In VC fund creation, have we passed the peak?

In venture capital, a variant on the Glengarry Glen Ross mandate is most fund managers’ modus operandi: Always. Be. Raising. And it seems like VCs have picked up on that. In the last few months, even casual readers of the tech press would notice many, many stories about VCs raising big new funds. So are venture investors spinning up new funds as often as they did in the past? VCs are certainly raising tons of money, and Crunchbase News reported earlier this week that these huge funds are bending the shape of the VC fundraising curve upward. But is that the full story? Even though 2018 has been a banner year
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Crypto’s second bubble, Juul has 60 days and three Chinese IPOs

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. After a long run of having guests climb aboard each week, we took a pause on that front, bringing together three of our regular hosts instead: Connie Loizos, Danny Chrichton, and myself. Despite the fact that there were just three of us instead of the usual four, we got through a mountain of stuff. Which was good as it was a surprisingly busy week, and we didn’t want to leave too much behind. Up top we dug into the latest in the land of crypto, which Danny had politely summarized for us in an article. The gist of his argument is that the analogies relating crypto as an industry to the Internet may work, but most people have their timelines wrong: Crypto isn’t like the Internet in the 90s,
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Equity podcast live from Disrupt SF: Peak Valley Edition

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week was incredibly fun. We recorded live from the first floor of TechCrunch’s Disrupt SF confab, putting us right in the middle of the action. So it was good that we had a full crew on hand to natter about the news. From TechCrunch, Connie Loizos and Danny Crichton were on deck, along with myself. In addition to us regulars, Garry Tan joined in. He’s a managing partner at Initialized Capital. So we had the crew, a lovely stage, and four mics. Putting that together we kicked off with some ironically non-Valley news, in particular, Amazon reaching the $1 trillion market cap threshold. The firm has since given back around $50 billion in value, but we wanted to know why it was up, and why it was down. Segueing with some precision
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Zoox loses its CEO, Eventbrite is going public, and megarounds for Slack, One Medical, and Getaround

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 full house which was super great. TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos and Sarah Buhr held down the fort in San Francisco along with our guest, Susan Mac Cormac, a partner at Morrison Foerster where she works on some of the most interesting deals in the private capital space. I dialed in from the home office in Providence. It was good that we had eight hands on deck as there was more than enough news to go around. We started with the recent executive changes at Zoox, an autonomous car company that came up on the show a few weeks back when it raised $500 million. The firm is now down its CEO after he was ousted after the round. In the founder-friendly era that we find ourselves
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Taking Tesla private, WeWork and Uber earnings, and what happened to crypto

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week was a corker. We had Alex Wilhelm in-studio with our guest Minal Hasan, founder of K2 Global, and TechCrunch’s Danny Chriton jumped in from New York to help the crew dig through the biggest and best stuff from the last seven days. It’s been busy, to say the least. First, we took a look at the Elon-Musk-taking-Tesla-private-situation, which has kept Markets Twitter in suspense for days. We didn’t really get to talk about the Grimes-Azealia Banks stuff, but, hey, stay in your lane and what not. Don’t forget that the latest Tesla upheaval comes on the heels of the firm’s pretty good earnings report. Next, we took a look at earnings. Not of public companies, mind, but two unicorns that have become so large as to
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Supergiant VC rounds aren’t just raised in China

In the venture capital market, big is in. Firms are raising significant sums to finance a growing number of large startup funding rounds. In July, there were 55 venture rounds, worldwide, which topped out at $100 million or more, totaling just over $15 billion raised in nine and 10-figure mega-rounds alone. This set a record for venture dealmaking. We’ve already identified approximately when the uptick in huge VC rounds began: toward the tail end of 2013. But where in the world are all the companies raising these supergiant venture capital rounds? In response to coverage of July’s record-breaking numbers, many commenters were quick to point out
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Slack raises, Dropbox and Snap report earnings, and Magic Leap is real

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week Matthew Lynley and Alex Wilhelm were joined by 500 Startups CEO Christine Tsai for what turned out to be a super packed episode. We kicked off with the latest from Slack: $400 million new dollars at a shiny, new $7 billion valuation, according to TechCrunch. The new capital comes after the firm raised a huge sum last year from SoftBank’s Vision Fund. We dug into why the company would raise again, and what competitors it has left after the Atlassian deal. Next up, two earnings reports. Continuing our tradition of keeping tabs on recent tech IPOs, we talked through Snap and Dropbox which reported earnings this week. Both lost ground after doing so. Ironically, they each beat financial expectations. Snap ended up dropping value over a DAU decline,
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July sets a record for number of $100M+ venture capital rounds

In July 2018, the tech sector’s leisure class — venture capitalists — kicked investments into overdrive, at least when it comes to financing supergiant venture rounds of $100 million or more (in native or as-converted USD values). With 55 deals accounting for just over $15 billion at time of writing, July likely set an all-time record for the number of huge venture deals struck in a single month. The table below has just the top 10 largest rounds from the month. (A full list of all the supergiant venture rounds can be found here.) It’s certainly a record high for the past decade. Earlier this month, we set
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Cisco buys Duo, Brandless raises $240M, and Apple broaches $1T

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week TechCrunch’s Matthew Lynley and Crunchbase News’s Alex Wilhelm were joined by Jyoti Bansal, the founder of AppDynamics and a partner at Unusual Ventures, among other startup work. Our own Connie Loizos was off this week. This episode was effectively a news grab-bag. There’s a little of everything: public company drama, big rounds, acquisitions, and more. Up top: Apple’s broaching of the $1 trillion barrier, which some people called early and some people called late. It depends on how you were counting. But the venerable consumer electronics giant did indeed manage to hoist its market cap over the trillion dollar mark, making it the first American company to do so. But as we all wind up agreeing, it’s just a round number. Moving along Sonos’s IPO had a
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WeWork is just one facet of SoftBank’s bet on real estate

This week WeWork announced that its Chinese subsidiary — WeWork China — raised an additional $500 million in capital in a deal led by SoftBank, Temasek Holdings and others. The deal reportedly values the Chinese branch of the shared workspace and real estate management company at $5 billion, up from $1 billion (post-money) in the round WeWork China announced almost a year ago in July 2017. SoftBank rarely doubles down on a particular company. At time of writing, SoftBank itself has made 175 investments in 144 different companies, according to Crunchbase data. Of those, just 23 companies raised more than one round from SoftBank. And in conjunction with its China branch, with four cumulative transactions on record, WeWork is tied for first place in a ranking of companies most-engaged with SoftBank’s investment arm. That being said, SoftBank’s investment strategy appears to be one of taking stakes in
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Facebook’s debacle, $100M rounds and Slack links up with Atlassian

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This was one hell of a week. Happily, we had our own Connie Loizos, Matthew Lynley, and Alex Wilhelm on hand, along with Initialized Capital’s Alexis Ohanian to pick over the mix. First up we had zero choice but to talk about Facebook. The social company’s epic repricing in the middle of the week blotted out the news sun. It may keep us in the shade for another week, too. Facebook’s dive has implications for social startups and competing public companies alike. Like, say, Reddit. Moving along, Crunchbase News recently dropped a report digging into the rise of $100 million and larger rounds. From a turning point in 2013 to today, megarounds have been on the rise. Why? When does it stop? Whose fault is it really? And is going
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Inside the rise and reign of supergiant venture capital rounds

There was a time not so long ago when nine-figure venture capital rounds weren’t a near-daily feature of tech business news. But now funding rounds of $100 million or more cross the wires with stunning frequency. The era of supergiant rounds is now the new normal. This is attributable, in part, to billions of dollars flowing into new venture capital funds — the largest of which are raised by the oldest, most entrenched firms — and competition from relative newcomers, like SoftBank. Q2 2018 may have set new records for worldwide VC deal and dollar volume in this post-dot com cycle, but that belies an important fact: Investors are dumping the bulk of capital into a relatively small number of companies. The rise of supergiant rounds wound up in a “takeover” of the market. The chart below shows the proportion of capital raised in rounds of $100 million or more,
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Zoox’s fresh $500M, how to spend $6.3B and Microsoft’s fine fiscal year

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week we had another full house which made for a good time. Our own Connie LoizosMatthew Lynley and I were joined by Renata Quintini, a partner at Lux Capital. Today’s episode is a grab bag of topics, including some self-driving stuff, late-stage venture noodling, and Microsoft. So, this show hit on every topic I used to have listed on my OkCupid profile. First up was Zoox’s epic $500 million infusion. The self-driving company is notable for its full-stack approach, and, as Lux is a long-time investor in the project, we had the perfect guest on hand to help us discuss it. As you can imagine, we dug around who else is working in the space, what SoftBank is up to, and why Zoox might need so much capital.
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In Q2 2018, late-stage deals led the world’s venture capital market

Here is what you should take away from the state of the global venture capital market: late-stage deals dominated Q2. Using projected data provided by Crunchbase, Crunchbase News reported that Q2 2018 marks new post-dot com highs for both VC deal and dollar volume around the world, the latter of which was propelled by a surge in late-stage deals (Series C and above). The chart below plots growth in projected late-stage deal and dollar volume over time. This remarkable growth in dollar volume — more than doubling since the same period in 2017 — has led to the late-stage deal market looming large over the venture landscape. For perspective, late-stage
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Furniture startups skip the showroom and go straight to your door

Startups making delivery and transport easier than ever are a hit with venture capitalists, so it’s not a surprise that young tech companies delivering home staples — living room sets, dining room tables, couches and more — are raising big dollars. From 2010 through 2017, venture investors have outfitted U.S.-based furniture startups with a little over $1.1 billion in funding across 96 known rounds. But that funding has not been spread equally over time, as the following chart shows: Total dollars funneled into U.S.-based furniture startups, according to Crunchbase, hit an all-time high of $432.7 million across 12 rounds in 2011. Wayfair, an e-commerce site dedicated to selling furniture, raised a significant $165 million Series A that year, accounting for more than a third of the
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Scooters go mad, Opendoor wants to buy your house, and Meituan’s IPO

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week was something of a first for the crew, twice. First, we had two guests on the show, and, also, we only made it through two and a half topics. The former is good, the latter is, well, we’ll see. So, this week Matthew Lynley and I were joined by David Chao, co-founder and general partner at DCM, and Steve Vassallo, a general partner at Foundation Capital. Points to both for being guinea pigs. Heading into our first topic I’m sorry to inform you that, at least in terms of Equity, scooters are the new Uber. So, we wound up talking about both this week. We started with the fact that Bird is raising new capital at an even more staggering valuation than before ($2 billion!), and that
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The largest buys of tech’s Big Five: a look at M&A deals

In startup land, the mandate is to get bought, go public or die trying. And, as far as getting bought goes, one of tech’s Big Five could be a desirable acquirer. They have a lot of weight to throw around. Alphabet (the parent company of Google), AmazonAppleFacebook and Microsoft account for a titanic amount of market value — close to $3.9 trillion at time of writing. At least, that’s according to Crunchbase News’s dashboard of notable tech stocks. When challenged by one another, these hulking behemoths of the tech sector more often fight than flee. And when challenged by a scrappy upstart, it is likely that they will gobble up the talent, technology and business of any aspiring competitor. It’s the circle of life. And it’s those acquisitions we’re going to look at here. Taken together, tech’s Big Five account for a relatively small
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GitHub’s epic exit, Domo’s dicey math, and Dataminr’s big raise

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This time ’round we had Connie and Alex on hand with Brian Ascher, a longtime partner with Venrock down in Palo Alto, Ca. It was a surprisingly busy week, so we had our work cut out us. Without further ado:

VCs like what they are hearing out of the podcasting sector

Podcasts are television for the earbud generation. And podcasts have been around for a surprisingly long time. If you’re one of the folks who got hooked on podcasts around 2014, when Sarah Koenig and other producers from This American Life launched the wildly popular Serial podcast, you might think that it’s a brand new medium. But podcasts — audio that’s packaged and syndicated over RSS — have been around since the early 2000s. And although many podcasters make money, typically through sponsorships, the podcasting industry (such as it is) hasn’t received much in the way of venture funding until quite recently. 2017 was a pivotal year for venture investment in the industry.

A venture-ready industry?

In the chart below, we plot deal and dollar volume for venture rounds raised by companies that are either in Crunchbase’s  href="https://www.crunchbase.com/search/organizations/field/organizations/categories/podcast">podcast category or use the word “podcast” in their descriptions:

Equity podcast: More funding for scooters, Cruise gets a boost, and Chinese IPOs

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week was fun. Back in the studio, Connie Loizos, Matthew Lynley, your humble servant, and Ramneek Gupta, managing director of Citi Ventures was with us to provide the venture perspective. As you can probably guess, we got a bit stuck in Bird’s nest, trying to vet why the young company is hoping to punch its unicorn card in nigh-record time. The firm’s potential new $150 million round may make it a unicorn, but Lime is in the chase, and the firm’s economics are still not fully understood. What did we agree on in the end? Scooters are fun, and Lynley said a swear. Moving ahead, SoftBank’s Vision Fund is cutting another check, this time to General Motors. Yes, the galactic slushfund is dropping up to
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