#10/2020

“Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after will seem inadequate.”
• Michael Leavitt

Deals

SEO platform DeepCrawl raises $19M in Series B round (prolificlondon.co.uk)
  • DeepCrawl has developed a robust web crawler that empowers marketers and SEO experts with actionable data-based insights to diagnose and fix technical issues, increase website visibility, and ultimately win more organic traffic and revenue.
  • The company is trusted by 54% of enterprise brands, as well as all six major global agency networks to monitor and improve site performance across digital properties.

Superpeer raises $2M to help influencers and experts make money with one-on-one video calls (techcrunch.com)
  • With Superpeer, experts who are interested in sharing their knowledge can do so via remote, one-on-one video calls. They upload an intro video, the times that they want to be available for calls and how much they want to charge for their time.
  • Superpeer launched in private beta two weeks ago, and Yasar said the startup already has more than 100 Superpeers signed up.
  • Opinion: The startup raised quite a lot of money relative to its stage (private beta), but I believe it is a great idea with a lot of potential.

News

Sequoia is giving away $21M to a payments startup it recently funded as it walks away from deal (techcrunch.com)
  • Sequoia is walking away from Finix, a San Francisco-based payments infrastructure company, over a purported conflict of interest. The firm is also handing back its board seat, information rights, shares and full investment.
  • Because it realized that Finix competes too directly with Stripe—after it wrote a check.
  • Opinion: This is great reputation move for Sequoia and something all VCs have to consider when making an investment if they like the opportunity enough now or rather wait for something new to arise in the sector. Then some VCs are stuck with companies that are starting to lose market share to newer startups.

Romanian-born Investor Luciana Lixandru Leaves Accel Partners To Run Sequoia Capital In Europe (trendingtopics.at)
  • The grown-up in a small town in Romania Lixandru graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, US, in 2007. Worked in Morgan Stanley for 2 years and then 2 years as an associate in Summit Partners before working for Accel.
  • Her investments include UiPath, Vinted and Deliveroo among others.
  • “Luciana embodies one of the characteristics we admire most in founders and partners: grit.”

Reading

Adam Ondra’s Race to the Top (nytimes.com)
  • He won his first World Cup season title in lead climbing at 16 and followed with one in bouldering at 17. In 2014, at 21, he won both events at the world championships. He is still the only man to do that.
  • Has a degree in economics (my classmate) and is fluent in 5 languages.
  • Climbing will be in Olympics for the first time and have one medal composed of 3 disciplines: lead climbing, bouldering and speed. Ondra will likely dominate lead climbing and bouldering but right now he is practicing speed climbing which he does not enjoy. He finished last in speed climbing in the qualification but still managed to qualify for Olympics.

Why focusing on a startup’s ‘exit strategy’ stifles innovation (msn.com) + paper (ssrn.com)
  • The focus on the “exit event” — particularly exit by acquisition — is preventing disruptive competition, cementing tech monopolies, driving companies to shelve innovations, and undermining the promise of Silicon Valley.
  • “Silicon Valley changed the world. And it did so because founders and venture capitalists wanted to win tomorrow’s markets, not sell out to those who had already won yesterday’s.”
  • According to their research, more than nine in 10 “exiting” venture-backed companies sell out to other firms. Rather than promote competition and innovation, venture capital just further “cements incumbency.”
  • “We should presumptively ban incumbent monopolists from acquiring competitive startups, something the Clayton Act already gives regulators the power to do. But we should also worry about companies buying startups that don’t directly compete but that offer a possible platform for making the existing market obsolete.”


   

In case you are interested in helping us with evaluating some companies and industries or you just want to discus any of these articles, feel free to reach out to Roman from Presto Ventures at roman@prestoventures.com or Linkedin.

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