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.

Editor’s note: Get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that any startup can use by email every Saturday morning (7am PT). Subscribe here.

Which startups investors are actually first to backing the best companies? If you know this information before fundraising, you can avoid pitching investors who were always going to tell you that you’re “too early” anyway. The problem is that everyone claims credit for success, and by the time you pick through databases, investor sites, blogs, tweets and news clippings, you have no real idea who made what call when.

That’s why our solution is to just ask founders about who really made it happen. Our new product, The TechCrunch List, will feature the investors who wrote the first checks, to help any founder find the help they need when they need it. Here’s more, from Arman Tabatabai and Danny Crichton:

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be collecting data around which individual investors are actually willing to write the proverbial “first check” into a startup’s fundraising round and help catalyze deals for founders — whether it be seed, Series A or otherwise (i.e. out of your Series A investors, the first person who was willing to write the check and get the ball rolling with other investors). Once we’ve collected, cleaned and analyzed the data, we’ll publish lists of the most recommended “first check” investors across different verticals, investment stages and geographies, so founders can see which investors are potentially the best fit for their company….

In all, The TechCrunch List will publish the most recommended “first check” writers across 22 different categories, ranging from D2C & e-commerce brands to space, and everything in between. Through some data analysis around total investments in each space, we believe our 22 categories should cover the entirety or majority of the venture activity today.

To make this project a success and create a useful resource for founders, we need your help. We want to hear from company builders and we want to hear from them directly. We will be collecting endorsements submitted by founders through the form linked here.

(Photo by Steven Damron used under Creative Commons).

Valley dealflow has continued through the pandemic

Despite much discussion about investors pulling back en masse from startup investing, a new survey out from Silicon Valley tech law firm Fenwick & West about activity in the region over April says that valuations went up, markdown rounds did not grow as a percentage of deals, and the overall pace of deals actually increased. The catch, Connie Loizos writes for TechCrunch, is that much of this was due to later-stage rounds, and of course, it is generalized across industries that have been variously propelled or pummeled by the pandemic.

Alex Wilhelm then looks at a couple additional reports for Extra Crunch, from Docsend and NFX. They appear to show ongoing investor activity growth since April, as well as growing founder optimism — but early stage did in fact appear to be more turbulent, as, ahem, one might expect if one has experience in early-stage fundraising. He separately notes that the latest tracking data sources appear to show a decline in startup layoffs. Both are, by the way, written as part of The Exchange, his new daily column about the latest trends in the startup world for EC subscribers (use code EXCHANGE to get 25% off a subscription).

Image Credits: Klaud Vedfelt (opens in a new window) / Getty Images (Image has been modified)

Beyond Valley dealflow (and its problems)

Juneteenth has been celebrated since 1866 to mark the end of slavery after the American Civil War. But this year, it is being taken up by tech companies as an official holiday to help show their concern for structural discrimination in the wake of the George Floyd killing and ensuing global protests. What does it really mean though? Here’s Megan Rose Dickey for TechCrunch:

Recognition of such a historic day is good. But the way these companies are publicly announcing their plans, seeking press as they do, suggests their need for some affirmative pat on the back. It’s perfectly acceptable to do the right thing and not get credit for it. It shows humility. It shows that a company is more interested in doing right by its workers than it is in saving face….

Instead, as Hustle Crew founder Abadesi Osunsade has said, tech companies need to go beyond one-off actions and form habits around racial justice work. Forming habits around hiring Black people, promoting Black employees, paying Black employees fairly, funding Black founders and making room for Black people in leadership positions is what will lead to concrete change in this industry.

Meanwhile, given the ongoing issues in fundraising, Delali Dzirasa of Fearless writes about other resources Black entrepreneurs can use to get their companies off the ground, including equity crowdfunding, mentor programs, 8(a) programs, SBA resources, and your local commercial banker.

Image Credits: PipeCandy

Online winners and also-rans during the pandemic

Two marketing experts shared fresh data on what categories are winning and losing during the pandemic for Extra Crunch this week, perhaps revealing where some of the founder and investor enthusiasm is coming from? First, here’s Ethan Smith of Graphite, who provides an overview of how money is being spent online during the pandemic using data from Branch through mid-May:

The good news for vendors overall is that people are still shopping online, but they’re buying different things and in different volumes than they used to. Kid/pet-oriented mobile activity and associated purchases have skyrocketed. We’ve also seen spikes in the purchase of activewear, fashion items, shoes and arts and crafts items, as people wait out the lockdown and prepare for what they hope will be a summer of freedom.

To dig into the direct-to-consumer category in more detail, here’s Ashwin Ramasamy of PipeCandy, who uses a mix of data sources to look at subcategory trends versus what the year might have looked like without a pandemic:

Kids, cookware and kitchen tools, apparel, fine jewelry, fashion, women’s health, mattresses, furniture and skincare actually deviated negatively from the forecast. This is not to say that these categories declined. We are actually saying that these categories didn’t keep up with the growth trends they orchestrated in 2019. That said, the devil is in the details. For instance, within furniture, there is a category of D2C brands that sell shelves and office furniture. Consumers did invest in them heavily, presumably to allow participants in the Zoom call to absorb more the titles of the books stacked in those shelves than from the calls themselves. Wine/spirits, grocery, fitness, baby care, pets and nutraceuticals did better than anticipated. Basically, anything that helped numb the reality (alcohol), sweeten the reality (food), distract from the reality (baby care and pets), survive the reality (fitness) or hallucinate an alternative reality (nutraceuticals) did well. I will leave you with another interesting conclusion we arrived at, through further research that is currently underway: The spotlight category in e-commerce is not direct to consumer — it is the mid-market and large pure-play e-commerce companies. It is one segment where the compounded quarterly growth rate of active companies is better than the 2019 average.

Around TechCrunch

Founders can reap long-term benefits after exhibiting in Disrupt’s Startup Alley

Extra Crunch Live: Join Superhuman’s Rahul Vohra for a live discussion of email, SaaS and buzzy businesses

Learn how to give your brand a distinct voice from Slack’s Head of Brand Communications Anna Pickard at TC Early Stage

New sessions announced at TC Early Stage from Dell, Perkins Coie and SVB

HappyFunCorp’s Ben Schippers and Jon Evans will talk tech stacks at TC Early Stage

Across the week

TechCrunch:

Where are all the robots?

Despite pandemic setbacks, the clean energy future is underway

TikTok explains how the recommendation system behind its ‘For You’ feed works

Chris Sacca advises new fund managers to strike right now

Extra Crunch:

What’s next for space tech? 9 VCs look to the future

How Liberty Mutual shifted 44,000 workers from office to home

Superhuman’s Rahul Vohra says recession is the ‘perfect time’ to be aggressive for well-capitalized startups

Investors based in San Francisco? That’s so 2019

How Reliance Jio Platforms became India’s biggest telecom network

4 months into lockdown, Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz sees ‘exciting signs of recovery’

#EquityPod

From Alex:

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

Your humble Equity team is pretty tired but in good spirits, as there was a lot to talk about this week…

  • Epic Games is looking to raise a huge stack of cash (BloombergVentureBeat) at a new, higher valuation. We were curious about how its lower-cut store could help it gain inroads with developers big and small. That part of the chat, the take-rate of the Fortnite parent company on the work of others was very cogent to the other main topic of the day:
  • Apple vs. DHH. So Hey launched this week, and the new spin on email quickly overshadowed its product launch by getting into a spat with Apple about whether it needs to add the ability to sign up for the paid service on iOS, thus giving Apple a cut of its revenue. DHH and crew do not agree. Apple is under fire for anti-competitive practices at home and abroad — of varying intensity, and from different sources — making this all the more spicy.
  • Upgrade raises $ 40 million for its credit-focused neobank.
  • Degreed raises $ 32 million for its upskilling platform.
  • And, at the end, our take on the current health of the startup market. There have been a sheaf of reports lately about what is going on in startup land. We gave our take.

And that’s that. Have a lovely weekend and catch up on some sleep.

Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.


TechCrunch

The tech industry has generally wished that structural discrimination would go away, while pretending that it already has. But technology can be used by anyone for anything. And so, the world has watched video after video of police brutality against Black people in a real-time stream that plays through the closing days of quarantine, culminating in the death of George Floyd and ongoing protests. As employees have left their remote offices to hit the streets, even executives at the largest tech companies —who would usually avoid such complications — have expressed their support officially, online.

What can we expect to change now? After all, diversity and inclusion programs have been getting cut during the pandemic, and stats on employee diversity and VC partner/portfolio demographics have not seemed to be improving quickly over the past decade, at least in aggregate.

First up, a group of Black tech leaders in the Bay Area, including TechCrunch’s Megan Rose Dickey, has put forward a widely-signed petition that specifies five goals including local support and accountability, and commitment to hiring and investing in Black employees and founders.

On the ground in the startup world, a considerable range of investors say they are setting aside dedicated time and resources for Black founders.

Specific proposals for changes to the status quo strike at the heart of of tech as we know it.

To address existing systemic bias, algorithmic and otherwise, contributor Will Walker writes that tech companies like Amazon, Yelp and Grubhub should find ways to feature and favor Black-owned businesses — even if that means re-writing the recommendation algorithms.

And to address systemic bias in who gets funding, Connie Loizos writes that legislation could be the best answer:

Consider that already, most VCs today sign away their rights to invest in firearms or alcohol or tobacco when managing capital on behalf of the pension funds, universities and hospital systems that fund them. What if they also had to agree to invest a certain percentage of that capital to founding teams with members from underrepresented groups? We aren’t talking about targets anymore, but actual mandates. Put another way, rather than wait for venture firms to organically develop into less homogeneous organizations — or to invest in fewer founders who share their gender and race and educational background — alter their limited partner agreements.

Perhaps tech leaders are responding so strongly today because they realize what’s at stake for them if change does not happen faster?

GettyImages 1168618863

The future of work, according to the people trying to invest in it

Meanwhile, the very nature of work as we know it is being re-evaluated. Megan caught up with top investors in a very popular investor survey for Extra Crunch this week, to better understand the problems and solutions. Here’s what Ann Muira-Ko of Floodgate Capital thinks will create unicorns, as a sample:

  • How do you enable solopreneurs to build businesses that are fully tech-enabled? We think of this as the ironman suit for the solopreneur. What financial products and software products can solopreneurs use to provide consumers or their customers with the tech-enabled experiences they have come to expect?
  • How does reputation follow someone? A resume or LinkedIn profile measures where you’ve worked and for how long. With people working more jobs at varied locales, measuring expertise will become a new challenge.
  • How does an organization maintain knowledge? If a company is reliant on its people to share its history and knowledge base, how can that be disseminated without relying on internal experts (who are on the decline)?
  • How should productivity tools (calendars & communication) and enterprise systems (CRM, HR, Finance, etc.) adapt to a multi-modal (work from anywhere) work environment? HR is perhaps the most out-of-date, but every tool will require better integration.

If you’re more interested in the cybersecurity aspects of remote work, you will want to check out security editor Zack Whittaker’s set of investor surveys this week, including this industry overview and this pandemic-focused one.

Data shows investors are in fact busy looking for deals

Are VCs actually open for business during the pandemic? Docsend, a key inside data source, has a new report out this week that shows investor interest has boomed in April. Here’s CEO Russ Heddleston on TechCrunch, talking about the activity on its document management platform:

After the initial decline in March, founders and VCs both bounced back fairly quickly. In fact, the next week VC interest increased 10% while the number of Founder Links Created increased by 12%. However, for the following few weeks the number of links created by founders either stayed flat or dropped. But that isn’t the case for VCs. Demand for pitch decks rose steadily all the way through the week of April 20th, which was 25% up year-over-year. In fact, seven of the top 10 best days for Pitch Deck Interest in 2020 were in the month of April.

The fundraising inactivity has been on the part of the founders! Meanwhile, in a separate article for Extra Crunch, he shares that investors are spreading themselves broadly.

In the recent weeks, as we’ve had higher than average supply and demand, we’ve watched as the average time spent reviewing a deal has declined. In fact, we’re at nearly a two-year low. The only other period when time spent dropped below where it is now was in early 2018 (which not coincidentally was also when demand was at its highest). Twice in 2018 we saw time spent go below three minutes and we’re currently at 3 minutes and 7 seconds.

How a growth marketer helped his high school brother win at TikTok

In a fascinating oral history of sorts for Extra Crunch, Adam Guild explains how he helped his young brother Topper get more than 10 million followers in under five months. Here’s a free excerpt:

At first, figuring out which content would go viral seemed random. There was no correlation between likes, comments, shares or engagement rate.

What made the difference in his successful content? Topper needed to find out to maximize growth, so he went through his TikTok analytics insights and noticed a trend: his most popular videos weren’t the ones with the highest engagement rates. They were the ones with the highest average view durations.

“I wanted to test if this guess was right,” said Topper, “so I posted a few videos with a longer length and teased people in the captions to watch until the end.”

It worked; his videos started getting more views, but it wasn’t a perfect correlation. Some videos with high view durations weren’t taking off.

When Topper asked me for advice, I suggested that the key metric to nail was actually average session duration. That’s what YouTube optimizes for, so it would make sense that TikTok would do the same. This metric measures how long people actually stay on the platform — not on the video — and it can be increased by single videos.

He posted another video to test: one that encouraged viewers to rewatch repeatedly because it had a cliffhanger ending — Topper poured hundreds of Mentos into a massive container of Coke before cutting out the ending.

That video was his most viewed yet, scoring more than 175,000,000 views. He decided to use that lesson in future videos by creating content that helped get viewers addicted to TikTok while also being fun to watch.

Around TechCrunch

Join us to watch five startups pitch off at Pitchers and Pitches on June 10th

Join Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz for a live Q&A: June 11 at 3 pm EST/Noon PDT/7 pm GMT

Across the week

TechCrunch:

LinkedIn introduces new retargeting tools

The coronavirus has hastened the post-human era

Zynga acquires Turkey’s Peak Games for $ 1.8B, after buying its card games studio for $ 100M in 2017

Huawei’s terrible week

Extra Crunch:

Is Zoom the next Android or the next BlackBerry?

The IPO window is open (again)

Unpacking ZoomInfo’s IPO as the firm starts to trade

SaaS earnings rise as pandemic pushes companies more rapidly to the cloud

What grocery startup Weee! learned from China’s tech giants

#EquityPod

From Alex Wilhelm:

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

This week, however, the Equity crew (DannyNatashaChris, and Alex) agreed it felt silly to drum up false enthusiasm for funding rounds and startups. Instead, we talked about a more critical topic: systemic racism in the United States. Venture firms and tech executives across the country are pledging to be better following the brutal murder of George Floyd and police brutality.

Better is long overdue.

What follows are the resources we mentioned — and a few more — on the show itself. We’ll be back. Now is the time for sustained momentum and change.

Donations

How to be a better ally

Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.


TechCrunch

[Editor’s note: Want to get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that startups can use by emailSubscribe here.] 

Multiple liquidation preferences, full-ratchet anti-dilution clauses and pay-to-play provisions are some of the words that still haunt startup founders who survived downturns in decades past. So far in this downturn, though, investors seem to be sparing the brutal terms that tend to surface when the money has all the leverage.

Why? It’s easier to let a company fail by saying no to funding* than it is to hold them along with terms that can’t possibly inspire the common stockholders — or so one can read between the lines from investors, founders and tech lawyers that Connie Loizos talked to for TechCrunch this week.

Overall, investors seem to fear hurting their long-term reputations and missing out on the next great company, same as it has been in the startup world for many years. Again, at least so far.

As lawyer Mike Sullivan, a partner and head of the corporate group in Orrick’s San Francisco office, notes, there simply aren’t enough deals being closed right now to draw any sweeping conclusions. “I haven’t seen investors try to take advantage of companies as a result of the crisis,” says Sullivan,” but I don’t have a lot of data points. I think it’s still too early to tell whether we’ll see the terms that we saw in the nuclear winter of 2001 and 2002,” after the dot-com boom ended.

Your mileage may vary, of course. One New York attorney said that the harshest terms recently were coming from growth-stage firms on the East Coast, who had always been more focused on the numbers anyway.

*Speaking of saying no, a new report out by tech law firm Fenwick & West details a sharp decline in Silicon Valley funding in March that we all knew was happening. More analysis by Alex Wilhelm over on Extra Crunch.

Aileen Lee

Early-stage focus could favor smaller investors now

Many venture firms that started out small a decade or two ago became later-stage as their portfolios grew along with booming markets. Now they have a lot of later-stage work to do. The result is that founders may have more success with raising from dedicated early-stage investors than with multi-stage founds. Here’s more on the dynamic, as described by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures to Jordan Crook in our first (and very popular, thanks for attending everyone) live video call in a series that we’re calling Extra Crunch Live:

But I think the multi-stage firms that, say, have an early-stage fund and a growth fund, they’re in a different zone. Oftentimes, they have many portfolio companies that have really high burn rates and they have a lot of money, so they’ve got a different level of triage going on with those portfolio companies. Also, in some cases, because the market’s been so hot for the past 10 years, they’ve had a shopping list of companies that they wish they had been able to invest in, and maybe those companies may take an extra $ 50 million or $ 100 million dollars right now. So, a lot of the multi-stage firms are going to focus on getting a little more money into Stripe or Airbnb or the companies that they wish they had exposure to.

She goes on to note that many investors are now ready to start investing generally, and she’s now spending 50% of her time talking to new companies (versus almost all portfolio work just a couple of weeks ago).

The boom in spontaneous social apps

Clubhouse has been getting the most attention in some tech circles lately, but it’s part of a much larger trend that Josh Constine has been tracking for TechCrunch. The ‘spontaneous’ apps that make it easy to talk to everyone else now in quarantine could also break down existing barriers in how we communicate long into the future. Here’s how he defines the concept:

What quarantine has revealed is that when you separate everyone, spontaneity is a big thing you miss. In your office, that could be having a random watercooler chat with a co-worker or commenting aloud about something funny you found on the internet. At a party, it could be wandering up to chat with group of people because you know one of them or overhear something interesting. That’s lacking while we’re stuck home since we’ve stigmatized randomly phoning a friend, differing to asynchronous text despite its lack of urgency.

The big question is if people will stay spontaneous once thing normalize and we all can go back to our old routines. Given the long-term trends toward remote work and more private, personalized communication, I agree with Josh that we’re looking at a real part of the future.

Oh also, want to hear about Clubhouse more, still? Don’t miss Equity Monday this past week.

Image Credits: Paper Boat Creative / Getty Images

What fintech investors see in the pandemic

In our latest set of weekly investor surveys for Extra Crunch, we checked in with top fintech investors about how they are dealing with the pandemic, and separately, what trends they are focusing on long-term. Here’s Matt Harris of Bain Capital Ventures on what it takes for a fintech startup to survive (and succeed) now:

The survival of fintech startups through 2020 is less about stage and more about the two dimensions I mentioned earlier — vulnerability in terms of cash balance, burn, and durability of revenue, and direct impact of COVID-19 on their topline. Regardless of stage, startups will face both operational and fundraising challenges. Many of the companies that survive will do so out of sheer luck of their business model or fundraising timing, while others will have to actively change the way they operate in today’s world. In general, we’ve seen the most strength in B2B focused companies with recurring revenue models, particularly those focused on helping businesses automate and move analog processes online.

Around TechCrunch

Extra Crunch Live: Join Mark Cuban for a Q&A on April 30 at 11am ET/8am PT

Extra Crunch Live: Navigating the pandemic with an equitable lens

Throw us your best 60-second pitch on May 13 at Pitchers and Pitches

Introducing the Digital Startup Alley Package for Disrupt SF

Across the Week

TechCrunch

Y Combinator officially shifts its next accelerator class to fully remote format
The pandemic will force sports to reimagine the fan experience
How to make sense of the coronavirus chaos
What is contact tracing?
Can employers mandate COVID-19 testing?

Extra Crunch

An IPO? In this economy?
Dear Sophie: How can we support our immigrant colleagues during layoffs?
The changing face of employment law during a global pandemic
6 investment trends that could emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic
Will China’s coronavirus-related trends shape the future for American VCs?

#EquityPod

From Alex:

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

This week we had a choice of all sorts of news, but as we cut the show together as a group Danny pushed all the funding rounds up. So, when Alex and Natasha jumped into the show we had a bunch of good news to cover. We’re avoiding COVID-19 news, but the pandemic is just a part of the broader stories we want to tell. For the foreseeable future, coronavirus will be always be part of our interviews. But the conversation can’t start and stop there.

So what was on the docket? Three things: Accelerator news for the early-stage founders, funding rounds, of course, and some layoff news that was worth mentioning as it might trickle down beyond the unfortunate hosts. 

Listen here!


TechCrunch

[Editor’s note: Want to get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that startups can use by emailSubscribe here.] 

While consumer tech has matured as a startup category in recent years, many investors continue to be bullish on specific trends like online gaming, voice, and the unbundling of platforms in favor of focused social networks. That’s the key takeaway from a survey that Josh Constine and Arman Tabatabai did this week with 16 of the most active investors in key social product categories over on Extra Crunch. Here’s an excerpt of the responses, from Olivia Moore and Justine Moore of CRV:

  • “Unbundling of YouTube.” You can build a big company by targeting a vertical within YouTube with a product that has better features and more opportunities for creator monetization. Twitch is a great example of this! We’re also watching early-stage companies like Supergreat (in beauty) and Tingles (ASMR).

  • Voice as a social medium. Voice continues to pick up steam as a broadcast medium via podcasting, but we haven’t seen a lot in social or P2P voice yet. We think a successful platform will leverage the fact that voice content can be created and consumed while doing other things. We’re big fans of companies like TTYL and Drivetime that are making strides here!

  • Flexible digital identities. Gen Zers are online constantly but have different preferences across platforms/friend groups about how they want to “show up” digitally. The rise of “Finsta” accounts is one good example of this. Companies like Facemoji already help users create social content using a curated digital avatar — we’re excited to see what else founders build here!

  • Synchronous, shared mobile experiences. We’re bullish on apps that connect users in real time to have a shared social experience. Most apps now are “single-player,” which creates scroll fatigue. HQ Trivia was an early example more on the entertainment side, while companies like Squad help users browse the internet and watch TikTok together.

Other respondees include: Connie Chan (Andreessen Horowitz). Alexis Ohanian (Initialized Capital), Niko Bonatsos (General Catalyst), Josh Coyne (Kleiner Perkins), Wayne Hu (Signal Fire), Alexia Bonatsos (Dream Machine), Josh Elman (angel investor), Aydin Senkut (Felicis Ventures), James Currier (NFX), Pippa Lamb (Sweet Capital), Christian Dorffer (Sweet Capital), Jim Scheinman (Maven Ventures), Eva Casanova (Day One Ventures) and Dan Ciporin (Canaan).

EC subscribers please note: a second part of this survey will be running this coming week, focused specifically on social investing in the COVID-19 era.

Are VCs investing — or maintaining?

Speaking of financing, who is actually writing checks right at this moment in time?

“I’ve seen a lot of VCs talking about being open for business,” Eniac Ventures founding partner Hadley Harris proclaimed on a fundraising-trend panel this week, “and I’ve been pretty outspoken on Twitter that I think that’s largely bullshit and sends the wrong message to entrepreneurs.” Instead, as Connie Loizos covered for us on TechCrunch, he said he didn’t have time to talk to more founders because he was so busy helping existing portfolio companies.

Not every investor agrees with that viewpoint —  VC Twitter features many an anecdote about fresh companies getting funding. 

Let’s just hope that both things are true, because it is already rough out there. 

Does your startup qualify for a PPP loan? (And should you apply?)

Two debates have been raging around government support for startups. First, the big, messy new Paycheck Protection Program — designed to cover expenses for small businesses — does seem to be somewhat available to startups, based on revisions published by the Small Business Administration late last week. But things get complicated quick depending on your fundraising and cap table, as Jon Shieber covered last weekend for TechCrunch. Venture firms typically have controlling interests in a portfolio of companies that total more than 500 people, so if such a firm also has a controlling interest in your startup, you may not be eligible. Even if the VC stake is under 50%, preferred terms that came with the fundraising may your application afoul of the rules.

To help founders work through their own situations faster, startup lawyer William Carleton wrote a quick guide for Extra Crunch. Here’s where he says you need to start:

Do you have a minority investor which controls protective covenants in your charter, or which controls a board seat afforded certain veto rights on board decisions? If the answer to either fork of that question is “yes,” you almost certainly have confirmed that you will need to amend your charter and/or other governing documents before proceeding with a PPP application.

The other aspect, of course, is whether startups should be applying for this in the first place. Congress broadly intended the money to go towards small to medium sized businesses, most of whom would never be considered for venture. Shieber’s article is full of comments on that topic, if you feel like weighing in….

The commercial real estate comeuppance

If you’re like me, and you’ve started companies in the Bay Area and struggled to find office space you could afford, enjoy this bit of schadenfraude as you plot your remote-first future. Because the commercial real estate industry is facing an existential crisis after many, many years of rent-seeking upon the Silicon Valley tech economy (and everyone else).

Connie explored this exploding topic with a range of startups, investors and CRE agents in a big feature for TechCrunch this week. One analyst “expects the market to come down by ‘at least 10% and probably 20% to 30%’ from where commercial space in San Francisco has priced in several years, which is $ 88 per square foot, according to CBRE. Driving the expected drop is the 2 million square feet that will come onto the market in the city as soon as it’s possible — space that companies want to get off their books.”

It’s quite possible to imagine even bigger declines, given the broader hits that most any possible tenant is also taking to their budgets. Who knows, maybe this whole process will even help make the Bay Area and other wealthy metros a little more affordable again.

GettyImages 960803498

Edtech gets hot again, according to investors

After lots of money and lots of struggle over the past decade, edtech is suddenly hot again thanks to the pandemic. Natasha Mascaranhas has been covering the trend recently, and dug in this week with a big investor survey on the category for Extra Crunch.

“One investor pivoted from spending a third of their time looking at edtech companies to devoting almost all their time to the sector,” she tells me. “Another, who has been bullish for years on edtech, says its business as usual for them, but that competition may arise. An ed-tech focused fund thinks the sector has been underfunded for a while, so the moment of reckoning has begun.”

Respondents include:

Across the week:

TechCrunch

Economists haven’t thrown out the models yet (but they will)

Five CEOs on their evolution in the femtech space

Equity Monday: Hunting for green shoots amid the startup data

Extra Crunch

How SaaS startups should plan for a turbulent Q2

Fintech’s uneven new reality has helped some startups, harmed others

Fast-changing regulations give virtual care startups a chance to seize the moment

Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson on shifting a 3,000-person company to fully remote

Amid unicorn layoffs, Boston startups reflect on the future

#EquityPod

From Alex:

We started with a look at Clearbanc  and its runway extension not-a-loan program, which may help startups survive that are running low on cash. Natasha covered it for TechCrunch. Most of us know about Clearbanc’s revenue-based financing model; this is a twist. But it’s good to see companies work to adapt their products to help other startups survive.

Next we chatted about a few rounds that Danny covered, namely Sila’s $ 7.7 million investment to help build technology that could take on the venerable and vulnerable ACH, and Cadence’s $ 4 million raise to help with securitization. Even better, per Danny, they are both blockchain-using companies. And they are useful! Blockchain, while you were looking elsewhere, has done some cool stuff at last.

Sticking to our fintech theme — the show wound up being super fintech-heavy, which was an accident — we turned to SoFi’s huge $ 1.2 billion deal to buy Galileo, a Utah-based payments company that helps power a big piece of UK-based fintech. SoFi is going into the B2B fintech world after first attacking the B2C realm; we reckon that if it can pull the move off, other financial technology companies might follow suit.

Tidying up all the fintech stories is this round up from Natasha and Alex, working to figure out who in fintech is doing poorly, who’s hiding for now, and who is crushing it in the new economic reality.

Next we touched on layoffs generally, layoffs at ToastAngelList, and not LinkedIn — for now. Per their plans to not have plans to have layoffs. You figure that out.

And then at the end, we capped with good news from Thrive and Index. We didn’t get to Shippo, sadly. Next time!

Listen to the full thing here!


TechCrunch

[Editor’s note: Want to get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that startups can use by emailSubscribe here.] 

While consumer tech has matured as a startup category in recent years, many investors continue to be bullish on specific trends like online gaming, voice, and the unbundling of platforms in favor of focused social networks. That’s the key takeaway from a survey that Josh Constine and Arman Tabatabai did this week with 16 of the most active investors in key social product categories over on Extra Crunch. Here’s an excerpt of the responses, from Olivia Moore and Justine Moore of CRV:

  • “Unbundling of YouTube.” You can build a big company by targeting a vertical within YouTube with a product that has better features and more opportunities for creator monetization. Twitch is a great example of this! We’re also watching early-stage companies like Supergreat (in beauty) and Tingles (ASMR).

  • Voice as a social medium. Voice continues to pick up steam as a broadcast medium via podcasting, but we haven’t seen a lot in social or P2P voice yet. We think a successful platform will leverage the fact that voice content can be created and consumed while doing other things. We’re big fans of companies like TTYL and Drivetime that are making strides here!

  • Flexible digital identities. Gen Zers are online constantly but have different preferences across platforms/friend groups about how they want to “show up” digitally. The rise of “Finsta” accounts is one good example of this. Companies like Facemoji already help users create social content using a curated digital avatar — we’re excited to see what else founders build here!

  • Synchronous, shared mobile experiences. We’re bullish on apps that connect users in real time to have a shared social experience. Most apps now are “single-player,” which creates scroll fatigue. HQ Trivia was an early example more on the entertainment side, while companies like Squad help users browse the internet and watch TikTok together.

Other respondees include: Connie Chan (Andreessen Horowitz). Alexis Ohanian (Initialized Capital), Niko Bonatsos (General Catalyst), Josh Coyne (Kleiner Perkins), Wayne Hu (Signal Fire), Alexia Bonatsos (Dream Machine), Josh Elman (angel investor), Aydin Senkut (Felicis Ventures), James Currier (NFX), Pippa Lamb (Sweet Capital), Christian Dorffer (Sweet Capital), Jim Scheinman (Maven Ventures), Eva Casanova (Day One Ventures) and Dan Ciporin (Canaan).

EC subscribers please note: a second part of this survey will be running this coming week, focused specifically on social investing in the COVID-19 era.

Are VCs investing — or maintaining?

Speaking of financing, who is actually writing checks right at this moment in time?

“I’ve seen a lot of VCs talking about being open for business,” Eniac Ventures founding partner Hadley Harris proclaimed on a fundraising-trend panel this week, “and I’ve been pretty outspoken on Twitter that I think that’s largely bullshit and sends the wrong message to entrepreneurs.” Instead, as Connie Loizos covered for us on TechCrunch, he said he didn’t have time to talk to more founders because he was so busy helping existing portfolio companies.

Not every investor agrees with that viewpoint —  VC Twitter features many an anecdote about fresh companies getting funding. 

Let’s just hope that both things are true, because it is already rough out there. 

Does your startup qualify for a PPP loan? (And should you apply?)

Two debates have been raging around government support for startups. First, the big, messy new Paycheck Protection Program — designed to cover expenses for small businesses — does seem to be somewhat available to startups, based on revisions published by the Small Business Administration late last week. But things get complicated quick depending on your fundraising and cap table, as Jon Shieber covered last weekend for TechCrunch. Venture firms typically have controlling interests in a portfolio of companies that total more than 500 people, so if such a firm also has a controlling interest in your startup, you may not be eligible. Even if the VC stake is under 50%, preferred terms that came with the fundraising may your application afoul of the rules.

To help founders work through their own situations faster, startup lawyer William Carleton wrote a quick guide for Extra Crunch. Here’s where he says you need to start:

Do you have a minority investor which controls protective covenants in your charter, or which controls a board seat afforded certain veto rights on board decisions? If the answer to either fork of that question is “yes,” you almost certainly have confirmed that you will need to amend your charter and/or other governing documents before proceeding with a PPP application.

The other aspect, of course, is whether startups should be applying for this in the first place. Congress broadly intended the money to go towards small to medium sized businesses, most of whom would never be considered for venture. Shieber’s article is full of comments on that topic, if you feel like weighing in….

The commercial real estate comeuppance

If you’re like me, and you’ve started companies in the Bay Area and struggled to find office space you could afford, enjoy this bit of schadenfraude as you plot your remote-first future. Because the commercial real estate industry is facing an existential crisis after many, many years of rent-seeking upon the Silicon Valley tech economy (and everyone else).

Connie explored this exploding topic with a range of startups, investors and CRE agents in a big feature for TechCrunch this week. One analyst “expects the market to come down by ‘at least 10% and probably 20% to 30%’ from where commercial space in San Francisco has priced in several years, which is $ 88 per square foot, according to CBRE. Driving the expected drop is the 2 million square feet that will come onto the market in the city as soon as it’s possible — space that companies want to get off their books.”

It’s quite possible to imagine even bigger declines, given the broader hits that most any possible tenant is also taking to their budgets. Who knows, maybe this whole process will even help make the Bay Area and other wealthy metros a little more affordable again.

GettyImages 960803498

Edtech gets hot again, according to investors

After lots of money and lots of struggle over the past decade, edtech is suddenly hot again thanks to the pandemic. Natasha Mascaranhas has been covering the trend recently, and dug in this week with a big investor survey on the category for Extra Crunch.

“One investor pivoted from spending a third of their time looking at edtech companies to devoting almost all their time to the sector,” she tells me. “Another, who has been bullish for years on edtech, says its business as usual for them, but that competition may arise. An ed-tech focused fund thinks the sector has been underfunded for a while, so the moment of reckoning has begun.”

Respondents include:

Across the week:

TechCrunch

Economists haven’t thrown out the models yet (but they will)

Five CEOs on their evolution in the femtech space

Equity Monday: Hunting for green shoots amid the startup data

Extra Crunch

How SaaS startups should plan for a turbulent Q2

Fintech’s uneven new reality has helped some startups, harmed others

Fast-changing regulations give virtual care startups a chance to seize the moment

Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson on shifting a 3,000-person company to fully remote

Amid unicorn layoffs, Boston startups reflect on the future

#EquityPod

From Alex:

We started with a look at Clearbanc  and its runway extension not-a-loan program, which may help startups survive that are running low on cash. Natasha covered it for TechCrunch. Most of us know about Clearbanc’s revenue-based financing model; this is a twist. But it’s good to see companies work to adapt their products to help other startups survive.

Next we chatted about a few rounds that Danny covered, namely Sila’s $ 7.7 million investment to help build technology that could take on the venerable and vulnerable ACH, and Cadence’s $ 4 million raise to help with securitization. Even better, per Danny, they are both blockchain-using companies. And they are useful! Blockchain, while you were looking elsewhere, has done some cool stuff at last.

Sticking to our fintech theme — the show wound up being super fintech-heavy, which was an accident — we turned to SoFi’s huge $ 1.2 billion deal to buy Galileo, a Utah-based payments company that helps power a big piece of UK-based fintech. SoFi is going into the B2B fintech world after first attacking the B2C realm; we reckon that if it can pull the move off, other financial technology companies might follow suit.

Tidying up all the fintech stories is this round up from Natasha and Alex, working to figure out who in fintech is doing poorly, who’s hiding for now, and who is crushing it in the new economic reality.

Next we touched on layoffs generally, layoffs at ToastAngelList, and not LinkedIn — for now. Per their plans to not have plans to have layoffs. You figure that out.

And then at the end, we capped with good news from Thrive and Index. We didn’t get to Shippo, sadly. Next time!

Listen to the full thing here!


TechCrunch

[Editor’s note: Want to get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that startups can use by email? Subscribe here.] 

There are a few online productivity stocks booming, and a few popular remote-first product companies still announcing funding rounds amid a huge new wave of unicorn layoffs. But what about the previously white-hot software-as-a-service category overall?

Pullbacks in spending are expected in general, obviously, which means higher churn and slower growth for major SaaS companies. An informal peer survey put together by Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta indicates that many leading execs in the space expect churn to head to double digits in the near future, Alex Wilhelm learned while researching the topic this week for Extra Crunch.

But, the effects of so much of the world going remote could end up still being a bigger lift for many companies large and small. George Kurtz, CEO of publicly traded cybersecurity company Crowdstrike, expects global growth as mainstream businesses everywhere get serious about remote for the first time.

Meanwhile, fresh index data from Profitwell seems to already show a bit of a rebound in subscriptions following weeks of drops, which Alex digs into separately. It’s probably too soon to be hopeful, but anecdotally Extra Crunch’s own growth has gotten back to its previously strong footing in the last few weeks (thanks for the support, everyone).

He also caught up with Mary D’Onofrio, an investor with Bessemer Venture Partners about how to value a startup during a downturn. She also pointed out that many of the losses you’re seeing are relative. “We’re just reverting back to historical cloud software multiples. Historically if you look at the emerging cloud index basket, it’s traded at seven times forward [revenue]. Right now we’re trading at eight times forward [revenue].” At least for many companies in the space, things are still not so bad.

The venture capital crunch continues

We’ve been writing a daily-ish series of articles about the state of startup investing in the face of COVID-19. First up, Danny Crichton breaks down “the denominator effect” on TechCrunch, where a limited partner is required through their own funding agreements to allocate a mix of equities beyond startups and rebalance based on the circumstances. When the other portions lose too much (such as, say, public stocks), LPs then have to pull back on the amount of money they can have in venture capital firms… thereby leaving those firms short of money for startups. Where is this going? “If the markets happen to rapidly recover, they might quickly reopen their investments in VC and other alternative assets,” Danny writes. “But if the markets stay sour for longer, then expect further downward gravitational pull on the VC asset class as portfolio managers reset their portfolios to where they need them. It’s the tyranny of fifth grade mathematics and a complex financial system.”

How can venture firms navigate this daunting terrain? Connie Loizos checks in for TechCrunch with Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures (“now is probably one of the toughest times” to get a firm launched), Charles Hudson of Precursor Ventures (find some family offices who are going to be less orthodox in general and potentially less affected) and Eva Ho of Fika Ventures (don’t get discouraged, but use the additional challenge to really reflect about this career choice).

Check out additional coverage over on Extra Crunch, including a quick survey of other investors about their approaches, an interview with a venture debt lender, and a look at the trends in funding going back to last year.

The content library is king for TikTok

Why is TikTok able to dominate the charts in the face of giant competitors? As millions sit at home using the app, Josh Constine dives into why it is likely to continue beating incumbent consumer products from companies like Alphabet and Facebook (or consumer startups). It’s what he calls the “content network effect,” as he detailed on TechCrunch:

Facilitating remixes offers a way to lower the bar for producing user generated content. You’d don’t have to be astoundingly creative or original to make something entertaining. Each individual’s life experiences inform their perspective that could let them interpret an idea in a new way. What began with someone ripping audio of two people chanting “don’t be Suspicious, don’t be suspicious” while sneaking through a graveyard in TV show Parks and Recreation led to people lip syncing it while trying to escape their infant’s room without waking them up, leaving the house wearing clothes they stole from their sister’s closet, trying to keep a llama as a pet, and photoshopping themselves to look taller. Unless someone’s already done the work to record an audio clip, there’s nothing to inspire and enable others to put their spin on it.

Healthtech in the time of COVID-19

While most people reading this newsletter have probably been experiencing the worldwide remote-first switch, an equally momentous set of changes are sweeping health care as medical systems try to get a grip on the pandemic. We had just published a big survey of leading digital health investors in December, but now is the time for an update. We checked in with:

Here’s CRV’s Spohn, summing the situation up nicely: “COVID-19 is driving opportunities, notably the rapid adoption of telehealth/virtual care by clinicians and patients, clinical trials in the cloud, as well as renewed focus on rapid point-of-care diagnostics. With virtual care, we’re seeing a decade of acceleration happening in a matter of weeks. Up until this point, there has been high-activation energy to conduct a first “eVisit” because the alternative (in-person care) was so well-established and largely available.”

Read the full thing on Extra Crunch.

Around TechCrunch

  1.  From Danny: On Monday, prolific enterprise seed investor Jonathan Lehr of Work-Bench will be joining us for a live conference call on TechCrunch. Work-Bench has been an investor in such notable investments as Tamr, Cockroach Labs, Backtrace, Socure, and x.ai. Danny and Alex will quiz Jon on all kinds of questions around what the seed stage looks like for enterprise startups these days, and of course, will take questions from Extra Crunch members.
  2.  Disrupt will have a remote version this year, which we’re now beginning to sell as a Digital Pass. Check it out!

Across the week

TechCrunch

Proposed amendments to the Volcker Rule could be a lifeline for venture firms hit by market downturn=

The space in between: The stratosphere

Test and trace with Apple and Google

Want to survive the downturn? Better build a platform

Using AI responsibly to fight the coronavirus pandemic

Extra Crunch

Lending startups are angling for new business from the COVID-19 bailout

What happens to edtech when kids go back to school?

Amid shift to remote work, application performance monitoring is IT’s big moment

Rebecca Minkoff has some advice for e-commerce companies right now

#EquityPod

From Alex:

How are you holding up? Are you keeping up? And most importantly, are you hydrating yourself? There’s so much news lately that we’re all falling a bit behind, but, hey, that’s what Equity is for. So, NatashaDanny, and Alex got together to go over a number of the biggest stories in the worlds of private companies.

A warning before we get into the list, however. We’re going to be covering layoffs for a while. Don’t read more into that beyond a note to this unfortunate situation. We try to talk about the most important news, not what brings delight or joy to our hearts (because if that was the case, we would be all over mega-rounds). That in mind, here’s this week’s rundown….

Which you can find here!


TechCrunch

TechCrunch is out hunting for bright spots in the startup world as we all come to grips with the pandemic — particularly where checks are actually being written despite everything.

D2C is back to the future

First up this week, we surveyed top direct-to-consumer investors, and they seemed pretty optimistic despite the struggles of some sector leaders. Here’s Lightspeed Venture Partners Nicole Quinn, for example, on investor activity versus current opportunity:

I would argue it is too weak as investors look at the unit economics of some of the recent IPOs and think that is true for all of D2C. In reality, there are sectors such as beauty where many companies have product margins >90% or true brands such as Rothy’s where there is such a strong word-of-mouth effect and this gives them an unfair advantage with far better unit economics than the average.

Other respondents include: Ben Lerer and Caitlin Strandberg from Lerer Hippeau, Gareth Jefferies from Northzone, Matthew Hartman of Betaworks Ventures, Alexis Ohanian of Initialized Capital and Luca Bocchio of Accel.

Arman Tabatabai has the full investor survey on Extra Crunch, while Connie Loizos has a separate interview with Ohanian over on TechCrunch.

Proptech will be going (more) remote

Arman also ran a popular investor survey on real estate and proptech a few months back, so a virus update edition was warranted given the existential questions facing the future of physical space. Here’s one clarifying explanation from Andrew Ackerman of Dreamit Ventures:

Startups targeting residential landlords and property managers could be big winners. Anything that makes tenants more comfortable like residential tenant amenity platforms (e.g. Amenify) or automates maintenance requests (e.g. TravtusAptly), simplifies maintenance itself (e.g NestEgg) or eases operations like package receiving (e.g. Luxer One) are suddenly top of mind.

VC investors have a saying, “Don’t make me think,” and right now, we are thinking hard about what COVID-19 means for our portfolio, so don’t be surprised if we are a little slower than normal to write checks. That said, we are acutely aware of the fact that some of our best returns came from investments made during difficult times. Fortunately, we think quickly.

Read the full thing on Extra Crunch.

A new era for consumer tech

It’s no surprise that SaaS companies are seeing new growth from millions staying at home. But what else is going on besides work? Josh Constine pulls together the rebirth of Houseparty, the integration of Zoom into popular social networks and other trends today to elegantly explain the big picture: social tools actually being used like everyone had hoped(!).

What is social media when there’s nothing to brag about? Many of us are discovering it’s a lot more fun. We had turned social media into a sport but spent the whole time staring at the scoreboard rather than embracing the joy of play. But thankfully, there are no Like counts on Zoom . Nothing permanent remains. That’s freed us from the external validation that too often rules our decision-making. It’s stopped being about how this looks and started being about how this feels. Does it put me at peace, make me laugh, or abate the loneliness? Then do it. There’s no more FOMO because there’s nothing to miss by staying home to read, take a bath, or play board games. You do you.

Check it out on TechCrunch, then be sure to check out our ongoing coverage of where this is headed: virtual worlds(!?). Eric Peckham analyzed the sprawling topic in an eight-part series last month, then sat down for an in-house TechCrunch interview this week to explain how he sees the pandemic impacting the existing trends. 

More than two billion people play video games in the context of a year. There’s incredible market penetration in that sense. But, at least for the data I’ve seen for the U.S., the percent of the population who play games on a given day is still much lower than the percent of the population who use social media on a given day.

The more that games become virtual worlds for socializing and hanging out beyond just the mission of the gameplay, the more who will turn to virtual worlds as a social and entertainment outlet when they have five minutes free to do something on their phone. Social media fills these small moments in life. MMO games right now don’t because they are so oriented around the gameplay, which takes time and uninterrupted focus. Virtual worlds in the vein of those on Roblox where you just hang out and explore with friends compete for that time with Instagram more directly.

Some SEM prices are going down due to the pandemic

Danny Crichton put on his data scientist hat for Extra Crunch and analyzed more than 100 unicorns across tech sectors and looked how how the pricing of their keywords has changed due to the pandemic/recession.

The results aren’t surprising — there has been a collapse in prices for almost all ads (with some very interesting exceptions we will get to in a bit). But the variations across startups in their online ad performance says a lot about industries like food delivery and enterprise software, and also the long-term revenue performance of Google, Facebook and other digital advertising networks.

cloud ice cream cone imagine

Big tech should do more to help startups now

Besides offering wily developer platforms, I mean. Josh argued on TechCrunch that hosting costs and associated expenses should be spared or delayed by the dominant companies to be nice, and to avoid crushing their own ecosystems.

Google, Amazon and Microsoft are the landlords. Amidst the coronavirus economic crisis, startups need a break from paying rent. They’re in a cash crunch. Revenue has stopped flowing in, capital markets like venture debt are hesitant and startups and small-to-medium sized businesses are at risk of either having to lay off huge numbers of employees and/or shut down. Meanwhile, the tech giants are cash rich. Their success this decade means they’re able to weather the storm for a few months. Their customers cannot.

On the other hand, now is also a good time for mid-sized startups to try to take market share from incumbents who don’t act friendly enough to the rest of the startup world…..

Odds and ends

  1. Eliot Peper, author of a variety of popular sci-fi and tech fiction stories (and occasional TechCrunch contributor), has a new book out called “Uncommon Stock: Version 1.0” about a small startup that accidentally crosses paths with a drug cartel. Current subscribers to this newsletter will find that the link above takes them to a free download (that ends Sunday).
  2. I had been planning to moderate a panel at SXSW on the topic of remote work, but other events flipped that on its head. The panel, featuring Katrina Wong, VP of Marketing at Hired, Darren Murph, Head of Remote at Gitlab, and Nate McGuire, Founder of Buildstack, happened on Zoom. And now the video is available here — check out to get key tips on going remote-first from these experts.

Across the week

TechCrunch

Now might be the perfect time to rethink your fundraising approach

How child care startups in the U.S. are helping families cope with the COVID-19 crisis

Private tech companies mobilize to address shortages for medical supplies, masks and sanitizer

One neat plug-in to join a Zoom call from your browser

Extra Crunch

When is it time to stop fundraising?

Slack’s slowing growth turns around as remote work booms

A look inside one startup’s work-from-home playbook

Lime’s valuation, variable costs and diverging categories of on-demand companies

#EquityPod

From Alex:

The three of us were back today — NatashaDanny and Alex — to dig our way through a host of startup-focused topics. Sure, the world is stuffed full of COVID-19 news — and, to be clear, the topic did come up some — but Equity decided to circle back to its roots and talks startups and accelerators and how many pieces of luggage does an urban-living person really need?

The answer, as far as we can work it out, is either one piece or seven. Regardless, here’s what we got through this week:

  • Big news from 500 Startups, and our favorite companies from the accelerator’s latest demo day. Y Combinator is not the only game in town, so TechCrunch spent part of the day peekin’ at 500 and its latest batch of companies. We got into some of the startups that stuck out, tackling problems within the influencer market, trash pickup and esports.
  • Plastiq raised $ 75 million to help people and businesses use their credit card anywhere they want. And no, it wasn’t closed after the pandemic hit.
  • We also talked through Fast’s latest $ 20 million round led by Stripe. Stripe, as everyone recalls, was most recently a topic on the show thanks to a venture whoopsie in the form of a check from Sequoia to Finix.1 But all that’s behind us. Fast is building a new login and checkout service for the internet that is supposed to be both speedy and independent.
  • All the Stripe talk reminded us of one of the startups that launched so it could beat it out: Brex. The startup, which has amassed over $ 300 million in known venture capital to date, recently acquired three companies.
  • We chatted through the highlights of our D2C venture survey, focused on rising CAC costs in select channels, the importance of solid gross margins and why Casper wasn’t really a bellwether for its industry.

Listen here!


TechCrunch

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