Here’s everything you missed at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 – TechCrunch


Story by: Walter Thompson TechCrunch » Startup

If this headline sounded judgmental, I apologize.

We have just completed a three day virtual event that included discussions and interviews with some of the most notable people in the technology, media, government, and venture capital fields.

Even personally there is no way to completely absorb disrupt.

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I would normally use this space to highlight an article that we have published in the past few days, but our content management system is overflowing. Many reporters have submitted reports of the interviews and discussion boards they have had at Disrupt, and more will follow in the next few days.

When viewing the summaries below, please note that there is a video at the end of each Disrupt story that includes the panel and interview.

Thank you for reading and congratulations to the entire TechCrunch team for their excellent work!

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch

Duolingo doesn't want to disrupt the college degree

Photo credits: Bryce Durbin

Duolingo CEO and co-founder Luis von Ahn had previously appeared on TechCrunch Disrupt, but that year was his first representative for a public company.

A few months ago, reporter Natasha Mascarenhas called Duolingo's debut “Stage Edtech IPO of the Year”, so she was well prepared with questions about the company's plans to increase sales. For example, does the cards contain premium content?

"If we wanted to make more money in the short term, we could probably start paywalling, but I think that would stifle our growth," says von Ahn.

"If we start to bill for some aspects of language learning, at some point we will just bill for everything."

Here is a summary along with a video capturing the entire interview.

The complete package: How plastics and sustainability startups are successful

Credit: Cavan Images / Getty Images

The amount of plastic pouring into our oceans will triple by 2040, and most of the world's non-recycled plastic will be produced by packaged consumer goods.

As people try to minimize the waste they produce, startups are developing new solutions to help people and businesses achieve sustainability goals.

Editor-in-chief Mike Butcher spoke to:

Svanika Balasubramanian, Co-Founder and CEO, rePurpose Global
Brian Bushell, Co-Founder and CEO, of Humankind
Lauren Singer, Founder and CEO of Package Free

SEC regional director Erin Schneider talks about SPACs, Coinbase and what startups could do better

Picture credits: TechCrunch

Connie Loizos asked Erin Schneider, regional director of the San Francisco Securities and Exchange Commission office, about crypto lending and the potential for new regulations for SPAC companies and NFTs, but Schneider knew from the start that she was in its range was limited, one might say.

"She did, however, provide insights into her personal thinking on a number of these subjects which, given her position, seem very worth knowing," writes Connie.

Can the Road to Equitable Health Care Insurers Bypass?

Credit: Tetra Images / Getty Images

The US healthcare system is a controversial issue, an awkward truth that became apparent when Darrell Etherington hosted a conversation with Cityblock Health President and Co-Founder Toyin Ajayi, Carbon Health's Forward CEO and Founder Adrian Aoun, and Eren Bali .

"We keep saying that these companies are consumer-oriented," says Aoun.

"But in many ways, I think one of the things you realize is that when you go to bed with the insurance companies, whether it's a carbon or a city block, you end up at the end of the day [if] go to bed with the insurance companies, unfortunately your incentive is not basically to build a good consumer product. "

Darrell said, "Let's just say this conversation got hot – quick."

Peter Beck says Rocket Lab actively prepared for interplanetary missions "from day one"

Photo credits: Sam Toms and Simon Moffatt

Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck told editor-in-chief Devin Coldewey that his own ambition to explore and learn from space dates back to his youth.

“I always felt that if I had the opportunity to go into these stars and explore and perhaps ask or answer one of the greatest questions in human history: 'Are we the only life in the universe or not? & # 39; – I would take this chance, "says Beck.

The AI ​​luminary Kai-Fu Lee and the science fiction author Chen Qiufan predict the future in "AI 2041"

Photo credits: Jeremy Thomas / Unsplash

Where will today's technologies take us in the next 20 years and what will an AI-infused world look like around the world?

Sinovation founder and AI pioneer Kai-Fu Lee and the pioneering science fiction author Chen Qiufan (aka Stanley Chen) make an educated guess in “AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future, ”a series of stories and essays, the potential and pitfalls of AI.

After reading the book, Senior Editor Devin Coldewey spoke to Lee and Chen about how the collaboration came about, how their points of view agree and differ, and why they believe the future will be as they describe it.

Peloton CEO John Foley on the transformation of connected fitness

Photo credits: Peloton

Peloton CEO John Foley discussed broader safety issues with the category, noting that the unfortunate circumstances behind a recent recall forced the company to take a closer look at product safety and see if the company is maintaining its pandemic-fueled growth will reopen cities.

“We see a lot more people who get excited about Peloton and say, 'I'm not going back to the gym, the gym was a failed model. It was a failed contract between the member and the company and I actually didn't go to the gym. It wasn't comfortable, I didn't want to go somewhere and take a shower in front of my house and take that extra time off my family, ”says the CEO.

It turns out that fintech is worth as much as SaaS

Photo credits: Nigel Sussman (opens in a new window)

Alex Wilhelm has spilled a lot of ink on Toast's IPO in the past few weeks, but stuck with it Thursday, comparing the Boston-based software and payments company's debut to Remitly's IPO on Wednesday night.

Seattle-based fintech Remitly is like toast above the suggested range.

"At $ 43 per share, Remitly is valued less like a fintech company with gross margins in the 50-60% range, and more like a midsize public SaaS company with recurring revenue and net dollar retention north of 100% ", writes Alex.

"The lesson from today's public markets seems to be that revenue growth is more important to fintech companies than short-term margins, which enables them to achieve valuations that far exceed their ultimate private values."

Dear Sophie: What is the difference between IEP and the latest proposed startup visa?

Photo credits: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

What is the difference between International Entrepreneur Parole and the latest proposed startup visa?

Do you think the startup visa will become a reality? If so, when?

– founder of finance

Latin America's second wave of digital transformation

Photo credits: blackdovfx (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

"When we first covered LatAm's digital acceleration story in the Latin America Digital Transformation Report last year, we believed we were at the height of pandemic-catalyzed digital growth," Julio Vasconcellos, executive director Shareholder of the Latin America-oriented VC fund Atlantico, writes in a guest column.

"But with 2021 came all the effects of the second and third order crisis, which further accelerated continental technology expansion to a pace beyond all forecasts."

Vasconcellos breaks down the details from this year's report. Just one striking statistic: This year eight new unicorns were minted in the region, which by the middle of the year almost reached the rate of 2020.

What Canva CEO Melanie Perkins is looking for in a possible takeover

Photo credits: Canva

The design software startup Canva has experienced “overwhelming growth,” writes Managing Editor Jordan Crook in a summary of her conversation with Canva CEO Melanie Perkins.

With a new $ 200 million and valuation of $ 40 billion, could Canva use acquisitions to continue this explosive growth?

"As a company with big goals – empowering everyone in the world to design and, as a result, becoming one of the most valuable companies in the world – anyone who helps Canva 'Leap' in achieving these goals is particularly interesting as an acquisition target", wrote Jordan about her conversation with the CEO.

How Calendly builds a platform by making scheduling a central event

Photo credits: Calendly

Ingrid Lunden started with a simple question when she sat down with Calendly founder and CEO Tope Awotona: If the product works well, how do you take it to the next level – and frankly, why should you?

Calendly raised $ 350 million earlier this year at a valuation of $ 3 billion, but little has changed despite the infusion of cash.

“The question I had at the time [of that funding round] was, will the company take it as a distraction and fall in love with the publicity that comes with it? Or do we stay focused and continue to work hard for our customers and partners and for ourselves? ”Awotona says.

“Nine months later it is very clear that we did the latter. Our culture and values ​​have remained more or less the same. "

Microsoft is now more focused on killing Zoom than Slack, says Stewart Butterfield

Photo credits: TechCrunch

Slack founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield and Salesforce COO Bret Taylor discussed their $ 28 billion merger, how it would integrate the two companies, and the ongoing competition from Microsoft teams that grew faster than Slack and that Butterfield once did had said was "unhealthy obsessed with killing Slack."

"Over the past year, maybe even 18 months, Microsoft's preoccupation with Slack has shifted somewhat to killing Zoom because Teams is not really [be] that much of a direct competitor," says Butterfield.

Twitter's Rinki Sethi explains why CISOs win when security is a shared responsibility

Photo credits: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

When is the right time to hire someone to oversee a company's security efforts?

In an interview with security editor Zack Whittaker, Twitter CISO Rinki Sethi spoke about the modern role of chief information security officer and how the next generation of CISOs can stay ahead of the curve.

"I'm not going to be the security idealist and say that you have to invest in security before developing the product or the business functions, but I think there is a really strong balance," says Sethi. "In my opinion, if you think about building security from the start, you have a really strong competitive advantage."

There are many signs of a hot market like Freshworks, Toast-Price IPOs

Photo credits: Nigel Sussman (opens in a new window)

Alex Wilhelm couldn't be more persistent: the market is just so hot.

He backed this up with figures for the stock exchange on Wednesday and found that Toast and Freshworks were both above the increased price ranges per share.

"If you are looking for an indication that it is a good time to go public, this is the time."

For Bio NTech, the COVID-19 vaccine was just the beginning

Credit: selvanegra / Getty Images

BioNTech took a global pandemic to become a household name: the technology it had joined in meant that it “happened to be extremely well positioned to use its mRNA technology to fight the novel coronavirus, too because it had already done so ”. a partnership with Pfizer to develop a flu vaccine. ”

BioNTech co-founder and CEO Uğur Şahin spoke to news editor Darrell Etherington about the company's launch and “broader vision” beyond the use of mRNA.

"Ultimately, BioNTech's mission is to provide treatments that are optimized not only to the specific patient needs, but also to the time and place," writes Etherington in a summary for Extra Crunch. "All treatments in the company's pipeline are about refining the approach to disease control, making the process more like a metaphorical scalpel than a club."

"We can develop classic pharmaceuticals like a vaccine [in the case of COVID] but on the other hand we can really continue to follow our vision," says Şahin.

Seth Rogen explains how Houseplant promotes cannabis without breaking the rules

Photo credits: Houseplant

Many celebrities have turned their personal interests into thriving commercial interests: Ryan Reynolds owns aviation gin, Jessica Alba founded the non-gift goods startup The Honest Company, and George Clooney will sell up to $ 1 billion on his Earning tequila company.

That year, actor Seth Rogen co-founded Houseplant, which sells pottery, cannabis, and related accessories.

"We were selling housewares in all 50 states at this point," explained Rogen. "That's us who build relationships and trust with customers where weed is not yet legal."

In an interview with Managing Editor Matt Burns, Rogen, CEO Mike Mohr and Chief Commercial Officer Haneen Davies discussed some of the challenges of branding within a strict regulatory environment.

"I think the house and plant amalgamation will help us establish a brand name that goes beyond the restrictive restrictions you must adhere to for communicating cannabis," says Davies.

WarnerMedia's Andy Forssell talks about a fascinating first year for HBO Max

Photo Credit: Presley Ann / Getty Images for WarnerMedia

Nobody is campaigning for a global pandemic, but WarnerMedia launched HBO Max when US cities and states restricted face-to-face gatherings as COVID-19 spread.

The service appeared to be well positioned in many ways, even in a crowded sector. HBO Max brought decades of critically acclaimed series, paired with expensive purchases such as the back catalogs "Friends" and "South Park".

COO Andy Forssell joined TechCrunch Disrupt to talk about the fascinating 17.5 months of the service's lifetime to date:

"The initial effects were all negative, but I think we learned how to deal with them along with everyone in the industry," he says. “Everyone had to work from home. That was tough, although I think we made the transition better than everyone thought. At this point in time we were in start mode. "

How Ryan Reynolds Mastered Authentic Marketing

Photo credits: Guy Aroch

Most people know Ryan Reynolds from his films, but he also owns a controlling interest in Mint Mobile, a mobile virtual network operator that has grown by more than 50,000% over the past three years. And he also invested in aviation gin before selling it for a staggering $ 600 million last year.

He is also a co-founder of Maximum Effort, the marketing firm that touts the Deadpool franchise, Aviation Gin, Mint Mobile, and that viral advertisement that highlights Satan and 2020 as one in Hell made game shows.

He spoke to Jordan Crook about how startups can adapt his concept of “fast-vertising” to, among other things, use real-time cultural moments as a springboard for building their own brand buzz.

"When we go creatively and have an idea or take inspiration from something, we get quite aggressive with our excitement and try to make something contagious out of it," says Reynolds.

Latin America finds a champion in Marcelo Claure, CEO of SoftBank Group International

Photo credits: Bryce Durbin

Since first announcing that it was planting a stake in the region in early 2019, SoftBank has invested more than $ 5 billion in Latin America and expects that number to exceed $ 8 billion by year-end.

His capital contributions make sense. Startups across Latin America raised $ 5.3 billion in funding in 2019, according to CB Insights. In 2020 they raised roughly the same amount.

This year the pace of business has shifted at full speed, with $ 9.3 billion invested in Latin American startups in the first six months of the year. Marcelo Claure, CEO of the SoftBank Group, assumes that nearly 30 billion US dollars will be invested in the region annually through 2023.

“The world has finally realized that Latin America is great,” said the Bolivian native Claure this week at TechCrunch Disrupt.

Bootstrapping in 2021 is a long way

Photo credits: Nigel Sussman (opens in a new window)

Alex Wilhelm and Anna Heim spent a lot of time unpacking this year's staggering venture capital numbers, but they ended the week with a look at the value of startups avoiding VC.

"After all, not all successful startups are in a good position to go public, and we are facing an IPO jam that even SPACs cannot solve," they write.

“But financed unicorns cannot avoid it: They have to make liquidity available to their investors and it is too late to go any other way. In contrast, their bootstrapped counterparts have options. "


Story continues…

Source References: TechCrunch » Startup