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Fridaaaaaaaay! Today we particularly enjoyed the Equity podcast team’s 2023 predictions on the future of building, crypto, and AI.
Meanwhile, good luck to Alex (who mostly looks after TechCrunch+ these days, but he used to write the Daily Crunch and still occasionally groans at our awful jokes) as he embarks on parenthood and is taking a couple of months off to do whatever new parents do.
Oh, and still working on your holiday shopping list? Here’s a great gift idea for yourself and other early-stage and soon-to-be founders. Grab a Founder pass to TC Early Stage 2023 for just $75 by registering with this link before 11:59 p.m. PST on December 31.
The TechCrunch Top 3
- What a tangled web Elon Musk weaves: Lots of Twitter news to parcel out today, so we’ve grouped it all together. The top Twitter trove came from Paul, who wrote that Twitter pulled its Spaces group audio feature following a Spaces where Musk talked to banned journalists. You can find out more about the banning from Taylor. Meanwhile, that was just one of the many moves the Chief Twit made, including suspending Mastodon’s account, Taylor writes.
- Meanwhile, over in Europe: Natasha L reports that European Union lawmakers sent a warning to Elon Musk, via Twitter of course, about sanctions that could be made after Twitter suspended the accounts of journalists without warning.
- Second time may be the charm: The “Black Adam” movie, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, wasn’t embraced by theater-goers, but HBO Max now has it streaming in hopes of a different outcome, Lauren reports.
Startups and VC
Despite shrinking investment into startups in 2022, venture capital funds of all sizes are still being raised. However, not many of these are led by solo general partners (GPs), and although that trend is on the rise, even fewer are led by women or people who don’t come from venture capital, Anna writes. That makes Nichole Wischoff something of an exception: Her solo venture capital firm Wischoff Ventures closed a second fund of $20 million, a sizable increase from her first $5 million fund. Her target is to invest in 25 to 30 U.S. startups at the pre-seed or seed stage.
Five more to take you into the weekend… And if you need a creative boost, this stop-motion animation music video will probably do the trick.
- Spilling over: Twitter is a mess, Amanda writes, so former employees are creating Spill as an alternative.
- Boxing up those forms: Dropbox buys form management platform FormSwift for $95 million in cash, reports Kyle.
- Getting the ROI for your CPG: Christine wrote about Kuona, a startup that bagged $6 million to show you which promotions bring ROI and which don’t.
- Shining ever so brightly: Tage writes about a provider of solar energy products in Africa and Asia, Sun King, who expanded its Series D to $330 million.
- Investing the Venn diagram of biotech and AI: Anna explores what biotech investors are looking for in 2023.
The rules of VC are changing: Here’s what founders should be considering in the new era
“Growth at all costs” is a fairy tale made possible by cheap money that helped venture capitalists set expectations for founders — and each other — for years.
Similarly, everyone needs 18 to 24 months of runway is a nice motto, but if it takes three times as long to raise a round as it used to, it may no longer be good advice.
“These ‘VCisms’ borne out of an era of plenty have permeated boardrooms and investor meetings everywhere,” writes Neotribes Ventures partner Rebecca Mitchem in TC+.
In a data-driven piece that looks at post-money valuations, deal size and dilution going back to 2012, Mitchem says we’re now heading into a “growth at reasonable costs” era.
Founders can continue to water down their ownership by continuing to raise fat rounds, or they can decide to grow more slowly, which leaves VCs with a larger stake over time.
“While it may feel counterintuitive, given the recent market environment, the value of the equity for all parties — investors, founders and employees — in this scenario is higher in the more conservative growth scenario,” says Mitchem.
Three more from the TC+ team:
- Moar money, moar startups: With IT spending forecast to rise in 2023, what does it mean for startups? by Ron.
- Getting your foot in the door: Haje shares some tips for startup founders on how to get your first investor meeting.
- Biotech meets AI: Anna spoke to six investors to figure out why AI is more than just a buzzword in biotech.
Big Tech Inc.
Meta is doing a lot of shutting down lately. Facebook’s parent recently shut down its live shopping feature in October, and now Aisha writes that it is shutting down its Super app in February. If you are not familiar, she writes that it was an app initially created to provide “a virtual meet and greet experience that was similar to what you experience at a real-life event like VidCon or Comic-Con.” We guess it didn’t catch on as well as they would have liked…
And we have five more for you:
- Get your geek on: Amazon has acquired the film and television rights to the hugely popular tabletop war game Warhammer 40,000, reports Lauren.
- Your ticket to ride might be driverless: Waymo opens Phoenix airport rides to the public and doubles its downtown service area, Rebecca writes.
- Elon Musk gives an early Christmas present: Tesla Powerwall customers in Texas can now sell their electricity back to the grid, Harri reports.
- Seeing the music, not just hearing it: We enjoyed Devin’s story on Riffusion, an AI model that composes music by visualizing it.
- Get out your gig worker pitchforks: Rebecca writes that “the battle over gig worker status is heating up.”