OpenAI board member Bret Taylor’s new AI startup | Equity Podcast

This episode is sponsored by Morgan Stanley atwork visit morganstanley.com Assessment to get your free transaction Readiness assessment [Music] Today hello and welcome back to equity The Tech runch podcast where we unpack The numbers and the Nuance behind the Headlines today is February 14th 2024 Happy Valentine's Day I hope you're Going to eat some chocolate and chill on The couch because you deserve it but This is Alex and this is our Wednesday Show where we dig into the critical Startup and Venture Capital stories from The week thus far on the pond today an Absolute killer list of stuff I can't Wait to talk about this we're going to Start with Brett Taylor's new startup Sierra why floi wants to combine people And Tech then we have Venture Capital Rounds from Bold and antithesis and We'll close our startup coverage by Asking why everyone wants me to eat more Mushrooms then in the Venture Corner we Have news from Homebrew Foundry and the Latest from Europe let's Go so to kick off our startup coverage Today I want to talk about someone who May be best known for his work in big Tech that's Brett Taylor he's the former Google Maps dude he founded friendfeed And then became Facebook CTO then he Founded quip and then became

Salesforce's co-ceo and he's a former Board member over Twitter and currently Sits on the board of open Ai and he's Building a new company called Sierra so What is Sierra up to well it's building Conversational AI agents essentially Bits of artificial intelligence that do Stuff for end users like ask questions Or update their account and the AI agent Space is busy but Sierra has already Raised $110 million and put a product Out in the market so it seems that with Lots of capital early customers and Probably even some early Revenue Sierra Is making a play that's well backed to Dominate a growing software Niche but It's doing the work in more of a Hands-On way than I expected it's Creating software tools for its Customers instead of just offering them A big bag of things to put together on Their own the joke here is that if you Want to raise money today build an AI Startup but if you really want to raise Money today well build an AI startup While also sitting on the board of open AI for reports that Sierra is using both Closed AKA open Ai and open-source AI Models that it chains together to avoid Hallucinations and help its AI agents Actually execute tasks for its customers Chained llms that could be a Trend moving along floi I think this is An absolutely fascinating startup so it

Just raised $9 million from blumberg Capital but the way that it's going After its Market startup financial Management really has me sitting up so Today there's a big push to use AI to do As much of what humans can do as Possible as quickly as possible the Logic here is pretty simple computer Agents are far cheaper than human Laborers so swapping out the latter for The former just Mak sense from a Business perspective however floi is Building a software suite for startup Finances but is pairing it with a Marketplace of real humans who help its Customers with their books so it's Building software Plus Instead of software with more Ai and Frankly in this case I get it you don't Want your CFO to be a bot you want Someone who is grizzled experienced and Can give you that well-known CFO stare When you make a silly mistake or spend Too much money on your business trip Dinners so the company offers accounting Help a cfol like service and tax prep Assistance just with software and humans At the helm very cool but let's see how It scales and there was so so so much More this week I've had had to condense A couple of things but I want to get to More companies so let's start with bold It just raised $50 million and it's Working on payments in Latin America so

This is a big fintech round in a region That was once absolutely Bonkers for Fintech and given the Venture pullback We've seen in Latin America and in Fintech more generally it's cool to see Bold raise money for this project where It currently is bold is a welcome ray of Light then for a lot of other Latin American fintechs that are hoping to Raise more Capital themselves and if you Recall last Friday show we talked a lot About how Latin American startups are More efficient by several key metrics Than those in other regions so perhaps VCS here are seeing that and putting Their checkbook to work where it might Have the most Impact next up is a company called Antithesis it just raised $47 million For its automated software testing Service and I've picked this one because I think it's pretty cool the reason is Everyone agrees that software is the Future of the world but actually making Written code that is safe and secure and Stable is no easy task you can kind of Compare this to writing and editing you Need both to have a good final product So antithesis is building a bunch of Tools to help make code run very good if I can put it that way clearly it does Have a lot of competition especially in The world of startups but I don't think You snag this much capital in today's

Market if your numbers aren't topnotch So antithesis one: one And then to close out our startup Coverage why does everyone want me to Eat mushrooms it's actually getting kind Of weird this time it's a startup called Space Goods all one word it's a London Based Wellness brand that wants to use Mushrooms and neut Tropics to create a Line of powder Blends techr says that it Claims will enhance my energy relaxation And mood to which I can just say sure While other startups are using mushrooms To make fake leather protein focused Foods and energy drinks apparently Mushrooms can do everything and that Does mean that the folks who wrote the Expanse were right I guess we should all Be on the lookout for bottles of Mushroom whiskey which must be on the Way is your company planning to go Public or conduct a shareholder Liquidity program within the next 18 to 24 months did you know that proactively Planning for your next private company Liquidity event or IPO can help you Maintain greater control over timelines And outcomes Morgan Stanley at work Believes that when you have the right Technology and systems in place working In harmony leading up to a transaction You can prepare and execute with more Accuracy and ease visit Morganstanley.com

Assessment to connect with their issuer Strategy and Excellence team for a free Assessment to find out if your company Is transaction ready again that's Morganstanley.com Assessment to get your free assessment [Music] Today moving from startups to venture Capital our first BC story of the Morning is that Homebrew is targeting $50 million for a new fund so Venture Capital firm Homebrew you've probably Heard of it we've had some of the folks From there on the show in time is Putting together $50 million for a new Fund according to an SEC filing and this Filing actually comes as a bit of a Surprise because Homebrew said nearly Two years ago that it was pursuing a More stage agnostic and Evergreen model That would be funded solely by its Partners sa Pat and Hunter walk so what To make of this I have a couple of ideas It could be an opportunity fund perhaps Or maybe a very tailored vehicle for Larger follow-on investments in Prior Deals if Homebrew can sell fund its Prior funds have done very well so People might want to co-invest with it a Bit even if its main funds will now be Sourced internally anyways can you Imagine the lp meetings of a fund that Is entirely backed by its own General Partners it would go like uh hello and

Good morning how did we do this quarter Uh great okay meeting Jed but if Homebrew is reloading Foundry Group is walking away Foundry is an 18-year-old Venture Capital firm with Nearly $3.5 billion doar in assets under Management and it has quietly decided to Shut down and not raise any more funds And this move took Tech runch by Surprise because the firm announced a $500 million fund last year so over over The years Foundry has invested in more Than 200 companies and 50 Venture Capital firms and that's according to Its co-founder and partner Seth LaVine In terms of names that you know Foundry Has backed companies like Fitbit and Zinga but in a post LaVine wrote that And I quote while VC firms rarely make Decisions like this it's precisely what We planned to do when we started Foundry Back in 2006 from our founding we Intentionally decided not to build a Legacy or generational firm in a way This feels kind of refreshing do Something for a while make a lot of Money and then move on it feels oddly Clean especially because we have seen at Other Venture Capital firms a major Generational shift or Handover can get Messy but don't worry Foundry still has Money to invest from its last fund it's Just not going to raise Another and to close us out our own

Anaheim reports that Germany based early Bird Health has put together the Final Close of its second fund which is going To be worth €1 173 million or about 1885 Million us this is actually more than Twice the size of early Bird's First Healthcare focused fund which it very Creatively named Health one and was Worth about $85 million at its own final Closing so while both funds are similar In both thesis and Stage the larger Newer fund will enable early bird to Write larger checks who doesn't love a Bit more ownership And because early bir tends to invest Mostly in Europe including the UK its New fund could be good news for health Tech startups in the region many of Which are running low on cash after the Very public fall of tella Health company Babylon and that is our show for this Delightful Wednesday morning hugs to you We hope you're doing well we'll have More for you on Friday but in the Meantime we are Equity pod over on X and Threads and we are Tech runch pods over On Tik Tok in the me time I firmly Recommend you take a look at both of our Sister shows that's chain reaction on The Crypt beat and found talking to Founders about how they built what they Did all right this is Alex I'll talk to You soon Bye Equity is hosted by myself Alex

Wilhelm and Tech wrench senior reporter Mary an aeto we are produced by Teresa Loans solo with editing by Kell Bryce Durban is our illustrator and a big Thank you to the audience development Team and Henry pette who man Tech runch Audio products thank you so much for Listening and we'll talk to you next Time

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