600 episodes

The intersection of technology, startups, and venture capital touches everything now. That’s why Equity, TechCrunch's flagship podcast, digs into the business of startups for entrepreneurs and enthusiasts alike. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, TechCrunch reporters keep you up-to-date on the world of business, technology, and venture capital.

Equity is ranked the No.2 podcast in the Top 100 Venture Capital All time leaderboard on Goodpods—As well as No.17 for the Top 100 Finance All time chart and No.32 for the Top 100 Business News All time chart.

Equity TechCrunch

    • Business
    • 4.2 • 323 Ratings

The intersection of technology, startups, and venture capital touches everything now. That’s why Equity, TechCrunch's flagship podcast, digs into the business of startups for entrepreneurs and enthusiasts alike. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, TechCrunch reporters keep you up-to-date on the world of business, technology, and venture capital.

Equity is ranked the No.2 podcast in the Top 100 Venture Capital All time leaderboard on Goodpods—As well as No.17 for the Top 100 Finance All time chart and No.32 for the Top 100 Business News All time chart.

    Silicon Valley's impact on the election and an acquisition making our HeadSpin

    Silicon Valley's impact on the election and an acquisition making our HeadSpin

    To kick off this week's news roundup, Kirsten walked us through Elon Musk’s recent declaration of his intent to move both SpaceX and X’s headquarters out of California to Texas. Whether or not he’ll see those plans through remains to be seen, but of course, the Equity crew had thoughts.

    Diving into deals of the week, we talked about Sequoia Capital’s emailing LPs in funds raised between 2009 and 2011 with an offer to buy up to $861 million worth of shares in Stripe. The move is evidence to the crew that LPs are increasingly antsy for liquidity in this dry IPO market.

    Next up, Rebecca Bellan led a discussion as to how Andrej Karpathy, former head of AI at Tesla and researcher at OpenAI, is launching Eureka Labs, an “AI native” education platform. We had a lively discussion on Karpathy’s new initiative and when and how AI is appropriate in the classroom.

    We closed out the deals segment with Mary Ann’s scoop on PartnerOne’s acquisition of HeadSpin, a company whose founder was sentenced to prison for fraud earlier this year. Employees were upset that they got nothing for their options as part of the buyout, which Marina Temkin this week reported was valued at a mere $28 million.

    The group then got into an in-depth conversation about Silicon Valley’s involvement in the election this year. Former President Donald Trump this week picked Ohio Senator J.D. Vance as his running mate, as he runs to reclaim the office he lost to President Joe Biden in 2020. Vance, who’s best known for his memoir, “Hillbilly Elegy,” spent years as a venture capitalist before leaving the industry when elected to the U.S. Senate in 2022. We also talked about Andreessen Horowitz’s controversial vocal support of Trump and the startup-related reasons why its leaders are backing the Republican nominee.

    We wrapped up Equity with a look at Latin America’s startup scene and how it rebounded in funding in the second quarter, boosted by late-stage funding in the fintech sector. Press play and join the conversation!

    • 32 min
    If the music stops, what startup gets a chair? Renegade Partners' co-founders are finding out

    If the music stops, what startup gets a chair? Renegade Partners' co-founders are finding out

    Renegade Ventures co-founders Renata Quintini and Roseanne Wincek have seen it all in their careers — notably over the past four years when they launched their first fund as the COVID pandemic took hold and navigated the economic roller coaster that followed.
    Now, with a second $128 million fund — and a plan to write checks of up to $10 million into 20 startups — Quintini and Wincek join TechCrunch editor Kirsten Korosec on Equity to discuss those early days of their first fund, what they look for in a startup and what’s driving the shift away from megafunds.

    • 29 min
    Google’s talks to buy Wiz, and the gap between AI spending and AI revenue

    Google’s talks to buy Wiz, and the gap between AI spending and AI revenue

    On today’s episode of Equity, Rebecca Bellan explored Google’s reported talks to acquire Wiz, a cloud security company, for around $23 billion. Wiz provides an “all-in-one approach to cloud security,” pulling data from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and others, then scanning it all for security risk factors – something that Google might see as a good way to fortify its own cloud business, which grew 28% to $9.57 billion in Q1 this year.

    We also discussed a letter from OpenAI whistleblowers who say the AI company has placed illegal restrictions on how employees can communicate with government regulators. They say OpenAI’s NDAs prohibit and discourage employees and investors from communicating with the SEC over securities violations, and forced employees to waive their rights to whistleblower incentives and compensation, among other things.

    Bellan also talked about the paradox of how much money is being invested into AI versus how much money it’s making. In the first half of 2024 alone, more than $35.5 billion was invested into AI startups globally, per Crunchbase data. As these AI startups gain force, other companies hopping on the generative AI train want more than the assurance of trigger happy VCs and eye-popping valuations before they pull out their wallets. They want to know that this tech will improve business performance and revenue, as promised. Because after all, many experts say the promise of AI will take much longer to come to fruition than the current investment frenzy suggests, something that they also say could lead to an AI bubble bursting.

    Finally, we touched on the return of e-bike startup darling VanMoof, and how its new owners want to win over old customers. Their audacious strategy involves offering customers who never got their e-bikes before VanMoof went bankrupt a €1,000 discount off a new bike. Why not just refund those customers? Well, VanMoof’s new owners don’t have access to that customer money, which is tied up in bankruptcy proceedings. Will this strategy be enough to lure back jilted customers? We’ll soon find out.

    • 8 min
    There's always something happening to OpenAI's board

    There's always something happening to OpenAI's board

    Mary Ann was off this week, but Kirsten took the lead with Becca Szkutak and Rebecca Bellan in the co-host seats. This episode is packed with deals, antitrust musings, AI and more, so let's get into it!

    For deals of the week,  we kicked things off with a look at why one of the many lawsuits Musk faces after firing 6,000 Twitter employees after his 2022 takeover was dismissed. The result may be good news for Musk, he still faces at least one other lawsuit from CEO Parag Agrawal, who along with three other former Twitter Inc. executives are seeking $128 million in severance payments from X Corp.

    Next up, Rebecca broke down Microsoft’s decision to leave its observer seat on OpenAI’s board, after which the AI company will no longer host observers. The legacy tech giant said it has seen enough progress being made at OpenAI and is “confident in its direction,” but we’re not exactly buying that Microsoft would give up such a coveted spot so easily. We suspect that the decision was fueled by ongoing antitrust scrutiny of Big Tech’s influence over emerging AI players.

    Last but not least, Becca talked about Duolingo’s deal to buy Hobbes, a Detroit-based animation and motion design studio. Hobbes is a company that Duolingo has worked with for years on several features, including Duolingo Music, so it’s interesting to see the acquisition happen at this stage. Maybe Hobbes was having money trouble and needed a lifeline? Either way, Duolingo is calling this an acqui-hire deal. While Hobbes isn't an AI company, we make a prediction that we'll see similar acquisitions of smaller AI startups as larger companies scoop up the AI startups they're already working with.

    Getting into our themes this week, we’ve been noticing a few stories lately that investigate what happens when a company’s founder or owner dies. Today, Rebecca went over the story of Unseen Capital, whose founder Kayode Owens passed away in 2021 just after raising $30 million. The VC’s mission was to help early-stage healthcare companies started by underrepresented founders. Pharma company Eli Lilly was one of Unseen’s LPs, and in a move to protect its own investment while signaling confidence in Unseen’s mission, has brokered a deal for Seae Ventures to acquire the unmoored VC. It’s a good fit, as Seae Ventures is another diversity-focused VC firm.

    Meanwhile, a recent TC story on deep tech funding caught the Equity pod’s attention. The gist: a recent survey of 30 deep tech VCs from eight countries found that very technical CEOs raise larger rounds. The survey also noted that pre-seed and Series A deep tech hardware rounds were bigger in 2023 than in 2022.

    While the survey seems to provide a rosy picture for technical CEOs, it does not provide a complete one. For instance, the survey focused on Europe, which got the Equity crew musing about whether those same stats would hold up in North America.

    And it followed rounds up through Series A. The Equity pod wondered if the results changed in Series B rounds and beyond. Plus, we think the rise of deep tech-focused funds may also play a role here too.

    • 27 min
    Floodgate's Mike Maples says startups that people 'don't like' may be the best ones to back

    Floodgate's Mike Maples says startups that people 'don't like' may be the best ones to back

    Mike Maples Jr. is a prolific angel investor and co-founder of early-stage venture firm Floodgate. Over the years, he’s taken a lot of bets. Some have paid off handsomely (Twitter, Twitch, Lyft and Bazaarvoice, for example). Others have not.

    On today's episode of Equity, Mary Ann sat down with Mike to dig into a number of topics, including some of his most memorable investments, the one that got away, what he looks for when evaluating startups that pitch him - and what Godzilla has to do with it. We also talked a bit about his new book that he co-authored with Peter Ziebelman called “Pattern Breakers. Why some startups change the future.” Press play and join the conversation!

    • 29 min
    A new trend for Seed VCs, and the scariest part about OpenAI's data breach

    A new trend for Seed VCs, and the scariest part about OpenAI's data breach

    On today's episode of Equity, Becca's taking a look at news you might've missed over the holiday weekend here in the U.S., starting with the recent OpenAI security breach. While it doesn't seem that people have to be too worried about what the hackers actually accessed, the fact that it happened is worth paying attention to. TechCrunch's Devin Coldeway argues that AI companies are treasure troves of data and will likely become more of a target for hackers. Companies that work with the large AI companies should pay attention. 

    We also had an update on Fisker’s slide into bankruptcy. The EV startup, that you've already heard about on Equity, had a new update this week. The company asked its bankruptcy judge for permission to sell its remaining inventory for $14,000 a vehicle, a noticeable drop from the $70,000 Fisker was initially asking for. This has some fearing that this chapter 11 bankruptcy could turn into a chapter 7. 

    To close out, we looked at a new trend of venture funds helping seed investors exercise their pro rata rights and avoid their equity stake being diluted. This is interesting because while it could be good for smaller funds to have a way to maintain their equity stakes, pro rata rights discussions can get contentious and bringing more capital to the table won't necessarily help that. 

    Equity will be back on Wednesday with an interesting conversation between Mary Ann and  angel investor and Floodgate Co-Founder, Mike Maples Jr, so we’ll talk to you then!

    • 6 min

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
323 Ratings

323 Ratings

R0bb1e 87 ,

When keeping it real actually goes well

I am a 5 year listener and love how informative and entertaining the show is . Alex and Marianne are a wonderful dynamic. Keep it going!

DustinBr ,

The show has lost its way :(

I’ve been listening to Equity for a very long time. Always been a fan. I don’t always agree with the opinions, and that’s okay. The reporting was solid and the show was cohesive.

However, the show has lost its way. It was always very unique, but now it mirrors many other podcast in its ratio of cultural commentary vs the startup/VC ecosystem.

Also, the new host is smart and knows her stuff. No question. But the podcast feels less cohesive now and more about long rambles. It’s hard to describe. Whereas before it was more about overhearing two people debate trends, now it’s like listening to a committee that forgot to bring an agenda.

2kids2homes ,

Great podcast - I listen weekly

Great info and depth of topics. Also love the interaction between the hosts.

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