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Founder how-to content on the Extra Crunch Stage at Disrupt Berlin 2019

By Leslie Hitchcock

Disrupt Berlin 2019, our premier European tech conference, takes place on 11-12 December and draws 3,000 people from more than 50 countries. Every year we work hard to improve our content programming and present it in new and engaging ways to a very savvy startup audience. This year be sure to check out the Extra Crunch Stage for information you can put in place back at the home base.

If you need to buy a super early-bird pass to Disrupt Berlin, why not take care of that essential detail now? Go ahead…we’ll wait.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming. On the Extra Crunch Stage, we’re focusing on the founders, investors and tech leaders who’ve been there, done that, who will provide how-to content, practical tips and actionable advice that founders need to succeed in the European tech landscape.

The new name and mission come from TC’s recently launched subscription product. Designed for our most engaged readers, this extra crunchy layer of gated content goes deep on entrepreneurial and startup topics like inclusion and diversity, hiring practices, legal and product decisions, as well as mental health and wellness in high-performance businesses.

Treat yourself to an Innovator, Founder or Investor pass, because that’s the only way you’ll gain access to this Extra Crunchy wisdom. Those same passes also provide access to all the fine content, speakers, panelists, interactive workshops and events that take place on the Main Stage, the Showcase Stage and in the Q&A sessions.

That’s a whole lot to take in, and you’ll be busy indeed as you explore hundreds of early-stage startups exhibiting their tech and talent in Startup Alley. Marvel at the brilliant Startup Battlefield competitors vying for $50,000 as they launch on a global stage. Learn from our roster of speakers, the top players in the startup world — tech titans, leading investors and boundary-pushing founders — as they examine emerging trends and critical challenges.

Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December. Get your super early-bird pass, get Extra Crunchy and get ready to make the most of your time at Disrupt. We’ll see you in Berlin!

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Voyage’s driverless future, ghost work, B2B growth strategies, and Black Hat takeaways

By Danny Crichton

Inside Voyage’s plan to deliver a driverless future

In the autonomous vehicle space, startups have taken radically different strategies to building our AV future. Some companies like Waymo have driven all across different types of environments in order to rack up the datasets that they believe will be needed to effectively maneuver without a human driver.

That’s the opposite strategy of Voyage, where CEO and founder Oliver Cameron and his team have focused on driving safety in the incredibly constrained context of two retirement communities.

Our transportation editor Kirsten Korosec talked with the company and analyzes their approach in a new profile for Extra Crunch, and also drops some news about a partnership the company has brewing with a major automotive manufacturer.

Cameron, who shies away from discussing timelines, describes the company as inching toward driverless service.

Its self-driving software has now reached maturation in the communities it is testing in, and Voyage is now focusing on validation, according to Cameron.

Voyage has developed a few systems that will help push it closer to a commercial driverless service while maintaining safety, such as a collision mitigation system that it calls Rango, an internal nickname inspired by the 2011 computer-animated Western action-comedy about a chameleon.

This collision mitigation system is designed to be extremely fast-reacting, like a reptile — hence the Rango name. Rango, which has an independent power source and compute system and uses a different approach to perception than the main self-driving system, is designed to react quickly. If needed, it will engage the full force of the brakes.

Startup ads are taking over the subway

Public transit is just swimming in startup ads. From complete Brex takeovers of the San Francisco Caltrain station to the sleep puzzles posted by Casper across the New York City subway, startups have been taking advantage of this unique out-of-home advertising space. What’s the full story though? Our reporter Anthony Ha takes a look at how the subway ad market came to be in the past few years, and what the future holds for other marketers.

Kobalt, Apple and smartwatches, Hadoop, customer support, and social work and AI

By Danny Crichton

The Kobalt EC-1: How a Swedish saxophonist built Kobalt, the world’s next music unicorn

My favorite pieces we host on Extra Crunch are our EC-1 series of in-depth profiles and analyses of high-flying, fascinating startups. We launched Extra Crunch with a multi-part series on Patreon, and then we covered augmented reality and Pokémon Go creator Niantic and gaming platform Roblox.

This week, Extra Crunch media columnist Eric Peckham launched the first part of his three-part EC-1 series looking at music “operating system” startup Kobalt. Kobalt is not perhaps a popular household name like Roblox, but it’s influence is heard pretty much every single time you listen to music. Kobalt is upending the traditional infrastructure to track music plays to capture royalties for artists, an industry that today still involves people literally walking into bars and writing down what’s playing. From that base, Kobalt wants to expand into services to empower the next-generation of stars and mid-market talent.

What I loved about this story is that not only is Kobalt completely rebuilding an otherwise stagnant industry, but its founder and CEO is also such a dynamic individual. Willard Ahdritz was a former saxophonist whose band was essentially abandoned by their music label — even while that label wouldn’t give up the economics that would allow the band to continue (some founders may have similar experiences with their venture investors). Ahdritz would eventually start his own music label called Telegram, and a bit later started Kobalt to solve the problems he kept running into on the music publishing side.

It’s been almost two decades, but today, Kobalt offers a suite of technologies and services and has its crosshairs on the big three labels — Universal, Sony, and Warner. It’s also raised a boatload of venture capital and is closing in on a unicorn valuation. Read the full story, learn more about this analytically fascinating business, and get ready for parts two and three coming soon.

Refer a friend to Extra Crunch

HealthTech VCs, fundraising in August, reducing churn, North, and co-ops as startups

By Danny Crichton

What tech gets right about healthcare

This week, our long-time healthtech correspondent Sarah Buhr href="https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/06/what-tech-gets-right-about-healthcare/">talked to leading health VCs Phin Barnes of First Round Capital, Matt Ocko of DCVC, and Nick Naclerio of Illumina Ventures about what they are seeing in the healthtech ecosystem, how they are thinking about investments in the space, as well as the reasons behind why they led their recent deals in health startups.

[DCVC’s] thesis is simple: if the cost for superior, life-saving care is half to 10x less, and results are 10-100 times better, then adoption happens quickly, and hospitals and insurance companies are hard-pressed to say no to saving money while lives are saved. Some of the healthcare companies we have invested in have achieved dramatic results to help deliver “disruption from within”.

One example is Karius, which uses genomics and AI to advance infectious disease diagnostics. The company can recognize almost every pathogen mankind has ever encountered at the genomic level.

Using machine learning algorithms that allow for rapid analysis of complex genomic data, they are pioneering new testing methodologies to accurately detect and characterize infectious diseases. Instead of relying on a century-old method developed by Louis Pasteur that can take weeks for a result, the Karius gene-based blood test that can return results in a day.

This can make the difference between life and death. And Karius’ technology is backed by multiple large-scale studies, peer-reviewed publications, and a delivery and reimbursement model that satisfies both doctors and administrators in the existing framework of the healthcare system.

How to fundraise in August

Fundraising is always brutal (even if journalists never cover the gritty and gory details). And August would seemingly be the most brutal month to fundraise, what with everyone on vacation. The reality though is that while you can’t fundraise in August the way you might in September or October, there are a lot of strategies you can use to take advantage of the uniquely relaxed tenor that August offers. I provide some context for how to fundraise in August, as well as some tactics to implement to maximize your fundraising efficiency in the fall.

Pro rata rights, immigration, the sharing economy, AWS, Ray Dalio, and China’s smartphones

By Danny Crichton

What founders need to know about pro rata rights

Pro rata used to be reasonably simple. Venture investors who bought preferred shares in startups had the right to lock in a certain percentage of equity provided they continued funding the company in the future rounds of financing. But as VCs have raised ever larger funds and cap tables have become ever more congested, who gets pro rata — and who keeps it — has become a massive distraction for many founders during their fundraises.

Andy Sparks, the founder of Holloway Guides (which, as my co-editor Eric Eldon wrote this week, raised $4.6 million from the New York Times and others), writes in with an analysis of pro rata rights from the latest Holloway Guide on Raising Venture Capital. We are really digging this new model of covering the issues affecting startups, and wish Sparks and his team well in their endeavor.

Pro rata is Latin for “in proportion.” Most people are familiar with the concept of prorating from dealing with landlords: if you’re entering into a lease halfway through the month, your rent may be prorated, where you pay an amount of the rent that is in proportion to your time actually occupying the property.

Almost all investors try to negotiate for pro rata rights, because if a company is doing well they want to own as much of it as possible. After all, why not double down on a winner than use that same money to invest in a newer, unproven company? In the 2018–2019 fundraising climate, though, it’s safe to say we’re at “peak pro rata.” Everybody wants pro rata, even those who don’t entirely understand how it works or affects companies.

Which immigration headlines should you care about?

Every day in the United States, immigration issues dominate the headlines. That can be very taxing for startups, which are often founded by immigrant entrepreneurs and often have sizable immigrant employee bases as well. So which stories should you pay attention to and which stories can you ignore and live in blissful ignorance?

Go behind the curtain with Wall Street titan Ray Dalio

By Arman Tabatabai

Today on Extra Crunch, TechCrunch fintech contributor Gregg Schoenberg went deep beneath the surface with an insider profile of investor Ray Dalio. While Dalio is certainly a celebrity in the world of financial services, some outside of Wall Street might need a quick refresher on Dalio, his career and his influence.

Dalio built his reputation in the finance universe as the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates. With 40-plus year of operations under its belt, Bridgewater now manages roughly $160 billion in assets for a long list of the largest institutional investors from across the globe.

But outside of the investment community, Dalio has built up a chunky following through his book ‘Principles’, which outlines his views on management, leadership and investing. ‘Principles’ focuses on the best practices, mental frameworks and strategies that have worked for Dalio in both career and life.

While the set of tools presented in ‘Principles’ can be observed in practice every day at Bridgewater, its efficacy seems to have proven to be at least somewhat applicable across backgrounds. Since the full version of the book’s publication in 2017, ‘Principles’ has sold between one to two million-plus copies, been a New York Times Best-Seller, and has been praised by thought leaders across politics, business and the Valley including Bill Gates, Marc Benioff and Reed Hastings.

More recently in April, Dalio and his team launched the ‘Principles in Action’ mobile iOS app which includes the book’s full text intertwined with interactive videos (including some from actual internal Bridgewater meetings), animations, quizzes and case studies built to help users track personal growth goals. According to the app’s development team, since launch ‘Principles in Action’ has had roughly 115,000 downloads and an average of 30,000 monthly active users over the past three months, with users completing over 5,000 case studies. The team pushes out updates every two to three weeks and plans to launch on Android in December.

And if Gregg’s deep profile on Extra Crunch, the ‘Principles’ book and ‘Principles in Action’ app didn’t offer enough access to Dalio’s brain, Dalio will also be joining us for a fireside chat on the Extra Crunch stage this October at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, where he will discuss how to build an effective and actionable culture at a startup of any scale.

Though he’s been stock investing since age 12, Dalio’s new passion is sharing the tactics, to which he attributes his success, to as broad an audience as possible. So join us on Extra Crunch and at the Extra Crunch Disrupt stage for exclusive candid insights from Ray Dalio and the principles that have helped him become one of history’s most successful financial entrepreneurs.

Dreading 10x engineers, virtual beings, the fate of Netflix, and Salesforce’s acquisition

By Danny Crichton

The dreaded 10x, or, how to handle exceptional employees

The reality (myth?) is that there are engineers who are ten times more productive than other engineers (some would argue 100x, but okay). Jon Evans, who is CTO at HappyFunCorp, dives into the strengths and weaknesses of these vaunted people and how to manage them and their relationships with other team members.

The anti-10x squad raises many important and valid — frankly, obvious and inarguable — points. Go down that Twitter thread and you’ll find that 10x engineers are identified as: people who eschew meetings, work alone, rarely look at documentation, don’t write much themselves, are poor mentors, and view process, meetings, or training as reasons to abandon their employer. In short, they are unbelievably terrible team members.

Is software a field like the arts, or sports, in which exceptional performers can exist? Sure. Absolutely. Software is Extremistan, not Mediocristan, as Nassim Taleb puts it.

A guide to Virtual Beings and how they impact our world

If your 10x engineers are too annoying to deal with, maybe consider just getting virtual beings instead. The inaugural Virtual Beings Summit was held recently in San Francisco, a conference designed to bring together storyline editors, virtual reality engineers, influencer marketers and more to consider the future of “virtual beings.”

Spacetech growth, the future of micromobility, and how to solve the hell of open offices

By Danny Crichton

Is space truly within reach for startups and VC?

With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing taking place this past week, Darrell Etherington takes a temperature check of the current state of spacetech, chatting with startups like Wyvern and NSLComm. What he finds is actually a fairly positive picture — not only are there a huge number of original ideas and serious dollars flowing into the … space (couldn’t resist), but there are also clear trajectories to real products in the short-to-medium term. Writing about satellites:

Now, driven largely by miniaturization and manufacturing efficiency gains resulting from the ubiquity of home computing and smartphones, those components are a lot more affordable and a lot more available. High-quality optics can be had off the shelf for a relative song; antennas, solar cells, batteries and more have all dropped off a cliff in terms of manufacturing cost. Consumer hardware startups benefited from this trend as well, but it’s paying dividends to companies with higher-altitude ambitions, too.

[…]

Thanks to improvements in materials science, NSLComm was able to develop a proprietary technology to quickly deploy long communications antennas in orbit from relatively small craft, letting them offer high-bandwidth ground and air connectivity at a fraction of the cost needed by large satellite operators, while still maintaining favorable margins.

How top VCs view the new future of micromobility

Transportation into the cold vacuum of space isn’t the only hot zone for VC investment. Transportation itself is still getting a lot of love, but the investment theses are changing as more data comes in from the first wave of micromobility startups. At our Sessions: Mobility event, we had our VC reporter Kate Clark interview Sarah Smith of Bain Capital Ventures, Michael Granoff of Maniv Mobility, and Ted Serbinski of TechStars Detroit to discuss the future of this market, and we’ve now posted an exclusive edited transcript for Extra Crunch members.

Cars-as-a-service, Alibaba and ridehailing, mental health, and the future of financial services

By Danny Crichton

The future of car ownership: Cars-as-a-service

It’s Mobility Day at TechCrunch, and we’re hosting our Sessions event today in beautiful San Jose. That’s why we have a couple of related pieces on mobility at Extra Crunch.

First, our automotive editor Matt Burns is back with part two of his market map and analysis of the changing nature of how consumers are buying cars these days. Part one looked at how startups like Carvana, Shift, Vroom, and others are trying to disrupt the car dealership’s monopoly on auto sales in the United States.

Now, Burns takes a look at how startups like Fair and premium automakers like Mercedes are disrupting the very notion of owning a car in the first place. Rather than buying a car or leasing one, users with these new services are asked to subscribe to their cars, giving them the flexibility to get a car when they need it and to get rid of it when they don’t. Fair has raised $1.5 billion in venture capital, so clearly the space has caught the eye of investors.

“In simple terms,” co-founder and then CEO [of Fair] Scott Painter, told TechCrunch following its recent raise, “for every dollar in equity we unlock $10 in debt, and we borrow that cash to buy cars.”

Fair works much like a traditional lease with more options. Users can drive the vehicles as long as they’re paying for them and can switch to a different one whenever. This is different from a traditional lease where the buyer is often locked into the vehicle for two to four years. The model makes Fair an excellent option for Uber and Lyft drivers, and in the last year, Uber sold fair its $400 million leasing business to accelerate this offering.

Meituan, Alibaba, and the new landscape of ride-hailing in China

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, our China tech reporter Rita Liao takes a deeper look at the quickly changing tides of the ride-hailing industry in China. It’s a fight between intermediation, disintermediation, and who ultimately owns the ride-hailing consumer. As transit in China and the rest of the world increasingly becomes multi-modal, who owns the gateway to figuring out the best method and paying for it is increasingly in the driver’s seat:

Understanding mental health in Silicon Valley, with professional coach and former investor Jerry Colonna

By Arman Tabatabai

Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos recently sat down with VC-turned-professional coach Jerry Colonna for a chat about founder mental health, his less than predictable career path and his new book Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up.

After years as a successful venture investor, Colonna found himself confronting his own personal struggles with mental health. As a result, Colonna shifted his focus towards coaching founders and executives through the tensions that exist between personal happiness, mental health and traditional leadership practices.

In his book and in his conversation with Connie, Jerry discusses how one’s previously developed standards of success can impact their ability to lead and realize fulfillment from their work. Jerry elaborates on why many Valley executives encounter mental health pressures as their careers evolve, and details advice he gives to his own clients to help them re-engage with themselves.

“First, to unpack that ambition itself, is not a negative. It’s just ambition. But when we don’t understand the context of that ambition, what is it that’s driving us forward? Is it fear? Or is it excitement and enthusiasm about what’s possible?

Generally, it’s about both, right? When our ambition is primarily unconsciously driven be our fear, the likelihood is high that we’re going to drive the people who work for us crazy. Because nothing that they do, is ever going to make the fear go away. No matter how successful our ambition makes us.

Because the underlying motivation is fear. I am looking to become safe by what I’m driving towards. Now, if we were to flip it and say the thing that is really driving the ambition, is dreaming of a world that is possible. “I can’t imagine how cool it would be if this company were X.” Well, I may still act in a way that’s driven, but I don’t necessarily have to drive the people around me crazy.

And so by understanding the complicated nature of that word ambition, we get to, as I say, dial up the positive aspect of it and release a little bit from the less healthy more negative aspects of it.”

Jerry and Connie dive deeper into how media coverage impacts founder psyches and how it has evolved amidst an increased awareness around mental health. The two also discuss how external pressures are changing for younger generations of founders, as well as how society as a whole can truly tackle widespread mental health issues.

For access to the full transcription and the call audio, and for the opportunity to participate in future conference calls, become a member of Extra Crunch. Learn more and try it for free. 

Connie Loizos: Jerry, it’s a pleasure to be talking to you. We’ve been talking for many, many years. I’m afraid to say how many years…

Jerry Colonna: It’ll reveal how old we are.

Loizos: I know exactly. But I do remember you starting Flatiron, with Fred Wilson, many, many years ago and then going on to JP Morgan and I know that many of the listeners on the phone right now probably have traced your story because you are one of those characters of great interest in Silicon Valley. Can you talk a little bit about how you decided to leave venture capital and become a full-time coach?

Vertical market networks, effective startup names, Libra, Carbon, and Sidewalk Labs

By Danny Crichton

The next service marketplace wave: Vertical market networks

B2B service marketplaces (think translation as a service) are an extraordinarily lucrative startup category. But despite the incredible potential of these platforms to generate outsized returns, many fail. Why?

Ivan Smolnikov, the CEO and founder of translation service startup Smartcat, investigates why certain marketplaces seem to grow while others stall. His conclusion is that unlocking value for both sides of the marketplace is much more challenging than it appears, and the most successful, next-generation marketplaces are going to come from highly networked, efficient platforms for complex projects targeting specific verticals.

Smolnikov then gives a step-by-step guide to optimizing marketplace growth.

One reason is that several service providers must often work together to complete a single job for a buyer, requiring a complex workflow from end to end. As a result, it’s difficult for marketplaces to not only mediate service delivery but also make it significantly more efficient for buyers and suppliers. If both the buyer and suppliers don’t see a significant efficiency gain other than being initially matched, why would they continue using the marketplace?

What startup names are most effective?

Perhaps the first step in building a company is just figuring out what to call it. Adam Zelcer, who founded Adboy, explores some tactics on how to optimize a startup’s name.

Getting remote work working, A16Z in LatAm, transferring H-1Bs, and Uber Air taxis

By Danny Crichton

How to make remote work work

TechCrunch columnist Jon Evans has an Extra Crunch-exclusive look on what it takes to get remote work working within an organization. Evans, who has been the remote CTO of technology consulting firm HappyFunCorp for many years, finds that “you need decisive confidence, clear direction, iterative targets, independent responsibilities, asynchronous communications, and cheerful chatter” to build out a harmonious remote work culture.

Decisive confidence. Suppose Vivek in Delhi, Diego in Rio, and Miles in Berlin are all on a project. (An example I’m drawing from my real life.) It’s late your time. You have to make a decision about the direction of their work. If you sleep on it, you’re writing off multiple developer-days of productivity.

Sometimes they have enough responsibilities to have other things to work on. (More on that below.) Sometimes you don’t have to make the decision because they have enough responsibility to do so themselves. (More on that below.) But sometimes you have to make the business-level decision based on scant information. In cases like this, remember the military maxim: “Any decision is better than no decision.”

How to negotiate term sheets with strategic investors

Over the last few years, we’ve seen the rise of hundreds of strategic investors, typically large corporates with venture wings with the mission to invest in the next wave of startups targeting their existing business lines. While many of these funds are structured at least symbolically as traditional venture capital firms, their specific concerns during deal negotiation can be quite different.

Get 2 months of Extra Crunch for $2

By Travis Bernard

We’re excited to announce a special promotion for Extra Crunch. Starting today, new users signing up for Extra Crunch will get a trial rate of $2 for the first 2 months. After the trial period ends, you’ll be moved over to our monthly plan for $15 per month. This offer ends on June 21, so be sure to take advantage of it before it expires.

Claim this offer by heading here.

Extra Crunch is our membership program that launched back in February. It features original research and reporting, including unicorn deep dives, startup resources and recommendations, and more. As a subscriber, we’ll remove all banner ads and video pre rolls from the site for you. If you’re interested in attending our events like Disrupt SF, you can also save 20% on tickets by being an Extra Crunch subscriber. Membership also gets you access to our weekly conference calls with TechCrunch writers.

Here are a few articles our subscribers have loved so far:

We’ve already received tremendous feedback and positive reactions from our loyal readers, and we’d love to see you join, too. It’s a great way to support the journalism you love while also getting a deeper dive into the topics you already enjoy on TechCrunch. Sign up here or click the banner below.

Do VC associates matter, women’s fertility, online auto marketplaces, and Salesforce + Tableau

By Danny Crichton

Editor’s Note: New feedback buttons

You might have noticed at the top and bottom of this newsletter that we have added new feedback buttons. These are a quick way to express your happiness (or unhappiness, as it were) about this Extra Crunch Roundup newsletter. What do you like, and what do you don’t? All feedback is welcome and extremely valuable as we continue to improve Extra Crunch for members. And as always, you can just hit reply and let me know directly.

Fundraising 101: Do VC associates matter?

There are hundreds of associates working at VC firms traipsing through meetups and coffee meetings trying to find the best new startups. If you are looking to fundraise though — and fundraise quickly — how do you approach these nebulous non-check-writers?

This week, I wrote a guide based on my experience as a VC associate at two firms. The answer is that yes, they can matter, and it usually is quickly apparent how valuable they can be.

Associates can be helpful, they can and should be nice, and they have a useful role to play in the venture landscape. But let’s be clear: they can’t write checks, and checks is what you are looking for. They can be useful mechanisms to get the right meetings with the right partners at exactly the moment you are ready to fundraise. You probably shouldn’t piss them off by being an asshole to them, but at the end of the day, they are not the decision-maker. And if you learn anything about sales, it is that you want to pitch the person that holds the purse strings.

 

What top VCs look for in women’s fertility startups

Women’s fertility is a major area of investment for VC firms these days, and several prominent investors are doing deep dives into the space. Our healthtech writer Sarah Buhr interviewed several VCs about what they’re seeing in the space and why fertility is suddenly in the limelight:

A16Z interview, 5G, Peloton, handling Big Tech issues, and offering better benefits

By Danny Crichton

Unraveling the “Secrets of Sand Hill Road” and the VC thought process, with Andreessen Horowitz’s Scott Kupor

Our Silicon Valley editor Connie Loizos hosted an Extra Crunch live conference call with Andreessen Horowitz GP Scott Kupor, who manages all ops for the firm and was formerly head of the National Venture Capital Association. He just published a new book entitled “Secrets of Sand Hill Road” which is a guide to the venture capital industry and how to attract the attention of VCs to your startup.

This was our most popular conference call so far, and it was great to see so many people coming out to chat with Scott. In case you missed it, we have published the full transcript for Extra Crunch members.

Connie: Talking about demystifying venture capital, you’ve been with Andreessen Horowitz for roughly 10 years, pretty much from the outset of the firm. Can you tell us, beyond a warm introduction, what does it take to get a meeting at Andreessen Horowitz? What do you start looking for on paper?

Scott: What we’re really looking for is a couple of things. First, we always think about market initially, because we know that we’re going to be wrong a lot of times and the way we have to invest is we have to believe at the time we make the investment that the market size is big enough to be able to support a standalone, hopefully, public company at some point in time.

So, that’s always the threshold question we’re trying to ask — is the opportunity that they’re going after is as big as it possibly can be? And then, most of the analysis, particularly the early stage, tends to be based on team, because, we don’t really have the benefit of the product yet.

We definitely don’t even know, quite frankly, how the markets going to evolve. And so, the real question is what is it about this team or set of individuals that makes them uniquely qualified to go after this opportunity? What do they know?

We use this term internally, called an “earned secret”, which is what have you learned that other people might not know that’s going to really enable you to go build something that we know is going to be tough and competitive, and a long slog? And, a lot of the evaluation really starts there.

This year’s Computex was a wild ride with dueling chip releases, new laptops and 467 startups

Our Taipei-based correspondent Catherine Shu attended the local Computex conference, which has long been a major hub in the semiconductor, next-generation silicon, AI and 5G circuits. She wrote up her observations of what’s on the cutting edge of these fields, and what the opportunities for startups are in these hot spaces.

Peloton IPO, VC alternatives, privacy at Apple, and cybersecurity returns

By Danny Crichton

ICYMI: As Peloton files for IPO, can its live fitness gamification model extend to other verticals?

Peloton confidentially filed for its IPO today, and the juggernaut fitness company is positioned to be one of the most interesting consumer debuts in the upcoming IPO season now that Uber has cleared the hurdle.

Extra Crunch’s media columnist Eric Peckham interviewed Zwift CEO Eric Min last month about the live video model that Peloton pioneered, and explored whether ‘Peloton for X’ is the next wave of consumers startups. If you missed it, be sure to read it now.

Which type of funding is actually best for your business?

Fundraising is hard. We explored how to generate FOMO among VCs in Eric’s column last week, but this week, we wanted to explore the routes to funding a startup, and whether venture capital is even the right option.

How to trigger FOMO among VCs, plus PMs, SoftBank, and cheese

By Danny Crichton

Fundraising 101: How to trigger FOMO among VCs

Our media columnist Eric Peckham talked to a variety of successful founders on how they generate FOMO (i.e. fear of missing out) among VCs during their fundraises. While having a great deck and story is key to startup success, clearly there is also a bit of the dark arts required to go from intro email to term sheet.

We focused on a two-week period and set all the meetings for Thursday and Friday. From 7am into the evening, back-to-back pitches at all the firms in one area then the next area. That’s because partner meetings are on Mondays, so the Thursday and Friday conversations would lead to pitching the whole partnership the following Monday. We had a 24-hour rule: if we didn’t hear back from a fund in 24 hours, we crossed them off the list.

and

According to this CEO, Sequoia and Benchmark are the best at throwing entrepreneurs off their process in order to get ahead of the competition. Sequoia will typically arrange meetings for the morning so they can invite you back for a second meeting with more partners that same afternoon; Benchmark’s partners are quick to travel to wherever you are in the world and sell you on working together (with a term sheet at the ready).

Q&A with J Crowley, Head of Product at Airbnb Lux, on what makes a great PM

Our editor Jordan Crook did a great interview with J Crowley of Airbnb Lux and formerly of Foursquare, and the two of them discussed the opportunities and challenges of being a PM, how to deal with failure, and how to be a leader on a product team.

Growth, Kubernetes, rocket launches, gender in tech, and more Luckin Coffee

By Danny Crichton

Housekeeping & Extra Crunch 20% event discount reminder

    • Extra Crunch will not be publishing on Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday in the United States. Publishing will resume as normal on Tuesday.
    • Reminder: if you are an annual member of Extra Crunch, your membership includes a 20% discount on event tickets and exhibitor packages. If you want to claim a discount for one of our upcoming events, such as Sessions: Mobility, Sessions: Enterprise or TechCrunch Disrupt SF, just send an email to extracrunch@techcrunch.com and our customer service team will get you all setup.
    • We have pushed out a product update to the Extra Crunch landing page. Now, you can see a featured list of our member-exclusive top stories, just as you can on TechCrunch’s main page.
    • Finally, if you ever have any challenges with your account — login issues, paywall issues, etc., please do email us at the customer support line at extracrunch@techcrunch.com. Adblock plugins have a tendency to break some of our login functionality (it happens to me too, since I am an adblock plugin user myself), and we can help mitigate any issues you might be facing.

How to see another company’s growth tactics, and try them yourself

Growth marketer and founder of BellCurve.com Julian Shapiro published his third article on Extra Crunch, exploring how to analyze your startup’s competitors to figure out their growth tactics. He explores how to see a company’s A/B tests, ad spend, keyword optimization and other areas for competitive analysis.

Takeaways from KubeCon; the latest on Kubernetes and cloud native development

By Arman Tabatabai

Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Frederic Lardinois and Ron Miller discuss major announcements that came out of the Linux Foundation’s European KubeCon/CloudNativeCon conference and discuss the future of Kubernetes and cloud-native technologies.

Nearly doubling in size year-over-year, this year’s KubeCon conference brought big news and big players, with major announcements coming from some of the world’s largest software vendors including Google, AWS, Microsoft, Red Hat, and more. Frederic and Ron discuss how the Kubernetes project grew to such significant scale and which new initiatives in cloud-native development show the most promise from both a developer and enterprise perspective.

“This ecosystem starts sprawling, and we’ve got everything from security companies to service mesh companies to storage companies. Everybody is here. The whole hall is full of them. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between them because there are so many competing start-ups at this point.

I’m pretty sure we’re going to see a consolidation in the next six months or so where some of the bigger players, maybe Oracle, maybe VMware, will start buying some of these smaller companies. And I’m sure the show floor will look quite different about a year from now. All the big guys are here because they’re all trying to figure out what’s next.”

Frederic and Ron also dive deeper into the startup ecosystem rapidly developing around Kubernetes and other cloud-native technologies and offer their take on what areas of opportunity may prove to be most promising for new startups and founders down the road.

For access to the full transcription and the call audio, and for the opportunity to participate in future conference calls, become a member of Extra Crunch. Learn more and try it for free. 

Getaround, Facebook, AI chips, Nvidia, Africa, and immigration

By Danny Crichton

Who helped your startup grow? Nominate a growth marketing agency.

For those who have been members of Extra Crunch for a while now, you have seen us go through two cycles of Verified Experts, covering startup attorneys and brand designers. Now, we turn our attention to our third community of startup professionals: growth marketers / hackers. Growth is the single most important objective of any startup, and so these professionals can have an outsized impact on which companies grow, and by how much.

Yvonne Leow is leading our search for the best growth marketers out there, as rated by founders. Worked with someone yourself? Impressed by the growth of a friend’s startup? Let us know with this handy form and get ready for new profiles in the coming weeks.

The Exit: Getaround’s $300M roadtrip

Our SF-based reporter Lucas Matney published his second piece in his “The Exit” series on, well, startup exits. Last time, Lucas looked at the acquisition of Dynamic Yield for $300 million by McDonald’s, and now he looks at Getaround’s $300 million acquisition of Paris-based Drivy (why Lucas loves $300m transactions, I have no idea). He interviewed Jeremy Uzan of Alven Capital to get the details:

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