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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.

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Closing the race and gender funding gap

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.This week was a bit different than usual. First, we managed to come close to our old time target (20 minutes) instead of our regular length (30 minutes). And, second, Alex is coming back to TechCrunch starting next week!Expect more Equity and, from Alex, writing for Extra Crunch. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. If you aren’t an Extra Crunch subscriber yet you can use the code “EQUITY” and save a bundle. (Woo!)That done, let’s dig into the news that Kate and Alex discussed, starting with Harlem Capital’s $40.3 million new fund. The New York-based outfit has a focus on investing in minority entrepreneurs, who receive significantly less than their white male counterparts. This is one of the largest funds with a diversity mandate to date, and that's something to be stoked about.Next we turned to Mike Cagney’s canny fundraising ability. The former SoFi CEO, ousted for bad behavior, is putting together another huge funding round for his startup, Figure Technologies. The expected $103 million round comes after the company raised $120 million before.With over $50 million raised of the more than $100 million it expects, covering Figure is partially a financial story. However, due to Cagney’s part in the project, it’s also a story of how fast money forgives.Pivoting to Europe, Kate and Alex chewed into the latest report on European venture capital, pulling from Atomico and Forbes. The headlines are pretty simple: There are more EU-based unicorns than ever, more money invested in the region, and the money is mostly finding male hands.Disappointing diversity metrics aside, it’s an encouraging set of metrics for a region that has long found itself left to the side when major startup markets are discussed.And finally, Alex wanted to talk about two impending US-listed technology IPOs. Coming in the wake of the WeWork fiasco and sporting similar share prices but divergent growth profiles, the debuts of Bill.com and Sprout Social are events.


6 Dec 2019

Rank #1

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Equity Monday: Unionization at Alphabet, Tesla's delivery achievement, and CRED raises $81M

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 — and don’t forget to check out the second of our two holiday eps, the most recent looking at what we think might happen this year.What did we get into today? A great question. Here's the rundown:Tesla reported pretty strong deliveries, as did smaller electric vehicle companies. What the strong figures could mean for startups, however, remains to be seen.Bitcoin had a pretty good end to the year, which could bolster Coinbase's impending IPO.Hundreds of workers at Alphabet want to unionize.Didi could go public this year, which means we could see a third ride-hailing company provide us access to its numbers. Please!CRED raised $81 million in a huge Series C. Our reporting indicates that the company is now worth more than $800 million.Disco, a legaltech startup, has raised $40 million in debt to cap off a $100 million round.And here's the Seed link, as promised.Mostly we're still making sure that our brains still work and that the return of work really is here. Taking a break was nice. Now the news is coming back, so we are as well. Hugs, and chat Thursday.


4 Jan 2021

Rank #2

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Coinbase buys a startup, Discord’s a unicorn and Netflix soars

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week TechCrunch's Katie Roof and Crunchbase News's Alex Wilhelm sat down with Science Inc's Michael Jones to dig through the latest in the world of technology and money. And goddamn was there some stuff to get through. On our even-more-stuffed-than-usual agenda this week we first dug into the Coinbase-Earn.com deal, and how it came to be. This raised the question of dividends (which somehow Alphabet still doesn't have to play, bringing a new high watermark to the concept of corporate adolescence) and venture firms bringing together two of their own deals under one roof. Scooting along we turned to Netflix's staggering earnings run, including its share price rally that has been nigh-parabolic. That took us into MoviePass whose parent company you have not heard of, and seems to be in potentially serious financial trouble. After that we jumped into Discord, a popular gaming chat service that is raising another $50 million at a $1.65 billion post-money valuation. That's a hell of a lot of new money, and a hell of a lot of new market cap. (At this point we also started talking about League of Legends. I am sorry.) Finally, back on theme, we poured over the DocuSign IPO pricing range that it just dropped, and the Pluralsight S-1 which brought up many fun questions. All that and we had a few laughs. Hit play, and we'll chat you all next week! Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Downcast and all the casts.


20 Apr 2018

Rank #3

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Everyone beats earnings, racing to $1 trillion, and Square goes shopping

Today Katie Roof and I were joined by James Hardiman, a partner at Data Collective (DCVC). If you want to tell him how he did, he's on Twitter here. It was good to have Hardiman on board as there was an ocean of news to swim through. Indeed, we are in the middle of earnings seasons, companies can't stop from buying one another, and the IPO window is stuck wide open. So we decided to just do everything. Here's how it broke down. Earnings Facebook's earnings had two purposes. First, the company showed the world that it's run of financial feats is not at an end. The company beat on top and bottom lines and kept growing around the world. That second result is our second point: the company is not taking material slings and arrows at least in terms of lost users from its recent privacy scandals. Staying on the social side of tech, Twitter's earnings were strong as well. The company also beat on top and bottom lines, turning in GAAP profit and some modest user growth. For Twitter, who spent much of its time as a public company in the public penalty box, has seen its share price more than double from lows. And then a few more of the big three, which we tried to hit quickly: Amazon had a great quarter, and AWS continues to kick out huge numbers. Alphabet had a solid quarter, and we also know now how Nest is doing. Microsoft beat too, also managing to have all its operating groups beat as well. It's a lot of numbers. But now at least you know. $1 trillion? All the above sums to an interesting question regarding value. Those companies we just touched on (with the exception of Twitter) are in the running to be the company that first reaches an inflation-unadjusted market cap of $1 trillion. Which might be the first to make the grade? We had some ideas. Square-Weebly Next up we tackled the Square-Weebly deal, in which the public payments company bought the private website-builder corp for hundreds of millions of dollars. The downside is that the company was worth over $100 million more the last time the private markets valued it. But, exactly who won out isn't clear, and it's not hard to see why VCs made the bet. There are two Weebly competitors in the Unicorn Club! IPOs And finally, the thing nearest and dearest to our hearts: public offerings. This week Ceridian went public, shooting 42 percent higher in its first day of trading. That's good. But, as we discuss, the total deal might not be super hot for the company's owners. (Note: Never feel bad for private equity.) All that and DocuSign and Smartsheet are probably trading by the time you read this. Stay cool! Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Downcast and all the casts.


27 Apr 2018

Rank #4

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We’ve gone Plaid #

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.This week Danny and Alex were back together to riff over a the latest early-stage rounds, the latest on the late-stage front, and more. It was yet another stacked week, forcing us to pick and choose a bit.Starting off, however, here's the rounds that caught our eyes this past week:Insurify raised a $23 million Series A, dwarfing its preceding capital raisesWorkBoard stacked $30 million into its accounts less than a year after its Series BProductBoard raised a $45 million Series B, from blue-chips Sequoia and BessemerLeaving the earlier stages and heading to the other end of the spectrum, we touched on Cloudinary passing the $60 million ARR mark, ExtraHop aiming for $100 million ARR mark in short order, and SiteMinder's new $70 million round that gave it a $750 million valuation after crossing $70 million ARR last year.Got all that? Like we said, it has been busy.The two main stories this week on the show were the big Plaid deal, and what's going on in the United States's own venture market.With Plaid, Visa spent more than $5 billion to acquire the financial data API service in one of the first blockbuster exits of the year, making some VCs at Spark Capital and other firms very happy.Meanwhile, the U.S. venture capital landscape is changing rapidly as more and more regions outside of Silicon Valley bulk up on their startups. The Valley is barely a majority of VC dollars these days, while regions like the mid-Atlantic and the Southeast are raising their profiles quickly. We talk about that, plus the more than a dozen mega funds that launched last year.Wrapping up, it appears that the venture capitalist classes are tired. Not that we feel too poorly for them, but it goes to show that there's so much going on these days that no one is getting any rest. No matter how much money they have.


17 Jan 2020

Rank #5

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Theranos's reckoning, BroadQual's stunning conclusion and Lyft's platform ambitions


16 Mar 2018

Rank #6

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Checking In On 2019's IPO Cycle

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.We have a special episode this week. Instead of our regular lineup, we got Alex on the phone with an IPO expert to dig into the year's IPO cycle both at home and abroad. Helping with the effort was James Clark, the Head of Tech and Lifesciences, Primary Markets at the London Stock Exchange.That means we had IPO fans from both the US and across the pond to kick into what has happened thus far in 2019, and what's coming around both in Q4 and in 2020.We touched on a few topics, including the declining popularity of startups that don't make money, the strength of software companies' debuts (Datadog, CrowdStrike, for example), and a little bit on direct listings (they have a different name in the UK, it turns out).We're now into the fourth quarter of 2020, and some companies have done better than expected (Beyond Meat), while others have done worse (Uber and Lyft). It's been fun, and, fingers crossed, we won't run short of more fodder in the coming months!


11 Oct 2019

Rank #7

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Who is underpricing Roblox?

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture-capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. We're back on this lovely Saturday with a bonus episode!The normal crew assembled, including Alex, Natasha, Danny, and Chris, to chatter about a chunk of creator and gamer news. And some big numbers, the sorts that we always find fun to chat about.A sneak peek at what we discussed during this second-ever Equity Leftovers:Roblox's epic pre-IPO raise, and its decision to go public through direct listing instead of the IPO that it had previously planned.Niantic buying a gaming platform with an esports-focus.Nintendo buying a gaming studio, leading the crew to declare that the famous company is the Disney of video games.Cameo, which allows fans to pay celebrities for personalized messages, is on a hiring spree after bringing in $100 million in transactions last year. The Information says that the company is seeking funding, which isn't entirely surprising. Axios reports that it has brought in a couple high-profile hires, as well.Back to our regular schedule Monday! Chat then!


9 Jan 2021

Rank #8

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Why San Francisco is still the gold mine for tech startups

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where each week we discuss other people’s copious dollars and lacking sense.This week was special! Kate and Alex at Disrupt where they recorded live in front of an audience. Equity has recorded at Disrupt before. Equity has taped before an audience before. But this was the first time that we taped it at Disrupt and in front of an audience that actually had chairs. Progress!https://twitter.com/KateClarkTweets/status/1179915146392588289?s=20Charles Hudson of Precursor Ventures joined us as well, making for an excellent show. Astute listeners among us will recall that Hudson is a former guest on the show, having taken part back in mid-2017.Onto the topics, we discussed the impending Precursor Ventures opportunity fund (more here). We wanted to know why it was of modest size, especially in an era of ever-larger venture capital funds.Next, we turned to a trio of startup stories, starting with Rhino, a company that is working to shake up the rental deposit market. Hate paying deposits for an apartment? Would you rather pay a small, regular fee? Rhino hopes that you would, and has raised $21 million to build out the idea.Also on our list of topics was a small upstart by the name of Knowable, our colleague Josh Constine profiled the business here. The company sells educational audio bits, and they want you to know, they are not a podcasting business. We're still a bit unclear of the difference between educational audio and podcast but VCs seem confident enough in the company's prospects, funneling $3.75 million in the project.The last startup we riffed on is called oollee. The company provides people with an unlimited supply of filtered drinking water for a small monthly fee. It’s raised $1 million in pre-seed funding from investors, including Mission Gate Inc. and Columbus Holdings, and, of course, we have thoughts!After that we touched on the most valuable Y Combinator companies, including Stripe (more here and here), Airbnb and DoorDash. The list of YC's hits is getting long. And, it provided the perfect segue to Airbnb.Airbnb intends to go public via a direct listing, according to a whole bunch of recent reports. Every VC in town seems to have opinions about direct listings as the next best path to the public markets, maybe they're right. Finally, WeWork is selling off a bunch of stuff that it bought recently. Here's a list of what it bought, but SpaceIQ, Teem, Conductor and more are said to be on the chopping block.All that and we had fun! Back to normal next week.


4 Oct 2019

Rank #9

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Why the hell is Robinhood worth $7.6B?

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This was a special week for us because Danny was back in the office, which meant we cornered him into coming on the show. Danny, of course, is an Equity regular. Also aboard this week were our regular hosts, Kate and Alex. We were relieved to have three hosts because there was a lot of news to get through, from IPOs to late-stage financings to little seed fundings, and we shit you not, camping! Up first was the rapidly-approaching WeWork IPO. WeWork, also known as The We Company, filed to go public some time ago. So we weren't terribly surprised to learn the company is plotting a September listing. Though that's earlier than we'd been expecting, we're not complaining. If the sooner-than-anticipated IPO is due to market timing, or the company simply being ready we don't know yet. But we will when we see the numbers. Bring on the S-1 filing. Next Alex took us through a few recent and upcoming IPOs. He promised to be brief, so we'll mirror the feat here. Last week Phreesia, Medallia, and DouYu went public (notes here), Livongo got out this week (S-1 review here), and 9F and CloudMinds have filed. Expect more IPO news in time whether you want it or not. Leaving the public markets, Kate had words concerning the forthcoming Bird round that has yet to close. The company is raising its Series D led by Sequoia at a $2.5 billion valuation. Listen to the episode for your weekly scooter rant. Next, Danny took us through the Robinhood round, which brought us to a discussion point. Alex wanted to compare Robinhood to Slack, when the latter company was worth about the same amount as Robinhood is now. Kate objected to the comparison, one's an enterprise software business and the other a fintech giant. Still, Alex had lots of great points. We then turned to HipCamp. The company, known as Airbnb for camping, raised a nice round of funding at a $127 million valuation. Andreessen Horowitz was involved via new general partner Andrew Chen, who recently announced another deal in the email subscription platform Substack. We're betting Airbnb gobbles up HipCamp at some point. We also touched on Gusto's $200 million raise (and its constituent new valuation), before closing with the now-very-probable Vision Fund 2.0 and its Microsoft connection. All that and we left even more material on the floor due to time. Make sure to check Equity out on Spotify if you haven't seen us over there before. Click here to find the show.


26 Jul 2019

Rank #10

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Equity Monday: Cryptos fall, the deplatforming rush, and fitness tech stays hot

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 —and don't forget to check out the extra episode we dropped on Saturday, as there was just too much to talk about last week.So, what's on the docket for today? A great host of things:Trump was broadly deplatformed, which is controversial not only amongst his political allies and acolytes, but also amongst those worried that fringe-yet-not-wrong views could suffer in the future.Parler, a Twitter clone that tried to claim the mantle of free speech -- despite having posting rules -- was cut off by major tech companies over its inability to censor calls for violence. It had recently hit #1 in the App Store.Bitcoin and other cryptos are in correction, as the stock market preps to give back some recent gains. All this while the electric car market keeps getting hotter and hotter as Chinese tech companies link up with auto makers to get their own vehicles into the market.On the funding round front, Ajaib Group raised $25 million as the low-cost trading boom grows around the world. And, Keep, a Chinese fitness app, raised a megaround.Closing, I am befuddled by how dissonant the global economy feels, with seemingly two different eras going on at once. It's not clear if I have finally become the softy I have always threatened to become, or merely that the inequality of outcomes in the 2020-2021 economy are merely as heartbreaking as I imagine them to be.


11 Jan 2021

Rank #11

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Spotify's impending debut, Uber's done deal, and Nasdaq 7,000

This episode, the first of 2018, saw our own Katie Roof and your humble servant (Alex) joined by Atish Davda, CEO, and founder of EquityZen. Matthew Lynley is off this week. (Davda's firm put together a landing page for Equity, which we thought was neat.) This week saw the culmination of a huge number of stories that we have discussed in 2017. Namely that Spotify has finally filed for its direct listing, and the Uber-Softbank deal is done. Regarding Spotify, we got into why it would pursue a direct listing instead of a traditional IPO. And, of course, we are curious as to when the popular music streaming company actually does get out the door. With a private filing in December, the answer is essentially whenever, from our outside perspective. And now, in the wake of the SoftBank-Uber deal finally getting itself done, what is Uber worth? There are a few numbers you can use. There's one around $50 billion and one around $70 billion. We pick over both to figure out which one we think is fair. All that and we riff about the rapid rise of the public markets in the last few years. Hit play, and we'll be right back in a week's time.


5 Jan 2018

Rank #12

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Big meditation money, new VC funds, and how do you value Airbnb?

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.After having a good time with NEA's Rick Yang last week, we thought we'd bring on another venture capitalist. So this week Danny and I had Elliott Robinson from Bessemer swing over for the show. As it turned out, he was about as correct as guest as possible as not only did the topics of the week line up with where he invests, he's also friends with some of the folks that we discussed on the show.So what did we talk about? A whole host of things including two rounds:Headspace's fascinating $93 million hybrid, debt-and-equity round that pushes its known capital raised to date ahead of arch-rival Calm's own.Nova Credit's $50 million round to help power its cross-border credit system. (We all thought this one was smart.Then we turned to two new funds, including Battery's battery of new capital vehicles that add up to $2 billion. In this part of the discussion we also touched on capital velocity, and why some firms are writing the same number of checks, but still need more capital. On the other end of the capital spectrum, Equal Ventures put together its first fund, and we riffed on the health of the micro-fund ecosystem.The news run continued, with our trio touching on Airbnb's recent financial results, and our wonderment about how to price the firm, the closure of Brandless (RIP), and the issues at SoftBank.All that and we had to leave Lyft's fascinating earnings and Uber's profit promises alone as we ran a bit long with just that set of topics. A good week, and we're back Monday morning!


14 Feb 2020

Rank #13

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2017’s top tech acquisitions and what’s in store for 2018

This week we took a look back at the year’s M&A market, which brought some big wins and some low lights. Equity this week was Katie Roof, Alex Wilhelm, and Jamie Leigh, a partner at Cooley, who joined us to go over the year’s receipts. What to look for ahead? Leigh mentioned big box stores, Roof brought up automakers, and we also kicked over the idea of non-tech companies buying smaller firms that are not merely talent plays. (Instead, this about investments in long-term efforts to build in-house innovation instead of stapling on a startup to one division or another.) Also: How many deals didn’t get done in 2017 that got close to being done? More than you might have thought, and, according to our guest, that fact means that we could see more M&A in the first quarter or two in 2018. (All that and Intel-MobileEye came up, Amazon-Whole Foods got a mention, Target-Shipt got a mention and more!) This is the second, and final 2017 wrap-up episode we have for you. Starting next week, it’s back to the regular show! Catch you all next week.


12 Jan 2018

Rank #14

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Equity Monday 04/27

Good morning and welcome back to TechCrunch’s Equity Monday, a jumpstart for your week.Regular Equity episodes still drop each and every Friday morning, so if you’ve listened to the show over the years, don’t worry — we’re only adding to the mix. You can catch last week’s show with Danny Crichton and Natasha Mascarenhas right here if you haven't yet.Unlike some weeks when the weekend's crop of news and thought runs fallow, our recent interlude was stuffed with things to talk about:Sequoia China and Starbucks are tying up, which is especially notable after the Luckin Coffee story came crashing back to Earth.A survey concerning UK startups showed cracks in the EU's largest startup market, measured by VC activity.It's earnings week, with everyone from Apple to Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Spotify and Tesla reporting. Strap in for the busy week. It's going to be a lot, but should help us figure out what has been going on in the stock market.Codota raised $12 million, and we think that its product is neat.A new pre-seed/seed fund has raised €50 million in fresh capital, which is notable given the global economic slowdown.And then, finally, this essay from Founder’s Fund John Luttig, which I encourage you to read. It's something that everyone is reading, and thus you must even if you don't want to. We chat about it on the show, but read it yourself anyways. If it's right, we're in for a sea change in the startup world. For good, or at least until there's a new leap forward in tech or technology product distribution. (You can read more on the idea of a SaaS slowdown here.)


27 Apr 2020

Rank #15

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Robinhood raises, Flipkart exits, and MoviePass is running out of cash

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-themed podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week Matthew Lynley, Connie Loizos and myself were joined by Villi Iltchev, a partner at August Capital. It was good that we had a full crew on deck, as the news flew thick and varied this week. In honor of the news cycle, we took on as much of it as we could inside a single episode. And as we’re sure that you guessed, we had to talk about the Flipkart-Walmart deal first. The staggering transaction sees the American IRL commerce giant with a proven appetite for e-commerce players bring the India unicorn into its fold. This is the second multi-billion-dollar startup deal for Walmart in recent memory. (Jet.com was the first unicorn to find new nest in the Walton’s rafters.)


11 May 2018

Rank #16

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Tesla, Apple, Spotify earnings and the DocuSign, Smartsheet IPO Recap

Today is Katie Roof's last day on Equity. She will be missed as she moves on to her next endeavor. This week she was joined by TechCrunch's Connie Loizos and M.G. Siegler from Google Ventures. They talked Tesla, Apple, Spotify earnings and the DocuSign and Smartsheet IPO Recap


4 May 2018

Rank #17