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Exclusive: Making sense of the market right now with Danny Rimer of Index Ventures – TalkOfNews.com

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Making sense of the market right now with Danny Rimer of Index Ventures

#Making #sense #market #Danny #Rimer #Index #Ventures

If you’re feeling confused about the state of startup investing, join the club. Public company shares have been relentlessly hammered in recent months amid rising fears of a recession, yet startup funding seems as brisk as ever and, more surprising, to us, VCs are still routinely announcing enormous new funds as they have for many years.

To better understand what’s going on, we talked this week with Index Ventures cofounder Danny Rimer, who grew up in Geneva, where Index has an office, but who now splits his time between London and San Francisco, where Index also has offices. (It just opened an office in New York, too.)

We happened to catch Rimer — whose bets include Discord, 1stdibs, Glossier, and Good Eggs, among others —  in California. Our conversation has been edited lightly for length.

TC: This week, Lightspeed Venture Partners announced $7 billion across several funds. Battery Ventures said it has closed on $3.8 billion. Oak HC/FT announced almost $2 billion. Usually when the public market is this far down, institutional investors are less able to commit to new funds when the public market is down, so where is this money coming from?

DR: It’s a great question. I think that we should remember that there have been extraordinary gains for a lot of these institutions over the  last few years — call it actually the last decade. And their positions have really mushroomed as well during this period. So what you’re seeing is an allocation to funds that most likely have been around for a while. . . . and have actually provided very good returns over the years. I think that investors are looking to put their money into institutions that understand how to allocate this fresh new money in any market.

These funds keep getting bigger and bigger. Are there new funding sources? We’ve obviously seen sovereign wealth funds play a bigger role in venture funds in recent years. Does Index look farther afield than it once did?

There certainly has been this bifurcation in the market between funds that are probably more in the business of asset aggregation and funds that are trying to continue the artisanal practice of venture and we play in the latter camp. So in relative terms, our fund sizes have not become very significant. They have not grown dramatically, because we’ve been very clear that we want to keep it small, keep our craft alive and continue to go down that route. What that means is that when it comes to our institutional investor base, first of all, we don’t have any family offices, and we don’t take sovereign wealth fund money. We really are talking about endowments, pension funds, nonprofits and funds of funds that make up our base of investors. And we’re fortunate enough that most of those folks have been with us for close to 20 years now.

You do have quite a bit of money under management, you announced $3 billion in new funds last year. That’s not a tiny amount.

No,  it’s not tiny, but relative to the funds that you’re alluding to — the funds that have have grown a lot and have done sector funds or crossover funds — if you look at how much Index has raised [since the outset] versus most of our peers, it’s actually a very different story.

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How much has Index raised over the history of the firm?

We should check. I wish I could have the exact number at the tip of my tongue.

It’s sort of refreshing that you don’t know. Are you in the market now? It does feel like it’s been one year on and one year off in terms of fundraising for most firms, and that this isn’t changing.

We’re not in the market to fundraise. We are obviously in the market to invest.

We’re starting to see a lot of companies reset their valuations. Are you having talks with your portfolio companies about doing the same?

We’re having all types of discussions with companies within our portfolio; nothing is off the table. We absolutely do not want to suspend disbelief when it comes to the realities of the situation. I wouldn’t say that it’s an umbrella discussion that we’re having with all our companies. But we consistently try and make sure that our companies understand the current climate, the conditions that are specific to them, and make sure that they’re as realistic as possible when it comes to their future.

Depending on the company, sometimes the valuations have gotten well ahead of themselves, and we can’t count on the crossover funds coming back . . . they have to defend their public positions. So some of these companies have to just weather the storm and make sure they’re prepared for difficult times ahead. Other companies really have an opportunity to lean in during this period and capture significant market share.

Like a lot of VCs, you say you’d prefer that a startup conduct a ‘down round’ rather than agree to onerous terms to maintain a specific valuation. Do you think founders have gotten the memo that down rounds are acceptable in this climate?

It really depends. I think you probably have some new funds that started during this period — you have some new sector funds — that make it complicated because [they’re] not investing in the best business. [They’re] investing in the best business, or trying to fund the best business, within that sector. So there are probably some pressures with respect to some of the VCs that’s being felt by some of the entrepreneurs.

I do want to highlight that not all companies need to take a cold shower with respect to valuation. There are a lot of companies that are doing very well, even in this environment.

Fast, an online login and checkout company, quickly shut down earlier this year, and Index was razzed a bit online for quickly removing the company from its website. What happened there and, in retrospect, what more could Index have done in that situation? I’m guessing your team had a postmortem on this one.

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I wasn’t aware that we took it down from our website. I guess it’s probably there but probably harder to find, is what I suspect. We do promote the companies that are doing great.

You’re right, we did digest it as a firm and really tried to take the lessons learned from there. There are a number of factors that we’re still digesting or we can’t know about but probably what was difficult during COVID was really evaluating talent and understanding the folks that we were working with. And I’m sure that my partners who were responsible for the company would have been able to spend more time and really understand the entrepreneurial culture of the company in a lot more detail had we been able to spend more time with them in person.

(We’ll have more from this interview in podcast form next week; stay tuned.)

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Exclusive: Efficient growth? No problem, bootstrapped startups say – TalkOfNews.com

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Efficient growth? No problem, bootstrapped startups say

#Efficient #growth #problem #bootstrapped #startups

Welcome to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s inspired by the daily TechCrunch+ column where it gets its name. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here.

Investors these days want to see not only growth, but also a path to profitability — and it isn’t always easy for venture-backed startups to suddenly correct course. But their bootstrapped peers have a leg up, a recent report shows. Let’s explore. — Anna

Cheaper growth

In 2021, Alex and I wondered out loud if startups eschewing venture capital could have it all. The answer this year seems to be yes.

Indeed, Capchase’s recent Pulse of SaaS report contains an interesting finding: In 2022, bootstrapped SaaS companies are doing better than VC-backed startups in many respects.

“Despite the war chest of funding that VC-backed firms raised last year, bootstrapped companies are doing better than VC-backed companies across nearly every metric we analyzed,” the SaaS-focused fintech wrote.


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Exclusive: My Favorite 4K Blu-ray Player Is $100 Off for Cyber Monday – CNET – TalkOfNews.com

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My Favorite 4K Blu-ray Player Is $100 Off for Cyber Monday     - CNET

#Favorite #Bluray #Player #Cyber #Monday #CNET

We’ve said goodbye to the Black Friday week, but we’re not quite done with the deals just yet. Cyber Monday is only a few days away, and the vast majority of discounts are still available, with a ton of new ones coming every day. One of my personal favourite deals is this price drop on the fantastic Panasonic UB820 4K Blu-ray player. It’s only $398 for Cyber Monday, down from its regular price of $500. If you’re someone who loves movies, both new and old, then you owe it to yourself to get the best possible movie-watching experience, something this 4K Blu-ray player can offer.

The Panasonic UB820 isn’t the most expensive player out there, but it is considered by the majority of enthusiasts as the Holy Grail of 4K Blu-ray players. Along with my LG C-series OLED TV (which is also on sale for Cyber Monday), it’s my favourite way to watch movies thanks to its support for gorgeous Dolby Vision HDR and immersive Dolby Atmos sound.

4K Blu-rays are capable of offering the best quality image, audio, and HDR for any movie that’s available on the format. 4K streaming on Netflix is only transmitted at 25Mbps, while a 4K Blu-ray transmits it four times faster. This results in a superior experience when it comes to every aspect of movie watching.

Another great thing about 4K Blu-rays is that old movies that were shot on 35mm film can be shown at their highest quality since first being projected in theatres. That’s because 35mm films can roughly be equated to 8K resolution, allowing them to be blown up to a huge size without losing image detail in the theatre. So if the original 35mm film negatives have been preserved and taken care of, studios can have the work done to make magnificent presentations on 4K Blu-ray. Some of my favourite 4K Blu-rays that exemplify this are Heat, Raging Bull and Casino — yes, I’m quite the De Niro fan.

Many companies and boutique outlets may also work with the director and/or cinematographer to create a presentation that matches their original intent, giving you an experience that’s as close to seeing it in the theatre as actually being there in the past. 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2022 sales

Looking for the best sales and deals right now? Check out our complete coverage:

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Exclusive: New EU legislation allows airlines to provide in-flight 5G connectivity – TalkOfNews.com

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New EU legislation allows airlines to provide in-flight 5G connectivity

#legislation #airlines #provide #inflight #connectivity

Something to look forward to: Airline passengers have become accustomed to either completely cutting themselves off from the outside world or paying additional charges for in-flight Wi-Fi access. But thanks to new legislation passed by the European Commission, passengers aboard European Union-based flights may soon be able to use all of their device’s standard mobile features while in flight.

On Thursday, the European Commission announced that EU-based airlines will now be allowed to provide in-flight wireless 4G and 5G access for all passengers. Once implemented, passengers can use their mobile devices in the same ways as any ground-based mobile network while in flight. Goodbye airplane mode; we can’t say it’s been fun.

An onboard “small cell” network established using picocells will provide the in-flight service. Small cells function as miniature, low-power cell towers that augment typical cell towers by filling in coverage gaps and offloading cellular traffic. The result is a broader, more reliable cellular network that delivers high data rates and easier deployments using simple, cost-effective cellular solutions.

Picocells are a specific type of small, low-cost small-cell technology that can support between 32 and 64 individual users while providing up to 250m in-network coverage. Their size and ease of deployment indoors or outdoors make them ideal for augmenting and improving the range within facilities and structures such as schools, shopping centers, and other small businesses. Once deployed to participating aircraft, the cells will route calls, texts, and other mobile data between the plane and ground-based mobile networks.

The European Commission’s Thierry Breton, a commissioner for Internal Market, sees the new legislation as a potential catalyst to drive new EU-based services and business growth.

“The sky is no longer a limit when it comes to possibilities offered by super-fast, high-capacity connectivity,” Breton said.

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The push to expand 4G and 5G access will likely extend beyond air travel. The Commission also amended a decision on 5GHz, making the bands available for use in cars, buses, and other forms of transportation. The amendment to the implementing decision says that Member States shall make the 5GHz frequency bands available for use aboard road vehicles no later than June 2023.

Image credit: Airplane mode by Sten Ritterfeld, small cell diagram from rfpage.com


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