Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week’s show took a break from regularly scheduled programming. Our co-host Alex Wilhelm, which usually leads us through the show, was on some well-deserved vacation, so Danny Crichton and Natasha Mascarenhas took the government and invited Floodgate Capital Iris Choi to join in the fun. This is Choi̵
This week’s doll contains rubbish, a seed round and a Startup Battlefield alum.
Here’s what we chewed through:
- LeverEdge collected seed funding to get you and your friends a volume discount on student loans. Fintech has flourished for many years now, and start-ups often start around the painful world of student loans. Still, this startup still catches our eye, and it has little to do with their choice to use collective bargaining power as their way of working.
- Stackin ‘collected a $ 12.6 million Series B for a text messaging service that connects millennials to money tips and eventually other fintech apps. According to CEO Scott Grimes, Stackin wants to be “the pipes that get people around fintech.” We will find out if the world needs a fintech app market and how it targets younger users.
- D-ID, a Start Battlefield alum, digitally de-identifies faces in videos and still images and raised just $ 13.5 million. We are all worried about our privacy issues, so the funding news was a refreshing change in pace from the usual headlines we see around surveillance. Now the company just needs to find a successful use case beyond the goodness of people’s hearts.
- ByteDance, the Chinese parent company that owns TikTok, met $ 3 billion in net profit last year, reports Bloomberg. TikTok also recently lost former Disney director Kevin Mayer to its CEO. This, as you might expect, created an interesting conversation about integrity and bandwidth. We even asked Choi to think of Donald J. Trump’s latest tweet threatening to regulate social media companies, as Floodgate was an early angel investor on Twitter.
- We ended with a roundtable about what the future’s work will look like and feel in our new world, from colleges to offices. We will look into the vulnerability that comes with being on Zoom, the “increasing stupidity” of manuals, and how technical talent can be flocked to smaller cities but investors are not yet.
And that was the show! Thanks to our producer Chris Gates to help us put this together, thank you all for listening to this odd episode and thank you to Iris Choi for always having a fresh, sincere perspective. Talk next week.