Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.
This week we did something just a little bit new. Kate was in studio at TechCrunch’s SF HQ. Alex was in his dork cave in Providence. And we had a guest in the studio as well. We’ve done similar setups before, but never with video all around. So, welcome to a slightly new chapter in Equity’s production history (all praise to Chris for making it work, video will be out today on TechCrunch’s YouTube page).
Our guest this week was the excellent Sarah Smith from Bain Capital Ventures. Before she turned to writing checks, Smith worked for both Quora and Facebook. Her fun fact? She’s an avid and competitive player of board games.
First up we dug into one of Kate’s latest, a piece looking at the influencer space, venture investments into it and what’s next for the power of the Instagram-famous. She highlights startups like Influence, Cameo, Karat and more.
Next up, Deserve raised $50 million from Goldman Sachs, making the round something that was worth touching on. Later, Alex spoke with the company’s CEO and picked up more context, but what matters for today is that Deserve is doubling-down on its credit card fintech service, not doing what other companies that handle money are up to — namely, trying to become neobanks at high speed.
Speaking of which, why is every fintech or finservices startup becoming a bank? Partially because they can, partially because it can be lucrative and partially because, we found out, it’s a way to juice customers that they’ve already paid to acquire. Want to make your CAC expenses look more efficient? Stretch out that LTV!
And then we spent a minute on Uber’s results, which proved better than expected but wound up being poorly received.
Glad you guys came back for another episode, we’ll see you soon.