Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.
We got the crew together — Natasha and Danny and Alex — this time ’round to talk fraud, one of our favorite topics. Sure, we’ve riffed on the ups and downs at Luckin, and we’ve spent more time talking about WeWork’s implosion than we want to admit. But that’s not the most recent stuff. There’s been a raft of fraud lately which caught our eye. The heart of today’s episode is a question about fraud, and what more of it might mean: Does more fraud indicate that we’re in a growing bubble, or that we’re in the later stages of a bubble about to burst?
Here’s what we got into to help us understand our question:
- OpenSea admits incident as top exec is accused of trading NFTs on insider information — NFTs are good fun until the market for them is bent in the favor of insiders!
- Goldman Sachs, Ozy Media and a $40 Million Conference Call Gone Wrong — How to not get money from Goldman Sachs and possibly sink your company at the same time!
- App Annie and co-founder charged with securities fraud, will pay $10M+ settlement — If you tell your customers that you won’t use their data in a particular manner, and then you do, and possibly commit something akin to securities fraud at the same time, what happens? This!
- Turning to historical examples, we also brought up Nikola and Luckin and Theranos to help us draw a line around what its fraud, and what is not.
- With definitions out of the way, we ended this episode by trying to answer our complex, core question. We won’t spoil the eventual conclusion, but here’s a hint: checks are flying fast into startups with minimal due diligence, and it looks like there’s much more money coming.