Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.
This week Kate and Alex held the reins as a duo (check out our chat with Greylock’s Sarah Guo from last week here) to dig into an enormous raft of news. And don’t worry, it’s not all late-stage happenings. We’re discussing early-stage news every week because that’s what the listeners want!
Up top we dug into Kate’s excellent work covering the Superhuman founder’s new micro fund, or at least his attempt at raising such a fund. Our main question is how can he be a good VC and a good executive at the same time? Folks don’t tend to do both at the same time because they’re each more than full-time jobs. Having two such gigs sounds hard.
But hey, it’s not just athletes and musicians who can bring outsized interest to deals. In-demand founders can have a similar effect. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the upcoming fun. Moving on.
Next, we turned to the other end of the venture landscape, looking at Founders Fund’s new capital vehicles. With a combined $2.7 billion in eventual capital, FF is hoping to build a financial redoubt from which they can rain capital down on late-stage targets, wherever they may be.
Is it a bit late in the cycle to cut late-stage checks to companies that might otherwise go public? That’s the gamble so far, as we can see it, but perhaps with WeWork’s IPO dreams turned to nightmares, there’s demand among a group of companies for another 12 months in the private markets. And that means more money is required.
On the theme of more money, Lime is raising some more and we were treated to new financial results from The Information’s great work getting the figures. Our discussion asked the question of how far the company’s unit economics could improve. Kate said that Lime is investing a lot now in developing better hardware so their scooters can last more than five minutes on the roads before breaking down. She thinks things will start looking up when it’s deploying only new, fancy, good scooters. Alex is bearish.
Before we could turn back to the early-stage market and wrap up, we had to cover the latest from WeWork. SoftBank did, in the end, come and save the day (at least for now) for the company, meaning that WeWork lives on, though layoffs are expected sooner rather than later. Who knows what the future holds…
And finally, Vendr, a company that is profitable, raised a $2 million round. This is interesting because, again, it’s profitable! And the startup willingly shared some financial data with us — a rarity. Read more about the recent Y Combinator graduate here.