Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.
This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest big news, chats about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here, and myself here, and don’t forget to check out last Friday’s episode.
As you probably expected, we had a lot to say about the TikTok -Microsoft tie-up that is somehow still afoot. Other things happened too, don’t worry. Here’s the rundown:
- The TikTok-Microsoft deal is back on.
- Lordstown Motors is looking to go public via a SPAC. To which we have to say that the EV boom and SPAC crush are going to fuse and lose some people a lot of money. Not this deal, necessarily, mind.
- Google is dumping money into ADT as part of a Nest deal.
- And Zoom’s latest move regarding the Chinese market feels like a harbinger of times to come.
- On the TikTok front, Microsoft never really fully abandoned consumer hardware and software, it just pruned deeply under its current CEO Satya Nadella. Windows Phone? Gone. Surface? Bigger than ever. Mixer? No. Bing? Yep. That sort of thing. And Microsoft, like any modern super-platform, doesn’t just want to own your time when you are at work. It wants to burn your eyes out around the clock.
- For a host of ByteDance backers like Yuri Milner, Sequoia Capital China, General Atlantic, SoftBank, and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the deal could be rather lucrative, we presume.
- Rounds for Wejo (coverage here), Lezzoo (coverage here), and Feather (coverage here).
- Finally, why does Microsoft want to buy TikTok? We had a number of ideas that all sort of summed to maybe, but when we ran through the big tech companies that were possible suitors — ports in the Trump storm — maybe Microsoft makes more sense than we would have guessed?
Whatever the case, we can’t wait until Satya announces the deal by dancing and pointing at text on a screen while wearing something silly.
I'm a web/software developer. I have 4 currently active services running. I'll describe them without self-promoting:
- a cryptocurrency and alternate dns root (and domain registrar for the alternate dns root), made specifically for marginalized communities
- an online steganalysis tool
- a competitive multiplayer online math game
- a gig economy data cleaning and preprocessing service
Number 1. Every person of the target demographic I tell about this project individually, they love the idea. But it has not picked up any traction on a large scale.
Number 2. I'm not sure if this could be profitable (how many companies would pay for steganalysis?). But I listed it just in case.
Number 3 is just like tron lightcycles, except to turn you need to solve an arithmetic problem. It was all the rage at my elementary school when I was a kid. I thought it would take off. It didn't.
Number 4. I had a lot of zeal for this project, but was schooled by someone in the industry that companies won't spend money on my service because of the way it was structured. Bleh.
I need advice on how to make one of these profitable, or advice on a new business to start. I'd love to partner with someone who has many years of experience in an industry and has a problem in it that we could solve.