Disrupt 2022’s climate tech and health tech sessions

Between the climate crisis and global pandemics, we’re living in remarkably fraught times. Undaunted by the magnitude of the challenges, Silicon Valley has been hard at work seeking to mitigate the threats, extend help to the overlooked, and prepare for a new kind of future. Some of the most promising and cutting-edge advancements in climate tech and health tech will be on display at Disrupt 2022, set for October 18–20 in San Francisco. 

For founders, engineers, VCs and leaders working to save the world, Disrupt 2022 will be a three-day festival of hope. There are tracks for both climate tech and health tech, with presentations, roundtables, startup exhibitions and networking opportunities in each part of the convention. Disrupt 2022 will have a huge list of distinguished speakers and sessions — check them out here:

  • Making Care Actually Work
    With Toyin Ajayi — co-founder and CEO, Cityblock Health
  • Extreme Tech Challenge Highlights
    Sponsored by Extreme Tech Challenge
  • From Point A to Point Unbelievable: How Buoy Health Scaled from Idea to Unbelievable AI Success Story
    Sponsored by Connection
  • How to Disrupt Any Industry with Longevity Science: No PhD Required
    With Erin Sharoni — chief product officer, Foxo Technologies
  • Tech-Driven Biology and Chemistry: Solving Science’s Hardest Problems at Scale
    With Jacob Berlin — chief executive officer, Terray; Peyton Greenside — CSO and co-founder, BigHat; Eric Zimmerman — Principal Healthcare & Life Sciences, Amazon Web Services
  • My Daughter the Cyborg
    with Jeremiah Robison — founder and CEO, Cionic
  • Breaking into the Healthcare Monolith: Strategies for Working with Payers and Providers
    Sponsored by InterSystems
    with Neal Moawed — Global Head of Industry Research, InterSystems
  • Saving the World: The Playbook for Building Planetary Health Unicorns
    with Arvind Gupta — partner, Mayfield Fund

TechCrunch Disrupt takes place in San Francisco on October 18–20 with an online day on October 21. Buy your pass now, and you’ll save up to $700 over full-price admission before prices go up October 15.

Disrupt 2022’s climate tech and health tech sessions by Lauren Simonds originally published on TechCrunch

Sources say Web Summit Ventures will be a new $40M follow-on fund

Web Summit, one of the world’s largest events centered around technology startups, is to launch a brand new venture capital vehicle consisting of two new funds, TechCrunch understands. The move follows an acrimonious fall-out between Web Summit’s co-founders, who first started the now-defunct Amaranthine VC fund in 2018, in part to join the ballooning investment ecosystem which had grown up around the Web Summit events.

While it’s been previously reported that Web Summit cofounder, Paddy Cosgrave, will imminently launch his new vehicle, Web Summit Ventures (WSV), the nature and size of the fund has not, until now, been revealed.

TechCrunch understands that WSV will command $40 million in funding, split into two $20 million funds. They will be dubbed “Web Summit Ventures Seed” and “Web Summit Ventures Growth,” respectively . The Seed fund will invest at the early stage and Series A, while the Growth fund will invest at the ‘Series B and beyond’ stages. Both will be ‘follow-on’ funds and are not intended to lead funding rounds, say sources. This mirrors the previous Amaranthine strategy.

Further confirmation of the funds’ existence comes in the form of a new job posting advertising for a for an Associate for the fund.

It’s understood that WSV is intended to replace Cosgrave’s previous attempt to enter the investing game, after the Amaranthine Ventures vehicle ended up embroiled in a series of byzantine legal fights amongst its founders and partners.

As previously reported in the Irish media, documents filed in the Companies Registration Office in Dublin, Ireland, where Web Summit was originally launched, show that Cosgrave, Web Summit CEO, is listed as a director of the Web Summit Ventures Management Ltd.

It’s understood that only Cosgrave and Chris Murphy and will be partners in Web Summit Ventures. Murphy is a former Web Summit employee, who went on to work for the Amaranthine Fund for nearly three years as its Managing Director.

A well-placed source told TechCrunch that one of the main differences with the new WSV fund is that a number of tech founders will join as LPs, include some of the founders of Twitter, Tinder, N26, Checkout.com, Rappi, Algolia, Lightricks and Wise, along with a handful of GPs at some VC funds who said to be investing personally, although this has not been independently confirmed.

The story of Web Summit’s attempts to participate in the vast ecosystem of startups it was amassing begins in 2018.

The Amaranthine Fund was set up by Cosgrave, David Kelly, a Web Summit co-founder, and Patrick Murphy, a fund manager, in 2018. But while it managed to back, among others, Hopin (the online events startup, the valuation of which soared to $5.6 billion during the remote-working era of the pandemic) a series of bitter disagreements led to Cosgrave suing Kelly and Murphy in the US courts.

The $50 million Amaranthine fund has since rebranded at Tapestry after the lawsuits were filed.

But the acrimony is not just confined to the US.

Cosgrave is also suing Kelly in the Irish High Court. Kelly and Murphy deny the allegations, while Kelly is separately suing Cosgrave in the High Court over alleged minority shareholder oppression. Cosgrave denies the claims.

A spokeperson for Web Summit declined to comment on the launch of WSV, citing regulatory restrictions.

Sources say Web Summit Ventures will be a new $40M follow-on fund by Mike Butcher originally published on TechCrunch

Sources say Web Summit Ventures will be a new $40M follow-on fund

Web Summit, one of the world’s largest events centered around technology startups, is to launch a brand new venture capital vehicle consisting of two new funds, TechCrunch understands. The move follows an acrimonious fall-out between Web Summit’s co-founders, who first started the now-defunct Amaranthine VC fund in 2018, in part to join the ballooning investment ecosystem which had grown up around the Web Summit events.

While it’s been previously reported that Web Summit cofounder, Paddy Cosgrave, will imminently launch his new vehicle, Web Summit Ventures (WSV), the nature and size of the fund has not, until now, been revealed.

TechCrunch understands that WSV will command $40 million in funding, split into two $20 million funds. They will be dubbed “Web Summit Ventures Seed” and “Web Summit Ventures Growth,” respectively . The Seed fund will invest at the early stage and Series A, while the Growth fund will invest at the ‘Series B and beyond’ stages. Both will be ‘follow-on’ funds and are not intended to lead funding rounds, say sources. This mirrors the previous Amaranthine strategy.

Further confirmation of the funds’ existence comes in the form of a new job posting advertising for a for an Associate for the fund.

It’s understood that WSV is intended to replace Cosgrave’s previous attempt to enter the investing game, after the Amaranthine Ventures vehicle ended up embroiled in a series of byzantine legal fights amongst its founders and partners.

As previously reported in the Irish media, documents filed in the Companies Registration Office in Dublin, Ireland, where Web Summit was originally launched, show that Cosgrave, Web Summit CEO, is listed as a director of the Web Summit Ventures Management Ltd.

It’s understood that only Cosgrave and Chris Murphy and will be partners in Web Summit Ventures. Murphy is a former Web Summit employee, who went on to work for the Amaranthine Fund for nearly three years as its Managing Director.

A well-placed source told TechCrunch that one of the main differences with the new WSV fund is that a number of tech founders will join as LPs, include some of the founders of Twitter, Tinder, N26, Checkout.com, Rappi, Algolia, Lightricks and Wise, along with a handful of GPs at some VC funds who said to be investing personally, although this has not been independently confirmed.

The story of Web Summit’s attempts to participate in the vast ecosystem of startups it was amassing begins in 2018.

The Amaranthine Fund was set up by Cosgrave, David Kelly, a Web Summit co-founder, and Patrick Murphy, a fund manager, in 2018. But while it managed to back, among others, Hopin (the online events startup, the valuation of which soared to $5.6 billion during the remote-working era of the pandemic) a series of bitter disagreements led to Cosgrave suing Kelly and Murphy in the US courts.

The $50 million Amaranthine fund has since rebranded at Tapestry after the lawsuits were filed.

But the acrimony is not just confined to the US.

Cosgrave is also suing Kelly in the Irish High Court. Kelly and Murphy deny the allegations, while Kelly is separately suing Cosgrave in the High Court over alleged minority shareholder oppression. Cosgrave denies the claims.

A spokeperson for Web Summit declined to comment on the launch of WSV, citing regulatory restrictions.

Sources say Web Summit Ventures will be a new $40M follow-on fund by Mike Butcher originally published on TechCrunch

Parler forms a new parent company to offer ‘uncancelable’ cloud services

One of the alternative social networks to emerge out of the social media backlash of the Trump era is apparently going to try something new.

Parler announced Friday that it has acquired a cloud company called Dynascale in order to expand its vision beyond offering an (ostensibly) anything-goes social app to providing infrastructure for businesses that run the risk of getting the boot from mainstream providers.

The social app Parler will now operate under a new parent company known as Parlement Technologies, which also announced a fresh round of $16 million for the pivot toward infrastructure. The company didn’t name who contributed the new money, but previously received key investment from the deep-pocketed Republican donor Rebekah Mercer.

Parler’s CEO George Farmer, who will also lead the new parent company, told the Wall Street Journal that Parlement is “talking to a large range of conservative businesses” that could use its new cloud services. Farmer took over at Parler following the ouster of John Matze, a change of leadership apparently orchestrated by Mercer.

Parler topped App Store charts in early January 2021 after Twitter and Facebook banned President Trump for inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol. But that success was short lived — Apple and Google removed the app from their respective software stores after drawing a line between Parler and the January 6 violence. Amazon also pulled its web hosting, a trifecta of consequences that clearly made an impact on the company, even after it returned to tech giants’ good graces.

Apple reinstated Parler in April 2021 after the app promised to moderate additional content on iOS, bringing it into compliance with the company’s standards. Google only allowed the app back into the Play Store earlier this month, indicating that Parler adjusted the Android app to meet the company’s requirements for “robust” moderation.

Parler returns to a more crowded landscape of platforms catering to conservatives ready to jump ship from mainstream social networks. Trump launched his own app, Truth Social, in February, luring his supporters with the promise of unfiltered tweet-like posts.

Trump remains banned from Twitter for life, but the company’s reluctant new owner-to-be previous declared that he would reverse the decision, opening the door for Trump to return to his former platform of choice, likely at the expense of his current one.

Parler forms a new parent company to offer ‘uncancelable’ cloud services by Taylor Hatmaker originally published on TechCrunch

NebulaGraph reaps from China’s growing appetite for graph databases

Graph databases, which store information in nodes and relationships instead of tables like Excel sheets, have grown in popularity amid an explosion of data across industries. While TigerGraph and Neo4j have dominated the Western market, China is seeing its own homegrown pioneers in the space.

NebulaGraph is one of China’s fastest-growing startups offering graph databases with open-source and enterprise subscription options. Two years after we covered its $8 million funding round, the company announced this week that it has closed a Series A round led by Jeneration Capital. The company did not specify how much it has raised, only saying it’s in the “low tens of millions” of dollars.

Other investors in the round include Matrix Partner China, Redpoint China Ventures, and Source Code Capital.

NebulaGraph has recorded some encouraging growth over the last two years, during which its user number soared to over 900 from just 60, including freemium and paid ones. The types of users have also broadened. Two years ago, customers were mainly using NebulaGraph to explore data relationships on social media, e-commerce, and fintech platforms. Since then, the startup has attracted companies from the manufacturing sector, the most surprising ones being electric vehicle and airplane makers.

The EV supply chain is highly sophisticated and each car sale can generate reams of data from the design stage to after it ships, said founder and CEO Sherman Yu, who previously worked at Ant Group and Meta. Even a small defect in a nail could have a big ripple effect on the vehicle, so manufacturers keep a mountain of information detailing the conditions of various parts, such as which supplier and even worker is responsible for them.

That’s not the end of data collection. In today’s hyper customization, internet-connected vehicles are also learning driver and passenger behavior. That means auto companies need more robust tools to process the ocean of data they own, which is where graph databases come into play.

“You could still find relationships in data before, but relational databases become very slow as the data set grows,” explained Yu. Much of what NebulaGraph does for its customers is real-time, like shopping recommendations, so speed is critical.

Other emerging user cases for NebulaGraph include AI-based drug discovery and chip design, Yu added.

Some 90% of the company’s users are in China, but like many maturing open source SaaS firms, NebulaGraph has a vision of venturing into the West and building a global developer community. The company’s plan to open an office in the U.S. was “stalled” by the COVID-19 pandemic, Yu said, but it’s retooling resources to bring back global expansion in 2023.

While many of China’s consumer-oriented startups are going global as regulatory uncertainties rise at home, NebulaGraph wants a piece of the Western SaaS market because it’s “more mature,” said Yu.

With the world’s largest internet population, China clearly has an abundance of data to mine. The problem is that from scrappy startups to deep-pocketed corporations, the willingness to pay for SaaS remains low. That’s in part due to China’s long history of software piracy and its relatively low labor costs, which make workplace automation less urgent than in the West.

There’s also a legacy accounting issue, Yu explained. Till today, China still hasn’t formally classified computer software — whether it should be categorized as assets or costs, making it tricky for companies to do their books.

NebulaGraph reaps from China’s growing appetite for graph databases by Rita Liao originally published on TechCrunch

General Atlantic buys out SoftBank’s 15% stake in edtech Kahoot, now valued at about $152M vs the $215M SoftBank ponied up 2 years ago

SoftBank’s retreat from its past investing exuberance continues apace. This morning, Kahoot, the Norwegian startup that provides a popular platform for people to build and use education-focused games, announced that General Atlantic is buying out SoftBank’s entire 15% stake in the company. SoftBank is exiting at a loss. The firm sunk at least $215 million into the company in the last several years. However, 15% of Kahoot’s current market cap (10.415 billion Norwegian Krone) works out to about $152 million (1,562,250,000 NOK).

This looks like an all-secondary round: no new investment coming in alongside the buyout. (We’re confirming this with Kahoot and will update as we learn more.) “Kahoot plans to partner with General Atlantic to accelerate further growth initiatives, drive innovation, and expand its global footprint in homes, schools, and corporations,” the company said in a statement.

Nevertheless, the deal comes as Kahoot, like many other tech companies, continues to feel the pinch of the general downturn in technology stocks and the wider technology market. A year ago, its shares were trading at 70.25 NOK on the Oslo Stock Exchange. They are now worth only 22.77 NOK. And that is with a bump of nearly 27% that Kahoot had this morning on the news of the investment/divestment.

SoftBank, meanwhile, has been in hot water itself, facing up to big losses in its splashy Vision Fund investment vehicles on the back of those wider tech industry doldrums. In August, Vision Fund I reported a loss of over $17 billion for just one quarter (Q1). Vision Fund 2 is reportedly down in value by some 19% on the funds that have been invested so far. Amid layoffs and big executive changes, no surprise, then, that it is now divesting stakes that are underperforming. (It’s still working on a Vision Fund 3 though, so never say die in the world of tech.)

“We are very grateful to SoftBank for their partnership over the past two years. As Kahoot! continues to pursue its mission to improve lifelong learning by building a leading global learning and engagement platform, we are thrilled to add a partner of General Atlantic’s caliber,” Eilert Hanoa, CEO of Kahoot, said in a statement. “The team at GA brings deep experience in scaling global education technology and software businesses and positioning market leaders for long-term success, and we look forward to our next phase of momentum in empowering the learning ecosystem around the world.”

“We believe Kahoot has significant potential for further growth as digital learning solutions continue to be adopted across its work, school, and home markets,” added Chris Caulkin, MD and head of technology for EMEA at General Atlantic. “With its much-loved brand, product-centric approach, and engaged global user base, Kahoot is well positioned to scale, and we look forward to supporting Eilert and the full Kahoot! team in the years to come as they reach and engage ever more users worldwide.” General Atlantic and SoftBank have partnered on many deals in the past, so there was clearly already a relationship between the two and that may have played a factor here as well.

To be fair, since SB Northstar (the SoftBank Group fund making the investment) made its first investment in Kahoot nearly two years ago, in October 2020, Kahoot has grown a lot. It had 1.3 billion users (“participating players”) at that time; now that number is 8 billion.

What started as a “YouTube for education”- style model (big emphasis on user-created content and a way of using what you have made for yourself or your own learning group, but also dipping in and using material made by others) has worked to diversify deeper into enterprise and more. It said today that Kahoot! at Work is used in 97% of Fortune 500 companies for corporate learning and engagement, and that Kahoot! at School is used by approximately 9 million teachers in the classroom. And Kahoot! at Home & Study has over 18 million users as an “at-home gamified learning solution.”

Indeed, the company went large during the Covid-19 pandemic, doubling down on being one of the platforms to help fill the gap of amusement and engagement for students who were no longer in classrooms; and ditto for remote workers as a way of team building and more.

But as with many companies that found business ballooning because of market conditions, now as more people return to the office, students are back in the classroom, and generally budgets are all being reined in in the current economic climate, it will be having an effect on Kahoot as well.

We’ll update this post as we learn more.

General Atlantic buys out SoftBank’s 15% stake in edtech Kahoot, now valued at about $152M vs the $215M SoftBank ponied up 2 years ago by Ingrid Lunden originally published on TechCrunch

Google cancels half the projects at its internal R&D group Area 120

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, speaking at the Code Conference last week, suggested the tech company needed to become 20% more efficient — a comment some in the industry took to mean headcount reductions could soon be on the table. Now, it seems that prediction may be coming true. TechCrunch has learned and Google confirmed the company is slashing projects at its in-house R&D division known as Area 120.

The company on Tuesday informed staff of a “reduction in force” which will see the incubator halved in size, as half the teams working on new product innovations heard their projects were being canceled. Previously, there were 14 projects housed in Area 120, and this has been cut down to just seven. Employees whose projects will not continue were told they’ll need to find a new job within Google by the end of January 2023, or they’ll be terminated. It’s not clear that everyone will be able to do so.

According to Area 120 lead Elias Roman, the division aims to sharpen its focus to only AI-first projects, as opposed to its earlier mandate to fuel product incubation across all of Google.

TechCrunch learned of the changes from a source with knowledge of the matter. Google confirmed the changes in a statement.

“Area 120 is an in-house incubator for experimental new products. The group regularly starts and stops projects with an eye toward pursuing the most promising opportunities,” a Google spokesperson said. “We’ve recently shared that Area 120 will be shifting its focus to projects that build on Google’s deep investment in AI and have the potential to solve important user problems. As a result, Area 120 is winding down several projects to make way for new work. Impacted team members will receive dedicated support as they explore new projects and opportunities at Google.”

Over the years, the division has launched a number of successful products, including the HTML5 gaming platform GameSnacks, now integrated with Google Chrome; an AirTable rival called Tables which exited to Google Cloud; an A.I.-powered conversational ads platform AdLingo, which also exited to Cloud; video platforms Tangi and Shoploop, which exited to Google Search and Shopping, respectively; the web-based travel app Touring Bird, which exited to Commerce; and a technical interview platform Byteboard, a rare external spinout.

One of the projects now being cut with the changes is Qaya, a service offering web storefronts for digital creators, launched late last year. Similar to “link in bio” solutions available today like Linktree or Beacons, Qaya additionally integrated with Google Search and Google Shopping. It could also be linked with a YouTube Merch Shelf, to promote the creator’s products and services.

The other six projects being canceled weren’t yet launched, but included a financial accounting project for Google Sheets, another shopping-related product, analytics for AR/VR, and, unfortunately, three climate-related projects. These latter projects had focused on EV car charging maps with routing, carbon accounting for I.T., and carbon measurement of forests.

The changes follow last year’s reorg of the Area 120 team, which saw the group moved into a new “Google Labs” division led by veteran Googler Clay Bavor. The incubator was then grouped alongside other forward-looking efforts at Google, like its virtual and augmented reality developments and its cutting-edge holographic videoconferencing project known as Project Starline. We understand Google Labs and Starline are not impacted for the time being.

Pichai announced in July that Google would slow its hiring and sharpen its focus, but the company had said larger layoffs were not planned — it would still hire in engineering, technical and other critical roles. However, as part of its renewed emphasis on productivity, the company acknowledges it may need to restructure teams, deprecate products or even, at times, eliminate roles.

As for the Area 120 team members whose projects have now been discontinued, Google’s recruiters will work to help them find new roles, though placement is not a given in situations like these.

Google has north of 170,000 full-time employees. Area 120 had over 170 employees at the beginning of the year but is now under 100.

Editor’s Note: The article was updated moments after publication with Google’s comment. 

Google cancels half the projects at its internal R&D group Area 120 by Sarah Perez originally published on TechCrunch

Dope Security emerges from stealth to shake up the SWG market

San Francisco-based cybersecurity startup Dope Security has launched from stealth with $4 million in funding to modernize the secure web gateway market.

A secure web gateway, or SWG, is a network security device that acts as a barrier between users and malicious web traffic, websites with vulnerabilities, malware, and other internet-based cyber threats. While by no means sexy, SWGs have become critical during the recent shift to remote and hybrid work as employees shift from a tightly-controlled office environment to less secure home networks.

Though SWGs are an important tool for organizations whose workers no longer sit within an internal corporate network, Kunal Agarwal, founder and CEO of Dope Security, says that most legacy SWGs are no longer fit for purpose in a remote, cloud-first world.

“There’s been an emergence of secure web access and today every major organization protects or secures what you can access from your laptop,” Agarwal tells TechCrunch. “The way in which they do this is a problem. It’s the equivalent of taking a flight from London to Dublin, and stopping over in Germany.”

These stopovers, along with difficult-to-deploy solutions, lead to outages, off-device decryption, significantly slower page loads, and reduced end-user productivity, he added.

Agarwal, a cybersecurity veteran who started hacking as a child, became frustrated with legacy SWG solutions during his time at Forcepoint and Symantec, where he spent years trying to retrofit existing SWG solutions to solve problems that he says were never designed to solve. “I started to see all of these customers complain about outages, reliability, and performance problems,” Agarwal said.

It was this that led to the creation of Dope Security, a startup named after the Bay Area slang. Dope Security is a fly-direct SWG that eliminates the data center stopover architecture required by legacy providers, instead performing security directly on the endpoint. This architecture improves performance up to fourfold, according to Agarwal, and ensures privacy and reliability when securing enterprises against web-based threats.

Agarwal said his company’s technology can be deployed in under five minutes and offers network defenders insights through a cloud-based console, and integrates with Microsoft 365 and Google accounts — and is already in the hands of customers.

The company’s $4 million investment was led by Boldstart Ventures. Agarwal said the company has 30 employees, mostly former Forcepoint and Symantec employees — is already looking for the market it’s going to try to disrupt next.

“We want to build together not one product, but a whole product portfolio,” Agarwal said. “And we want customers to look at these products and say ‘yeah, that’s dope’.”

Dope Security emerges from stealth to shake up the SWG market by Carly Page originally published on TechCrunch

TechCrunch+ roundup: Dotcom crash history lessons, post-M&A strategies, climate tech heats up

What can today’s founders learn from the 2000 dotcom bubble burst?

381632 01: The Pets.com sock puppet. The San Francisco-based pet products company, known for its commercials with the sock-puppet dog and the slogan "Because pets can''t drive," said November 7, 2000 that it is closing down after failing to find a financial backer or buyer. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Newsmakers)

Image Credits: Chris Hondros (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The late 1990s were a fascinating time to work in startups and live in San Francisco.

I didn’t need to be an economist to realize that many of the companies I worked for and patronized were lacking solid fundamentals: The same unprofitable startups that offered in-house massages, catered meals and laundry service were also purchasing Super Bowl ads and freeway billboards.

I still have storage crates in my kitchen from Webvan, a grocery delivery contender that flamed out so famously, MBA candidates now study it in business school. Similarly, messenger bags for Kozmo.com, which promised to bring “videos, games, DVDs, music, mags, books, food, basics & more” to customers in 60 minutes or less, sell today for $350 and up on Etsy.


Full TechCrunch+ articles are only available to members.
Use discount code TCPLUSROUNDUP to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription.


By 2000, many of these high-fliers had left smoking craters behind. Anna Barber was VP of Product at Petstore.com when her company was sold off in a fire sale to Pets.com, a competitor.

“We laid off our staff except one person, who stayed around with the CEO to help wind down the company and settle up with all our creditors,” says Barber, now a partner at M13. “That person was me.”

Today at noon PDT/3 p.m. EDT, she’ll join me to talk about how today’s startup operators can avoid many of the missteps founders made in past downturns.

We’ll discuss the economic, social and emotional impact created when so many companies close their doors at once, and Barber will talk about how founders can align with their investors and employees while managing through uncertainty.

This Twitter Space is open to everyone, so I hope you’ll join the chat.

Thanks for reading,
Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

You’ve sold your company. Now what?

Scaling a company from conception to acquisition is a real accomplishment, but it’s not the finish line, according to investor and frequent TC+ contributor, Marjorie Radlo-Zandi.

“You may wonder if the acquirer truly understands your products, values, culture or the customer needs that drive the business,” she writes. “Staff will wonder if there’ll be a place for them as a part of another company.”

In her latest column, she shares “six guiding principles that will set a transaction up for success” and help you achieve your full earnout.

Enterprise e-commerce in 2022: As TAM expands, the platform wars are heating up

Image Credits: Getty Images

E-commerce platforms have onboarded new merchants at a fast clip since the pandemic began, and there’s no sign of a slowdown, according to market intelligence platform PipeCandy.

“The top enterprise e-commerce platforms have added more than 10,000 merchants,” according to co-founder Ashwin Ramasamy, who compared the relative performance of Shopify Plus, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Drupal Commerce and four other players.

“That’s immense, especially as the year is still far from over, and these platforms already have just 1,000 merchants shy of last year.”

Use DORA metrics to support the next generation of remote-work models

Liwa, UAE - Laptop glows outside a tent pitched on the dunes of the Empty Quarter desert

Image Credits: Edwin Remsberg (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Non-technical CEOs often rely on someone else’s assessment to find out how good their developers are. But without data, that’s a pretty subjective process.

Startups that don’t use DORA (DevOps research and assessment) metrics have a harder time measuring a software delivery team’s performance. For example, a group that has a high failure rate may cover their deficiencies (for a time) by deploying quickly.

Remote work is the new normal, especially for engineers, says Alex Circei, CEO and co-founder of development analytics tool Waydev. But using DORA metrics, CTOs, CEOs and HR managers can “get back on the same page to support their tech teams and business outcomes.”

Climate tech is a hot investment in 2022 — next five years could be even hotter

Engineer climbs a wind turbine

Image Credits: Monty Rakusen (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Is the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act creating tailwinds for climate tech startups?

Reporter Tim De Chant found that deal count for climate tech startups increased by 15.4% in Q2 2022, “and the average value per deal has held steady at $23.6 million, more than triple what it was five years ago.”

Tax credits and other incentives in the IRA could spark interest in funding for property tech, recycling, ecosystem monitoring and companies that pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.

“In other words, investment opportunities in climate tech are just warming up,” he writes.

For LatAm payment orchestration startups, market fragmentation is a blessing in disguise

In Latin America, e-commerce is plagued by high fraud rates. Scarcely 20% of adults have a credit card, and many who do aren’t able to use them internationally.

It’s also true that e-commerce is growing faster there than in any other region since the pandemic began. According to one study, online sales in LatAm will generate $379 billion in 2022, a 32% year-over-year increase.

“The payments landscape in Latin America seems hopelessly fragmented and riddled with fraud,” says Rocio Wu, a principal at F-Prime Capital.

“However, we believe that fragmentation actually offers a huge opportunity for vertically integrated payments orchestration startups to capture a lot of value.”

TechCrunch+ roundup: Dotcom crash history lessons, post-M&A strategies, climate tech heats up by Walter Thompson originally published on TechCrunch

Liquid Instruments hooks up with $28.5M to upend the engineering testing market with software-defined instrumentation

Engineering innovations are a critical cornerstone in the evolution of technology, but ironically there haven’t been as many innovations in engineers’ tooling itself. Now, a startup called Liquid Instruments that’s devised a set of software and hardware to help engineers carry out one aspect of their work — testing — more efficiently is announcing a capital injection of $28.5 million to fuel its growth. It’s been on a roll with sales up 4x this year, with customers of its devices including NASA (where the founders first worked on the concept), Google and Qualcomm, Stanford and Duke, and the U.S.’s National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Moore’s Law is alive and well here: the startup’s unique selling point is that it has built a new take on testing equipment by translating much of the process into software that sits on hardware that’s faster, many times smaller, and less costly than traditional testing equipment, and provides other kinds of flexibility, such as more dynamic visualizations, diagnostics, programability and the ability to work on the tests in the cloud.

This Series B round of equity funding, which I understand values the company at north of $100 million, will help Liquid Instruments continue to build out more hardware models, and to write more software-based more testing tools for those devices.

The company — founded originally in Australia and now officially headquartered in San Francisco — today sells three versions of its Moku hardware — the Go, the Lab and the Pro, respectively starting at $599, $3,500 and $12,000. They are part of a bigger area of software-defined test instrumentation, and Daniel Shaddock, the CEO and co-founder, first worked on a version of this tech when he was on a team building testing equipment in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for high precision wave detection using a similar software-defined approach.

After that project was done, Shaddock said he and some 11 others would have been “scattered to the wind”, working at other space agencies or academia, so he suggested that maybe they continue working together, to see how a similar concept could be applied to building testing equipment for the engineering world and academics at large. “It was great measurement technology,” he said, “so we thought, maybe others might like it, too.”

The devices use standard input ports and are based on flexible FPGA chip architecture. Today those chips are Xilinx chips from AMD, but the company is open to using “whatever the chip du jour might be” said Shaddock. That’s because its IP is not about the chips but about how they’re used to work “at the crossroads of analogue circuitry and digital processing,” he said. “What has been done previously on analogue devices, and distributed across many chips, are now all on FPGA chips. Now that they are larger, we can slice up the chip into more functions, and have them all work together.”

Although this is bringing down the price of testing devices, it’s not exactly putting Liquid Instruments into the category electronics companies building tools for hobbyists. Its customers rather span research and education through to government labs and industrial businesses, with applications including aerospace, defense, semiconductor, LiDAR and quantum computing. And it’s finding a lot of traction in all of them, with sales up four-fold in the last year.

The investors in this round also are a testament to its traction. Led by Acorn Capital, it also includes strategics like Lockheed Martin Ventures and Powerhouse Ventures, as well as previous backers Spirit Super/ANU Connect Ventures, MA Growth Ventures, Significant Capital Ventures, and Boman Enterprises. Liquid Instruments has to date raised $50 million.

“Liquid Instruments is creating a versatile test and measurement platform that is customizable and efficient,” said Chris Moran, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures, in a statement. “This technology has the potential to deliver mission critical functionality that can provide value to our customer. We are excited by Liquid’s continued growth and look forward to strengthening our collaboration.”

“Liquid Instruments’ Australian-developed software-defined approach is the manifestation of an ambitious plan targeting a vital market that has suffered from a deficit of innovation and imagination.” added Robert Routley, CEO, Acorn Capital. “We see tremendous potential for their platform to continue to grow and evolve, benefitting more industries over time. Liquid Instruments is well positioned to execute on its expansion strategy and disrupt the test and measurement sector and lead the industry through the much-needed transition from hardware to software.”

“This injection of capital will supercharge our ability to revolutionize the test and measurement industry,” said Daniel Shaddock, CEO, and co-founder of Liquid Instruments. “Our innovative software-first approach provides clear advantages over traditional hardware-based solutions, and this funding strongly positions us to lead this critical industry transformation.”

Liquid Instruments’ Moku product line offers the world’s most powerful and flexible software-defined instrumentation platform, harnessing the processing power and reconfigurability of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) to combine multiple instruments into one compact and accessible device. These product offerings include the Moku:Go, a complete lab solution for engineers and students to actively test designs and projects, and the Moku:Pro, an integrated platform for the most demanding research and engineering applications.

“We are focused on enhancing cloud integration features for our products and scaling production of Moku:Go to help millions of undergraduate engineering students around the world unlock their full potential,” added Shaddock. “Moku’s will continue to receive new features via frequent over-the-air updates enabling new solutions in key commercial industries.”

Liquid Instruments hooks up with $28.5M to upend the engineering testing market with software-defined instrumentation by Ingrid Lunden originally published on TechCrunch