Acquisitions are heating up, and Mercury eyes the fintech crown

Equity
856 Episodes • Last Episode: May 17, 2024

Finally, some good news! This week, we were pleasantly surprised to see that FTX’s fraud victims would be getting some money back — even if it’s not as much as they might have hoped.

That wasn’t all, though: Mary Ann Azevedo, Kirsten Korosec and Alex Wilhelm had plenty else to talk about this week on Equity.

We discussed why investors are drawn to Amae Health, which is building an in-person approach to mental healthcare in an increasingly digital space. We were also curious about Lucid Bots, a North Carolina startup that started out building drones to clean windows in tall buildings and has now become a robotics company.

Kirsten helped us understand what was behind Motional’s decision to delay its commercial robotaxi plans amid its restructuring, and the wider context around that.

We then dug into digital banking startup Mercury’s plans to branch out into software, and how it now fits into the increasingly crowded spend management landscape. There were also three M&A deals to go over this week (here, here and here), and we celebrated how refreshing that was considering M&A activity has been lighter than expected. (Spoiler: AI was involved in at least two of them.)

Last but certainly not least, we close out the show with an announcement: After seven amazing years, Alex’s time with the podcast, and TechCrunch, is coming to a close. We’re excited to see what he does next, but we are sure going to miss him dearly. Thank you for everything, Alex!

This is not, however, the end of Equity. We’ll be back bright and early Monday morning with your tech and startup news, along with another round of Pitch Deck Teardown. Talk soon!

Equity is TechCrunch’s flagship podcast, produced by Theresa Loconsolo, and posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts.

You also can follow Equity on X and Threads at @EquityPod. For the full episode transcript, for those who prefer reading over listening, check out our full archive of episodes over at Simplecast.

Equity

Hosts

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Mary Ann Azevedo

Senior Reporter

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Kirsten Korosec

Transportation Editor

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Alex Wilhelm

Senior Reporter

Latest

Equity

Episodes

If there was one thing we heard about this week, it was AI. As a matter of fact, there were so many AI updates to…

AI’s busy week, and why the heck are so many VCs leaving their firms?

When Newchip, an online accelerator promising to help startups, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2023, it was revealed that the company had just…

Newchip’s bankruptcy serves as a cautionary tale to founders

OpenAI gears up for a big announcement, and Apple Store workers authorize a strike

Last week was a busy one for some Apple Store employees. Over the weekend, workers at Apple’s Towson, Maryland, store — the first Apple retail store to have a formally recognized union — voted to authorize a strike. While the date of the strike is still being determined, the union has been negotiating with Apple…

OpenAI gears up for a big announcement, and Apple Store workers authorize a strike

Good news, crypto founders! Venture capital activity is picking up in the sector, recovering from the multiyear lows investments fell to in late 2023. Put…

$450M for Noname, two billion-dollar rounds, and good news for crypto startups

News that Jack Dorsey is out at Bluesky caused a stir this weekend. After all, Dorsey is a former Twitter co-founder and CEO, so his investment of…

Dorsey leaves Bluesky, tech giants do more with less, and the next IPO

The downturn in venture capital funding has impacted startups, VC firms, and accelerators alike. One company in the final category, Techstars, has been shaking up…

Inside TC’s Techstars investigation and how AI is accelerating disability tech

A new venture capital supergroup is forming

Startups are not shying away from big projects. That’s my takeaway from news that The Browser Company’s Arc browser is now generally available for Windows users, just as Island raised a massive grip of capital for its enterprise-focused browser tool. It’s very encouraging to see startups going after core pieces of technology and not just…

A new venture capital supergroup is forming

Hans Tung, a managing partner at Notable Capital, formerly GGV Capital, has a lot of thoughts on the state of venture capital today. With $4.2 billion…

Notable Capital’s Hans Tung on why founders need to play the long game

We’re off to an AI-heavy start to the week. OpenAI has a new deal with the Financial Times that caught our eye. Sure, it’s another…

Musk’s xAI shows there’s more money on the sidelines for AI startups

Good news for Rubrik, bad news for TikTok and medium news for early-stage startups

Rubrik’s strong IPO pricing and warm reception by the public markets after its listing add more weight to the perspective that the public markets are not as closed to tech startups as some thought. If Rubrik’s result isn’t enough to break the logjam, well, maybe there’s something else going on. But there was a lot more that…

Good news for Rubrik, bad news for TikTok and medium news for early-stage startups

Well, if you are a big TikTok fan and live in the United States, I have some bad news for you: A bill that would…

The TikTok ban clears key hurdle while Perplexity AI continues to shake up search

Equity discusses the latest market news, upcoming earnings, IPOs, and what impact — if any — the recent bitcoin halving had on its value.

Salesforce’s silly deal dies, Rubrik’s IPO, and venture capital in space

To some investors, “down round” is a dirty phrase, but not to Notable Capital’s Hans Tung. Hans is a managing partner at Notable Capital, formerly…

Notable Capital’s Hans Tung on the state of VC and the upside to down rounds

It’s been more than a minute since Tesla went public, but the EV company was inescapable on TechCrunch this week. From layoffs to pricing changes…

Tesla’s newsy week, and is fintech having a moment?

What is worth $11 billion and wants to go to Mars to collect rocks? NASA’s mission to Mars to collect rocks that was expected to…

Andreessen Horowitz’s $7.2B new funds for a ‘new era’

Today on Equity, Tesla cuts staff, and OpenAI has plans for an office in Tokyo along with a new GPT-4 model for the Japanese language.

OpenAI plans new Tokyo office, Tesla lays offs thousands

When it comes to news items that we love at TechCrunch, IPOs rank pretty darn high. Another great newsy bit that comes along less frequently…

Beeper acquired by Automattic, fintech’s decline and YC’s lack of LatAm founders

Today on Equity we dig into Multiverse’s acquisition of Searchlight, Guesty’s massive Series F, Monad Labs and Cyera’s mega-round.

A $60M venture fund with a twist, and more startup-on-startup acquisitions

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…

Could Congress actually pass a data privacy law?

The AI boom, love it or find it to be a bit more hype than substance, is here to stay. That means lots of companies…

What we’ve learned from the women behind the AI revolution

What a week, everyone. Two full days of Y Combinator demo day activity kept us busy, but the latest accelerator cohort’s launch was far from…

From YC to IPO: Winter 2024 Demo Day, Rubrik and Ibotta

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…

Nvidia might be clouding the funding climate for AI chip startups, but Hailo is still fighting

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…

Ads on Discord, AT&T passcode resets and podcast changes for Android users

Hello, and welcome to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. This is our Friday…

Databricks’ GPT rival and who’s investing in ‘underdog’ founders

Wonderschool, a startup that provides software and support to help individuals and local governments spin up childcare businesses, has acquired EarlyDay, which operates an early…

Why a16z-backed Wonderschool is acquiring EarlyDay

Today on Equity, Alex talks stocks around the world, crypto prices, and the weekend’s biggest news: The the exit of Stability AI’s CEO, the EU’s…

Spotify throws its hat in the edtech ring

Hello, and welcome to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. This is our Friday…

A $700M SAFE, IPOs are back and how one venture fund is transcending borders

Hello, and welcome back to Equity, the podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. This is our…

Astera Labs goes public, and the Inflection-Microsoft AI saga continues

Hello, and welcome back to Equity, the podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. This is our…

LinkedIn wants a piece of Wordle’s success

Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts. Hello, and welcome back to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and…

How to avoid all the IPO work without annoying investors