Black founders are tailoring the ChatGPT experience, and crypto makes a comeback
Equity
by Theresa Loconsolo, Rebecca Bellan, Haje Kamps
4h ago
This week on Equity, we discussed some big news that really matters: How Black founders are addressing the diversity gap in AI chatbots. We’ve all noticed how OpenAI’s ChatGPT and other AI chatbot tools struggle with cultural nuance, often coming up with answers that reflect a largely Euro-centric worldview. Now, a handful of Black-owned chatbots and ChatGPT versions – like Latimer.AI, ChatBlackGPT and Spark Plug – have cropped up to ensure Black POVs are included in the AI conversation, and that Black founders get a cut of this trillion-dollar industry. That’s not all Rebecca talked about on ..read more
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Musk v. OpenAI, and how can startups compete with Apple Intelligence?
Equity
by Haje Jan Kamps, Becca Szkutak, Mary Ann Azevedo
3d ago
Welcome back to Friday Equity! In today’s episode Equity podcast, Mary Ann, Haje and Becca dug into three very different but all super interesting deals of the week. Haje wanted to discuss Raspberry Pi’s debut on the public market, and we all agreed that what this profitable company has managed to build – a tiny affordable computer that fits into the palm of your hand – is very neat.  Mary Ann then wanted to talk about InScope, a fintech which just raised a $4.3 million seed round of funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners to automate financial reporting. Becca got to riff on Meowtel ..read more
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Byju's valuation shakeup and what's ahead for WWDC
Equity
by Becca Szkutak, Theresa Loconsolo
1w ago
Apple’s WWDC is just hours away, and we’re gearing up for big announcements on – you guessed it – AI. We're kicking off  today’s episode of Equity with a list of what we can (and can't) expect from the highly anticipated developer conference.  But that's not all we talked about this morning. Becca Szkutak also took a look at Byju’s alarming valuation drop. The Indian edtech giant, once valued at $22 billion, might now be worth nothing according to BlackRock. The news may not come as a surprise given the rocky year Byju’s has had, but as Manish Sing put it, its journey stands to be on ..read more
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Robinhood's crypto bet, AI-powered healthcare, and more on the fall of Fisker
Equity
by Sean O'Kane, Mary Ann Azevedo, Rebecca Bellan, Theresa Loconsolo
1w ago
As always, there was a lot happening in startup land this week, and the Equity team had so much fun breaking it down for you. On today’s episode of TechCrunch’s Equity podcast, Mary Ann and Rebecca discussed Robinhood’s plans to buy European crypto exchange Bitstamp for $200 million in cash and why they weren’t really surprised by the news. The duo then dug into not just one but two exciting health-care related deals. Rebecca wanted to riff on Sword Health’s innovative AI-powered virtual physical therapy tech and recent fundraise and corresponding cool valuation bump. Mary Ann then brought up ..read more
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Every startup has AI in their pitch deck and they should according to Forerunner Ventures' Eurie Kim
Equity
by Kell, Maggie Stamets, Mary Ann Azevedo, Theresa Loconsolo
1w ago
Consumer startups have taken a hit when it comes to venture funding. But according to Eurie Kim, partner at Forerunner Ventures and founding member of All Raise, consumer is where it’s at. The investor joined Mary Ann Azevedo on Equity to talk through the intricacies of the space. She pointed out that last year, just 7% of seed capital went to consumer startups. Yet, research shows that consumer company performance has outpaced enterprise, Kim contends. Forerunner itself has backed the likes of Oura, Chime and Prose, among others.  Kim also talked about the advantages of being dedicated i ..read more
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Inside the demise of EV startup Fisker as X's new rules allow adult content
Equity
by Haje Jan Kamps, Maggie Stamets, Rebecca Bellan
2w ago
Welcome to this week's Eqpisode of Equity Monday. We're kicking off the week with a deep dive from this weekend into the demise of electric vehicle startup Fisker at the hands of its founders' whims. Fisker, which was founded by famed vehicle designer Henrik Fisker, is on the brink of bankruptcy after only having delivered a few thousand electric Ocean SUVs. Then, Rebecca Bellan talked about X's new rules to allow adult content (as long as it's "consensually produced," whatever that means), and why that's problematic for the safety of other users -- namely women, who are most often the ta ..read more
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Who's (not) IPO-ing and what's going on with BaaS?
Equity
by Kell, Becca Szkutak, Maggie Stamets, Mary Ann Azevedo, Haje Jan Kamps
2w ago
Welcome back to Equity Friday! In this week’s episode, Mary Ann, Becca Szkutak,and Haje Kamps tackled three deals of the week: xAI, Elon Musk has once again proven that his name alone can shake up the investment world, raising a staggering $6 billion for his AI startup. Solutions by Text, The Dallas-based company, which has been bootstrapped for over a decade, secured $110 million in funding. And WeatherXM, which is a company bringing Web3 into the weather forecasting space that raised $7.7 million in a Series A. Then they discussed the Synapse Collapse and what it means for the larger FinTech ..read more
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Peering into the 'Series A chasm' with Everywhere Ventures' Jenny Fielding
Equity
by Haje Jan Kamps, Theresa Loconsolo, Kell
2w ago
It’s no secret that the bar for startups to land a Series A has risen, but has it risen too high? According to Jenny Fielding, a co-founder and Managing Partner at Everywhere Ventures, startups are facing what she calls “The Series A Chasm.” In a post on X this month, Fielding said, “there’s a huge backlog of seed stage companies with nice traction – just not $3m ARR + 30% MOM growth kinda traction.” The post sparked a conversation online, and Fielding joined Haje Kamps on Equity to talk through it all.  Looking beyond Fielding’s portfolio, we can see that the early stage storm has been b ..read more
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Musk’s xAI raises fresh capital while Synapse’s bankruptcy could impact millions
Equity
by Haje Jan Kamps, Kell, Rebecca Szkutak, Theresa Loconsolo
2w ago
We’re kicking off the short week with news about Elon Musk, and no, it’s not about X or Tesla. Instead, we’re talking about Musk’s other other company, xAI. In a blog post this weekend, xAI announced it raised $6 billion in Series B funding, confirming earlier reports that the AI startup was looking to raise at a pre-money valuation of $18 billion. With Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and Valor among its backers, it looks like Musk is taking steps to catch up and compete with the likes of OpenAI, Microsoft and Alphabet. The ongoing AI race was only the beginning of what we covered on toda ..read more
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Here's how startups can crack the US market, according to Australian VCs
Equity
by Mary Ann Azevedo, Theresa Loconsolo, Rebecca Bellan
3w ago
Today, we’re listening back to not one but two interviews from the other side of the globe, thanks to our new co-host Rebecca Bellan, who spent three years in Auckland, New Zealand. Late last year, Rebecca hopped across the Tasman to Australia to report on the startup scene in Australia, and came back to us with a temperature check on VC in the Antipodes. Rebecca spoke to two Aussie VCs: Dan Krasnostein from Square Peg and Gabrielle Munzer from Main Sequence. Rebecca and our guests dug into why early stage funding is popping off in the region, the government's role in growing a startup ecosyst ..read more
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