Inspirations

  • The DL on CockroachDB

    As college students at Berkeley, Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis created a successful open-source graphics program, GIMP, which got the attention of Google. The duo ultimately joined Google, and even personally got kudos from Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Kimball and Mattis quickly rose to prominence within the company, and then chose to leave it all behind to start what would eventually become CockroachDB. Years later, Cockroach Labs has over 250 employees and has received investments from the likes of Benchmark, GV, Index Ventures and Redpoint totaling more than $350 million, according to Crunchbase. The company is now on route to what some think is an “inevitable IPO.” The story of CockroachDB, from its origin to its future, was told in a four-part series in our latest EC-1:  Origin story “CockroachDB, the database that just won’t die” (2,100 words/8 minutes) Technical design “How engineers fought the CAP theorem in the global war on latency” (2,400 words/10 minutes) ...

  • Should we be worried about insurtech valuations?

    Welcome back to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s inspired by what the weekday Exchange column digs into, but free, and made for your weekend reading. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here. Hello everyone, I hope you had a lovely week. I turned 32 after experiencing sleep-destroying heartburn. So, a little good and a little bad. But that didn’t stop the markets. Nope. Not a bit. Which means we have a lot to talk about, including falling insurtech stocks and what the situation might mean for startups, and a raft of IPOs. This will be fun! Before we get into the nitty-gritty of our chats with newly public companies Kaltura, Couchbase and Enovix, let’s talk insurtech. In the last year or so we’ve seen a number of insurtech startups go public, including Root (auto insurance), Metromile (car insurance), and Lemonade (rental insurance). Here’s a quick digest of how their performance looks today: Root: $7.72 per share, 71.4% down ...

  • China Roundup: Kai-Fu Lee’s first Europe bet, WeRide buys a truck startup

    Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch’s China Roundup, a digest of recent events shaping the Chinese tech landscape and what they mean to people in the rest of the world. Despite the geopolitical headwinds for foreign tech firms to enter China, many companies, especially those that find a dependable partner, are still forging ahead. For this week’s roundup, I’m including a conversation I had with Prophesee, a French vision technology startup, which recently got funding from Kai-Fu Lee and Xiaomi, along with the usual news digest. Spotting opportunities in China Like many companies working on futuristic, cutting-edge tech in Europe, Prophesee was a spinout from university research labs. Previously, I covered two such companies from Sweden: Imint, which improves smartphone video production through deep learning, and Dirac, an expert in sound optimization. The three companies have two things in common: They are all in niche fields, and they have all found eager customers in ...

  • This Week in Apps: Clubhouse opens up, Twitter talks bitcoin, Snap sees record quarter

    Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy. The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app usage surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re also a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in capital into mobile companies — a figure that’s up 27% year-over-year This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place with the latest from ...

  • Sequoia’s Mike Vernal outlines how to design feedback loops in the search for product-market fit

    Sequoia’s Mike Vernal has worn many hats. He was VP of product and engineering at Facebook for eight years before getting into investment. His portfolio includes Houseparty, Threads, Canvas, Citizen, PicsArt and more, and he continues to invest in companies across a broad spectrum of stages and verticals, including consumer, enterprise, marketplaces, fintech and more. Vernal joined us at TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing and Fundraising earlier this month to discuss how founders should think about product-market fit, with a specific focus on tempo. He covered how to organize around the pace of iteration, how to design with customer feedback loops in mind and how Sequoia evaluates companies with regard to tempo. Be explicit and be greedy at every single step along the way about getting feedback. What is tempo? Vernal breaks down tempo into two separate ingredients: speed and consistency. It’s not just about going fast (which can often lead to some recklessne...