Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen. Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.

Extra Crunch Live is on fire, and the hits keep rolling! Next week, we’ll sit down with Initialized’s Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan. You can catch the chat live on Tuesday, June 2 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT.

Alexis Ohanian is the founder and former CEO of Reddit, and his investment portfolio includes Flexport, Ro and Papa. Garry Tan has invested in Instacart and Coinbase, to name a couple, and also has a background in entrepreneurship, having founded Posterous and Posthaven. Previously, Tan was a partner at Y Combinator for four years.

For those of you who aren’t caught up, Extra Crunch Live is a virtual speaker series that connects Extra Crunch members with the brightest minds in tech and VC where the audience has a chance to ask direct questions.

We’ll talk to Ohanian and Tan about how they’re advising their portfolio companies through the pandemic. Which startups should hunker and conserve cash, and which ones should sprint and advance? Is there a middle ground, and if so, what does it look like?

We’ll also discuss their outlook on economic recovery and opportunities that allow entrepreneurs to capitalize on the speed at which the world is changing. Which sectors are piquing their interest? Is Initialized going to invest aggressively in this ecosystem or be more risk-averse than usual? What’s it like doing deals over Zoom or Google Meet?

Extra Crunch members are encouraged to drop their questions in the Q&A chat for Ohanian and Tan. We’ll get to as many of them as possible, so please click here to join.

You can find the full details for our discussion below the break.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be chatting with GGV’s Hans Tung, Eventbrite’s Julia Hartz, Superhuman’s Rahul Vohra and Plaid’s Zach Perret. You can check out the full schedule here. Members also have access to the complete backlog of Extra Crunch Live episodes, which include chats with Kirsten Green, Roelof Botha, Mark Cuban and Aileen Lee.

See you there!


TechCrunch

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) is targeting a liftoff time of 9:14 AM EDT (6:14 AM PDT) today for an Atlas V rockets carrying the Boeing-built X-37B orbital test vehicle on behalf of the U.S. space force, which is an autonomous winged spaceplane that looks a little like a scaled down version of the Space Shuttle .

This is the sixth mission for the X-37B, though it’s the first flown under the U.S. Space Force’s supervision, since the space plane was previously operated by the Air Force before the formation of the new wing of the U.S. armed forces.

The X-37B runs various missions for the U.S., though its specific aims are actually classified. The uncrewed test vehicle spends long periods on orbit circling the Earth while conducting these missions, with its longest mission to date being a record 780 days for its flight that landed on October 27.

This launch was rescheduled from Saturday, due to poor weather conditions, and its delay means that the SpaceX Starlink mission that was scheduled to take off from Kennedy in Florida today is now pushed out to Tuesday, due to a tropical storm that looks to be developing on Monday at its original backup date.


TechCrunch

On Saturday, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) is targeting a liftoff time of 8:24 AM EDT (5:24 AM PDT) for one of its Atlas V rockets carrying the U.S. Space Force’s X-37B orbital test vehicle, which is a fully autonomous winged spaceplane that looks a little like a scaled down version of the Space Shuttle .

This is the sixth mission for the X-37B, though it’s the first flown under the U.S. Space Force’s supervision, since the space plane was previously operated by the Air Force before the formation of the new wing of the U.S. armed forces.

The X-37B runs various missions for the U.S., though its specific aims are actually classified. The uncrewed test vehicle spends long periods on orbit circling the Earth while conducting these missions, with its longest mission to date being a record 780 days for its flight that landed on October 27.

Stay tuned for updates, as weather conditions could mean this launch gets pushed to a backup date.


TechCrunch

23andMe. MongoDB. Eventbrite. Evernote. Bird. Square . Tumblr. Unity. YouTube. Xoom.

Roelof Botha has had a board seat in each of these companies, but his list of investments is much, much longer.

The Sequoia partner and managing director is legendary in Silicon Valley and the broader tech world, and we’re very excited that he’s joining us for an upcoming episode of Extra Crunch Live that will air on Wednesday, May 6th at 2pm ET/11am PT. Extra Crunch members may join the Zoom call or view the broadcast live (or on demand) on YouTube. If you’re not already a member, you can join here.

Before Botha graduated from Stanford, he had joined the ranks of the PayPal mafia, serving as the fintech startup’s director of corporate development. He climbed the ranks to vice president of finance and was eventually named CFO in 2001. He was just 28 went PayPal went public in 2002.

Following PayPal’s sale to eBay, Botha left the company to join Sequoia Capital in January of 2003; since then, he has been investing in some of the world’s fastest-rising startups.

Botha has been on Forbes’ Midas List every year since 2008 and was ranked third in 2020. He led Sequoia’s investments in companies like Instagram, YouTube and Square and is one of the most respected voices in tech and venture capital alike.

With the coronavirus thrashing the economy and forcing quick adaptation from the tech sector and beyond, Botha can provide a unique look at what comes next for tech and offer advice to startups that are trying to chart a course through a storm that has no end in sight.

We’ll ask Botha how he’s advising his own portfolio companies, any decision-making frameworks he suggests for business leaders who find themselves between a rock and a hard place and his general outlook on VC appetite over the next six to twelve months. There will also be plenty of time for questions from the audience, so come prepared.

You can find the Zoom info below.

Botha joins an incredible list of speakers joining us on Extra Crunch Live, including Kirsten Green, Mark Cuban and Hunter Walk. We’ll be announcing new speakers soon, so stay tuned!


TechCrunch

Earlier this week, we kicked off our Extra Crunch Live series with an interesting chat with Cowboy’s Aileen Lee and Ted Wang. Today, we will be back at 3 p.m. PST/6 p.m. EST/10 p.m. GMT with a new guest: Charles Hudson, the general partner of Precursor Ventures.

Extra Crunch members will find an AddEvent link below to drop the details directly into their calendar and folks who want to participate directly can hit up the Zoom link (also below). We’ll ask as many audience questions as we can, so please make them sharp — no pitches, please.

Charles Hudson founded Precursor Ventures to invest in pre-seed and seed-stage companies. Earlier this year, the firm filed paperwork to put together a $ 40 million third fund after previously raising two main funds and one $ 10 million “opportunity” fund.

As we await hard and accurate numbers on how COVID-19 is impacting fundraising, we’ll ask Hudson to walk us through the changes he has seen and will cover some basics: The best way to pitch him, what his to-do list looks like these days and if the pandemic has made Precursor newly bullish or bearish on certain sectors.

Then, we’ll get much nerdier: Will we see the number of party rounds fall further now that it’s harder to gather investors in real life? Do you think we’ll see pre-seed raises ask for more ownership terms? And what is the latest with the wacky world of early-stage valuations?

There’s a lot to talk about. And we haven’t even mentioned YC’s pro rata change yet.

After Hudson, we have a stacked lineup of Extra Crunch live guests, including Mitch and Freada Kapor, Mark Cuban, Roelof Botha and Kirsten Green, with more to be announced soon.

You can find information below with details for joining today’s discussion, as well as an AddEvent link to put the details directly onto your calendar.

Sign up for Extra Crunch to get access to all these episodes where you can view the talks live, participate in the Q&A with industry leaders and watch later on-demand if you can’t make the live timing. Talk soon!

Details


TechCrunch

Kumu Holdings, a live streaming startup based in the Philippines, announced today it has raised about $ 5 million in Series A funding, earmarked for new features and growing its operations.

The round was led by Openspace Ventures, an early investor in Go-Jek, with participation from Kickstart Ventures, media conglomerate ABS-CBN, Gobi-Core Philippine Fund, and returning investors Summit Media and Foxmont Capital Partners.

With much of the country under COVID-19 lockdown or curfew orders, Kumu says usage of media and entertainment apps has increased. To address demand, the startup has launched new features over the past month to allow organizations like churches and industry groups to hold online events.

Kumu says it now has three million registered users and about 25,000 live streams broadcast each day, with average daily usage of about one hour.

Founded two years ago by Roland Ros and Rexy Josh Dorado, Kumu aspires to be a “super app” for Filipinos around the world, integrating live streaming, video chats and gaming, with plans to add online payments and e-commerce functions, too. Kumu’s upcoming features include a live commerce platform that allows users to buy items during live streams, giving content creators an additional source of revenue.


TechCrunch

NTWRK, is a fascinating experiment in live video shopping for the iPhone set. It’s been described as a blend of QVC and Twitter and Twitch and they just got a new slice of money from investors like Drake and Live Nation to expand into physical events.

There’s been a bunch of attempts at this kind of hybrid event shopping experience, but none of them have quite hit a home run yet. NTWRK was a pretty compelling experience even at launch last year. The core experience is a live show presented only in NTWRK’s app, where guests can talk about products which become available in the app as the show airs.

There was a built in opportunity to offer limited availability streetwear and sneakers, and an audience that founder Aaron Levant knew very well from his time running ComplexCon and Agenda, two big streetwear and marketing shows.

One of the first shows starred Ben Baller and Jeff Staple, and featured a drop of a new colorway of Staple’s iconic Pigeon Dunk from Nike . I tuned in and found the experience to be compelling in its own way. The live show provided context for the product and the interface let you purchase in a couple taps of a button (the shoes sold out immediately and the app inevitably crashed from the rush of hype beasts). The stream and app have gotten more stable since then.

IMG 6407

Since the launch, NTWRK has experimented with various product areas and promotions. The latest funding is enabling expansion back into physical events and some new angles on the NTWRK model.

After getting kicked out of high school in 10th grade, Levant (who had a passion for graffiti) went on to work in graphic design, sales and marketing for an LA streetwear brand. That led to trade show attending and eventually to Levant founding his own show, Agenda in 2003. Agenda got bigger over the next 10 years, becoming one of the biggest action sports, streetwear and lifestyle tradeshows in the world. He sold a majority of Agenda to ReeedPOP, which owns Comic Con and stayed on in a development role. Eventually, he developed other shows including ComplexCon, a smash hit culture and sneaker show in partnership with Complex.

Last year, Levant left to found NTWRK.

“That transition really happened through a conversation that I had with Jimmy Iovine in September of 2017,” Levant told me in an interview last year. “I got introduced to him by a friend. He expressed his interest in a new company for him and his son, and we had similar interests and ideas around that. That night that I met him, I went home, stayed up all night to 4:00 in the morning and wrote the entire business plan for NTWRK.”

Iovine ended up as an investor via the MSA Enterprises vehicle, along with Warner Bros. Digital Networks, LeBron James, Maverick Carter and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Jimmy’s son Jamie is a co-founder and Head of Fandom at NTWRK.

One of Levant’s big takeaways from his time with ComplexCon and Agenda was that the physical audiences were valuable but a digital audience is built to foster through earned media and user-generated content around these lifestyle events.

“There’s 50,000 people in the room but I think there’s probably a million people online who want to engage with those products and that content,” said Levant. “Maybe I felt a little bit like I was using my skill set and I wasn’t extracting the full value out of it because I wasn’t in the e-com or digital media business in the past. I think that was a key unlock for me, how do I do that better with a phase two of my career?”

The past few months have seen a series of high profile launches and collaborations with sneaker and streetwear people. And now, the Live Nation and Drake tie up will lead to artist-driven collections sold on NTWRK’s app, unique ticket access, promo bundles developed by NTWKR and, yes, a new live event called NTWRK Presents that will launch in Q4.

In recent months, Drake sold some of his tour merch exclusively on NTWRK.

Screen Shot 2019 06 26 at 4.32.30 PM

They’ve also been running auctions for rare resell market items like Supreme guitars and sneakers.

The concept of shopping as entertainment is far from new. There’s a reason that the easy buzzphrase people attach to NTWRK is ‘QVC for millennials’. But there has yet to be a platform that has managed to pin together the right culture with the right delivery mechanism at the right time. NTWRK has a chance to do this I believe because Levant has the taste for it, but also because he’s backing into this from a place of understanding when it comes to culture.

Too many times we see the technology of the platform take center stage — a clever delivery mechanism or good design. But, fundamentally, most tech companies are absolutely crap at culture. They’re too homogenic — they do not allow for and encourage the influence of the spaces that they’re catering to.

Black Twitter made Twitter. Creators of color made Vine. Asian and Indian users dominate Whatsapp. But when there is an attempt to engage even niche cultures in commerce or monetization the lack of inclusivity and understanding causes them to just screw up over and over.

Having started with live events that existed primarily as a framework for culture to create its own moments, Levant and NTWRK are in a better position to figure this out. If you’ve ever been to an Agenda or ComplexCon you know what I mean. There’s this pungent melange of culture, music, money, rare goods and ephemeral moment creation happening. The challenge is to make that work in a digital context, of course, and then to sort of ‘re-export’ that back into event formats.

“I think that, as I’ve said countless times, physical events have a huge organic digital ripple, but we needed the digital platform to already be established and scalable before we implemented the physical events, to have an effect on the larger digital platform,” Levant says about moving NTWRK into an IRL context. “In my previous roles, I spent 15 years really focusing on the physical experiential events and towards the end of my career doing that I came to the realization I was doing it backwards.”

I don’t necessarily think that this model’s going to work for everybody. I think Levant and co have a unique skill of bringing people together and I think the celebrity thing is a strong overall angle – right down to the investors.

“Obviously Drake is an icon that has massive influence over all of pop culture and I think there are few people in that category of him that can capture consumer’s imagination,” says Levant. “I couldn’t think of someone better than him to be involved with our company.”

There are other angles too, though, that still have the same thing at the core. NTWRK is creating this engaged audience and they’re giving them value and then offering them a very on-the-face, honest transaction: “Look, here’s this thing. If you buy it, we benefit. Thanks, peace.”

That kind of interaction model is foreign to media because of this idea that advertising is the only gain and the only way to build that monetary relationship. I think people are going to start to get wise to that but they still are very resistant.

“We were out there, talking to every brand and every agency in the world and it’s really interesting to watch who gets it and who’s totally confused,” said Levant when we spoke about the launch. “It’s really fun to have these conversations because people are just like, ‘Wait, what are you doing?’

They have a really hard time grasping it and they don’t know who we should talk to. Should we be talking to the media buying team? Should we be talking to the wholesale team? Should we talk to the PR team? I’m like, ‘No, we’re talking to everybody.””

“Companies tend to divide their business up into these silos, these business units and these internal categories and they usually don’t collaborate and play well together and when you get these big, global organizations, their head’s spinning because they don’t know who we should talk to because no one’s done this one-to-one yet.”

Right now as I write this I’m watching Bobby Hundreds talk live about his memoir This is Not A T-Shirt — while selling a bundle that includes the book and, yes, a t-shirt. Hundreds (Bobby Kim), built a streetwear brand when it was definitely not a thing to build a streetwear brand.

The bundle runs $ 50. I’m thinking about buying it.


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