Wrapped Up: The Adobe-Figma Breakup

Crypto Startups: Emerging Stronger

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Less than a week ago, Adobe's CEO, Shantanu Narayen, was singing praises for the Figma acquisition. According to him, the proposal would bring benefits to users by further connecting two "adjacent" initiatives in terms of creativity and accessibility.

Regulators didn't quite see eye to eye. The termination of the deal was a mutual agreement, but it deviated from the desired outcome for both parties.

It remains to be seen if this will have repercussions in the near future, not only for the design software industry but also for the acquisition aspirations of other companies. This odd scenario will be marked as a peculiar precedent where, before the wedding bells could ring, a divorce took place.

Six bullets of updates

  1. Norwegian company Verdane jumps on AI bandwagon, snagging an 11% stake in Meltwater for $65 million amid valuation challenges. 🇳🇴

  2. Paris-based startup studio Hexa turns savior, launching Hexa Scale program to partner with B2B firms facing growth issues. 💪 

  3. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Princeton University joined forces to establish an East Coast AI hub, aiming to equip more than 61,000 state employees with AI skills. 🎓

  4. 2023 showcased noteworthy and intriguing deals. From a cyber brain to humanoid robots and an AI doctor, certain startups successfully secured funding. Crunchbase highlights a few. 🤖

  5. Mapping pro-TomTom teams up with Microsoft to roll out AI-powered vehicle assistant, upping the game against Google Maps. 🗾 

  6. Overwolf paid a whopping $201M to in-game creators. in 2023, a 25% rise from the previous year's payout. 🎮

Wrapped Up: The Adobe-Figma Breakup


So, this week, what seemed like a groundbreaking acquisition took another turn. Here's a quick timeline:

September 2022: Adobe dropped a bombshell, announcing a $20 billion deal to acquire Figma. It became the latest case to face intense scrutiny from regulators concerned about Big Tech acquisitions that bolster the market dominance of major companies or involve startups seen as potential rivals.

November 2023: The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) threw a spanner in the works, stating that the deal would harm innovation in software used by most UK digital designers, echoing similar concerns from the EU about potential reduced competition.

December 2023: Adobe announces that it will abandon the acquisition plan. Now Figma will receive a $1 billion cash reverse termination fee.

What else? The CMA has been in the spotlight lately due to its actions against high-profile deals, including Microsoft's $69 billion purchase of Activision-Blizzard. This outcome exemplifies how stricter scrutiny of mergers and acquisitions could derail opportunities for more startups.

Startup Events and Deadlines

  1. Financial Modeling Webinar | January 18, 2024 | Online

  2. Utah Tech Week | January 22, 2024 | Online/Utah

  3. Pitch Deck Design | February 13, 2024 | Online  

  4. SaaSiest Sweden | April 17, 2024 | Malmö, Sweden

  5. TechCrunch Early Stage | April 25, 2024  |  Boston

📶 Confluence.VC WeeklyWhere 10,000+ VCs and venture-backed founders get the news that matters.

Takeaways from this week’s podcasts

Gambin provide a look into the mindset and strategies that set successful and wealthy entrepreneurs apart. For example, he emphasizes leveraging tax credits and depreciation for significant tax relief, or utilizing industry-specific credits.

He also proposes a client retention strategy through personalized touches like gifts for clients' pets or children, or celebrating non-traditional milestones can make clients feel more valued and increase retention.

John Lee Dumas and Claudio Gambin on Entrepreneurs on Fire

Open sourcing models like stable diffusion have catalyzed a significant amount of research and progress in the field, underscoring the importance of making such technologies accessible.

There are substantial improvements in text-to-image AI, like the improved understanding and spatial compositionally provided by generative models such as stable diffusion. It still requires innovation to provide efficient data loading and processing, given the intense demands on computing power.

Andreas Blackman and Robin Rombach  on A16Z

Which of these startups would be considered a 'Seed Stage'

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These companies just raised money

  1. 🦾 Tome Biosciences secured $213 million. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz Bio + Health and Arch Venture Partners.

  2. 👾 Boston-based biotech firm Bicara Therapeutics raised $165 million in funding. This consists of a $108 million Series B round.

  3. 🛰️ True Anomaly, focused on enhancing space security and readiness through hardware and software systems, garnered $100 million.

  4. 🤖 Essential AI's recent $56.5 million funding round means nearly $65 million in funding from its foundation (this same year) to date.

  5. 🩻 Medical device startup Calyxo (California) secured a $50 million Series D funding round led by Avidity Partners.

Crypto Startups: Emerging Stronger After the Funding Challenges of 2023

Following a challenging period for the crypto industry characterized by institutional setbacks and dwindling interest from venture capitalists, there are signs of a turnaround. 

The recent upswing in Bitcoin and Ethereum prices reignites interest, and experts anticipate a more favorable environment for crypto startup valuations in the coming year. This shift comes on the heels of a pruning phase in 2023, during which less resilient businesses faced the impact of reduced token offerings and more demanding negotiations.

Who really owns your company?

Understanding stock, preferred stock, options, convertible notes, angel investing, venture capital, and other fundraising instruments can be truly overwhelming. This cap table template will help you plan and keep track of your equity and avoid a mistake that can cost you millions of dollars if you're not careful.

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