Author: Natasha Mascarenhas

A knock against bootstrapping



Natasha and Mary Ann and Alex were all aboard this week under the guidance of Chris and Grace, which meant we had the full team. And speaking of teams, Mary Ann is joining the Friday show on a weekly basis now. She’s been a friend for years, and a colleague now twice-over for Natasha and Alex and we could not be more excited.

That personal news aside, here’s the rundown for today’s show!

Reframe your Metaphors, and other lessons from Y Combinator S21 Day 1



After a 17-hour marathon through nearly 200 startup pitches, the Equity team was fired up to get back on Twitter and chat through some early trends and favorites from the first day of Y Combinator’s demo party. We’ll be back on the air tomorrow, so make sure you’re following the show on Twitter so you don’t miss out.

What did Natasha and Alex chat about? The following:

  • First Impressions: We started by going through top-line numbers, geographic breakdown, and how the accelerator is doing when it comes to the representation of diverse founders. The last bit had a tiny bit of progress, but diversity continues to be an issue in YC’s batches – even as cohort size grows. We also chatted about what startups pitching can work on: like better mics, which are cheap and good.
  • Our early favorites: Metaphor, Lumify, Alex’s favorite duo Indian real estate plays, Akudo, Reframe, and Playhouse.
  • And some hmmm moments, including our thoughts on Writesonic, which Natasha has a potentially paranoid theory on.

TechCrunch has extensive coverage of the day on the site, so there’s lots to dig into if you are in the mood. More tomorrow!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 a.m. PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts!

The pure hell of managing your JPEGs



Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

Natasha and Alex and Grace and Chris were joined by none other than TechCrunch’s own Mary Ann Azevedo, in her first-ever appearance on the show. She’s pretty much the best person and we’re stoked to have her on the pod.

And it was good that Mary Ann was on the show this week as she wrote about half the dang site. Which meant that we got to include all sorts of her work in the rundown. Here’s the agenda:

OnlyFans’ policy change is a tale as old as the internet



Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture-capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

For our Wednesday show this week, Natasha and Alex and Danny had colleague Amanda Silberling on the show to help us parse through OnlyFans’ precedent-setting move to ban sexually-explicit content on its service. The decision was a bolt from the blue for many of its creators, a great portion of whom created and monetized adult videos and images through the subscription service. It also stirred up a ton of debate around fintech, crypto, venture capital, and the morality of decision-makers.

We put all the facts in context for you, hitting the following points:

  • OnlyFans’ recently leaked financials. Of course, the company’s historical, and projected revenues are now dated thanks to the platform’s planned content changes, but all the same the numbers help put into context just how much money OnlyFans’ adult creators were earning on its platform.
  • The leaked financials were part of a pitch deck that the company was using on its plight to raise more capital – an endeavor that has apparently been challenging for the startup. This tension made us think about the role that venture capital plays in funding vice startups, and why a tiny clause may stop many from getting into the game. Let’s just say, the money behind the money has a way of having weight.
  • And finally, we wondered what might be ahead for adult-content creators. Per Silberling, the world of adult content has (Read more...)

Men are a niche demographic



Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

Danny was back, joining Natasha and Alex and Grace and Chris to chat through the week’s coming and goings. But, before we get to the official news, here’s some personal news: Danny is stepping back from his role as co-host of the Friday show! Yes, Mr. Crichton will still take part in our mid-week, deep dive episodes, but this is the conclusion of his run as part of the news roundup. We will miss him, glad that his transitions and wit will continue to be part of the Equity universe.

Who will take the third chair? Well, stay tuned. We have some neat things planned.

Now, the rundown:

Don’t give your weed dealer all your data



Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

Our beloved Danny was back, joining Natasha and Alex and Grace and Chris to chat through yet another incredibly busy week. As a window into our process, every week we tell one another that the next week we’ll cut the show down to size. Then the week is so interesting that we end up cutting a lot of news, but also keeping a lot of news. The chaotic process is a work in progress, but it means that the end result is always what we decided we can’t not talk about.

Here’s what we got into:

The tale of two edtech IPOs



Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. Last week, Natasha and Alex jumped on Twitter Spaces to discuss the tale of two edtech IPOs: Duolingo, the consumer language learning company, and Powerschool, the enterprise K-12 software platform. It was a rare moment in the sun for the recently-revitalized sector, which saw two companies list on the NASDAQ on the same dang day.

Special shout out to our producer Chris Gates for handling this impromptu live chat, tech difficulties and all, and bringing it to your ears on this lovely Monday. Don’t forget that Equity is largely on break this week!

Here’s what we got into, featuring some edtech entrepreneurs nice enough to drop on by:

5 lessons from Duolingo’s bellwether edtech IPO of the year



Duolingo landed onto the public markets this week, rallying excitement and attention for the edtech sector and its founder cohort. The language learning business’ stock price soared when it began to trade, even after the unicorn raised its IPO price range, and priced above the raised interval.

Duolingo’s IPO proves that public market investors can see the long-term value in a mission-driven, technology-powered education concern; the company’s IPO carries extra weight considering the historically few edtech companies that have listed.

Duolingo’s IPO proves that public market investors can see the long-term value in a mission-driven, technology-powered education concern; the company’s IPO carries extra weight considering the historically few edtech companies that have listed.

For those that want the entire story of Duolingo, from origin to messy monetization to historical IPO, check out our EC-1. It has dozens of interviews from executives, investors, linguists and competitors.

For today, though, we have fresh additions. We sat down with Duolingo CEO Luis von Ahn earlier in the week to discuss not only his company’s IPO, but also what impact the listing may have on startups. Duolingo’s IPO can be looked at as a case study into consumer startups, mission-driven companies that monetize a small base of users, or education companies that recently hit scale. Paraphrasing from von Ahn, Duolingo doesn’t see itself as just an edtech company with fresh branding. Instead, it believes its growth comes from being an engineering-first startup.

Selling motivation, it seems, versus selling the fluency in a (Read more...)

Growth is not enough



Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

We were a smaller team this week, with Natasha and Alex together with Grace and Chris to sort through a week that brought together both this quarter’s earnings cycle, and the Q3 IPO rush. So, it was just a little busy!

Before we get to topics, however, a note that we are having a lot of fun recording these live on Twitter Spaces. We’ve found a hacky way to capture local audio and also share the chats live. So, hit us up on Twitter so you can hang out with us. It’s fun – and we may even bring you up on stage to play guest host.

Ok, now, to the Great List of Subjects:

  • Robinhood went public! Yep, at long last, it is done. The company priced at $38 per share, the low end of its range, and had a medium-weak day of trading once it started to float. In short, Robinhood seems to have deftly priced its IPO, leaving zero fat on the table. So, it is now richer than ever, and public. More here.
  • Earnings! We took a moment to chat about earnings reports from Alphabet, and Microsoft, and Shopify. Why? Because we care lots about the cloud and platform companies. So, we took a minute to chat about public cloud results, and what Shopify got up to.
  • Batteries! Tesla is moving towards (Read more...)

Duolingo’s bellwether IPO



Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

We were smaller team this week, with Natasha and Alex together with Chris to sort through yet another summer frenzy of a week.

This time around we actually recorded live on Twitter Spaces, which was a first for the podcast. If you missed it, it’s probably because we didn’t promote the taping since it was just an experiment. Good news, though, is that it went well, and we’re going to some more live tapings of the show with the entire crew on the mics. Make sure to follow the show on the Big Tweet to ensure that you can come hang with us next week. We’ll also do some Q&A at the end, if we’re in good moods.

Until then, let’s live in the present. Here’s what we got into in today’s show: