Trillion-dollar horses, surfeit funding rounds and Future’s future – TechCrunch



Welcome again to The TechCrunch Trade, a weekly startups-and-markets e-newsletter. It’s impressed by what the weekday Trade column digs into, however free, and made on your weekend studying. Need it in your inbox each Saturday? Join right here.

It’s the tip of a brief week, however as a substitute of not having a lot to talk about we have now lots. Nevertheless it’s all excellent enjoyable, so let’s get pleasure from ourselves!

First, let’s discuss costly four-legged beasts.

Trillion-dollar horse?

The Trade began digging into the Q2 2021 enterprise capital market this week. Because of Anna’s assist our first piece got here out fairly nicely, I believe. We have now much more coming quickly. However the unicorn stats actually grabbed me by the nape. Take into account:

  • 136 unicorns had been minted in Q2 2021, an all-time file.
  • As CB Insights notes, that’s “practically 6x the 23 unicorns born a 12 months in the past in Q2’20, and already increased than the 128 unicorns born in all of 2020.”

The results of this increase within the horned equestrian inhabitants is that there at the moment are 750 unicorns on this planet. When former TechCruncher and wonderful human Katie Roof tweeted that stat, my first thought was shit, which means unicorns are price greater than $1 trillion.

I used to be approach off. The true quantity is almost $2.four trillion (CB Insights knowledge). Which is a shatteringly excessive determine. In comparative phrases, the un-exited unicorn inhabitants of the world is price practically exactly what Apple is price as we speak — $2.42 trillion, per Yahoo Finance.

Maybe I’m overreacting to the quantity of unicorn fairness that’s presently sitting, largely frozen, within the non-public markets. Particularly when unicorn exits are up. However are even as we speak’s elevated exit ranges sufficient to clear this explicit ledger over time? No, I don’t assume so. Not once we are minting 1.5 unicorns per day in Q2, counting weekends and the like and the unicorn rely is ever-increasing.

Funding rounds

I solely wrote about one funding spherical this week — this r2c spherical that was fairly attention-grabbing — principally as a result of I had a bunch of different issues to chew via. However I’ve additionally seen my inbound enterprise capital spherical pitches sluggish since declaring that I’d not cowl rounds that didn’t embrace extra detailed monetary info.

It isn’t clear but if pitch quantity is down as a result of vacation week, or if I’ve scared everybody off. However I do use my inbound quantity of funding spherical pitches each in combination, and in sectordirectional phrases to assist gauge what’s happening. So, right here’s hoping that (1) individuals will ship me stuff and (2) they are going to accomplish that and in addition share much more info on the similar time.

SPACs in area

Y Combinator is a neat entity. One among its current corporations was Albedo, a startup that’s hoping to construct a community of low-orbit satellites that can take tremendous high-res photographs of the planet. To take action is difficult af, as Natasha would say, however maybe doable because of off-the-shelf (kinda) satellite tv for pc components, in-orbit refueling and a bunch of different new stuff.

Al bedo and its ilk are why I nonetheless trot out yearly to observe Demo Day. I get to see what could possibly be coming, and that’s excellent, illustrative enjoyable.


All that’s to say that when two satellite tv for pc imaging corporations introduced that they had been going public by way of SPACs this week I used to be intrigued. Seems they aren’t actually in competitors with what Albedo needs to do, as they provide lower-resolution photos. However they’re … notable for different causes.

Satellogic for having this merely suave sequence of charts (remember to observe the dates in every chart):

Picture Credit: Satellogic

And Planet for the next, particularly a glance into how the economics of satellite tv for pc tech are fairly closely weighted towards the long run:

Picture Credit: Planet

The corporate’s long-term gross margin goal is 80% to 85% (COGS of 15%-20%, per the deck), however you possibly can see how lengthy it takes to get there. This poses an attention-grabbing difficulty for the enterprise capital world.

Specifically that corporations like Albedo are going to want plenty of money and time to construct out their constellations and get to scale. And, I presume, to scale to the kind of gross margins that software program corporations can generate from their first day promoting product.

That is one cause why there may be a lot cash chasing software program merchandise with even a touch of sturdy development; high-margin recurring income is the enterprise equal of a cheat code in relation to worth creation. Thus each investor needs to shovel cash into it. Satellite tv for pc tech, whereas tremendous fucking vital usually, merely is costlier and slower-burn.

My query: Is software program so good at producing enterprise capital returns that different types of startup work will battle to compete for consideration and capital? Are they already?


Lastly, Future. Or extra exactly, Future’s future. I’m curious in regards to the a16z publication.

Because it launched I’ve checked in a couple of instances every week, hoping to see what was popping out of the enterprise capital agency’s collective thoughts. I accomplish that not solely as a result of I’m an enormous dweeb — I’m! — but additionally as a result of after all of the hand-wringing that I’ve needed to examine how the media hates tech — nope! — I used to be curious what a cosmically well-funded enterprise group would construct. It has employed some nice individuals, in any case.

It seems that we’re in between publishing cycles on the Future weblog. The final items of Most important Content material got here out practically a month in the past, and its most up-to-date entry is dated June 25th. And that piece is only a be aware promising extra content material in July.

All of it feels a bit flat? Given the price range, promise, fancy area and variety of individuals within the a16z world who ought to have issues to say? Why not make extra phrases seem? Let’s see what July brings.

Okay that’s sufficient from me for the week. Hugs, and speak to you Monday morning on the pod.

Your good friend,



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