VCs bet on cannabis vaping, ED meds and mobile fertility clinics – TechCrunch

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Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week was a bit of a reunion with Kate and Alex on as usual, with the addition of Extra Crunch denizen extraordinaire Danny Crichton. Danny, you may recall, has been a semi-regular Equity co-host over the past year.

As Kate explains up front, Equity is out a day early this week due to the Big TechCrunch Robotics Affair in Berkeley today. We’ll be back on Friday with IPO news regarding Zoom and Pinterest, and we can’t wait.

OK, all that sorted, what did we talk about? Alex wanted to talk about some market signals that he reads as bullish. Whatever went wrong at the end of 2018 has healed over, he thinks, because there have been a whole lot of supergiant venture capital rounds and some other stuff.

Next, we gave an example of one of those supergiant rounds in the works. The reported Pax round, which could put $400 million into the cannabis vaping company, intrigues us, especially because Pax is the corporate sibling of JUUL, the now-famous e-cigarette company what sold just over a third of itself for nearly $13 billion last year. A truly staggering deal.

Then we turned to Brex, the fintech startup that was back in the news this week. Why? Because it raised a $100 million debt round as startups of that sort do. Brex provides a credit card made specifically for startups that require no personal-guarantee. Yeah, risky, we know. We talked about that risk and Brex’s plan to target Fortune 500 business in the future.

Rounds for Ro, Kindbody and Carrot Fertility made it a busy week for healthtech, too. Ro is raising at a $500 million valuation to support its three digital health brands: Roman, Rory and Zero. Meanwhile, a pair of fertility startups, Kindbody and Carrot, brought in $15 million and $11 million, respectively.

With Danny back on the show, we extended our reach and discussed the latest in the chip and sensor world. NXP, fresh off a failed, multi-billion-dollar exit to Qualcomm, put money into Hawkeye Technology, a China-based company working in the car sensor space. Equity’s regular hosts mostly nodded as Danny dropped a lot of knowledge.

All that and we had some fun. We’ll be back before you know it.

Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercast, Pocket Casts, Downcast and all the casts.





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