This Week in Startups

Jason Calacanis

About

Every day, Jason Calacanis and Molly Wood cover startups, technology, markets, media, crypto, and the all the hottest topics in business and tech. They also interview the world’s greatest founders, operators, investors and innovators.

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702 episodes

“Minions” record-breaking viral strategy, TikTok algo, reframing semiconductors & energy | E1500

On today's show, Molly and Jason catch up after the long weekend (0:00) before breaking down how the new "Minions" movie broke a box office record by using TikTok, catchy hooks, and viral marketing (5:19). They also cover TikTok dropping plans to expand its ecommerce platform into the US and Europe (29:52), before covering the "Chips Act" stalemate and discussing how we should reframe semiconductor manufacturing and energy independence as national defense issues (35:50). Links referenced in the show: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnhum.2021.578644/full https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2022-07-04/chipmakers-and-us-congress-are-playing-a-stupid-game-of-chicken

50m
Jul 06
VC School: What’s a venture scale business + Matt Duesterberg of OhmConnect | E1499

For today's VC Sunday School, Molly asks Jason about what makes a venture scale business (2:20). Then, for This Week in Climate Startups, Molly sits down with Matt Duesterberg, co-founder of OhmConnect (19:38).

47m
Jul 03
Crypto crash updates, Sequoia’s structure, $ZM product expansion, Starlink & more | E1498

First, we cover an update from the BlockFi CEO denying that FTX is buying them for $25N (2:33), and we have a couple more crypto quick hits (5:51) before we touch on Sequoia's largest investments being down 70% (34:01). Klarna is raising way down at a $6B valuation (45:23), Zoom is looking to expand beyond video conferencing, (54:50), and the FCC approved Starlink to supply internet to moving vehicles (57:40). Finally, Rachel speaks with co-founder and CEO of Stages, Jared Downing, for this week's OK Boomer (1:08:23).

1h 30m
Jul 01
FTX buys BlockFi for $25M, Sequoia raising $2.25B, AI Umpires for MLB, Substack layoffs | E1497

First, we talk about Meta’s new Facebook Groups overhaul that looks like Discord (2:35). Then we touch on Sequoia raising over 2 billion for its US venture and growth funds (20:31) and FTX acquiring BlockFi for $25M, 99% below their last private valuation (32:08). For our We Live in the Future, the MLB is looking to automate home plate umpires by 2024 (52:17). Finally, it appears Subtstack is making some cuts after saying it wouldn’t (1:04:48).

1h 19m
Jul 01
Downtown Josh Brown & Michael Batnick on Disney+, Peloton, Knicks, podcasting, markets, & more | E1496

Today, Jason is joined by the hosts of “What are your thoughts?” Downtown Josh Brown (CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management) and Michael Batnick (Managing Partner at Ritholtz Wealth Management). They discuss the Knicks (1:22), Podcasting (14:25), markets (26:20), Disney (37:52), and more. Finally, Jason takes some audience questions (44:50).

1h 9m
Jun 30
SBF buys the crypto dip, hedge funds short Tether, VC funding down, flying nuclear cruise mockup | E1495

First, we dig into the crypto contagion where FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is stepping in to backstop crypto lenders (2:56). Then, we check in on the billions of dollars sitting in SPACs- remember those (39:27)? We do a quick hit on the venture market drying up in Q2 (54:27) before we get into our We Live in the Future: a mockup of a SkyCruise luxury airliner that uses nuclear power and never lands (1:16:36).

1h 26m
Jun 28
Digital surveillance risks post-Roe v. Wade ruling with Legal Voice’s Kim Clark + PE firm acquires Zendesk for $10.2B | E1494

Today, we bring on Kim Clark, an attorney at Legal Voice, who reached out to Molly after listening to our shows last week that mentioned the impacts of surveillance on healthcare privacy, notably abortion (2:13). And in related news, today’s Startup of the day is Stardust, an end-to-end encrypted Period Tracking App (39:13). Then, we cover a non-Roe v. Wade story: Zendesk will be acquired by an investor group in an all-cash transaction valuing it at around $10.2B (42:45).

53m
Jun 27
How to co-invest with other firms (VC School) + Electric Sea Gliders: REGENT Co-Founder Billy Thalheimer | E1493

For today's VC Sunday School, Molly asks Jason about co-investing with other VC firms (3:11). Then for This Week in Climate Startups, Molly sits down with REGENT co-founder Billy Thalheimer to talk about the ins and outs of their electric sea gliders (29:46).

59m
Jun 26
Praying For Exits on Markets, Crypto, Startup Valuations + Anisha Sunkerneni of Cyphr VC | E1492

Today, Jason sits down with the anonymous account Praying For Exits — they discuss everything going on in markets, crypto, startup valuations post-crash, and even what was behind the All in podcast controversy (3:09). Then, Producer Rachel sits down with Anisha Sunkerneni of Cyphr VC to talk about NFT NYC and navigating tech events (1:13:30).

1h 42m
Jun 25
Obi-Wan finale + Healthcare’s hidden money pit with Capital RX CEO AJ Loiacono | E1491

Today we bring on Lon Harris to discuss the Obi-Wan Kenobi finale (2:23), then we do a quick hit on the FDA taking action against Juul (42:14). Finally, Molly chats with AJ Loiacono from Capital RX, who is laser-focused on increasing transparency in prescription drug pricing (55:26).

1h 41m
Jun 24
TikTok data security, the Chinese surveillance state, Amazon running out of warehouse workers | E1490

Today we kick it off with a discussion of BuzzFeed’s reporting on TikTok, and we debate if there are real risks to worry about here (2:04). Then, we discuss Amazon forecasting it will run out of workers in some of the cities it operates in (37:16). Finally, we talk about some of the ways we are reducing our consumption (43:55).

55m
Jun 22
NFT NYC, Solend takeover, Why Non-Finance use cases are the key to Crypto, Magic Eden & more with Vinny Lingham | E1489

There’s been some crazy news in Crypto, so we bring on Vinny Lingham, an early investor in Solana, who runs a startup that encrypts identity information on the blockchain called Civic. We dig into NFT NYC (8:24), the fiasco on Solend protocol (22:29), and how South Korean prosecutors have instituted a flight ban for employees while they investigate the $40 billion collapse (45:54). Finally, we talk about how, despite all of this, the Solana NFT Marketplace Magic Eden still raised $130 million at a $1.6 billion valuation (51:04).

1h 23m
Jun 21
When to take a meeting (VC School) + Fungi Flour: Hyfé Foods Founder Michelle Ruiz (Climate) | E1488

For this week's VC Sunday School, Molly asks Jason about when to take a meeting with a founder (2:20). Then for This Week in Climate Startups, Molly speaks with the CEO and Founder of Hyfé Foods, Michelle Ruiz (16:45). Finally, as we're off tomorrow, we wrap with a couple of Juneteenth book recommendations (44:17).

49m
Jun 19
Kraken CEO Jesse Powell responds to NYT hit piece and breaks down the state of crypto + Alexander Olesen CEO of Babylon Micro-Farms | E1487

Today, we recap the Warriors' finals win (2:50) with some potential takeaways for founders (14:00). Next, Jason speaks with Jesse Powell: founder, and CEO of crypto exchange Kraken, and they discuss the state of crypto and the recent hit piece the NYT published on him (48:06). For this week's OK Boomer segment, Producer Rachel sits down with Alexander Olesen, co-founder, and CEO of Babylon Micro-Farms (2:07:41).

2h 27m
Jun 18
Apple & Disney’s sports streaming strategy, Facebook’s plan to be TikTok, Obi-Wan, Star Trek | E1486

It’s Thursday, so we talk all about streaming with our guy Lon Harris! Spoiler alert as we dive into Obi-Wan Kenobi E5 (1:53) and Star Trek E4-5 (34:48). We cover Disney losing cricket streaming rights in India (41:44) and Apple acquiring MLS soccer rights (50:48). Finally, we hit on an internal memo that shows Facebook plans to be more like TikTok (57:17).

1h 13m
Jun 16
YouTube shorts vs. TikTok, Crypto contagion, Twitch ad changes, China found aliens? | E1485

First, we’ll dig into the creator economy: Youtube shorts almost has as many users as TikTok (3:06), and Twitch is changing how they pay creators (24:00). We quickly hit on some breaking news as The Federal Reserve approved its steepest interest rate increase since 1994 and signaled it would continue lifting rates this year at the most rapid pace in decades (38:20). The crypto contagion continues, so we’ll give an update (41:50) and discuss the full context of MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor’s Bitcoin comments in 2021 (54:13). And we can’t leave without talking about Aliens. China thinks it has a sign (1:16:24).

1h 25m
Jun 15
Coinbase lays off ~18%, EU crypto regulation, $NFLX & $ROKU ad-tech talks, Hallow prayer app, Prey laptop security | E1484

Today, we kick off the episode with Coinbase’s several hundred-person layoffs (3:23) and the EU’s crypto regulation in progress (23:15). We cover Netflix talking with Roku to help run its planned ad-supported tier (35:18). Our Startup of the Day is Catholic Prayer and mediation app Hallow, partnered with Mark Wahlberg for promotion (41:03). We’ll also showcase Prey, a company that helps protect laptops from theft, which our producer Justin should’ve used in his recent burglary (47:57).

57m
Jun 14
Crypto drops ~$200B, Celsius freezes, Binance’s BTC pause, Google AI sentience, Magic Spoon: DTC isn’t dead | E1483

On today's show, Jason and Molly cover crypto losing $200B from its total market cap this weekend (14:51) and Binance pausing withdrawals of Bitcoin for almost 4 hours this morning (29:53). We also quickly talk about a Google engineer claiming Google's AI chat bot has become sentient (38:15). For our We Live in the Future, we cover Amazon announcing drone delivery for later this year (48:52). Finally, we wrap on our Startup of the Day: Magic Spoon, a high-protein cereal maker (53:57).

1h 5m
Jun 13
How to value startups (VC School) + Creating Diamonds from Air with Aether’s Ryan Shearman (Climate) | E1482

For today’s VC Sunday school, Molly asks Jason about valuation- valuing startups (1:44). Then for This Week in Climate Startups, Molly sits down with Ryan Shearman, CEO of Aether, to talk about how Aether makes diamonds using carbon extracted from the atmosphere (37:22).

1h 10m
Jun 12
Disney’s ambitious streaming goals with Lon Harris + Dressd Founder Capri Wheaton | E1481

Today, Lon Harris joins for This Week in Streaming and we talk about Obi-Wan Kenobi Episode 4 (1:49), then we cover some Disney news as they fire their head of General Entertainment Content, Peter Rice (43:05), and enter a bidding war to keep their rights to Indian Cricket (48:30). We wrap with a segment of OK Boomer: this week Producer Rachel sits down with Capri Wheaton, founder, and CEO of Dressd, a peer-to-peer clothing rental service (1:06:37).

1h 34m
Jun 10
Twitter bots & Apple BNPL with Deirdre Bosa + Prediction markets with Kalshi CEO Tarek Mansour | E1480

Today, Deirdre Bosa from CNBC joins Molly to talk about Twitter’s plans to comply with Musk’s demands for data (1:28), Apple being its own bank for Apple Pay Later (17:15), and Facebook's parent Meta changing its ticker to META (32:19). To wrap up, Jason and Molly interview Kalshi co-founder and CEO Tarek Mansour, where they talk about Kalshi building the first CFTC regulated predictions market (39:11).

1h 30m
Jun 09
Amazon’s Dave Clark joins Flexport, Bird layoffs, Twitter’s bring-your-own algo, Multiverse, Ken Griffin gets into crypto | E1479

Today, we talk about Flexport Founder Ryan Petersen bringing on Amazon’s Dave Clark to be CEO (2:56). Then, we discuss Bird laying off almost a quarter of their team (17:32), and we talk about Twitter working on a bring-your-own algorithm feature (28:24). Our Startup of the Day is Multiverse, a startup building a pipeline of apprenticeships as a college alternative (37:47). We cover Citadel getting into crypto (47:25) and SEC Chair Gary Gensler hinting there might be some overhauls coming to payment for order flow (54:33). We end with a recap of Jason on Megyn Kelly’s show (1:00:10) and Kara Swisher leaving NYT for Vox (1:17:07).

1h 28m
Jun 09
Why BuzzFeed fell 40%, EU mandates USB-C, Lab-grown ear transplants, Tom Brady’s Series B | E1478

BuzzFeed is tanking- we talk about what it means for its employees and the company (2:07). Next, we discuss Uber Eats coming for GoldBelly (23:51), then we cover the EU mandating that USB-C ports be standard by 2024 (36:17). We close out the show with our Startup of the Day in the sports space (41:21) and a We Live in the Future in the ear transplant space (49:42).

1h 0m
Jun 07
Apple’s new releases, Twitter bots, Didi returns, Bad actors on Binance + Michael Shellenberger’s vision for California | E1477

Jason talks with independent candidate for California Governor Michael Shellenberger on what he wants to improve in California (2:57). Then, we cover Apple's 2022 WWDC (48:40). We cover the $2.35B of illicit funds laundered through Binance from hacks, investment frauds, and drug deals (1:27:25), and we touch on Elon Musk accusing Twitter of withholding bot information (1:37:24). Finally, we cover Beijing wrapping up the Didi investigation (1:41:11).

1h 52m
Jun 07
Markups & markdowns (VC School) + Coral Regeneration with Coral Vita’s Sam Teicher (Climate) | E1476

First, in VC Sunday School Jason answers Molly’s questions about markups and markdowns (1:35), then in This Week in Climate startups, Molly talks with Coral Vita’s Sam Teicher about Coral Regeneration (33:37).

1h 12m
Jun 05
Coinbase & Loom rescind job offers (strategies for managers & workers during a downturn) + OK Boomer: Mehak Vohra of SkillBank | E1475

Today we have a Warriors Game Recap (2:01), we discuss the new Apple emojis (11:29), and then we dive into more layoffs news: Coinbase and Loom rescinding job offers (26:34). Jason and Molly give tips on how to not get laid off (37:55), and then Producer Rachel closes out the episode with an OK Boomer segment with Skillbank founder and CEO Mehak Vohra (1:07:08).

1h 28m
Jun 04
Sheryl Sandberg leaves Meta + This Week in Streaming with Lon Harris: Obi-Wan Kenobi | E1474

Today, we dive into Sheryl Sandberg leaving Meta (2:14), then Lon Harris joins for This Week in Streaming where we cover Kenobi episodes 1-3 (12:36). We talk about Disney’s response to racism (26:54), where the Star Wars sequels went wrong (36:00), and the Depp v. Heard trial coverage (51:00).

55m
Jun 02
ESG fraud, Stripe & Reddit markdowns, Remote productivity + DroneUp Founder Tom Walker | E1473

First, we talk about Deutsche Bank getting raided by law enforcement for “greenwashing” its ESG funds (2:59), then we touch on Fidelity marking down its investments in Stripe and Reddit (17:00), then we discuss companies going back to the office over concerns about worker productivity (19:35), Jason explains how he’s collaborating with everyone on the team to increase productivity as we go into this recession (26:00). To end, we have an interview with DroneUp CEO Tom Walker where we discuss their current rollout with Walmart, the regulations that need to get sorted out, and how DroneUp is approaching safety (50:00).

1h 41m
Jun 02
NYT’s Glossier hit piece, VC winters, Activist CEOs and Podcast live events with Acquired’s David Rosenthal | E1472

Today, Acquired’s David Rosenthal joins us. We discuss their recent Climate Pledge Arena Show (1:37), the new fundraising environment, and what the best founders and VC firms are doing (21:29), and we dig into the New York Times' latest hit piece on Glossier CEO Emily Weiss (37:40). We wrap with an optimistic look at what Australian billionaire and Atlassian CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes is doing to take on Australia's biggest polluter (1:00:59).

1h 23m
Jun 01
Bolt layoffs, DroneUp, Lunar Outpost, $4.5B crypto fund, Ape theft + Diagram’s Jordan Singer | E1471

In today's episode, Jason and Molly cover Bolt's layoffs (12:11), Walmart's drone deliveries (17:02), Lunar Outpost's $12M seed (32:31), a16z's $4.5B crypto raise (44:07), and Seth Green's Bored Ape heist (54:40). Producer Rachel sits down with Jordan Singer, founder of Diagram, for this week's OK Boomer (1:03:54).

1h 33m
May 27