Equity podcast: More funding for scooters, Cruise gets a boost, and Chinese IPOs

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

This week was fun. Back in the studio, Connie Loizos, Matthew Lynley, your humble servant, and Ramneek Gupta, managing director of Citi Ventures was with us to provide the venture perspective.

As you can probably guess, we got a bit stuck in Bird’s nest, trying to vet why the young company is hoping to punch its unicorn card in nigh-record time. The firm’s potential new $150 million round may make it a unicorn, but Lime is in the chase, and the firm’s economics are still not fully understood.

What did we agree on in the end? Scooters are fun, and Lynley said a swear.

Moving ahead, SoftBank’s Vision Fund is cutting another check, this time to General Motors. Yes, the galactic slushfund is dropping up to $2.25 billion into GM’s Cruise arm, a former startup that the American metal-shaper scooped for around $1 billion in 2016.

The deal, of course, is complicated: Most of the SoftBank money won’t land until certain performance marks are met, and GM is also putting money into the thing that it owns — $1.1 billion worth. So, if we don’t count the GM money as part of a post-money valuation, we can calculate that SoftBank’s 19.6 percent stake in Cruise values the company at over $11 billion.


Next up, Ant Financial is raising $10 billion at a $150 billion valuation, give or take. That’s a lot. This brought up the ever-interesting struggle between Alibaba and Tencent, of course, as Ant is an Alibaba-affiliate that competes with Tencent’s WeChat’s WePay product.

Sticking to China, we wrapped on the NIO IPO, yet another Chinese company looking to debut on a US market.

All that and we even told some jokes! Hit play and we’ll be right back.

Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercast, Pocket Casts, Downcast and all the casts.