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Equity Monday: Jeff’s going to space, and everyone wants a piece of Flipkart

By Alex Wilhelm

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

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 and myself here.

It’s WWDC week, so expect a deluge of Apple news to overtake your Twitter feed here and there over the next few days. But there’s a lot more going on, so let’s dig in:

And that’s your start to the week. More to come from your friends here on Wednesday, and Friday. Chat soon!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 AM PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts!

Love, Death & Robots Is Growing Up

By Geek's Guide to the Galaxy
The Netflix series can still feel like a boy's club, but the second season eclipses the first.

Get Your Covid Vaccine, Win a Million Dollars

By WIRED Staff
This week we unpack the behavioral science behind vaccine lotteries and why a life-changing amount of cash will motivate humans to get their shots.

Equity listeners, do you like prizes? Take our super-fun survey!!!

By Natasha Mascarenhas

Hello Equity podcast family, we’re back with another survey.

This is our second go-round with collecting your feedback, notes and vibes.

The first survey we conducted back in the early days of 2020 was super useful in helping us better tune the show. Since then, Equity has grown in frequency and we’ve expanded our production team. So, it’s a perfect time to collect your opinions. You can find the survey here.

If you have listened to the show a few times, or if you listen every week, or if you’ve heard a few hundred episodes, we want to hear from you.

And we’re going to offer some sort of neat reward to a lucky participant. Think things like TechCrunch socks. Or a romantic dinner for you and your partner that Danny cooks. Or Alex may call the person of your choosing to tell them that they have very poor gross margins.

The gist is that we are hungry for your feedback and are willing to pay for the 37 to 94 seconds it will take you to fill out our little Google Form.

We appreciate you, and the time you spend with us. (But really, take the darn survey!)

— The Equity Team

Amazon is now open to getting sued

By Alex Wilhelm

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

Despite it being a short week, as always, it was a busy busy time. Our regular Friday producer Grace was under the weather today, so Chris stepped in to help out.

And as noted at the top of the episode, we’re running a survey. The survey is here, dear Equity family. Please fill it out so that we can keep making the show better.

That aside, here’s what Danny and Natasha and Alex got into:

That’s all we got! If you have heard Equity before, take the survey. Thank you!

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

Maybe Future Generations Will Be Just Fine

By Geek's Guide to the Galaxy
In his new book, legal scholar Cass R. Sunstein argues that there may be reasons to not worry about the hereafter.

How Humanity’s Obsession With Color Shaped Our Modern World

By WIRED Staff
This week, we talk about how the technology we’ve invented to more accurately re-create colors has driven whole civilizations.

3 views on the future of meetings

By Natasha Mascarenhas

More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, early-stage startups across the world are re-inventing how we work. But founders aren’t flocking to build just another SaaS tool or Airtable copycat — they’re trying to disrupt the only thing possibly more annoying than e-mail: the work meeting.

On an episode of this week’s podcast, Equity hosts Alex Wilhelm, Danny Crichton and Natasha Mascarenhas discussed a flurry of funding rounds related to the future of work.

Rewatch, which makes meetings asynchronous, raised $20 million from Andreessen Horowitz, AnyClip got $47 million in a round led by JVP for video search and analytics technology, Interactio, a remote interpretation platform, landed $30 million from Eight Roads Ventures and Silicon Valley-based Storm Ventures, and Spot Meetings got Kleiner Perkins on board in a $5 million seed.

We connected the dots between these funding rounds to sketch out three perspectives on the future of workplace meetings. Part of our reasoning was the uptick of investment as mentioned above, and the other is that our calendars are full of them. We all agree that the traditional meeting is broken, so below you’ll find each of our arguments on where they go next and what we’d like to see.

  • Alex Wilhelm: Faster information throughput, please
  • Natasha Mascarenhas: Meetings should be ongoing, not in calendar invites
  • Danny Crichton: Redesign meetings for flow

Alex Wilhelm: Faster information throughput, please

I’ve worked for companies that were in love with meetings, and for companies where meetings were more infrequent. I prefer the latter by a wide margin. I’ve also worked in offices full-time, half-time and fully remote. I immensely prefer the final option.

Why? Work meetings are often a waste of time. Mostly you don’t need to align, most folks taking part are superfluous and as accidental team-building exercises they are incredibly expensive in terms of human-hours.

I am not into wasting time. The more remote I’ve been and the less time I’ve spent in less-formal meetings — the usual chit-chat that pollutes productive work time, making the days longer and less useful — the more I’ve managed to get done.

But I’ve been the lucky one, frankly. Most folks were still trapped in offices up until the pandemic shook up the world of work, finally giving more companies a shot at a whole-cloth rebuild of how they toil.

The good news is that CEOs are taking note. Chatting with Sprout Social CEO Justyn Howard this week, he explained how we have a unique, new chance to not live near where we work in 2021, but to instead bring work to where we live. He’s also an introvert, which meant that as a pair we’ve found a number of positives in some of the changes to how tech and media companies operate. Perhaps we’re a little biased.

A number of startups are rushing to fill the gap between the new expectations that Howard noted and our old digital and IRL realities.

Tandem.chat might be one such company. The former Y Combinator launch-day darling has spent its post-halo period building. Its CEO sent me a manifesto of sorts the other day, discussing how his company approaches the future of work meetings. Tandem is building for a world where communication needs to be both real-time and internal; it leaves asynchronous internal communication to Slack, real-time external communications to Zoom and asynchronous external chats to email. I agree, I think.

The SPAC trash ticker is counting down

By Natasha Mascarenhas

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

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

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

  • The team felt all kinds of ways about the Amazon-MGM deal. Some of us are more positive than the rest, but what gists out from the transaction is that for Amazon, the purchase price is modest and the company is famously playing a supposedly long-game. Let’s see how James Bond fits into it. Alex receives four points for not bringing up F1 thanks to the Bond-Aston Martin connection.
  • Turning to the SPAC game, we chatted through the recent Lordstown Motors earnings results, and what we can parse from them regarding blank-check companies, promises and reality.
  • After launching last June with just $2 million, Collab Capital has closed its debut fund at its target goal: $50 million. The Black-led firm invests exclusively in Black-led startups, and got checks from Apple, PayPal, and Mailchimp to name a few. We talk about this feat, and note a few other Black-led venture capital firms making waves in the industry lately.
  • We Resolved our transition puns and eventually spoke about the Affirm spin-out, which raised $60 million in a funding round for BNPL for businesses. There’s bigger questions there around the accessibility and point of BNPL, and if its really re-inventing the wheel or just repackaging it with simpler UX.
  • Next up, we got into a can of worms about the future of meetings thanks to Rewatch, which raised a $20 million Series A this week led by Andreessen Horowitz. The startup helps other startups create internal, private Youtubes to archive their meetings and any video-based comms. We could only spend a second on this, so if you want our longer thoughts in the form of text, check out our 3 views on the topic on Extra Crunch! (Discount Code: Equity)
  • From there we had Interactio and Fireflies.ai, two more startups that are tackling the complexities of meetings in the COVID-19 era, and whatever comes next. Both recently raised new funding, and Alex brought up Kudo to add one more upstart to the mix.
  • Noom, a weight loss platform, bulked up with $540 million in funding after nearly doubling its revenue from 2019 to 2020. The pandemic has made many people gain weight, but we chew into why Noom’s moment might be right now after a decade in the works.

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

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

Cataclysms are a growth industry

By Natasha Mascarenhas

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

For this week’s deep dive, Alex and Natasha dug into Danny’s latest mega-project: A long, fascinating and deeply reported series into the world of disaster tech. It’s all about the market, startups and their backers, so it was perfect fare for our Wednesday episode, in which we dive deep into a single topic.

Part 1: The most disastrous sales cycle in the world

Part 2: Data was the new oil, until the oil caught fire

Part 3: When the Earth is gone, at least the internet will still be working

Part 4: The human-focused startups of the hellfire

We were super curious why Danny had picked disaster tech to niche into, as we hadn’t heard that much about it, frankly. But past the fact that it’s a world where sales cycles can last as long as House Congressional tenures, there was quite a lot to get into:

The series was fun to mine through, and expect Danny’s byline to be all over the topic in the coming weeks. Talk soon, unless — actually especially, if — all of hell breaks loose!

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

The World Needs a Chronicles of Amber TV Show

By Geek's Guide to the Galaxy
It's time the work of sci-fi writer Roger Zelazny got its own adaptations.

Android’s Getting Brighter and Bubblier, and We Can’t Wait

By WIRED Staff
This week, we recap the news out of Google IO, including Android’s new look and Project Starline’s holographic video booth.

TechCrunch’s Equity podcast wins a Webby Award

By Henry Pickavet

Today, the fine folks at the Webbys announced that TechCrunch’s flagship podcast, Equity, is the best of its kind in the technology category. We’re stoked!

Alex Wilhelm, Natasha Mascarenhas and Danny Crichton sit down in front of their mics multiple times each week to regale dedicated listeners with news and analysis from the money part of the startup world.

Led by the deft production touch of Chris Gates and Grace Mendenhall, the entertaining trio goes deep into companies, topics and news multiple times each week – while mostly in a good mood. And they’ve come a long way.

Check out the shortest acceptance speech in TechCrunch history here!

Here is our 5-word acceptance speech for winning a @TheWebbyAwards for best technology podcast!!!https://t.co/sNnNnGpsTU pic.twitter.com/Vg2NSOD6Q9

— Equity Podcast (@EquityPod) May 18, 2021

Equity launched in March 2017 in a back room — a veritable closet, if you will! — at our old San Francisco office. Alex would come down once a week from his then-digs at Crunchbase News to join Katie Roof and Matt Lynley. Other hosts on our fun ride have included Kate Clark and our very own Connie Loizos.

We’ve got all kinds of podcast goodies up our award-winning sleeves and we hope you and five of your closest friends keep coming along for the ride.

Equity Monday: Elon Musk Elon Musks the crypto markets, while Indian startups raise huge rounds

By Alex Wilhelm

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

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 and myself here.

There was lots to get through today, so, in order, here’s the rundown:

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 AM PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts!

Making Video Games Is Not a Dream Job

By Geek's Guide to the Galaxy
For his new book Press Reset, journalist Jason Schreier spoke to countless game developers who have had their lives upended by the industry.

Muchos Bezos: Inside Amazon’s Empire With Author Brad Stone

By WIRED Staff
This week, we talk to the author and journalist about his new book on the retail giant and its famous boss.

Hundreds of SPACs waiting in the woods

By Natasha Mascarenhas

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

The fully vaxxed and officially fully immune took over the podcast this week, with Natasha and Danny co-hosting the show while the inimitable Alex is out from Shot No. 2. Grace and Chris, as always, were behind the scenes making sure we sound pretty and don’t fall down too many punny board game rabbit holes after vacation.

Here’s the rundown of what we got into:

And that’s where we break! Follow the podcast on Twitter, be kind to your humans, and be the kindest to yourself. Back sooner than you can raise a $25 million pre-seed round for an audio app for Dogecoin lovers.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 AM PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts!

Equity Monday: TechCrunch goes Yahoo while welding robots raise $56M

By Alex Wilhelm

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

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 and myself here.

This morning was a notable one in the life of TechCrunch the publication, as our parent company’s parent company decided to sell our parent company to a different parent company. And now we’re to have to get new corporate IDs, again, as it appears that our new parent company’s parent company wants to rebrand our parent company. As Yahoo.

Cool.

Anyway, a bunch of other stuff happened as well:

We’re back Wednesday with something special. Chat then!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 AM PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts!

How one founder made the most of Y Combinator in a pandemic year

By Darrell Etherington

This week, we welcome guest Hana Mohan to our podcast Found. Hana is the co-founder and CEO of MagicBell, a new startup she created with Josue Montano that just recently graduated from Y Combinator’s Winter 2021 cohort. MagicBell is a full-featured, plug-and-play notifications inbox aimed at developers who want to build one into their own product, but don’t want to have to build one themselves from scratch.

Hana’s experience as an entrepreneur spans multiple companies, including her last one which she grew to significant success in terms of annual revenue. She’s also a proud transgender woman, who underwent her transition mid-way through her existing history as a founder and entrepreneur. Hana talks to us about the challenges she faced taking on her transition in an industry where the focus is often exclusively on how hard you’re hustling and what you’re building next, and about her origin story as a founder coming from an environment where there weren’t necessarily many examples with similar life experience to look to for inspiration.

During our chat, Hana also shared lots of insight into YC, and what it provides founders, as well as perspective on what it was like going through the program during a global pandemic in a remote context. Finally, she offers some great context on finding your first investors and customers as a distributed team.

We loved talking to Hana, and we hope you love the episode. You can subscribe to Found in Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, on Google Podcasts or in your podcast app of choice. Definitely leave us a review and let us know what you think, or send us direct feedback either on Twitter or via email. Come back next week for yet another great conversation with a founder all about their own one-of-a-kind startup journey.

The second shot is kicking in

By Natasha Mascarenhas

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

First and foremost, Equity was nominated for a Webby for “Best Technology Podcast”! Drop everything and go Vote for Equity! We’d appreciate it. A lot. And even if we lose, well, we’ll keep doing our thing and making each other laugh. (Note: We are in last place, which is, well, something.)

Regardless, the Equity team got together once again this week to not only go over the news of the week, but also to do a little soul searching. You see, some news broke yesterday, so we figured that we had to talk about it in our usual style. So, here’s the rundown:

  • Do you want to buy TechCrunch? Apparently you can? Albeit probably along with a few billion dollars’ worth of other assets — whatever is left of Yahoo and AOL — you can now own an NFT. A non-fungible TechCrunch. What is ahead for us? We don’t know. So if you do know, tell us. Until then we’ll just yo-yo gently between panic and optimism, as per usual.
  • We also dug into the latest All Raise venture capital data, and the results were abysmal. 
  • Next up was the news that fintech startups are setting records in 2021, raising more capital than ever before. That brought us to the latest from Brex.
  • And then there was a suspicious trend when three fintech companies focused on teen banking raised in one exhale. We talk Step, Greenlight and Current.
  • Natasha talked about her last Startups Weekly post, in which she unpacked The MasterClass effect’s impact on edtech.
  • And to close, we discussed the latest cool-kid venture capital funds. Sure memes are cool, but did you know that they can help you raise a $10 million fund? They can!

We are back Monday morning with our weekly kick-off show. Have a great weekend!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 AM PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts!

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