TechCrunch+ roundup: Web3 investor survey, conversational UX, ‘insane IPO pops’
Most people have experienced the internet only through Web 2.0. Online applications, the social web and software as a service form the fabric of our lives.
Lately, many have championed web3 as the internet’s next phase, but the term encompasses so much territory, conversations can be diffuse and there are valid concerns that its complexity will daunt consumers and regulators.
However, our research indicated that the web3 investment landscape is growing increasingly competitive as venture capitalists become more educated.
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To get a clearer sense of where the market is, we reached out to several active investors:
Lior Messika, founder and managing partner, Eden Block
Atul Ajoy, partner, Horseshoe Capital
David Chreng-Messembourg, founding partner, LeadBlock Partners
Randy Glein, founder/partner, and Sam Shapiro, principal, DFJ Growth
Mercedes Bent, partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners
Jai Das, co-founder, president and partner, Sapphire Ventures
To make things as clear as possible, we asked each respondent to share their elevator pitch: How would they describe the technology if they were trying to convince a skeptic to invest?
Starting with the potential consumer appeal of cartoon apes, we tried to find out what attracted them to invest in the semantic web and where they’re currently seeing demand. Notably, several said they started exploring the space after developing an interest in crypto.
In addition to discussing potential use cases for advertising, fintech and enterprise apps, respondents shared advice for web3 founders who are hunting for funding, along with their concerns about factors that could stall its development.
Finally, we asked each respondent: What are the skeptics missing?
“I never met a skeptical investor who actually understood what was going on. If you get it, you’re probably strapped in and ready to go,” said Lior Messika, founder and managing partner, Eden Block.
Thanks for reading,
Senior Editor, TechCrunch+
Metaverse startup with $1M in 2021 revenues going public via SPAC
InfiniteWorld, a metaverse startup that “anticipates 2021 revenues of around $1 million,” is going public today via a SPAC that will value the company “at around $700 million,” reports Alex Wilhelm in this morning’s edition of The Exchange.
Alex reviewed the company’s investor deck to learn more about InfiniteWorld, “a collection of traditional and blockchain-related efforts that could be used to support crypto work by customer brands.”
Conversational UX: The missing piece in your chatbot strategy
We don’t run many TechCrunch+ articles that are focused on basic best practices, but we make exceptions for posts about emerging technology — in this case, conversational UX.
It’s notoriously difficult for software to mimic human conversation. Many chatbots are so inept, it makes one long for the days of “press 0 for an operator.”
“Though chatbots are largely meant to handle simple customer service tasks, there is an opportunity to scale both customer service and sales messaging,” writes Raghu Ravinutala, CEO and co-founder of Yellow.ai, a conversational CX platform.
What 2021’s IPO pops tell us about future flotations and SPACs
As we edge closer to the end of the year, we’re running more articles that look back at some of the trends we covered in 2021, along with a few that offer well-informed predictions for 2022.
Yesterday, Alex Wilhelm looked back at “insane IPO pops” for companies like DoorDash, C3.ai, Roblox, Coinbase and others to see whether these debuts were a reflection of “early exuberance,” inflated expectations, or possibly, the fact “that no one knows how to price IPOs during chaotic market moments.”
3 views: The new decentralized venture landscape is changing how we report startup data
“Silicon Valley” is a fixed spot on a map, but it’s also a figure of speech, like “Hollywood” or “The White House.”
Investors are no longer fixated on the Bay Area, and neither are founders. That’s a truth that’s been in the making for a while, but now, it’s changing how we cover startups.
The Equity team discussed the trend in a TechCrunch+ post:
Natasha Mascarenhas: Funding data doesn’t matter the way it used to.
Mary Ann Azevedo: The decentralization of startups isn’t new, even if it is accelerating.
Alex Wilhelm: The declining impact of aggregated startup funding data is good news.
How optimizing presales productivity can help startups multiply revenue growth
Presales is an integral but less discussed aspect of the sales funnel for many tech companies. But the C-suite often tries to pump sales head counts to drive growth.
Presales provides tech firms another avenue, writes Freddy Jose Mangum, CEO and co-founder of Hub. Thanks to their natural technical bent, optimizing the productivity of presales executives can lead to multiplicative growth.
Mangum illustrates the potential of presales with three scenarios while outlining ways leaders can help executives increase their productivity.
As EU’s VAT reform ramps up, marketplaces must focus on compliance to avoid tax risk
The EU’s value added tax reform for e-commerce has significant implications for marketplaces, and companies like Amazon may be liable for hefty tax fines if they don’t comply with the new regulations, writes Roger Gothmann, co-founder and CEO at Taxdoo.
The reform mandates that marketplaces must determine the VAT due for every transaction made on their platform, and establish related processes.
Filing VAT is also more complex now, as different countries have their own local VAT procedures alongside the new ones introduced by the reform.
Gothmann takes us on a deep dive of the VAT reform and the financial and legal risks e-commerce marketplaces face if they don’t hurry up to comply with the new laws.
The macro trends forcing change on the investment management industry
Investment management is set to see drastic changes as women and millennials increase their share of the asset ownership pie, write David Teten, founder of Versatile VC, and Katina Stefanova, CIO and CEO of Marto Capital.
The authors also detail other trends such as geopolitical risk, recessions, the changes brought about by tech and innovation, and how today’s investors are more aware of market risks than their older counterparts.
“VCs tout our industry as frontier technology investors, but many of us are using the same infrastructure tools we have used for the past 20+ years.”