Fortnite’s funding royale, China struggles and Coinbase gets a boost to $8 billion

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week, we missed Alex Wilhelm, who was sunning himself somewhere (vitamin D deficit), but we had a rollicking time nonetheless with TC’s very excellent VC reporter Kate Clark, along with our always dependable co-host Danny Crichton and, in a bit of perfect timing, investor Brad Twohig of Lightspeed Venture Partners, whose firm participated in one of the week’s biggest financings, a $1.25 billion round for Epic Games, maker of the gaming smash hit “Fortnite.”

It wasn’t just a lot of moolah for Epic, which was founded roughly 25 years ago but unleashed “Fortnite” on the world roughly a year ago. The deal is fascinating because Epic is one of the hottest stories of the year and, as Twohig allowed, probably also one of most the most oversubscribed fundings of 2018, so we wanted to talk with him about how it all went down.

Also on the docket this week: sinking stock prices in China. Video games and the politics behind them are causing huge problems in the country, and Tencent (which conveniently owns a sizable stake in Epic Games), has lost almost 40 percent of its value this year over fears about China’s crackdown on the sector. In fact, huge losses across the board for Chinese stocks are putting enormous pressure on IPOs; we took a lot at whether that contagion could possibly hit Silicon Valley.

And we talked about Coinbase, which is now valued at a whopping $8 billion by investors that provided the company with $300 million in new funding, even as the value of most cryptocurrencies continues to fall through the floor.

What will Coinbase look like when it’s all grown up? Investors like Tiger Global, Wellington Management and Y Combinator clearly have a better idea than we do, but we took at a stab at it anyway!

Last but not least, we definitely dished about IBM and the major feat it pulled off last weekend, which was to close the largest software acquisition in history by announcing its intention to acquire open-source cloud provider Red Hat for $34 billion. Not only does it change the dynamics of the cloud wars between IBM, Google, Amazon and Microsoft, but the deal is also very much about open source, as Twohig noted.

Not discussed, but still interesting: how deeply satisfying the deal must be for Red Hat’s founders, one of whom, former CEO Bob Young, was reportedly unemployed and working out of his wife’s sewing closet when he started Red Hat in 1993.

We think/hope you’ll enjoy this one.

Also, we were kidding about Alex. He has a surplus of personality, not a deficit of vitamin D. (Also, he was stuck in a meeting when we were recording.)

See you next week, everyone.

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