TechCrunch, Chris Gates, Alex Wilhelm, Danny Crichton, Natasha Mascarenhas, Grace Mendenhall

Equity: A podcast about the business of startups.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Alex Wilhelm, Natasha Mascarenhas, and Mary Ann Azevedo unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. We wade through the hype to keep you up to date on the world of business, technology and venture capital.

All Episodes

Find the Found feed here: https://pod.link/foundNot only is this week's guest the TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 Battlefield winner, but Nabiha Saklayen is also democratizing access to life-saving cell therapies by using—you guessed it—lasers. Nabiha is the co-founder and CEO of Cellino which is a company developing the tech to automate stem cell production that will lower the cost of cell therapies and increase the yield of viable cells. In this episode, Nabiha tells Jordan and Darrell how she built a start-up beginning with the tech and finding a business fit, her evolving leadership style, and why this work is crucial to the biomedical field.Take our listener survey and let us know a bit about yourself and what you think of FOUND.Connect with us:On TwitterOn InstagramVia email: found@techcrunch.comCall us and leave a voicemail at (510) 936-1618

Nov 26

49 min 17 sec

This is our Wednesday episode when we niche down to a single topic, looking to expand our understanding of one particular technology trend or another. And this week, it was all about the ConstitutionDAO.For those who weren't online last week, here's what you missed: a not-so-subtle group of strangers on the internet banded together to try to buy one of the remaining thirteen copies for the constitution. With crypto. The bold bid eventually fell short, but many saw it as an inspiring onramp into how communities can mobilize around a shared goal in a Web3 world. The whole movement, from its meme start to its poetic, and billionaire Ken Griffin-themed, end, was just too interesting for Equity to not dedicate an entire episode to.So, Natasha and Alex brought on Lucas Matney and Anita Ramaswamy to unpack, decompress, and bond over our shared experience of witnessing this 'financial flash mob.'We talked about what a DAO is, and what they might be used for. We dug into the question of just how many folks the effort really brought to the larger "Web3" space. And, of course, we had to talk about gas fees, NFTs, and the pace of innovation in crypto more broadly. Lucas even broke out an excellent analogy to explain level-two chains!The crew were generally bullish on the blockchain economy, if skeptical of some of its current uses. In short, the potential remains potent in crypto even if some of its projects, today at least, are a bit more boring than breakthrough. Crypto, we're told, is going to shake up the world. More of that, we reckon, and less of the meme-wars wouldn't be amiss.

Nov 24

27 min 59 sec

Happy Monday everyone, and welcome to a holiday week here in the United States. Yes, we here in the good ol' States will be off the second half of this week. TechCrunch won't grind to a halt, but we will certainly slow down a little bit. But, that doesn't mean that we didn't have a lot to talk about this morning:Shares of Indian fintech giant Paytm fell further today, after a very disappointing first-days trading last Thursday. The company now has lot of ground to make up just to get back to zero.Facebook is delaying the rollout of E2E encryption until 2023, which has us a bit bummed.Also in big tech news, ByteDance is calling it quits on edtech in India.Turning the page to startups, we chatted through three news items this morning: Jina.ai raised $30 million, Deliverr raised $250 million, and Lydia added equity and crypto trading to its French financial superapp.And we closed on the just what the point of a DAO is.Woo! We are back Wednesday morning. Chat soon!

Nov 22

11 min 46 sec

Good news, everyone: Mary Ann is back! Yes, after a short absence we have our third Friday host back where she belongs. Namely right in front of a microphone, talking to us.And it was good to have her back, as we had a small mountain of news to talk through:OpenSea could be worth $10 billion: Right before we recorded, news broke that OpenSea could raise new capital at a far-greater valuation than it did earlier this year. While we had some jokes, we also did a little math on why OpenSea could really be worth so much money.Other rapid-fire funding rounds: If OpenSea does raise again, it will join good company in putting together several rounds in under a year. Facily has done the same, as has Justt. In short, the old 18-month cycle for raising capital is so dated it might as well get delivered by telegram.Lambda School rebrands:Casper goes private: After a tough time as a public concern, DTC mattress company Casper is going private. Notably its issues have not dampened market interest in taking other DTC companies public.What makes a founder, a founder:We're entering the holiday period, so expect the usual disruptions to Equity's production calendar. We'll be taking short breaks as per usual, but will be recharging some ahead of what should prove to be a very, very busy 2022.

Nov 19

30 min

This is our Wednesday episode when we niche down to a single topic, looking to expand our understanding of one particular technology trend or another. This week? iBuying.Zillow made a decision to get out of the iBuying market, with huge costs hanging over its head and a grip of layoffs to manage. Natasha and Alex were curious what went wrong.So we brought along Ryan Lawler, one of TechCrunch+'s reporting team, who has covered the space for a chat. Ryan helped us use Opendoor earnings as a comparison point -- it turns out that the iBuying model can work, even if Zillow itself struggled with the model. (Opendoor went public via a SPAC, recall.)We also talked about what the situation could mean for startups in the real estate market more broadly. It turns out that merely having data is not enough to make money in the housing space.Equity is back Friday morning with our weekly news roundup, and if all goes well, also back on Saturday with something both special and fun.And if you haven't given our sister podcast, Found, a listen, check it out!

Nov 17

23 min 52 sec

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds, and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here. I also tweet.Tesla shares are off further this morning in the wake of declines following stock sales by Elon Musk. The company retains its $1 trillion market cap, per Yahoo Finance data, but is at risk of losing a comma if it keeps slipping.Elsewhere in Big Tech, Microsoft is making Windows worse, while bitcoin gets an upgradeOn the startup front, we took a look at Writer.com, Zoomo and Rsquared.Up ahead, we have the Braze, Usertesting and Sweetgreen IPOs. Nubank and Paytm are also in the queue.

Nov 15

11 min 27 sec

Friday afternoon the Equity team took to a Twitter Space to hit on a topic that we had to cut from our regular end-of-week show, namely crypto earnings and how Wall Street is digesting the results. And to bring in extra mental horsepower, Natasha and Alex lassoed new TechCruncher Anita Ramaswamy to help.We touched on Coinbase's Q3 financial results and what they tell us about trading incomes, and the company itself. Robinhood's own Q3 results were part of the chat as well, as they showed a similar pattern to what Coinbase disclosed.More companies than just those two, newly-public entities are reporting crypto trading declines. Square did as well, after its bitcoin revenues slipped in Q3. Simply put, consumers traded less crypto in Q3 than they did in Q2, and a number of companies that were recently riding high on that particular volatility cycle had to deal with a down-cycle period.We talked about what the results mean for the noisy world of crypto startups, many of which are looking to the highly-visible Coinbase as an indicator of what they can expect as they attempt to scale in a volatile market.Equity is back Monday!

Nov 13

16 min 41 sec

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 Friday show, a roundup of the week's biggest and most fascinating stories from startups, venture capital and technology.Natasha and Alex along with Grace and Chris had to cut and cut and cut to get the show to fit this week, so if we didn't get to your favorite story, we wanted to. We just ran out of space!Here's the rundown:Twitter Blue: Natasha is not sold, but Alex is all-in on Twitter's new subscription service. What does it include? What do we hope it adds? We have it all for you.Seasoned raised $18.7 million for its frontline worker app and matching service, You.com raised $20 million to continue taking on Google's search hegemony, and Helsing.ai raised a huge pile of money for reasons that we like, even if the details of what it intends to do are still a little vague.INDIAN EDTECHTiger Global's investing rush. Thanks to an act of journalism by our Twitter friend Sar Haribhakti, we had fresh perspective on just how the startup investing community is handling Tiger's race to win growth-stage investing. The Information has more, as does FT and Crunchbase News,And then we were out of minutes! Don't worry, however, Equity is back Monday morning!

Nov 12

30 min 15 sec

This is our Wednesday show, the time of the week when we niche down to a single topic. Today we spoke about the revolution within agriculture otherwise known as vertical farming.Alex and Natasha spoke to Hardware editor Brian Heater, who recently wrote a TC-1 about Bowery Farming spanning over 11,000 words and topics such as the taste of sustainable turnips and produce sections at grocery stores. The core of his multi-part exploration, though, was built around a question: Can Bowery Farms bring the newest and most innovative technologies to bear on civilization’s oldest and most optimized industry?As a result, our episode went down a lot of tasty rabbit holes. We spoke about the current state of vertical farming, the challenges that come with commercialization and our struggling climate, and if your local dairy farm is actually thinking about adding a robot to their staff.There was more to chew on, including the balance between sustainability and profit, how to think about carbon footprints, the commercialization of vertical farming today, and how some folks are spending $30 on a strawberry. We had lovely time and will have Brian back on the pod.Here's the TC-1 if you're interested:Bowery Farming is forcing us all to look up at the future of vertical agriculture (3,500 words/14 minutes) — explores the evolution of vertical farming, it’s expansion in Japan and how Bowery Farming was started to bring indoor farming to the masses in the United States.Hacking lettuce for taste and profit (2,500 words/10 minutes) — evaluates how Bowery collects data from its farms in order to optimize flavor while also potentially expanding its produce line into new categories like strawberries and turnips.Can LEDs ultimately replace the sun? (2,100 words/8 minutes) — investigates two of the most important questions about Bowery Farming: Can it develop a competitive moat with its technology (which it dubs BoweryOS) and just how much environmental benefit can the company derive from its farms?The voracious fight for your salad bowl (3,000 words/12 minutes) — looks at the extremely competitive nature of the produce section at the grocery store and how Bowery intends to build a brand with consumers while finding a route to profitability.The Equity team will be back Friday morning with our weekly roundup. Our hearts go out to Mary Ann who will return to us in due time, and our general ire is reserved for Danny. Because we are still smarting from his divorcing of us for Lux.

Nov 10

32 min 11 sec

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here. I also tweet.The stock market wasn't incredibly dramatic this morning, from an index-viewpoint. Crytpos were slightly more exciting but only moderately. A host of earnings results this week should provide us with fireworks, however.And on the subject of crypto regulation, news from Congress isn't great for fans of coins and chains. And the rising popularity of NFT games could put consumers in bad tax territory.The SoftBank Vision Fund 1 posted poor results, harming SoftBank's earnings, and leading to the company promising a huge share buyback.And Elon Musk made news not only for tweeting some sort of dick joke at an American Senator, but also for polling Twitter regarding whether or not he should sell 10% worth of Tesla shares. That's one way to do corporate governance, I suppose.Matter Labs raised $50 million, while H2O.ai raised $100 million.And weekend chat concerning this piece detailing Google's history with AMP underscores just how much trust is being lost between major American tech companies and their communities.We are back Wednesday! Hugs!

Nov 8

11 min 8 sec

Equity, a podcast about the business of startups where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. And have fun!This week our very own Mary Ann was off -- we send her our best, as she is a living saint -- so Natasha and Alex and Grace and Chris got together to compile our news roundup. And oh boy was there a lot to corral.Up top this week, news from Indiegogo that the crowdfunding service is tightening up who gets to post projects on its platform. We view this as a general good, and one that could prove helpful to the long-term viability of crowdfunding.From the funding round rodeo, we riffed on the musical and potentially exciting Mictic (which raised $2.5 million), female-health focused illumigyn and what it might do for care access (it raised $33 million), and Martie, which wants to prevent food waste and perhaps provide low-cost foodstuffs to folks in need ($3 million in fresh capital).FEMALE FOUNDERSVSCAnd then we chatted for a minute on alternative investing. Namely what Aqua is building, and why Alex is writing columns on NFTs.Hugs and love from the team, we will chat with you bright and early Monday morning! 

Nov 5

30 min 55 sec

This is our Wednesday show, the time of the week when we niche down to a single topic. Today? The issue of venture capital expectations in certain sectors where startups may not be the best fit. And what happens when they raise a mountain of capital.Natasha and Alex had former founder and present-day indie journalist Vincent Woo to come on the show with us. Why? Because he's written extensively about Lambda School, one of our subjects of the day.We started with Ro, and Natasha's excellent piece on the matter: Employees detail rising tensions at Ro as healthcare unicorn struggles to grow beyond first win.Next we chatted Lambda School, which has a well-documented history of raising venture capital and attracting controversy. Most recently, Woo published a piece about the coding bootcamp's misleading claims on job placement. The company is perhaps a cautionary tale of how venture-level growth can struggle in certain sectors. Education is hard and may not scale like software.At the heart of conversation was a question: In this time of high valuations and easy access to large amounts of capital, how can VC incentives lead some startups into a cycle of pain? We didn't land on a single conclusion, and that was kind of the point of the episode. Venture capital isn't inherently bad or good, but the money can come with a list of demands (and pressures) that cause risk-taking founders to make mistakes. A recalibration is necessary, but, as we talk about every week, the "up and to the right" market will take its time getting there.It was good fun to focus on a single topic, but we're back with our news roundup Friday morning! Chat soon!

Nov 3

27 min 38 sec

Today we had a goodly bag of things to dig into, including:The FT finds that major social platforms are taking a bath thanks to Apple’s new privacy rules. But is that such a bad thing?The Chinese labor standard of ‘996’ is losing its dominance in its domestic market.The Dell-VMware spinoff has finally happened. At last.Digital Currency Group raises $700 million, Mosaic Building Group raises $44 million, and When I Work locked down $200 million of its own.Looking ahead, we have AllBirds and NerdWallet IPOs this week!Sorry that the show was late! Chat soon!

Nov 1

9 min 26 sec

This week Mary Ann and Natasha and Alex (along with our amazing production team Grace, Chris, and Kell) took on a host of topics from the public and private markets alike. In our wheelhouse this week:An IPO rush: Sure, IPOs are still not keeping up with unicorn births, but the current pace of public offerings has us nattering. Paytm is coming. Sweetgreen as well. NerdWallet and Backblaze to boot. It's a crowd!Alchemy raised $250 million for its blockchain-infra work, reminding us that A16z has all of its eggs in the same ol' crypto basket.Heart to Heart raised $0.75 million for audio-focused dating. And even though we're not the targeted customer base, we were excited about the founder and his big bet on intention.Built by a student, Tasseled wants to help college students get their lives, and credits, together. More on the great Sequoia business model shakeup, building from our comments earlier in the week. We dig into exit timings, and other potential impacts of the change.And we got to riff on the Midwest startup-boom, which is a region near and dear to Alex's heart. And it turns out that Denver is not a Midwest city.While we're sad about Danny's exit, it's also edifying to have our new crew in place for 2022. Expect nothing less than more Equity than ever.

Oct 29

28 min 39 sec

This is a special, if somewhat bittersweet episode. It marks the final official podcast with our own Danny Crichton, who is off to other pastures in short order. Danny stepped in when we lost a host a few years back, and has been both a staple and a pillar of the show since. We're going to miss the ever-loving heck out of him.But the show must go on, so we spent this episode discussing issues core to our remit: The venture capital market, startups, and the interplay between each.Natasha and Danny and Alex and Chris got together for this particular Wednesday edition of Equity, the part of the week when we niche down to a single topic and discuss it at length.This time 'round we tackled the very small of whether today's pace of venture capital investment is sustainable, and whether the current structure of venture capital funds will survive. It was the right time to do so, given that:Tiger is reloading with even more capital. Danny noted that its rising asset base is a good indicator of just where things are today.Venture capital is at all-time highs. Natasha and Alex riffed through the numbers, noting just how crazy things have become.And as we were collecting our notes, Sequoia announced (after Primack scooped them) that they are revolutionizing their firm into a new sort of vehicle.We also discussed the unicorn traffic jam, which gave Alex a chance to jump atop his favorite hobby horse one more time.With more money than ever bouncing around startup-land, the question of whether the sums, and their resulting valuations, make any sense is a conversation that we are not done with. But we hope that after this short podcast, you are at least up to speed.Bon voyage, Danny. We love you. And a regular shoutout to the folks who have helped host Equity in the past: Kate Clark, Katie Roof, Matthew Lynley, and Connie Loizos. You are very much still in our hearts.Here's the next few million downloads! 

Oct 27

27 min 52 sec

Hark, all ye who pay attention to the stock market, for Elon Musk's wheels-focused company broached the $1 trillion market cap threshold today.Yeah, it finally happened, so the Equity team quickly scrambled for the microphones. Chris put together the show, allowing Alex and Kirsten to dive into the matter. Kirsten, in case you aren't familiar with her, is TechCrunch's transportation editor -- her crew handles everything that moves under its own power for the team. She's tremendous.Aside from the obvious market cap point, we got into:What news drove Tesla higher today, leading to its new valuation record?How is Tesla's overall financial performance looking?Has the model mix at the company changed over time?And, because Alex was curious, why Telsa cars all look the same when will the Cybertruck will come to market?In short, it was a very fun Twitter shot. Cheers, and Equity is back Wednesday with our regular programming. 

Oct 25

14 min 24 sec

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here. I also tweet.Taking a look around the world, stocks were largely higher in Asia and Europe and are looking somewhat mixed in the United States. There are a host of technology earnings coming this week, mind.Facebook is taking all sorts of incoming fire from media reporting on a trove of documents that a whistleblower leaked. The company is not having a good month, let along quarter from a PR perspective. It reports earnings later today. Here's the NYTimes piece we noted, the Bloomberg article, the CNN piece, and the Verge entry.The PayPal-Pinterest deals is done for now. PayPal said so this morning. Its shares are up, while Pinterest shares are sharply lower.And from startup-land: Routine is a new app that looks slick, Billie raised $100 million, Tier raised a huge bloc of cash, and Groww just tripled its valuation.It's going to be a busy one, so strap in and get hype because it is earnings week.

Oct 25

8 min 37 sec

This week Mary Ann and Natasha and Alex (along with our amazing production team Grace, Chris, and Kell) took on a bevy of topics from around the world of startups and technology more broadly.We naturally kicked off with news that Facebook intends to rebrand itself. Which we don't think will do much to detract from its various crises. But the news does underscore that Facebook is, in fact, serious about writing its next chapter.From there it was time to talk funding rounds. This week we picked Vertical Oceans and its fishy plans, Superplastic and its stable of rude digital critters, and Modern Age and its plan to help us all age a bit more gracefully.Vibe Capital, founded by Teachable's Ankur Nagpal, is a $60 million fund for international, scrappy founders. We spoke about the founder to investor pipeline, and why everyone wants eachother's jobs.And then Alex ran us through some data from the Chinese venture capital market, information that was far more positive than we anticipated. Given, you know, the country's regulatory crackdown on technology companies.We closed with a number of major fintech rounds, including new capital for Deel and a funding scoop on Brex.While we're in a bubble, it's easy to get lost in the same narrative: everything is booming! This week's episode was a good reminder of how diverse, and nuanced, this ever-lasting startup summer truly is.

Oct 22

30 min 13 sec

Look, we don't get it either.Taking some time as a group to sit around and chat through the possibly impending PayPal-Pinterest deal, Natasha and Alex didn't wind up cracking the story. Which makes some sense, as investors sent PayPal stock down 5% on the news, implying that they didn't really get it either.Recall that PayPal has made a few other deals in recent years, including buying Honey ($4 billion) and Paidy (less than $4 billion).Regardless, the transaction -- worth potentially dozens of billions -- could scoot the social giant into the welcoming arms of PayPal, an American consumer and business fintech giant. Here's what we tried to sort out:Does Pinterest have a big enough ecommerce story to make the deal line up with our first expectations?We talked about Pinterest's historical stock performance, as well as a number of culture controversies it has been embroiled in.Why doesn't PayPal just buy Etsy instead? Here we dug into why a shop-able, searchable mood-board may satisfy customer demands, thus Pinterest's lag on fintech infrastructure - in comparison to Etsy - has been somewhat surprising.And if technology is all bundling, and unbundling, does it make some sort of sense for PayPal to join forces with a more e-commerce content focused business, now more than a half-decade removed from its eBay divorce?We ended with jokes about fintech's expected (and unexpected) consolidation, and we want your best guesses for what's next on Twitter. Frankly we had a good time. Mary Ann was going to join up but was thwarted by Apple's iPhone headphone design, while Danny was slightly busy trying to figure out why his spouse beat him at Settlers of Catan, his favorite board game. We are back Friday with our regularly scheduled programming!

Oct 20

22 min 11 sec

Natasha and Danny and Alex got together to dig into the recent NerdWallet IPO filing, and what it can tell us about how the written word -- in its digital form -- can still be worth quite a lot. Here's an outline of the chat:NerdWallet shows the financial power of the written word, even if it isn't the precise form of writing that we know and love.Automattic is a large, startup bet on the written word, amongst other things. Danny had notes for us on the scale of its business, thanks to a new TC-1 all about the publishing empire. Here we talked about the importance of proving value internally, before going external with word power.And from Kindle Vella to Substack to Memberful from Patreon, there are more and more models for getting paid to write these days. Hell, you can charge for your tweets now.We were left with questions about if the return of text is inevitable, in an everyone-runs-to-video world. As Natasha notes, distribution is still a bottleneck and human attention is not entirely predisposed to sitting around reading things. But with Gen Z perhaps a little over screentime, perhaps there's good news ahead for writers of all stripes.

Oct 20

19 min 41 sec

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here. I also tweet.This week, the week of October 18, 2021, kicked off with a mixed markets picture. Asian stocks were mixed, down in Europe, and set to fall in the United States. China remains a concern.There are hardware events this week from Apple, Samsung and Google. Along with earnings from Netflix, IBM, and Qualtrics.Amazon is in hot water with American regulators, China may force its tech giants to allow for cross-platform search, and Facebook wants to hire lots of Europeans.From startup-land, Enpal landed a huge dollop of cash for its solar work, while OfficeRnD made bets on a hybrid working future. Notes to come shortly on the Expensify IPO filing.The show is back on Wednesday! Chat then!

Oct 18

8 min 20 sec

In today's episode, talk our way through some big breaking news from the technology world so that we can better understand just what is going on.Danny and Alex got together late Friday on a Twitter Space to discuss Microsoft's decision to pull LinkedIn from the Chinese market, a move that lit up headlines around the world. That LinkedIn was still in China in 2021 may feel more surprising than the news that it will exit that particular market, but the moment matters all the same as it marks the end of an experiment -- could a mega-tech company have a US HQ and a first-party service live in China?Er, no, it turns out. Not really.Microsoft found itself jammed between its own ethics, and governmental censure. It was a lose-lose for the company, so pulling the plug was the smart move. The company isn't going to miss the revenue.For startups, the Microsoft decision is a good reminder that doing business in China is at a minimum very hard for non-Chinese companies, and perhaps impossible. Recall that Microsoft had to work with a Chinese company (21Vianet) to get Azure into the country at all, and that the Chinese government is using a few companies to build a new OS for the country so that it can replace Windows.Precisely how good that OS will prove is not yet clear, at least from a consumer perspective.And then we riffed on GitLab's IPO. My favorite topic of the week. You'll see why it came up when you hit play. Chat Monday!

Oct 16

18 min 29 sec

This week was one of our strongest shows yet, with a wide diversity of news items that were genuinely fun (and complicated) to chew through. And even though we started off kind of grumpy, we laughed through tech difficulties, crypto puns, and fintech CAC. It's called coping.Here's what we got into:Magic Leap raised $500 million about which we have thoughts, Mindbody's acquisition of ClassPass caught our eye for obvious reasons (and the fact that it also raised $500 million), and we dug into SoWork's fascinating business proposition.mPharma and the race to horizontal, holistic mental health: Telehealth is great and useful but no panacea. However, in the realm of mental health it's potentially life-changing for millions.OpenSea went from being one of the main characters in our fraud show, to being the underdog that we're rooting for - now that Coinbase is building a copycat.Since we tried to keep the show tight, a ton of news was left on the cutting room floor. The good news, though, is that we're back tomorrow with a spicy bonus episode about Microsoft pulling LinkedIn from the Chinese market. Oof.

Oct 15

23 min 18 sec

This is our Wednesday show, the time of the week when we niche down to a single topic. Today? Fashion.Natasha and Danny and Alex got together to dig into the world of fashion resale and rental. It's no small market, giving birth to both public companies, unicorns, and startups. Most recently, well-known fashion rental player Rent the Runway filed to go public, giving us a window in its own numbers.Those figures led us to a few questions about how best to go about making money from clothes in a retail context. From our chat:Selling vs. Renting vs. Reselling: To start, we wanted to help you group startups into three buckets: those who sell customers to people, those who rent goods to customers, and those who resell pre-owned goods to customers.Rent the Runway's numbers: We had some issues with Rent the Runway's business model given that it appears that the company is simply underpricing its clothing items given its cost structure. How Wall Street will price the company, or whether Rent the Runway is hoping to sell to a larger company came into the conversation.Who else should we have an eye on: To close, Natasha detailed a number of startups including Queenly, Curtsy and Rebag. Oh, and Depop (which recently sold to Etsy $1.6 billion).Startups are tearing up old retail models, which we are here for. We are less here for adjusted EBITDA that reads like magical realism. 

Oct 13

21 min 37 sec

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here. I also tweet.Markets were busy, with Chinese tech stocks rallying and the rest of the world posting a mix of gains and losses. If you are bullish on public markets, excellent. But if you are bearish, don't worry -- there are diverse enough signals out this morning to satisfy any investing thesis.Facebook goes on American political TV: To talk about changes it is going to make to its product. A product that it built. It wants point for fixing the thing it made broken. Sure.And Tesla, after delaying the roll-out of a beta for Full Self Driving, is also being asked by some in India to build cars in that country.CRED is raising even more money, at an even higher valuation.Mono gets the Tiger imprimatur, which matters as the startup could prove that the Plaid model will spawn regional players.French mobile gaming company Homa Games raised $50 million on the back of huge download numbers.And ahead we have the GitLab direct listing, and AvidExchange IPO.Chat you on Wednesday!

Oct 11

9 min 9 sec

Natasha and Mary Ann and Alex were all aboard this week with Grace on the dials, which meant that we had a flat lovely time recording Equity for you. Of course, Equity is TechCrunch's venture capital focused podcast where we dig into the most critical funding rounds, and natter about the key news items impacting startups.Before we hop into this week's topics, you can follow the show on Twitter, where we rather often host impromptu Twitter spaces that sometimes become episodes. Come hang!Here's the rundown for this week:Chalo raises $40M to improve bus transit in India: This startup wins name (and startup) of the week. Chalo wants to tackle inefficiencies in India's bus system, so we noodle over why that makes sense and what challenges could be ahead.Masterworks raises $110M for fractional art ownership: Call it a Series A if you must, but the megaround that Masterworks just raised helps underscore the global shift towards alternative investing, and fractional ownership. How long until we get Masterworks on the blockchain? That would be the real IRL-NFT crossover we are kinda waiting for.CostCertified wants to save your next home reno project:  CostCertified, which just participated in Y Combinator's summer cohort, raised $8.45M in seed funding. The Canadian company's end goal is to build the “Amazon for construction.” CostCertified allows contractors to send a shoppable interactive estimate to homeowners so that they can choose their selections during a project, and see the effect on price instantly.All about community: Community has been watered down, there's no doubt about it. But, there is still arguments for why it works - and we make them (often).Google invests in Africa: American tech giant Google is putting capital to work in Africa, but in the form of infra investment and early-stage investing. Frankly both make good sense given the advertising giant's business model.Edtech goes B2B: Udemy is going public! We have dug through the numbers already, but thankfully with Natasha on the show we got to go a level deeper on where edtech revenues may come from next.And that's our show! We are back bright and early on Monday!

Oct 8

28 min 58 sec

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch's venture capital focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This is our Wednesday show, the time of the week when we niche down to a single topic. Today? Gaming.Natasha and Danny and Alex got together to discuss the gaming world from a few perspectives, including those of startups and the largest platform players in tech. Alex is a gamer. Danny is a board gamer. And Natasha isn't big on digital games. So, we had a good array of viewpoints. The goal of our episode was to understand why gaming is garnering more interest from Big Tech and startups alike, and how the business model and environment has evolved over the years.Here's what we got into:A new gaming fund from a16z, and recent venture capital totals, as compiled by our friends over at Crunchbase News.Amazon's new hit game, and Apple's epic gaming profits.It appears, by our read, that the gaming industry has evolved from single-sale titles to games with recurring incomes that studios have become venture-backable; this is testament to both business model evolution and general gaming popularity, as much as it is indicative of how much money it is possible to earn supporting the games industry as a tech shop as well.Still, we wanted to spend a few minutes on the challenges that still await those trying to spin up a game overnight.After we talked through the context and challenges, we riffed on the why! It includes just what a metaverse is, how NFTs can slot into the conversation, and more.All we need now is a release date for Royal Court, Paradox.

Oct 6

27 min 12 sec

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here. I also tweet.Sorry that the show is so delayed today, it's utterly my fault. Regular service returns Wednesday, and we'll make to not be late on a Monday again this year! Here's what we got into on the show:Tech shares are falling in America in a larger domestic selloff -- but once again we're seeing high-valued technology stocks lose the most ground. Software companies are having a particularly rough morning.The Facebook whistleblower situation remains the biggest news item in the technology world this morning, dominating aggregators and conversation. Precisely what comes next isn't clear, I reckon, but Facebook shares haven't lost enough ground yet to be a worry for the firm; that could change with another few days' declines, however.What else was on our mind? Apple's epic gaming profits, new AI guidelines from China, and data concerning just how much money semiconductor startups are raising. It's more, but is it enough?Byju's raised $300 million, this time at an $18 billion valuation. Its upcoming IPO will help set the tone for global edtech valuations.Ladder raised $100 million, proving that the insurtech market is still active. Sure, shares of public insurtech startups have taken a pounding in recent quarters, but there's still plenty of private capital ready to make bets on the market.And the Vision Fund 2 is even more Vision Fund-y than we anticipated!Chat soon!

Oct 4

8 min 10 sec

To cap the week off, Danny and Alex and Chris got together live on Twitter to chat through the demise of the Zoom-Five9 deal. Those of you who remember how recently the deal was announced are likely a little surprised -- how did it fall apart so quickly? Well, a few reasons:There could be inherent risk in all-stock transactions provided a rapidly-changing market.It may be the case that Zoom simply did not bid enough for Five9.And there's a mix of anti-trust and national regulatory issues to the deal that never got fully hammered out.So, you can pick your poison, even though the answer appears to be some of each above point.https://techcrunch.com/2021/07/19/the-zoom-five9-deal-is-a-big-bet-for-the-video-conferencing-company/Those of you who caught the Friday episode will wonder, and fairly, what the end of the Zoom-Five9 deal will have on other M&A activity. We talked about it.That's enough for now. Hit play and have a laugh with us. Thanks for sticking with the show!

Oct 2

23 min 29 sec

Natasha and Mary Ann and Alex were all aboard this week under the guidance of Chris and Grace, meaning that we were running full-strength for our roundup of this super busy week.Before we hop into the topics, you can follow the show on Twitter -- all the cool kids do! -- and keep in mind that on Mondays Equity provides a short kickoff to the week, we chat a single topic on Wednesdays, and Fridays are when we go through the full week. Make sense? Hell yeah:FiveableCobalt raised $2.8 million to help creators build and sell more stuff. As part of our continuing focus on creators more broadly, we had a few questions!Found came out of stealth with $32 million in total funding from GV, Atomic and Define Ventures. The startup is focused on "weight care management" and it's notable that the co-founder of Atomic, which incubated this company, also co-founded hims and hers -- which also has a telehealth component. Found's new CEO is the former COO of Bumble, who drafted its S-1 while getting chemo treatment for stage 3 breast cancer.From there we dug into trends! First up was the trend of startups going full-stack, which we kicked off with a look at AngelList's new Stack -- har har -- product. It's a bit like what Carta and Stripe offer, which gave us some good angles to chat about the news from.Next up was consolidation, which echoed our first conversation. Discussing a recent deal in the RPA space, the Equity team made predictions about which sectors in the startup world are the most likely to see consolidation in the coming quarters.And we closed with climate tech, a startup niche that could bring a small sliver of hope to our heating planet.WITTY CONCLUSION

Oct 1

28 min 11 sec

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 is coming.

Sep 29

25 min 30 sec

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here. I also tweet.A few things this morning:Instagram is pausing work on the kids-focused version of its social service. It claims that the product is the right thing to build, but that it wants to talk to folks about why, first. TechCrunch has more here.Shares of Box are up this morning, after the company endured a period of time in the wilderness.Google is cutting its cloud app marketplace take rate as marketplaces more broadly lose their ability to accrete economic value as middlepeople.Spotify is spending to advertise its advertising solution so that others can spend more money on Spotify.Swiss startup Frontify raises $50 million, more than double its previous round's size.And from Sweden, EV company Polestar may go public via a SPAC, as EV company Cake raises $60 million. Nice to see Sweden do so well in a key business category.Tesla is doing FSD stuff, which confuses us.And looking ahead, Amplitude will set a reference price this evening and direct list tomorrow. Warby Parker will set an IPO price tomorrow evening, and trade on Wednesday.And that's that! Chat Wednesday!

Sep 27

11 min 9 sec

And the winner of TC's Startup Battlefield is.... gonna have to listen to find out 

Sep 24

22 min 43 sec

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.Today we got the gang together -- Natasha and Danny and Alex -- to chat about the most recent IPOs in tech-land, namely debuts from Freshworks and Toast.TechCrunch has covered their pair of firms somewhat closely during their IPO run, as they each have some notable characteristics:Freshworks' IPO provided a fresh window into how public market investors are willing to value growth-oriented software companies out the gate. The news is good. Which means that we could see more unicorns looking to list in coming months.Toast's IPO provided a lens by which we could gauge public-market sentiment for hybrid software-and-payments companies. The answer? That the stock market is pretty dang enthused about the companies in question.So it's a good news day for unicorns, for tech startups, and for Boston, a city that Danny has many thoughts about. Please send him your complaints, and not the show. We take no responsibility.It's Disrupt week, so we'll have more in a few days but until then we'll see you at the event!

Sep 22

21 min 2 sec

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here. I also tweet.A few things this morning:I shook up the show format a little, including how the script came together and how it was organized. Hit me up on Twitter if you have notes.Disrupt is this week, so strap thyself in for the best tech event of the year, coming to your living room. The Equity team is hosting -- between the group of us -- a zillion panels and one of the two stages. Come hang out with us. It's going to be on heck of a show.On the news front, the global stock market is taking a whacking. US stocks are set to fall after European stocks went lower thanks to concerns that the Chinese property developer Evergrande and its constituent debt issues could spread to other parts of the market, possibly leading to contagion.Cryptos are also off sharply in the last 24 hours, so there sems to be little refuge in today's markets.A French hosting company is going public, an Indian used-car marketplace raised a boatload of cash, and Amazon is investigating a bribe.And we are expecting IPOs from both Freshworks and Toast this week.It's going to be a very busy few days. Pour some extra coffee, and get hype.

Sep 20

11 min 19 sec

Natasha and Mary Ann and Alex were all aboard this week under the guidance of Chris and Grace, which meant we had the full team. And speaking of teams, Mary Ann is joining the Friday show on a weekly basis now. She's been a friend for years, and a colleague now twice-over for Natasha and Alex and we could not be more excited.That personal news aside, here's the rundown for today's show!Funding rounds in the logistics and infra markets: We went physical-world with our funding round roundup this week. BridgeLinx put together the largest Seed round in Pakistan's history, Releaf is doing incredibly interesting agtech work in Nigeria, and Stord's huge round from earlier in the week brought us to Atlanta.And oh boy has Atlanta had a week. TechCrunch did a deep dive into the city's superlative startup fundraising in recent quarters, and, of course, one of its home-grown startups sold to Intuit for $12 billion just a few days ago. We had a few thoughts on the Intuit-Mailchimp transaction, even if we tried to steer clear of territory that we've already tread. For more about the controversy, Business Insider wrote about how some Mailchimp employees are reacting to the deal.From there we turned to a layoff story. Casper, the DTC mattress company that is now public, had another round of layoffs that cut three C-suite executives. It brought us into a conversation about how Apple's tracking updates are impacting startups in this category more broadly, and if more layoffs are on the horizon. And then there were IPOs to discuss. Natasha talked us through the news that Quizlet may go public soon, which meant we had to chat edtech for a minute. Rounding out the Going Public conversation was notes on both Toast and Freshworks. Alex does not apologize for his lame joke, we hasten to add.Disrupt is next week, so expect some possible changes to the regular Equity show lineup if the news cycle gets dicey. Hugs!

Sep 17

25 min 14 sec

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single topic. This time 'round we took a look into the world of on-demand delivery in Europe, with an especial focus on the so-called "instant" grocery sector, and delivered convenience items. To help Natasha and Danny and Alex get through the subject, we lassoed TechCrunch alum and present-day VP at Zapp, a company in the sector under discussion, Steve O'Hear to chat with us.We spent time chatting through the following:Recent news from the sector, including that Turkey's Getir has just raised a bucket of new capital, and that Weezy is looking to exit; the latter item wound up being important we got around to discussing consolidation in the space.Steve gave us an overview of Zapp, and how its approach to infra could help its economics.We chatted about GoPuff and its economic fortunes, which in fundraising terms are solid, even if questions regarding future profitability are still in play.And regarding the ever-present pandemic question, Steve was bullish on consumer behavior staying where it is if -- when? -- the COVID-19 pandemic eventually leaves us.We are back on Friday! Chat then!

Sep 15

26 min 30 sec

We are back! From this morning, I suppose. But the news cycle doesn't wait for our publishing schedule, so the Equity crew got together to yammer all about the Intuit-Mailchimp acquisition.A $12 billion deal comprised of stock and cash, it's a big on. And as Mailchimp has both a history of boostrapping and a founding story in a non-Silicon Valley city we had lots to chat about.As a general reminder, if you do listen to the show, hit us up on Twitter as we are doing more and more of these Spaces. They are good and relaxed fun, so don't take them too seriously. We like to have fun.Alright, Equity is back on Wednesday with our regularly scheduled programming. Chat then!

Sep 13

17 min 59 sec

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here. I also tweet.Vacation was good, and a big thanks to Mary Ann and Natasha -- not to mention Grace and Chris! -- for keeping things flowing while I mostly sat around reading books and playing video games. But enough being maudlin! To the news!Investors are kinda thinking that the run-up in stocks needs to take a breather. And that the reset could land between 5% and 10%, with another 10% of respondents expecting a correction of more than 10%. Yowza.China may break up Ant, keeping the pace of its regulatory deluge going as this week starts. And the Chinese government thinks that its country has too many EV companies. If the market or central planning will wind up taking point on solving the "problem" is not clear.The Apple v. Epic decision is still driving conversation. Here's TechCrunch's coverage, and here's the MG piece I mentioned.Toast and Freshworks have new filings up. Which is good news if you want to dig into new S-1/A reports. Forge is going public via a SPAC.And Babyscripts and Commercetools raised rounds, while Jungle Ventures raised a fund.Got all that? Ok good. Chat you Wednesday!

Sep 13

6 min 20 sec

Natasha and Mary Ann took over this week's show with Chris and Grace, which meant that our overdeveloped senses of curiosity filled up the script just fine (even on a somewhat short week). Unintentionally, today's episode was built around a theme of inclusion - from auto-insurance to women's health, and from payments to knowledge.But here are some more specifics on what we got into:For our funding round section, we discussed UK’s Marshmallow getting unicorn status for its more inclusive, big-data take on car insurance, Women’s health tech brand, Elvie, topping up its Series C to $97M, and an ambitious fintech play from Leap, which wants to give gig workers access to financial products by partnering directly to marketplaces. After getting past the dollars and the deals, I indulged by bringing up my latest piece: Edtech leans into the creator economy with cohort-based classes. The core of the story gets into a ton of tensions, the biggest of which I'd pose as a question to you: should anyone be allowed to be a teacher?Then we headed into Mary Ann's world of fintech to understand what I dubbed feels like national BNPL week. If I may, I'd argue that this is the can't miss segment of the entire show, as we made sense of why it's a global phenomenon, which markets are popping off, and what this means for the credit card industry. Below is a smattering of headlines we walked through.PayPal acquires Japan’s Paidy for $2.7B to crack the buy-now, pay-later market in Asia Zip acquisition of Payflex means Africa is ripe for BNPL disruptionAddi raises $75M to advance ‘buy now, pay later’ in LatAm, nearly triples valuationAnd then we ended by talking about an adorable, but potentially dangerous robot unicorn. Yep. You read that right.Remember when we were all thinking about what 'the new normal' would look like? Well, I guess it's here.

Sep 10

22 min 3 sec

Alex is on a well-deserved vacation this week, so for the Equity Wednesday deep dive, we took the conversation to Twitter Spaces. Danny, Mary Ann, and Jonathan Metrick, Chief Growth Officer at Portage Ventures, dove into growth marketing. You can listen to the full episode on the Equity Podcast feed.This conversation was spurred by the TechCrunch Experts project, where we're looking for the best growth marketers for startups. Metrick had been recommended to us in July (you can read his featured recommendation in our growth roundup) and we were eager to have the opportunity to learn from his experience.Help TechCrunch find the best growth marketers for startups.Provide a recommendation in this quick survey and we'll share the results with everybody.In this conversation, we cover:Influencers take on the marketing worldChallenges marketers face with iOS 14How Metrick sees trends develop geographicallyNew capabilities with attribute in the past yearWhat holiday advertising might look like in 2021

Sep 8

40 min 16 sec

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff to catch up on weekend news and prep for the days ahead. We're here on Tuesday this week since us folks in the United States had off for labor day. You can follow the show on Twitter here, and while you're at it, throw me a follow too.Jobs report: Over the weekend, the US government posted the Jobs Report. It wasn't ideal, with a sharp drop in percentage of women rejoining the workforce. I give you the startup angle, and talk about a somewhat poetic unicorn.Instacart, meet Instagram: WSJ reports that new Instacart CEO Fidji Simo is expanding the grocery delivery store's consumer-product advertising business, with a goal of hitting $1 billion in revenue next year. I riff on why this makes sense and what challenges the business make come up against.Behemoths, beware: The largest Series A within Africa just closed, and it's not even close. Wave is taking on telecom-led mobile money, now with four-big name backers. It's not the only startup trying to take on a behemoth. I also gave a shout out to Glass, which wants to take on Instagram as a new go-to destination for photographers to share their content.And that's a wrap. I have a fun edtech piece coming out on Extra Crunch this week, so keep your eyes out for it.

Sep 7

9 min 28 sec

Natasha and Alex and Grace and Chris gathered to dig through the week's biggest happenings, including some news of our own. As a note, Equity's Monday episode will be landing next Tuesday, thanks to a national holiday here in the United States. And we have something special planned for Wednesday, so stay tuned.Ok! Here's the rundown from the show:Apollo completed its takeover of Verizon Media Group Yahoo: Yep, we have new bosses, and we have feelings about it. But mostly the TechCrunch news was a useful segue to Drift's majority exit to Vista Equity Partners at a price that made the Boston-based startup a unicorn. Terms were not disclosed, sadly, but Drift's revenues looked strong going into the transaction. That left us with questions.Then we chatted about Databricks, which raised a small country's GDP in a single funding round this week, valuing the data-and-ML company at a staggering $38 billion valuation. Why isn't Databricks going public? Because it doesn't have to, mostly.Hum Capital believes the future of startup fundraising requires a return to old school Wall Street. The startup helps founders and investors navigate the overly fragmented market these days, and just raised millions to scale this service.Form there we dug into two IPOs, including the very interesting story of Toast, another Boston-based company, and AllBirds. The AllBirds offering was less exciting from a numerical perspective, though Natasha and Alex both like their shoes from the company.And to close out, we discussed how Compound Foods wants to save the planet by making coffee sans beans. Which we are willing to try as soon as we can.That's a wrap from us for the week! Keep your head atop your shoulders and have a great weekend!

Sep 3

27 min 18 sec

After a 17-hour marathon through nearly 200 startup pitches, the Equity team was fired up to get back on Twitter and chat through some early trends and favorites from the first day of Y Combinator's demo party. We'll be back on the air tomorrow, so make sure you're following the show on Twitter so you don't miss out.What did Natasha and Alex chat about? The following:First Impressions: We started by going through top-line numbers, geographic breakdown, and how the accelerator is doing when it comes to the representation of diverse founders. The last bit had a tiny bit of progress, but diversity continues to be an issue in YC's batches - even as cohort size grows. We also chatted about what startups pitching can work on: like better mics, which are cheap and good.Our early favorites: Metaphor, Lumify, Alex's favorite duo Indian real estate plays, Akudo, Reframe, and Playhouse.And some hmmm moments, including our thoughts on Writesonic, which Natasha has a potentially paranoid theory on.TechCrunch has extensive coverage of the day on the site, so there's lots to dig into if you are in the mood. More tomorrow!

Aug 31

24 min 53 sec

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here. I also tweet.We are heading into a simply crazy week, so make sure that you keep Twitter pulled up as often as you can. Why?This is Y Combinator Demo Day week, which means a zillion startups are going to be doing their best to make noise, stand out from their peers, and raise capital on uncapped notes sans discount. TechCrunch is going to be busy as bees tracking the accelerator cohort, and bringing our favorites to your ears and eyes.The Chinese regulatory story continues, with new gaming restrictions and fresh warnings about anti-monopoly action coming this morning. As before, the news is moving stocks. And the gaming news underscores that the Chinese state is not too bothered about directly undercutting its private sector to meet government goals.All that regulatory work is harming venture capital investment, it appears. Despite a rapid-fire July for Chinese startups, August is looking thinner from a foreign-investor perspective.Vietcetera has raised new capital, along with Urbanbase. In India, Ola Electric is looking to raise a huge amount of capital, we report.In public market news, Astra's rocket didn't go up high enough, so its shares are falling. And we are heading back into an IPO cycle, so get ready.Alright! That's our show! Let's get to work!

Aug 30

6 min 46 sec

After news broke that meditation app Headspace and on-demand mental health care platform Ginger were merging, we couldn't resist hopping on the mics to do a bonus episode. And, because we were in the mood for hot takes, Natasha and Alex held the conversation on Twitter Spaces. The special guests we had on, who we'll get to down below, did not disappoint.It's a quick show, but the tl;dr is that you want to listen if you're curious why a meditation app would get into therapy, the precedent by Lyra Health and Calm, and how consolidation looks for the sector going forward.Here's who helped us understand and contextualize the news:Lux Capital partner Deena Shakir (who is also coming to Disrupt, incidentally)Chrissy Farr of OMERS Ventures (who you may also know as a former CNBC reporter in the healthech space)7WireVentures' Alyssa Jaffee (who needs her own podcast because she was shining during the Spaces)And, special shout out to Ginger CEO Russell Glass, who joined the Space but wasn't able to come up on stage due to technical difficulties. Twitter Spaces are fun, but the platform is still a bit nascent so goofs can bedevil live production.However, we managed to get some notes from him via email, so let's take a quick look at those:Glass said that he agreed with "what Chrissy Farr and others said about there simply not being enough therapists in the market today to meet the overwhelming demand," adding that there's "real global need today for what Headspace Health can offer - a scaled, comprehensive platform that can truly democratize mental healthcare."He also doubleclicked on the discussing regarding future "meaningful market consolidation," noting that he expects to see it "especially" happen in "areas that address higher acuity care for severe mental illness.”Make sure you are following the podcast on Twitter so that you catch us when we go live. These are meant to be spontaneous pop up shows, so your best bet is to turn on notifications to never miss our Spaces. Ok that's all. Thanks everyone!

Aug 28

22 min 23 sec

Natasha and Alex and Grace and Chris were joined by none other than TechCrunch's own Mary Ann Azevedo, in her first-ever appearance on the show. She's pretty much the best person and we're stoked to have her on the pod.And it was good that Mary Ann was on the show this week as she wrote about half the dang site. Which meant that we got to include all sorts of her work in the rundown. Here's the agenda:Funding rounds from: Ramp, which raised $300 million at a $3.9 billion valuation; NoRedInk which put together an impressive $50 million Series B; and Playbook, which is building a sort of Dropbox for designers. Each company gave us something different to noodle on, be it the diverging strategies at Ramp and Brex, how NoRedInk is different from Grammarly, and why Dropbox is not the Dropbox for designers.Then we spun the globe to narrow our focus to Latin America, a booming startup scene that Mary Ann recently profiled for Extra Crunch. In a nutshell, venture capital is helping drive an enormous wave of startup activity in the region -- or perhaps a wave of startup activity is driving a boom in venture investment? -- leading to huge companies, and perhaps some tech-powered inclusion of more folks into the modern banking, and digital economy. (For more, here are notes on the Brazilian market's rising exit tally! And Flink raised, which was worth chewing on as well.)We quickly pivoted to the hot button issue of the moment for every startup (and business): hiring. Natasha noted how startups used to focus on runway, and now they are looking to fill empty seats amid the great resignation. Finally, we nattered about huge venture results from Boston, big numbers from Austin, and what increasingly feels like an everything bubble. Chicago is doing well, too. Pick a city, it's putting up big numbers.And that's a wrap, for, well, at least the next 5 seconds.

Aug 27

27 min 26 sec

The Equity crew felt that there was enough media news out recently that we simply had no choice but to fire up a Twitter Space and have a chat. The above episode is a discussion of a few things, in a loose and relaxed manner, so don't take any of the Verizon jokes too seriously, Verizon, as we still work for you. For a few more days.Regardless, here's what Danny and Alex got into:Politico sells for $1 billion: Its new parent company Axel Springer also buying the rest of Politico Europe and all of Protocol at the same time. This deal exploded everyone's Twitter feed due to its scale, and the fact that it was one heck of an exit for a media company. One billion dollars? For media? In this economy? Yes!Forbes is going public via a SPAC: Yep, the venerable Forbes magazing and its enormous digital arm are taking the blank-check route to the public markets, which means that we got its numbers and time to stroll through them. Our take is that Forbes has done massive work to take its IRL brand and extend it into the digital world. The company has big plans to boot, and will be worth more than $800 million when it combines.Layoffs hit Vice: As Vice turns its focus to video content — you've heard this story before — it is shedding some of its editorial staff. The layoffs were a stinkbomb on Media Twitter after the other news of the week, but were sadly not a huge surprise. The company's union decried them as something of a yearly recurrance. Not good, not good at all.And there's more media news to come. Our parent company Verizon Media is expected to close its sale to Apollo on September 1 or sometime soon after, which means we will either be hosting Equity regularly as always, or we'll be hosting the RUDE (Recently Unemployed Due to (Private) Equity) podcast.

Aug 26

22 min 1 sec

For our Wednesday show this week, Natasha and Alex and Danny had colleague Amanda Silberling on the show to help us parse through OnlyFans' precedent-setting move to ban sexually-explicit content on its service. The decision was a bolt from the blue for many of its creators, a great portion of whom created and monetized adult videos and images through the subscription service. It also stirred up a ton of debate around fintech, crypto, venture capital, and the morality of decision-makers.We put all the facts in context for you, hitting the following points:OnlyFans' recently leaked financials. Of course, the company's historical, and projected revenues are now dated thanks to the platform's planned content changes, but all the same the numbers help put into context just how much money OnlyFans' adult creators were earning on its platform.The leaked financials were part of a pitch deck that the company was using on its plight to raise more capital - an endeavor that has apparently been challenging for the startup. This tension made us think about the role that venture capital plays in funding vice startups, and why a tiny clause may stop many from getting into the game. Let's just say, the money behind the money has a way of having weight.And finally, we wondered what might be ahead for adult-content creators. Per Silberling, the world of adult content has ever been in flux, with creators and other sex workers moving from platform to platform as corporate policies, and national laws evolved. To see OnlyFans wind up where Patreon and Tumblr previously tread is not a complete surprise.

Aug 25

24 min 26 sec

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here. I also tweet.Today's show was good fun to put together. Here's what we got to:Global stocks are up to kick off the week. It's a great way to start Monday, frankly.Thinking broadly, the latest regulatory news from China regarding ByteDance is not super bullish for the nation's tech industry. And what the Indian government is doing to its own technology industry is not encouraging. But all of that and tension between the two countries, is not stopping deals. You can't stop deals!Facebook bowed to pressure, and released a content report that it had previously shelved.Zetwerk raised a $150 million Series E. The Indian startup scene is trucking right along, perhaps acting a bit as-if its government wasn't increasingly authoritarian.Shelf.io raised a $52.5 million Series B in what we're somewhat considering a classic Tiger-led deal.And the SPAC boom is not over yet, with yet another Virgin space company headed for the public markets.Woo! And that's the start to the week. Hugs from here, and we'll chat you on Wednesday!

Aug 23

6 min 31 sec