Toil and trouble and … startup acquisitions! • TechCrunch

Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh, people-first version of this week’s startup news and trends. To get this in your inbox, Subscribe here.

I think it took maybe three days after toasting our pretty dry M&A season for the news cycle to prove me wrong. This week we saw Naver acquire Poshmark, Duolingo buy its first company, Spotify acquire content moderation tech company Kinzen, and, um, Twitter got closer and closer to a deal with Musk.

When we see high-profile acquisitions taking place in the immediate vicinity, the human response is to believe a trend is forming. Eh I prefer to ask questions: Poshmark’s acquisition comes at a certain discount, so what does that tell us about the state of market startups and their valuations? Duolingo is finally emerging as an acquisition-friendly company; What does that tell us about their priorities and expansion efforts? What role, if any, does the Spotify acquisition play in recent layoffs and the closure of some original podcasts? Musk is poised to buy Twitter after saying he wants to buy Twitter, but this is kinda new because, wait, does anyone know what’s going on?

Bloomberg tells me I’m not entirely wrong in thinking things have slowed down. M&A in the United States has declined over the past five quarters. The same report stated that “roughly $212 billion worth of transactions were announced in the last three months, the weakest period since the second quarter of 2020.” At the same time, the technology is a ray of hope. Despite deals slowing, the overall value of deals in the tech sector is up 39% year over year, according to data from Bloomberg. It’s the big ones that weigh, like Adobe’s $20 billion acquisition of Figma.

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I’m always there to provide nuances, especially after a particularly busy week. Let me know what you think of by tweeting me or replying to this post. If you missed last week’s newsletter, read it here: “Welcome to Spooky Season in Startups.”

In today’s newsletter I’m going to talk to you about Liquid Death and crypto advertising.

If you like this newsletter, would you do me a quick favor? Forward it to a friend, share it on Twitter and tag me so I can thank you for reading!

Your favorite tech podcast

On Equity this week, your favorite podcast trio talked about the numbers and nuances behind the top tech headlines. I mean, we’re biased, but who doesn’t love a deep dive into the top news weekly? Remember we offer three podcasts per week: Equity Monday is best paired with a cup of coffee and some catching up on the coming week; Equity Wednesday is a deep dive into a question or thought; and Equity Friday is a recap of what the heck happened this week.

Therefore it is important: This week, the highlight of the podcast for me was our discussion of Liquid Death’s $700 million valuation. It’s particularly interesting when you consider the recent news that Haus, a low ABV alternative to traditional alcohol, is putting itself up for sale after a funding round fails. Listen to our full conversation here, get to the Liquid Death, stay put when Alex is going to get his baby-to-be a substack.

Photo credit: Liquid Death

Dear bearer, bear me?

Flag this for a future trend I should explore: We’re seeing more and more VC firms dedicating some of their carried interest to people who recommend successful deals to them. This week, Mary Ann examined how a cross-border VC firm shares profits in its LP base with 20 founders.

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Therefore it is important: This trend first appeared on my radar about a year ago when Sahil Lavingia, founder and CEO of Gumroad, announced a novel scout program. Longtime readers of Startups Weekly will remember this perennial favorite from back in the day: It’s hard to philosophically argue against more transparency and distribution in entrepreneurship, but it’s also hard to achieve those goals in a way that actually helps those who support them urgent need.

Photo credit: Say Cheese / Getty Images

The succession

I’m experimenting with a new section in Startups Weekly where we follow up on an old story or trend each week to see what’s changed since we first looked. This week we’re following Kim Kardashian. A few weeks ago, we spoke about Kardashian and the financialization of trendsetters after she announced the debut of her private equity firm.

Here’s what’s new: She’s back in the news, but without congratulations on Twitter. Kardashian was fined $1.26 million by the SEC for promoting crypto without disclosure. your mistake? She should have mentioned that she was paid $250,000 to publish a post about EthereumMAX’s EMAX tokens on her Insta story.

Anita and Dom say it best, so I’m just putting this link here for people who want to read on: “Let’s not defend Kim Kardashian for Schilling Krypto.”

Kim Kardashian

Photo credit: Spotify

A few notes

We’re less than a month away from TechCrunch Disrupt and I’m already emotional. It’s going to be a great time, an encouraging speech, an insight and a week not to be missed. Here is the full agenda and here you can get your tickets.

  • First, use the code “STARTUPS” for a special reader discount for disrupt tickets. We’re less than a month away!
  • We also have a special for those affected by layoffs. If you’ve been fired, go here to get a free ticket to TechCrunch Disrupt’s Expo.
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While I have you, let’s talk a little more. As you know, I co-host Equity, which comes out three times a week and is TC’s longest-running podcast. We also have some besties to listen to including our crypto focused show going from Chain Reaction and founder focused show going from Found. The TechCrunch podcast can’t be missed either, so keep an eye out for all the good shows they’re putting out.

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Same time, same website, next week?


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