.Here's an excerpt from that post:The main difference between web3 cap tables and traditional startup cap tables is the structure of a company, because the way a C-corp would provide investors with equity would differ from the way a decentralized organization or DAO would, Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky said. Today, Celsius owns half of its CEL tokens and only sold investors tokens in its initial coin offering (ICO) in 2017 when the company first launched, he added.“We don't need to give tokens anymore,” he said. “If you can raise money through equity, you want them as equity investors because they'll stick with the company for a long time. Sometimes when you give tokens they sell them quickly because it's like easy money, it's not like equity.”In today's episode, we walked through fresh PitchBook data on crypto funding, a crash course in web3 vernacular, and what crypto cap tables are the loudest about.Don't forget that TechCrunch Early Stage is happening this Thursday, so snag some last minute tickets here. Natasha and Alex will be there recording a live episode and hopefully meeting some listeners in real life!
Every Monday, Grace and Alex scour the news and record notes on what's going on to kick off the week.This week was big-tech heavy, as the startup market had a slow start to the week. Sign of the times or one day fluke? We'll see in time, I suppose.Here's what we got into on the show today:Stocks are down today, and cryptos are doing even worse in recent days.Elon Musk's flirtation with becoming a Twitter board member is over, the company said. Precisely why Musk backed out is not entirely clear, though the social media company's statement might hold some clues.Shopify is splitting its stock, and changing up its corporate governance structure; crypto volumes are tanking in India following a legal change -- and Coinbase is struggling in the country; SailPoint is selling to private equity for $6.9 billion.Turning the clock back, the Ellevest round is very cool.And to close things out, NIO's production is on hold in China due to COVID issues. Such much for supply chain recovery. This week is TechCrunch: Early Stage, which is going to be good fun. See you there!
This was our live show week! Yes, Mary Ann and Natasha and Alex got together with Grace for our Friday recording on Thursday, meaning that we gathered on Hopin and Twitter Spaces to yammer through the week's news. It was a very busy week, with breaking news up to the minute before we recorded -- including this piece from the Better.com saga.Square's Better.com name Block is Butter-y smooth Failure is a choose-your-own adventure for startupsWill rising interest rates decimate startup valuations?Is today's market sad or sane?So! What did we get into? A lot:How Conceive is helping people manage the matter of infertility, Cottage raising $15 million to make ADUs more common, and how Tandem is taking on the hybrid work future.Next up was Austin, Mary Ann's home turf. We held an event there this week that we touched on, but the main thrust of our chat circled around this piece.From there it was time for the bad news -- including layoffs at Workrise, Better.com, and the implosion of Fast. The startup market is changing, and not every company is going to make it out the other end of 2022 it appears.And we closed out with our take on all things Elon and Twitter, including this three views piece and why it's hard to build a single-person social network.And with that, we are back Monday morning. Chat soon!
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, given a parade of headlines and news that Fast shut down, Natasha and Alex asked: What are we missing when we talk about startup failure?The question comes after one of Natasha's recent Startups Weekly columns, where she looked into the complexity of startup failure, fallacy of takedown stories, and importance of diversity in newsrooms. Here's an excerpt:"There's the argument that startup tensions are inevitable and common, so should we spotlight every time something bubbles to the surface, especially at the cost of an underrepresented founder who may just be doing their best? There's also an argument that the business is messy, so we should report on the issues as we hear about them; and there's the narrative of the female takedown story, in which people believe that women are targeted by the press more than men due to unreasonably high standards."In today's episode we discussed our own definitions of failure past Theranos and WeWork, current examples of rising tensions, and what this means for early-stage startups and historically overlooked founders. There's been more layoffs recently, some notable valuation cuts, and the implosion of Fast to weigh against 2021's strident startup optimism. That makes this the perfect time to dig into the topic of failure, and how to cover it from a startup perspective.Finally, as promised, here's a look at our artsy depictions of the startup failure cycle:https://twitter.com/nmasc_/status/1511365442249580548Don't forget that Equity is live this Thursday, and you can you come hang out with us on Hopin (free, and you can ask questions) or Twitter Spaces (free, but you cannot ask questions) if you'd like! See you then!
Every Monday, Grace and Alex scour the news and record notes on what's going on to kick off the week.After last weeks super startup-heavy show, we were back to our regular Monday grab-bag of news! Here's what we got into:A strong start to the week from global stocks, and a general updraft to crypto prices in recent days.Elon Musk buying a huge stake in Twitter, the popular American social network. The move comes after the Tesla and SpaceX CEO tweeted that Twitter was not allowing enough free discourse. Naturally we look forward to yet another idealist learning about content moderation, but we're also tracking Twitter rivals, making the situation both complex, and entertaining.PrimeBlock is going public via a SPAC! The deck hadn't dropped in time for the show, but the initial release is here.From the rest: Tesla deliveries were hot, lemon.markets raised $17 million, and Jumia is working with UPS.Equity is live this week, so swing by to hang out if you want to this Thursday. Else we are back on a regular cadence!
Welcome to our Friday show! Our regular co-host Natasha was off this time, so Mary Ann and Alex linked arms with our producer Grace to blast our way through the news of the week. As always, we had to pick and choose what seemed to matter the most.Here's what we got into:All Things Y Combinator: Here's our first set of favs, and our second. Here's a rundown of fintech companies from the batch, and our look at the Indian participants, and those hailing from Africa.Instacart as trendsetter: The well-known grocery delivery company has lowered the price at which it will value employee equity comp, something that could become a trend. It seems so, with Instacart leading a potential vanguard of similar actions from other companies in time. Also we're thinking about how startup valuations could regain their shine.Gaming: With the huge Axie Infinity hack making headlines, we talked about the matter and how other startups are tinkering with the play-to-earn market.And we closed with the topic of social networks, what Elon Musk is up to, and how Facebook managed to confirm everyone's suspicions about its ethics. Whew! What a week, y'all. Chat Monday!
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, in light of Y Combinator's bi-annual demo day, Natasha and Alex asked about the utility of the parade of pitches. Our big question:Are demo days outdated?The question comes after Natasha's latest Startups Weekly column, where she looked into the trend of everyone constantly trying to re-invent startup accelerators. We've seen everything from in-person events, to virtual pitch-a-thons, to record efforts, and more. Name it, it's been tried.Today's show is a continuation of that conversation, specifically digging into how demo days served founders in the past, and how they amplify in the present. There's a good bit of factors that jolted things up, including the proliferation of accelerators, a boom in pre-seed funding and the pandemic forcing programming to go remote. We also ask for whom are demo days really for?Listen in to hear what we landed on, disagreed with and picked for founders to focus on today.
Every Monday, Grace and Alex and Kell scour the news and record notes on what's going on to kick off the week.This week had a theme. Which was startups. Lots and lots of startups. Here's the rundown:Markets are mixed this morning, with strong crypto trading results and big news from Tesla.The weekend's leading conversation in the tech and startup world was about this analysis regarding crypto upstarts not giving out board seats to investors. Call it peak founder-friendliness? It's also a huge risk, as investors have taken board seats for a reason, historically. All the same, you gotta win those deals.Y Combinator Demo Day is this week: We are going to see hundreds of startups make their pitch in rapid-fire fashion. Sure, many will have already raised capital, but the capitalist confab is still worth watching. I am looking for API-led startups and any hints about where DAOs are heading, personally.Zepto raised, which TechCrunch covered here, and I had a few thoughts about.The big tech landscape is quiet this week thus far, which means we can focus in on startups. See you at demo day tomorrow!
It was a live recording this week, which was good fun. Our co-host Natasha was off, so Mary Ann and Alex teamed up with Grace to hammer our way through the news of the week live, with friends on Hopin, Twitter Spaces, and other locations on deck to hang out and ask questions.Down a co-host or not, we tackled a whole slew of topics, including:Katie Haun's new mega crypto fund, and why the blockchain world seems to be so capital hungry.The simply bonkers pace at which Jeeves, a fintech startup, has accreted value in successive funding rounds.Ramp's latest round brought up the question of fintech vs. the world, and how startup commentary can at times miss the mark slightly.From there we pivoted to CEO changes at Kickstarter (here) and Cityblock Health (here). The changes were a jumping off point to the never-ending question of when startups should think about replacing their founders as CEOs.And we closed with a look at Forge's neat SPAC launch, and what its positive debut could mean for unicorns more generally.Also you can snag Mary Ann's fintech newsletter here, which is going to launch in short order. Get hype!
We had an illness on the team, so instead of recording our usual Wednesday deep-dive, we reached into our recent archives and pulled the audio from a Twitter space we did the other week. In short, it's a Friday-style episode covering a host of topics, but just a little bit late, and on a different day.The Equity team -- Natasha, Mary Ann, Maggie, Grace, and Alex -- were not about to cut back on feeding you the latest and greatest from the startup world. (Oh, and we have a live show on Thursday, see you there!)What did we talk about? The following:Venture capital rounds for WorkWhile ($13 million) and Alloy Automation ($20 million).Mary Ann's reporting on Forage, focused around where its founders worked before building the fintech startup. Hint: Grocery delivery.Then we dug into the changes at Clearco, and what happens when founder dynamics shift. And we used the story to chat a bit about how the growth focus amongst young tech companies is changing.It was a very good time. Back soon, so chat then!
Every Monday, Grace and Alex scour the news and record notes on what's going on to kick off the week.Markets! The stock market is a bit up and down around the world, but nothing to cause too much concern. Crypto is neutral as well, but with some gains made in the last week.Big news! Anaplan is selling to PE for more than $10 billion. Notably the deal is not cheap, which means that we're seeing private equity get its checkbook out as software company prices come down and become, well, targets.Unicorns! FTX is heading to Australia, more indication that some crypto trading platforms are going to every market that they can. What will happen to smaller crypto platforms? And when does that consolidation land?Startups! Powered by People raises $5 million, CommerceIQ raises $115 million, and Sequoia debuts Arc, which is a non-accelerator accelerator.Our live show is this week! Which means you can come hang out while we record our Friday episode on Thursday. Snag a free ticket here, or tune in on Twitter spaces!
This week our comrade Mary Ann was off, so Natasha and Alex teamed up with Grace on the dials to chat through the week's biggest news. Here's what our dynamic got into:Webflow's new round: Nine-figures of capital at a revenue multiple north of 40x? What is this, 2021? Nope, just the latest capital infusion for the no-code website company.All Raise's new CEO: The work of diversifying the venture capital market is far from over, and one group working to move the needle not only has plans to change the industry -- but also her own team.Funds: Natasha's coverage of fund-of-funds fit into news that SoftBank is turning one if its funds into an evergreen-vehicle, and Alex chatted through the numbers about Series A, B, and C rounds in the United States. Funds are maturing, experimenting and evolving into interesting vehicles. Maybe it's time we start covering them more on the show again (and check out our latest Wednesday episode for a Tiger Global-themed chat)What to know about China: From crashing stock prices to rocketing stock prices, it's been a week for Chinese equities. And startups appear increasingly caught in the crossfire.And then, crypto: From news about a hot new crypto deal to NFTs coming to Instagram, it feels impossible to avoid the blockchain world these days.We are back next week with our full team, and a live show. So, chat you Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday live!
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, Natasha and Alex asked: Will Tiger's second act live up to its first? The question comes after Natasha's latest Startups Weekly column, where she looked into one example of how Tiger Global's stamp of approval is coming for the early stage. Today's conversation is a continuation of that topic, but broadened with examples, context, and of course, some jokes as well.Before digging into the question, we walked through some historical venture shakeups, looking specifically at Andreessen Horowitz, SoftBank and ultimately Tiger Global's own jolt to the startup ecosystem. Remember when we weren't numb to mega-funds, and due diligence was contrarian?Then we get into why Tiger is turning to invest in early-stage companies, now of all times (hack: listen to our episode on market re-correction for some background).We spoke about Tiger cutting a new check into AngelList, and the resulting window it gets. A new-ish AngelList fund has hella Tiger vibes, notably.There's also a conversation to be had about how Tiger's late-stage playbook scales to the early-stage, which made us talk about due diligence, ownership, and fund structures.And speaking of evergreen funds, here's an evergreen reminder to take advantage of code “EQUITY” when subscribing to TechCrunch+ for a hefty discount, and gratitude from your favorite trio of tech nerds.We somehow fit YC in too, because why not.All told the 2022 venture capital market is shaping up to be a very different beast than what we saw in 2021, and not only because Tiger is changing up its own posture. What we saw last year might prove a high-water mark for venture for a long time to come. So, stay tuned.
This week, Natasha is running the show, which means we're returning to our private market focus and, for the fun of it, reminding you all that Pete Davidson is getting high soon. This is going to be a busy week for the team, so expect our sassiness to only increase as the days roll forward. Here's what I got into today:Markets have mixed feelings, thanks to the war in Ukraine, COVID-19, supply chain delays, inflation, and all around high tensions. This includes crypto, mind you.Instead of big tech, I talked about a big idea: Everyone is launching a fund to fund other funds, which is a reminder just how much relationships in VC have changed (and how much the appetite for emerging fund managers is growing). Experiments aren't just fun, they could bring big returns.I got into two top of mind deals: Sayso, which wants to change your accent, and Moove, which wants to bring car ownership from luxury to reality across the entire continent of Africa.And of course we have to end with the fact that it is Mary Ann's birthday, so follow her on Twitter but definitely don't e-mail her. We are so thankful to have you as part of the show, and a go-to friend for all things fintech and existential. You can find me on Twitter @nmasc_ and the show @equitypod.
This was saw Equity back on the live-taping game, with Mary Ann, Natasha, and Alex gathering with Grace and the TechCrunch video team (shoutout Julio and Yashad!) to chat through the week's news. Naturally we had to cut like all hell, but we had a simply terrific time traipsing through the following items:AngelList Ventures raising a $100 million round, and what the deal seems to mean. Mara snagging $6 million for a business that had us all hype, and the Public-Otis tie-up from earlier in the week were also on the docket.Then we worked through the history of the Better.com rolling fiasco, which took a fresh turn through well-trod ground this week by messing up layoffs. Can Better.com get better at being a dotcom? We wrote up a whole thread of what went down on our Twitter.Then we nattered on the recent Acorns and Kin Insurance rounds, following what happens when a company decides that a SPAC is no longer the proper fit for its fundraising and exit plans. Alex has more here. It reminded us of our recent Wednesday episode, when we asked if fintech is playing offense or defense these days. And we closed on a grip of news from Africa, where startups are raising more money, more quickly, and taking part in more accelerators than ever before. Make sure you follow Tage Kene-Okafor and Annie Njanja for fresh reporting on startups across the continent.We do live tapings every two weeks, so come to the next one! This time, we gave away a SXSW ticket, next time, who knows!
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, Natasha and Alex connected a slew of seemingly-unrelated news items to answer a big question:How do we balance community and capitalism?The original question we sought to explore was "can you buy a community?" The answer to that question, after further exploration, felt obvious enough: no, so no what? Combining Epic Games' recent acquisition of Bandcamp, Commsor's latest raise, and Lolita Taub's new venture firm, community has a set of sharper standards around it. And nobody wants to let the buzzword go unchecked.Evergreen reminder to take advantage of code “EQUITY” when subscribing to TechCrunch+ for a hefty discount, and gratitude from your favorite trio of tech nerds.We're really enjoying using our Wednesday show to chat through trends and major topics. Tweet us with things you want us to hit on, if you have a particular bee in your bonnet!
Hello and welcome back to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. Every Monday, Grace and Alex scour the news and record notes on what's going on to kick off the week.As before, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was top of mind, but lots of other things were going on so we had more than plenty to yammer about:The global stock market is taking more body-blows in the wake of rising oil prices and geopolitical instability.EA and Epic are pulling titles from Russia, as other companies have made similar moves; the tech industry has made its stance clear that doing business in Russia is off-limits for some time.FTX is moving into Europe, which struck me as big news, while Klarna reported earnings (more to come on that front).Circular.io raised $10 million for tech talent recruiting, and Founders Fund put together $5 billion for new funds.Closing out, there's an Apple event tomorrow!So, yeah, it's busy out there. Our live show is this Thursday, mind, and if you want to hang out with us while we record, head here to get a free ticket.
Since the birth of Equity in mid-March of 2017, Chris Gates has been part of the team. Indeed, he helped found the show, and over the next half-decade produced and edited hundreds of episodes. He was, in short, a pillar of the team, and a key driver of how show operated day to day. Which is to say that he brought kindness, and warmth, and care to our work. As one of our colleagues put it, TechCrunch's podcast history can't be written without his name as a huge part of it.Sadly for the Equity team, but equally good news for his new employer, Chris's last day was last Friday. So we gathered to record a special episode of sorts.Natasha, Alex, and Chris sat down and played back a number of clips from the show, including our first-every episode, the first time that Natasha was on the podcast. That sort of thing. And we said some nice things about Chris at the same time.Technically Equity's birthday isn't for a week or two, but we decided to hybridize our look-back with Chris's exit. After all, we're an earnest team that needed a minute (or 30) to sit and be earnest.If you are an Equity listener, don't worry too much. We still have Grace Mendenhall on the production team, so we are in good hands. And we've added Maggie Stamets in recent weeks as well, who has been doing an ace job thus far helping us write and record. Finally, Kell is helping edit our babble down into usable content.So as with prior Equity exits -- Matthew Lynley, Katie Roof, Connie Loizos, Kate Clark, Danny Crichton -- we are hugging it out, and getting back to work.More to come! We're not going anywhere! But we will miss Chris. A lot.
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, Natasha and Alex brought on Mary Ann for a special fintech episode, perhaps our spiciest of the year so far. We asked:Are fintech startups playing offense or defense today?To start, we spoke about Ramp and Pipe's latest moves (here, here), which include moving into the travel space and branching out into media and entertainment, respectively, and how they reflect the broader fintech competitive landscape.We even played out a scenario in which we decide if two of the buzziest fintechs will ever compete with each other. (Answer: Yes.)Before you go, make sure you subscribe to Mary Ann's new fintech newsletter and check out her recent TechCrunch+ investor survey from top investors in this noisy sector. Evergreen reminder to take advantage of code "EQUITY" when subscribing to TechCrunch+ for a hefty discount, and gratitude from your favorite trio of tech nerds.Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 a.m. PST, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts.
Every Monday, Grace and Alex scour the news and record notes on what's going on to kick off the week.This weekend was yet another that was full of news from Ukraine, which meant that the tech market was slightly quieter than usual. But not so quiet that we didn't have lots to chat about, so here's the latest:The Russian startup market isn't huge -- data here -- but when we consider the number of startups in Ukraine as well, the impact of Russia's war and the world's sanctions will bite. Russia is also tangling with American tech giants, which isn't going well.Over the weekend, the American Republican Party bashed large American tech companies. Gone are the days when the GOP was a reliable simp for corporate power. Today it's more fashionable to pump SPACs like TMTG, or Rumble.Weee! raised a huge sum from the second Vision Fund, we report, and OneCard is set to raise a massive round in short order, despite how recently it announced its preceding round. (Oh, and this looks very neat.)And Zip is buying Sezzle, in more BNPL market consolidation. A sign of the times, we decide.That is our show! Lots more to come this week, so get ready!
Today we gathered to do our live show, something that was scheduled a long time ago. Obviously, the world's condition has changed since. So, we sat down and tore up our notes doc and put most of the show on hold. What we wound up recording was short, and frankly a little bit raw and from the gut.But it just didn't feel right for us to sit and chit chat about funding rounds and executive shuffles when Russia is busy invading a democracy under false pretenses. TechCrunch has some notes on the situation for the tech world in Ukraine, which is worth a read.That's it from us. Equity will return in short order when we have our heads on straight. Hugs, and godspeed.Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 a.m. PST, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts.
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, Natasha and Alex asked:How has the great resignation changed the way startups hire? The conversation started with defining the Great Resignation and sharing numbers to back the sentiment that everyone can't stop talking about. As always, the flowed to naturally care more about the employees within startups, and their feelings, than employers and the power they've traditionally sat atop. To check our 'what about VC' box, we talked through what startups are facing today in terms of a labor market, how it has changed, and how they might be able to compete with big-tech's big dollars. After all, is any company going to be able to beat Meta on comp? Probably not.Alex thinks VCs are the new recruiters, which will help startups some. From the other angle -- putting labor in our remit and not capital, for once -- Natasha wants to ditch her 9-5 to represent Shopify employees, it seems. We won't let her, naturally.Closing, it appears that the forces driving more venture capital into early-stage companies are not too far from the causes of the labor shortage. Everyone is looking for return, either on their labor, or their capital. And that means a tight hiring market, and picky workers.https://techcrunch.com/2022/02/19/arlan-hamilton-wants-to-reroute-how-startups-hire/Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 a.m. PST, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts.
Every Monday, or Tuesday, Grace and Alex scour the news and record notes on what's going on to kick off the week.We are a day late here thanks to the American holiday, which means that it's going to be a short week -- here at least. But that doesn't mean that things are slow. In fact, the opposite:Russian military aggression in Ukraine is hammering the global stock market, although not everywhere it's worth noting. Crypto prices are also flat to down, generally. Most crypto tokens are off sharply in the last week.SoFi is buying Technisys for $1.1 billion. The deal isn't receiving rave reviews from Wall Street, but for the consumer fintech the concept of bringing its own infra in-house does make pretty good sense.TRUTH Social launched, and struggled to handle early demand. Which is funny given how long it took to build. TechCrunch has more here.FTX.us wants to bring crypto to a game near you. The Verge has the key quote here, I will not, but it failed to lift my general skepticism.And we have so much more here, regarding startups.It's going to be a busy, hectic week. And one full of stress, given the state of the world. So, no rest! More coffee! We can do this!
This is Saturday, which means it's not a usual day for us to drop an episode. But what are we if not try-hards at heart? So, we're back today.What do we have on store for you? I brought Anshu Sharma onto the podcast -- and a Twitter space, so make sure you are following the podcast, yeah? -- to chat interest rates, technology growth, startup valuations, and how they all tie together. Sharma was the right person to have on the show because he's been a big tech employee (Oracle, Salesforce), an investor (Storm Ventures, and as an angel), and he's a founder to boot. So he's been around not just the block, but several in the world of technology over time.TechCrunch has covered SkyFlow, his startup, a few times including its most recent fundraise.https://techcrunch.com/2022/02/16/welcome-to-the-post-pandemic-economy-startups/Sharma finds some of the in-market worry about rising rates harming tech stocks silly. His thesis boils down to the value of growth on a longer time-horizon than what a DCF-tuned spreadsheet might tell you. That said, rising rates will impact some startup inputs, like venture funds in the medium-term, so there was a lot to chew on.We try to keep Equity pretty high-level, and focused on discrete events. But why have a show if you can't use it to scratch your own itches from time to time?The pod is back on Tuesday due to an American holiday this Monday. Chat soon!
This week, Natasha and Alex and Mary Ann got together with Chris and Grace to rock our regular Friday news roundup. This time, however, with extra zip as we're staring down a long weekend that, let's be clear, everyone needs.Regardless, here's the show rundown:Don't call us your metamate, friend.Startups news of the week: Ro raises even more, Airbase partners with Amex, and Deel wants to give employers a way to fund their payroll in crypto, no matter where their employees are based.The crypto regulatory world is heating up, with news from both India and the United States to chew on. Our read is that some regulation is good, but not every loss can be spun as a win.We also took a look at the mental health market for people of color through the lens of MindFi in the APAC region, and She Matters here in the United States. We had some startup-style questions, but are generally bullish about the companies.And we closed with the cannabis market of both Germany, and the United States. Alex and Natasha are bullish on, well, all of it while Mary Ann nurses a hemp allergy.Woot! We're off Monday, but back Tuesday. Hugs!
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, Natasha and Alex asked:What can startups learn from the rise, and now struggles, of Hopin? For companies that grew like weed, what's next? In the show, we talked through Hopin's meteoric rise and why we called them the fastest growth story of the era, comparable or better than what Slack and other well-known growth stories managed during their own ascent. However, with Hopin now cutting staff after raising mountains of cash and buying a half-dozen smaller companies, it's clear that hyper-scaling has limits.The economy is changing, again, which is also going to shake up which startups have tailwinds, and which have headwinds. Just like it did before. Hopin is perhaps a very visible canary, but it is hardly the only startup that rode COVID-19's economic disruptions to new heights, which means it won't be the only company left to navigate a changed world when the winds shift.https://techcrunch.com/2022/02/12/its-not-a-startup-reckoning-its-a-recorrection/
Every Monday, Grace and Alex scour the news, and record notes on what's going on to kick off the week. Today we had were reeling in the wake of the American football championship, and the fact that is once again snowing where Alex lives. Alas.But snow or not, the news was fascinating:We chewed on the Just Eat delisting situation, which appears to be a cost-cutting move. Delivery Hero is also struggling, and the value of Deliveroo is in the toilet. So it's not clear that European food delivery will wind up being the business that many expected it to be. What about in America? We get DoorDash earnings in due time, so we'll learn more but the news doesn't augur well.And shares of Splunk are set to rise sharply this morning in the wake of late Friday news that Cisco is interested in buying Splunk for around $20 billion. Normally such a deal wouldn't excite us much as Splunk hasn't been a startup for a long time, but the deal possibility does say that anti-trust concerns aren't stopping some major firms from pursuing big deals.From the startup world, two rounds: $20 million for Gaia, which Alex thinks has a brilliant idea, and TripleDot, which raised $116 million for its causal games. Don't sleep on the gaming market. It's just flat huge.And to close we yammered about crypto ads in the football game, which were expensive, but appear to be having a nice effect for the companies in question. More soon!
We had the full crew aboard today for our live taping, headed by our killer production team Grace and Chris, and hosting crew Mary Ann, Natasha and Alex. Overall, it was a success? Our streaming tech took us to various Internet platforms, and people came to Hopin and asked questions. Thank you! It's always a risk to do something new, so thank you for making it a win.But enough of all that, what did we talk about? Here's the rundown:Funding rounds from Mos (edtech + fintech), Alchemy (blockchain infra), and Cooks Venture (patented chickens). The last round got the most attention during the recording, leading to questions about the ethics of eating meat.Peloton's news, and the pandemic effect on companies was up next. Or more specifically, the changing impact of the pandemic on companies. Peloton is suffering in the pandemic's wake (although some argue that is due more to mismanagement than the pandemic), but other companies are coming out of the dip in reasonable form.From there we dug into the ethics of venture capitalists having side hustles as consultants. Our read is that the setup is possible to be done ethically, and as the investing market grow a cohort of check-writers with smaller AUMs, some additional work to pay the bills can be unavoidable. The drama was illustrative, if more rude than it needed to be.And we closed with insurtech. After insurtech stocks got hammered, there's some optimism that better days are up ahead.Whew! We're back with another live show in two weeks. Until then, we're back to normal!
This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic, think about a question and unpack the rest. This week, Natasha and Alex crawled through the Metaverse, leaning on Facebook's latest earnings and Microsoft's newest appetite as somewhat of a map.Our question, after much thinking, gets into the heart of what the Metaverse is built for:Will the metaverse be for work, or for play? We're not picking sides, necessarily, but exploring how two companies within Big Tech are staking bets in the digital world, and how we think those bets will shake out long term for them and the startups that look up to them.Facebook seems to be taking a work-styled approach, Microsoft is big in games, and startups are trying a host of different methods for building our digital next. Who is right? Who will win? And how will we get here? That's what we wanted to dive into.The Satya Nadella interview that we mentioned is here, as well as Natasha's piece on virtual HQs.