The SPAC trash ticker is counting down

Equity
856 Episodes • Last Episode: May 17, 2024

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week had the whole crew aboard to record: Grace and Chris making us sound good, Danny to provide levity, Natasha to actually recall facts and Alex to divert us from staying on topic. It’s teamwork, people — and our transitions are proof of it.

And it’s good that we had everyone around the virtual table, as there was quite a lot to get through:

  • The team felt all kinds of ways about the Amazon-MGM deal. Some of us are more positive than the rest, but what gists out from the transaction is that for Amazon, the purchase price is modest and the company is famously playing a supposedly long-game. Let’s see how James Bond fits into it. Alex receives four points for not bringing up F1 thanks to the Bond-Aston Martin connection.
  • Turning to the SPAC game, we chatted through the recent Lordstown Motors earnings results, and what we can parse from them regarding blank-check companies, promises and reality.
  • After launching last June with just $2 million, Collab Capital has closed its debut fund at its target goal: $50 million. The Black-led firm invests exclusively in Black-led startups, and got checks from Apple, PayPal and Mailchimp to name a few. We talk about this feat, and note a few other Black-led venture capital firms making waves in the industry lately.
  • We Resolved our transition puns and eventually spoke about the Affirm spin-out, which raised $60 million in a funding round for BNPL for businesses. There are bigger questions there around the accessibility and point of BNPL, and if it’s really re-inventing the wheel or just repackaging it with simpler UX.
  • Next up, we got into a can of worms about the future of meetings thanks to Rewatch, which raised a $20 million Series A this week led by Andreessen Horowitz. The startup helps other startups create internal, private YouTubes to archive their meetings and any video-based comms. We could only spend a second on this, so if you want our longer thoughts in the form of text, check out our three views on the topic on Extra Crunch! (Discount Code: Equity)

https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/28/3-views-on-the-future-of-meetings/?tpcc=ECTW2020

  • From there we had Interactio and Fireflies.ai, two more startups that are tackling the complexities of meetings in the COVID-19 era, and whatever comes next. Both recently raised new funding, and Alex brought up Kudo to add one more upstart to the mix.
  • Noom, a weight loss platform, bulked up with $540 million in funding after nearly doubling its revenue from 2019 to 2020. The pandemic has made many people gain weight, but we chew into why Noom’s moment might be right now after a decade in the works.

Thanks for hanging out this week, Equity is back on Tuesday with our usual weekly kickoff, thanks to the American holiday on Monday. Chat then, unless you want to follow us on Twitter and get a first-look at all of Chris’ meme work. 

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

Dogs of Lordstown

Equity

Hosts

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Alex Wilhelm

Senior Reporter

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Natasha Mascarenhas

Senior Reporter

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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

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…

Acquisitions are heating up, and Mercury eyes the fintech crown

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