Welcome back to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startup and marketing newsletter. It is mostly based on the daily column shown on Extra Crunch, but free, and made for weekend reading. Do you want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here.
Good Saturday, everyone. I hope you are in good spirits and in good health. I’m learning to cheat, which has become a requirement in my life after I realized that the news cycle will never slow down. And because my partner and I adopted a third dog who likes to get up early, please make napping cool for adults so we can all rest until Vaccine Summer. It’s almost here.
When it comes to work topics, I have a few things for you today, all that matter data points that matter: Q1
On the first, Dan Primack shared a few data points in the first quarter via Refinitiv which I wanted to continue. According to the financial information company, global M&A activity reached $ 1.3 trillion in the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 93% from the first quarter of 2020. US M&A activity also peaked in the first quarter. Why do we care? Because the data helps emphasize how hot the last three months have been.
I expect the actual risk capital data for the quarter to be just as impressive. But as everyone notes this week, there are some cracks in the IPO market, as the second quarter begins which could make Q2 2021 a completely different beast. Not that the venture capital world will slow down, especially considering that Tiger has just reloaded to a value of $ 6.7 billion.
On the venture capital issue, African-focused computer firm Briter Bridges reports that “Mars just over $ 280 million was distributed to technology companies operating across Africa,” driven in part by “Flutterwave’s huge $ 170 million round to a $ 1 billion valuation.”
The data point means something as it marks the most active March that the African continent has seen in venture capital since at least 2017 – and I will ever guess. African startups tend to raise more capital in the second half of the year, so the March result is not a record of all time in a single month. However, it is still bullish, and helps to give our general view that the results of venture capital in the first quarter may be large.
Finally, Index Ventures’ Rex Woodbury tweeted some Edison data, namely that “80 million Americans (28% of the U.S. population over the age of 12) are weekly podcast listeners, + 17% the year before.” The venture capitalist went on to add that “62% of the US population over the age of 12 (around 176 million people) are weekly online audio listeners.”
As we discussed at Equity this week, the non-music streaming market is targeting a number of players in light of Clubhouse’s success as a breakout social company in recent months. These sub-points are behind Discord and Spotify and others. People love to listen to other people talk. Far more than I had imagined, as a music first person.
How nice it is to be back in a time when consumer investment is neat. B2B is great, but not everything can be enterprise SaaS. (In particular, however, it seems that Clubhouse is struggling to keep up with its own hype.)
I can not keep up with all the damn venture capital rounds
TechCrunch Early Stage was this week, which went pretty well. But having an event to help with meant that I covered fewer rounds this week than I had wanted. So, here are two that I would have written down if I had had free time:
- Striim’s $ 50 million series C. Goldman led the transaction. Striim, pronounced power I think, is a software startup that helps other companies move data around the cloud and local layouts in real time. Given how active the data market is today, I guess TAM for Striim is deep? Fast flowing? You can deliver a better stream-centered word when you are on vacation.
- Kudos Series A. $ 21 million. I covered Kudo in July last year when it raised $ 6 million. The company offers services for video chat and conferences with support for real-time translation. It had a great COVID time, as you can imagine. Felicis led A after participating in the wound round. I’ll see if I can get some new growth measurements from the company next week. One to look at.
And two more rounds that you may have missed as well as you should not. Holler raised $ 36 million in a Series B. Per our own Anthony Ha, “[y]You may not know what conversation media is, but there’s a decent chance you’ve used Holler’s technology. For example, if you’ve added a sticker or GIF to your Venmo payments, Holler actually manages the app’s search and suggestion experience around that medium. ”
I feel old.
And in case you are not paying enough attention to Latin American technology, this $ 150 million Uruguayan round should help you get it right.
Different and diverse
Finally this week, some good news. If you’ve been reading The Exchange for a long time, you’ve been forced to read me and talk about the Bessemer cloud index, a basket of public software companies that I treat with due respect. Now there is a new index on the market.
Meet the Lux Health + Tech Index. Per Lux Capital, it is an “index of 57 listed companies that together represent the rapidly growing topic of Health + Tech.” Of course, this is marked to the extent that, like the Bessemer collection, it is linked to a special focus from the supporting venture capital firm. But what the new Lux index will do, as with the Bessemer collection, is to track how a particular venture company itself tracks the public companies for its portfolio.
It’s a useful thing to have. More of this, please.