🗒️ Bankman-Fried's FTX Unit Buys 30% of Scaramucci's SkyBridge

Bloomberg: The venture capital unit of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX is taking a 30% stake in Anthony Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital.

SkyBridge has been wading deeper into crypto through direct token acquisitions as well as private investments in digital-asset firms, filings show. The new capital is intended to help SkyBridge’s growth, with a portion being used to buy $40 million worth of cryptocurrencies as a balance sheet investment, according to a statement released on Friday.

“After working with Anthony and his team following our SALT conference partnership, we saw there was an opportunity to work closer together in ways that could complement both our businesses,” Bankman-Fried said in a statement. “We look forward to collaborating closely with SkyBridge on its crypto investment activity and also working alongside them on promising non-crypto-related investments.”

Scaramucci, who is turning 60 in January 2024, said he intends to keep working but doesn’t “want to be a Shakespearean figure where I’m overly clinging to the firm,” he said in a Zoom interview with Bloomberg. “I’m thinking about the next decade of SkyBridge.”

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🗒️ VC Activity in AI and Machine Learning Declines Significantly in Q2: Report

Crowdfund Insider: Venture capital (VC) funding slid more deeply in AI & ML than in software overall in Q2, “falling 27.8% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) compared to 21.6% for IT more generally.” according to an update from Pitchbook.

Both deal value and deal count “fell to their lowest levels since Q4 2020, also lagging the rest of IT,” the report from Pitchbook revealed. Of the 70 product categories the firm tracks, “only 21 are on pace to grow in VC funding in 2022, driven by leading vertical applications including sales & marketing, information security, and drug discovery.”

The update from Pitchbook also mentioned that horizontal platform investment “is lagging, as outsized revenue projections face market realities, with AI-as-a service (AIaaS) investment on pace to decrease 87.7% in 2022.”

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🗒️ Bellwether-funded project tackles funding gap for female, minority founders

Washington University in St. Louis: In 2021, just 2% of venture capital money went to female business founders, according to recent reports. Likewise, founders identifying as Black/African American, or Hispanic/Latinx, each received just 2% or less of the total venture capital last year.

“This funding gap shortchanges not only underrepresented founders but also the vitality of the entire innovation community,” said Doug Villhard, director of Olin Business School’s entrepreneurship program at Washington University in St. Louis.

Developing policy-based solutions for the historically lopsided funding support available to underrepresented minorities and women will be the focus of a new initiative led by Villhard and scholars from Washington University and the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy think tank based in Washington.

The team has also recruited a nine-member commission — comprised of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and public policy experts — to oversee and guide the project while providing input and insight from the perspective of innovation practitioners. Together, they hope to address important questions such as: What are the root causes of this inequity? What impact does this have on the economy? What solutions can address it?

“Rather than simply talk about the past, this commission intends to identify meaningful public policy solutions to drive more equitable funding, unlock more potential and further spur our economy,” Villhard said.

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🗒️ Venture Capital Investing: What It Is and Where It’s Headed

University of Pennsylvania: OK, we’ve heard you and we just have to highlight a consistent theme – high school students have a pervasive entrepreneurial mindset. You tackle problems with innovation, and often take the steps to launch your own school clubs, if not outright entrepreneurial ventures, to put ideas into action. Vera H., a 14-year-old sophomore from Texas and Grand Prize winner of the 2022 Wharton Global Youth Comment & Win contest, says it like this: “The possibility of making discoveries, of creating something of our own; this is what drives us to our best.”

Fuel for Emerging Companies

While the passion oozing out of our high school program participants is an essential business trait, it is only part of the start-up story, notes Dr. Luke Taylor, Wharton’s John B. Neff Professor in Finance and co-director of the Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research. “To start a company, it’s not enough to have a good idea or good product. You also need lots of cash,” says Taylor.

A key source of that first-time funding is venture capital.

Venture capital financing is the fuel that drives emerging companies and ambitious entrepreneurs worldwide. Venture capital funds provide the capital – raised from wealthy individuals, and institutions like investment banks, pension funds and endowments – to help early-stage companies grow. VCs can also provide technical and managerial expertise to startups.

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