Day: June 8, 2019

June 8, 2019 Off

Equity transcribed: What happens to late-stage VC if the Vision Fund goes away?

By Jill T Frey

Welcome back to the transcribed edition of the wildly popular TechCrunch podcast, Equity. This week Kate Clark and Alex Wilhelm convened in the new studio to discuss the biggest venture capital news of the week.

There was a lot of news to get to so they started with some quick hits about Thumbtack, Bird, Scoot, Mirror and Looker. Then they got down to business and went in-depth on SoftBank’s Vision Fund and whether the money has dried up.

And folks from Social Capital are back with a new firm called Tribe Capital that looks a lot like … Social Capital.

Kate: I think the TLDR here is, if the Vision Fund doesn’t raise a Vision Fund Two, we will feel changes in the market. I think we will see deal sizes come back to earth a little bit, and I think we may see at least not increasingly large valuations,

Read the rest
June 8, 2019 Off

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

By Jill T Frey

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

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

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

Connie: Talking about demystifying venture capital, you’ve been with Andreessen Horowitz for roughly 10 years, pretty much from the outset of

Read the rest
June 8, 2019 Off

48 hours left to apply for Startup Battlefield at Disrupt SF and win $100,000

By Jill T Frey

What’s on your to-do list in the next 48 hours? Move “launch my awesome early-stage startup to the world” to the top of the list and apply to compete in the Startup Battlefield at Disrupt San Francisco 2019 on October 2-4 in front of 10,000 live attendees and tens of thousands online.

Your opportunity to compete head-to-head against a handpicked cadre of the best early-stage startups expires in just 48 hours. It won’t cost you a dime to apply or to compete. Compare that to the price of a missed opportunity.

Judging by applications we’ve received so far, the Startup Battlefield at DSF ’19 promises to be an epic showdown. One winner will claim the storied Disrupt Cup and the $100,000 equity-free cash prize — but all participants benefit from a huge amount of potentially life-changing media and investor attention.

Case in point: All Startup Battlefield teams receive private pitch … Read the rest

June 8, 2019 Off

Everyone loves pizza, including VCs

By Jill T Frey

Sometimes a person (I’m not naming names here) tires of staring at startup funding data, and her hungry mind wanders to pizza.

But ordering a pizza in real life isn’t always the best choice for such people/reporters. So instead, we’ll pivot to the next best (not really) thing: Looking at what startup investors are doing vis-à-vis the pizza industry.

Turns out, VCs and growth investors are finding lots of ways to toss money at the space. A query of Crunchbase data rolled out more than 50 companies funded in the past couple of years that mention pizza in their business descriptions. In the chart below, we slice into 10 of the most heavily funded and intriguing pizza-preneurs.

Taken together, … Read the rest

June 8, 2019 Off

Startups Weekly: The Peloton IPO (bull vs. bear)

By Jill T Frey

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s noteworthy venture capital deals, funds and trends. Before I dive into this week’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about the proliferation of billion-dollar companies. Before that, I noted the uptick in beverage startup rounds. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to [email protected] or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets.

Now, time for some quick notes on Peloton’s confirmed initial public offering. The fitness unicorn, which sells a high-tech exercise bike and affiliated subscription to original fitness content, confidentially filed to go public earlier this week. Unfortunately, there’s no S-1 to pore through yet; all I can do for now is speculate a bit about Peloton’s long-term potential.

What I know: 

  • Peloton is profitable. Founder and chief executive John Foley said at one point that he
Read the rest
June 8, 2019 Off

India’s largest video streaming service, owned by Disney, breaks Safari compatibility to fix security flaw

By Jill T Frey

Hotstar, India’s largest video streaming service with more than 300 million users, disabled support for Apple’s Safari web browser on Friday to mitigate a security flaw that allowed unauthorized usage of its platform, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The incident comes at a time when the streaming service — operated by Star India, part of 20th Century Fox that Disney acquired — enjoys peak attention as millions of people watch the ongoing ICC World Cup cricket tournament on its platform.

As users began to complain about not being able to use Hotstar on Safari, the company’s official support account asserted that “technical limitations” on Apple’s part were the bottleneck. “These limitations have been from Safari; there is very little we can do on this,” the account tweeted Friday evening.

Sources at Hotstar told TechCrunch that this was not an accurate description of the event. Instead, company’s engineers … Read the rest

June 8, 2019 Off

Maker Faire halts operations and lays off all staff

By Jill T Frey

Financial troubles have forced Maker Media, the company behind crafting publication MAKE: magazine as well as the science and art festival Maker Faire, to lay off its entire staff of 22 and pause all operations. TechCrunch was tipped off to Maker Media’s unfortunate situation which was then confirmed by the company’s founder and CEO Dale Dougherty.

For 15 years, MAKE: guided adults and children through step-by-step do-it-yourself crafting and science projects, and it was central to the maker movement. Since 2006, Maker Faire’s 200 owned and licensed events per year in over 40 countries let attendees wander amidst giant, inspiring art and engineering installations.

Maker Media Inc ceased operations this week and let go of all of its employees — about 22 employees” Dougherty tells TechCrunch. “I started this 15 years ago and it’s always been a struggle as a business to make this work. Print publishing … Read the rest

June 8, 2019 Off

George R.R. Martin’s next project is reportedly the video game, Elden Ring

By Jill T Frey

E3 doesn’t technically start until Tuesday, but the leaks are already arriving fast and furious. Now that winter has come from HBO’s Game of Thrones, creator George R.R. Martin’s got several other projects in the works, including, reportedly, a new video game.

Word is we’ll be hearing more about that last bit on Sunday, during Microsoft’s big kick off press conference. For now, however, we’ve got a smattering of information about Elden Ring from Daniel “ZhugeEX” Ahmed. The perennial game leaker tweeted out a poster for the title, which is said to be a collaboration between Martin and Hidetaka Miyazaki, best known for his role in FromSoftware’s Souls series.

In addition to Xbox One, the title is also set for release on PS4 and the PC. Supernatural powers … Read the rest

June 8, 2019 Off

A peek inside Sequoia Capital’s low-flying, wide-reaching scout program

By Jill T Frey

Ten years ago, Sequoia Capital began quietly encouraging founders of its portfolio companies to consider which of their founder friends they might like to get behind financially. Sequoia would let them write checks to those companies, and it would share with them any later rewards.

It was a brilliant idea. It allowed Sequoia to keep tabs on entrepreneurs — and nascent technologies — not yet in its universe. It cemented the firm’s ties to the founders who were already in its family. Not last, it grew Sequoia’s already considerable influence in Silicon Valley.

Fast forward, and the ripple effects of the program have not only been wide-reaching, but they’ve quietly reshaped the industry in ways that only those closest to Sequoia have been able to fully appreciate — until now.

To learn more on the tenth anniversary of Sequoia’s “scouts” initiative — which has since been widely copied by other … Read the rest