TechCrunch+ roundup: 3 views on Epic-Bandcamp deal, SPAC letdown, CIO sales strategy

You are more likely to close a sale if you have actionable insights into your prospective customer’s needs. But for enterprise software startups, this presents a special problem.

Unless you’re a former CIO who already has a clear understanding of the decision-making process, you can only fall back on basic best practices that usually result in a generic sales pitch: “How do you do, fellow CIOs?”

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Ridge Ventures partner and five-time CIO Yousuf Khan wrote a column for TechCrunch+ that explores “what CIOs look for in solutions and how you can tailor your sales approach accordingly.”

Over timer founders and sales teams who adopt this mindful approach can turn customers into assets, says Khan.

“Good relationships with executive buyers can help shape your company as it grows, ultimately serving as an unofficial advisory board of the top leaders and experts within your customer base.”

Thanks very much for reading TechCrunch+, and have a great weekend.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch+

Just how wrong were those SPAC projections?

Using a special purpose acquisition company to go public was a popular fad in 2020 and 2021, but many startups that took this shortcut into the public markets haven’t done very well.

In fact, most of these companies failed spectacularly when it came to meeting the goals they’d set before taking themselves public, writes Alex Wilhelm in The Exchange.

The poor performance of many SPAC stocks is, in one way or another, the result of companies trying to “extract more value from the market than they can offer regular shareholders,” he writes.

“And that’s the problem — if SPACs had been used more conservatively, they could have leveraged their moment in the sun as a way to get more companies public that deserved it.”

As war escalates in Europe, it’s ‘shields up’ for the cybersecurity industry

Cropped Hand Holding Umbrella During Rainfall

Photo: Rosley Majid / EyeEm /Getty Images

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a notice after Russia invaded Ukraine warning about the potential for state-sponsored cyber attacks:

“Every organization — large and small — must be prepared to respond to disruptive cyber activity,” it advised.

Blanket warnings are hard to act on, but now that virtually all information is stored remotely and employees are widely distributed, CISA’s “shields up” advisory has special urgency.

3 views on the Epic-Bandcamp deal

BANGKOK, THAILAND - 2018/05/18: The BandCamp application seen displayed on a Android Sony smartphone. (Photo by Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Image Credits: SOPA Images (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The news that Epic Games will purchase Bandcamp took many industry watchers by surprise, but many of the musicians who rely on Bandcamp to support themselves are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Both companies said little will change following the deal, but that’s a song digital creators have heard before.

“Artists recognize that when a platform changes ownership, even the smallest tweaks can impact their livelihoods,” writes Amanda Silberling in a three-handed opinion column with Devin Coldewey and Alex Wilhelm.

  • Amanda Silberling: Big money + Big Tech = skeptical artists
  • Devin Coldewey: Epic wants to be the organic, free-range alternative
  • Alex Wilhelm: Let’s see what Bandcamp can do with money, reach and power

4 basic elements required for running production OSS smoothly

[#Beginning of Shooting Data Section] Nikon COOLPIX8700 Focal Length: 71.2mm White Balance: Auto Digital Zoom Ratio: 1.00 2006/01/01 10:59:56 Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority AF Mode: AF-S Saturation comp: 0 JPEG (8-bit) Fine Metering Mode: Multi-Pattern Tone Comp.: Auto Sharpening: Auto Image Size: 3264 x 2448 1/96.1 sec - F/4.2 Flash Sync Mode: Not Attached Noise Reduction: Off Color Exposure Comp.: 0 EV Converter Lens: None Sensitivity: ISO 100 [#End of Shooting Data Section]

Image Credits: kevin balluff (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Open source software gives companies a lot of leeway when it comes to building a tech stack that meets their requirements, but it also means dealing with software created by multiple entities and individuals.

In an in-depth how-to, Shaun O’Meara, global field CTO at Mirantis, walks readers through the four basic elements for using OSS in production:

  • Auditing
  • Staying up to date
  • Preparing your team to interact with the code source
  • Accepting that doing it all on your own may be impossible

What US startup founders need to know about the R&D tax credit

Benjamin Franklin portrait on one hundred dollar bill in torn paper hole, close-up

Image Credits: FireflyLight (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

For a founder who’s bootstrapping an early-stage startup, $250,000 could change their company’s trajectory.

In the U.S., firms that qualify can deduct as much as $250K each year in payroll taxes to offset money spent on research and development.

“Over several years, this credit could save you millions of dollars,” writes CPA and tax accountant Ardy Esmaeili, who breaks down the minutiae of R&D tax laws and the qualifying criteria.

Waabi’s Raquel Urtasun on the importance of differentiating your startup

raquel-urtasun founder Waabi autonomous vehicle company

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

Before launching autonomous vehicle technology firm Waabi, Raquel Urtasun was a professor, an AI researcher and the founder of Uber’s self-driving unit, Uber ATG.

But building a company from scratch was a challenge unlike any other, she says.

“I’ve really had to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve spent so many years in AI, as an academic, and it’s been very successful, to the point that things were almost a given,” she told Rebecca Bellan in an interview.

“And then suddenly, there was this new world that I didn’t know about, and I had to learn very, very quickly. So that definitely stretched me in many ways.”

Corporations are scrambling to get into the venture game

Corporate venture capital spending soared in 2021 as businesses injected “gobs of parent-company cash into far-smaller concerns,” reported Anna Heim and Alex Wilhelm in The Exchange.

Last year, funding for 4,661 CVC deals totaled $169.3B, a spike from $70.1B across 3,356 deals in 2020, setting a new record. The most notable change? “Corporate venture arms’ participation in mega-rounds, or deals worth more than $100 million.”

Alex and Anna dove into the data to study what drove the increase in investments, how funds were distributed geographically, and why Silicon Valley is still a favorite place for CVC funding.