We can’t shut up about mergers and acquisitions | 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 January 24th 20 2024 This is Alex Welcome to our Wednesday Show where we dig into the critical Startup and Venture Capital stories from The week thus far as a reminder this is Our newly revamped Wednesday show format So if you have comments or feedback send Them in to equity pod tuck run.com we Are always listening we want you to get What you need and speaking of things That you're going to get well on the Show today we have Artis ai's New Capital round and what that says about Consumer demand for AI products built Rewards massive new round that I wish Had existed back when I was renting and How KD is taking on conva then we have a Handful of smaller items including what Bulk exchange is up to and then we'll Wrap up the Pod today with a couple of Venture capital stories including a new Fund from former corporate investors to [Music] Work first up RTI now this is one of the Many AI photo creation apps out there That let users generate photos of

Themselves it just put together a $6.7 Million seed round following what tech Runch calls AI selfies viral moment now Similar to other companies on the market Artist users upload photos of themselves To train the company's AI on their own Images and then use a text or image Prompt to essentially create new photos Of themselves across various settings Postures and styles so if you really Want to be Napoleon in space well maybe You can Given how many of these Services there Are out there what makes artist Different well Tech runch writes that Unlike its competition the company's Service is a bit more focused on making Images that are quote photo realistic Essentially so they could stand in for Professional photography if required There is of course as with all things in Life a trade-off with Sarah Perez Reporting that training artist takes Longer than some of its competitors Thinking 30 40 minutes though the AI Images that it produces actually only Take a couple of minutes to put out the Company says that this system allows it To produce more realistic images than Some of its competitors in the market Though of course I need to test that out To actually verify it but what I care About a whole lot more in this context Is that there does seem to be enough

Consumer demand for services like RTI And its competition that many of them Can do well at the same time that bodess Well I think for overall consumer AI Demand RIT large which is bullish for All startups given how many of them want To use AI to reach new customers in the Case of RTI the app has been downloaded Over 200,000 times to date and the Company claims that its images have been Seen by something like 43 million people Across social media whatever on that Point what I care about is that download Number now a few hundred, downloads is a Start but it's a pretty good number for Rtists because they have shown an Ability to convert those folks to paying Users the company charges power users Between $7 and $40 per month for its Service and has converted enough of Those free users thus far to paid Accounts that it claims to have tripled Its Revenue to a million dollar worth of ARR in December and to be on track to 2 And a half million worth of ARR this Month that's not bad frankly at that Clip it could easily clear 10 million Worth of ARR this year and put itself on A firm footing to build something truly Huge down the road moving along one beef That I have long had with paying rent Apart from actually paying rent is that You mostly can't use your credit card so You mostly can't get points from that

Activity well it turns out that my Annoyance is actually a massive massive Business built rewards just raised $200 Million at a $3.1 billion valuation Effectively doubling its prior price in The transaction and the company built That's BT offers a debit card and rewards for Users who pay rent especially so when They do so inside a network of property Management companies that built itself Works with the model seems to be working In a written statement built said that Its annualized member spend is nearing $20 billion and that it reached iida Profitability last year I guess if you Want to raise nine figures and double Your valuation being profitable doesn't Hurt when you're growing at the time of Its preceding funding round the Company's loyalty program and payment Platform had been rolled out to more Than 2 and A5 million apartment units Today that number is up to nearly 4 Million so good growth there the lesson For me is that whenever you have Something that annoys you there may be a Massive startup possibility in the wings Uh where was built when I was paying More than a third of my gross income in Rent in San Francisco little did I know That annoyance was really the seed of a Unicorn to come anyways built has now Raised more than $400 million to date

And is a Fint tag success story in 2024 the third most important round I Think that we've seen thus far this week Is from Berlin based KD that's k i TTL And it just put together $36 million That's the boring bit what's cool is That KD is building what techren Describes as a quote graphic design tool That you can use in your web browser Without having to install an app Webbased no app Swoon that is music to My ears especially in the current ERA When Apple is having beef with every Developer on the face of the world but Where does K fit into the market today Which is replete with Graphics handling Tools Raman da writes for us that quote K essentially wants to nail down the Middle of the market the company is Trying to build a design tool that is More powerful than canva and that Doesn't carry all the legacy of adobe's Applications and it does offer free Accounts although of course you have to Pay for all access to its features Premium prosumer web apps how Delightfully retro and cool and because KD is based in Berlin this is also Another round based in Europe it seems Very busy over there to start 2024 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 Today before we scoot on to venture Capital news a couple more rounds the First of which is bulk exchange which Just raised $4.5 million I actually Wrote up this story and I wanted to Cover the company because we don't talk About its space very often now in this Case bulk exchange is building a Construction bulk material purchase and Disposal platform and given how big the Market is for sand and gravel and the Like I think it's a neat company it's Tackling an industry that could use a Digital tool to help it get off of Physical paper and I mean that literally The company's CEO told me that today Purchasing sand and gravel and getting Rid of things like old concrete

Currently involves three ring binders Phone calls and personal relationships So it's a big Market that's currently Stuck in the stone ages great place for A startup to close out our startup Coverage this morning I am still chewing On the fact that Indian edtech giant BYU Is looking to raise Capital at a $2 Billion price tag now for many companies That will be a victory hey we're going To raise it a$2 billion valuation huzzah For Baus talk about a fall from grace it Was once worth $22 billion for reference So 2 billion uh when you measure down is Pretty small elsewhere it does seem that Edtech is having a pretty rough go of it In recent years now I personally don't Know what could shake up that Dynamic Apart from I don't know another covid God forbid but it does seem seem from my End to be hard times out there for Education focused Tech shops we also Recently talked to a bunch of VC's about Edte more about that on Friday there's Still some optimism out there but when I Look at the news it's hard to find a lot Of positive Signals turning to venture capital land Who knew that m&a was going to be the Thing we couldn't shut up about well General Catalyst which recently bought a Hospital is also contemplating buying And I quote an India focused VC as part Of efforts to expand its presence in the

Fast growing South Asian startup Market That's according to Tech runch please Keep in mind that General Catalyst also Recently bought a health group so it Owns hospitals why not also buy a VC out Of India and after working together at Zrock corpse corporate Venture Capital Arm z-rock Ventures that's an Innovative Name Chris Fischer Tim Chiang and Dean May have formed Myriad Venture Partners They they have thus far secured $100 Million worth of capital commits for Their first fund which is targeting $200 Million in total we'll see how close to That they get but all I can say is this New funds in this economy I kid it Actually makes pretty good Sense closing out you may have noticed That the brex story was not on the Podcast today brex of course had layoffs And some financial news that dropped It's been a big week for the fintech Giant well that's because we are saving Bre for our Friday Roundtable news Roundup because we'll have Maryann on And MaryAnn is our fintech Guru so we're Going to hold that story for Friday but We are back in just 2 days time in the Meantime if you need even more from the Equity crew well we are Equity pod over On X and threads or if you're into short Form video we're also Tech runch pods Over on Tik Tok all right we'll talk to You soon bye

Everybody Equity is hosted by myself Editor-in chief of tech run plus Alex Wilhelm and Tech rench 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 manages Tech Rench audio products thank you so much For listening and we'll talk to you next Time

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