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Without a clear ask, your pitch deck is useless

You’ve brushed off your Keynote skills, you’re giddy that you’re finally going to be able to start paying yourself a living wage, and you are excited to start pitching your startup’s next round of funding to your investors. It’s heady times, for sure, but hit the other pedal there for a moment, friend — you may be forgetting something. After working with hundreds of founders on raising money — including the fantastically popular Pitch Deck Teardown series here on TechCrunch+ — there’s one slide that almost every founder gets woefully wrong. The slide is often referred to as The Ask . Or, as one investor friend calls it, the “what is my $10 million going to buy me”? slide. TechCrunch+ is having an Independence Day sale! Save 50% on an annual subscription here . (More on TechCrunch+ here if you need it!) The Ask is a sensitive topic to a lot of inexperienced entrepreneurs, which makes sense. Trying to right-size a funding round can be a little overwhelming, and there are a thousan

Equity crowdfunding appears immune to market volatility, on track for its best year yet

Equity crowdfunding — or community raises, as the fundraising platforms involved prefer to call it — has grown steadily over the last few years. Regulations governing the process continue to evolve in the market’s favor, and 2022’s venture funding pullback may be the final piece needed to quiet the fundraising strategy’s naysayers for good. This year looks poised to be monumental for equity crowdfunding, which entails raising capital through specific filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including Reg CF and Reg A , from a mix of investors that don’t have to be accredited. Over the past few years, equity crowdfunding has shed much of the stigma that used to imply that only companies that weren’t good enough for VC raised this way. Some traditional VCs have even scouted on the platforms or encouraged their portfolio companies to pursue the process. But with the fundraising climate now showing cloudy skies, equity crowdfunding is getting ready for a field day.

Tracking Klarna’s plunging valuation

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Welcome to The Interchange! If you received this in your inbox, thank you for signing up and your vote of confidence. If you’re reading this as a post on our site, sign up here so you can receive it directly in the future. Every week, I’ll take a look at the hottest fintech news of the previous week. This will include everything from funding rounds to trends to an analysis of a particular space to hot takes on a particular company or phenomenon. There’s a lot of fintech news out there and it’s my job to stay on top of it — and make sense of it — so you can stay in the know. — Mary Ann A humbling time for Klarna Welp, I had a whole other topic planned for my intro today and then the Klarna news hit. In case you missed it, on July 1, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Swedish buy now, pay later behemoth and upstart bank is reportedly raising $650 million at a $6.5 billion valuation , giving new meaning to the phrase “down round.” The news was shocking, to say the least. Why,

The 2022 McLaren GT is a fresh take on a classic recipe 

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There’s a reason the term “daily driver sports car” exists. It’s because typically, purpose-built performance cars suffer from an inherent lack of usability: they’re loud, uncomfortable and they require pristine driving conditions. What’s more, they’re often bereft of the accessories we’ve grown used to, and when they’re included, they’re usually subpar.  These might sound like small concessions for the chance to drive a top-tier performance vehicle, but try spending upwards of $200,000 on a car that makes you miserable half the time. Thanks to improvements in technology and manufacturing, the line between sport and luxury is blurrier than ever.  Making fun cars more accessible is a good thing, but they should at least feel different from your daily commuter. Few modern sports cars distinguish themselves like this better than ones from McLaren Automotive, so much so that I was slightly worried that its latest vehicle, the McLaren GT, would lose those particular characteristics as a c

A USB standard for satellites? Slingshot 1 takes to orbit to test one

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Testing new satellites and space-based technologies has never been easy exactly, but it definitely could be easier . Slingshot 1, a 12U Cubesat mission just launched via Virgin Orbit , is an attempt to make building and testing a new satellite as easy as plugging a new keyboard into your computer. To say it’s “USB for space” is reductive… but not wrong. The team at the Aerospace Corporation that designed the new system makes the comparison itself, noting that the military has made several attempts to create just this with the Space Plug-and-Play Architecture (SPA), which became the Modular Open Network ARCHitecture (MONARCH), and the Common Payload Interface Standard (CoPaIS). But the approaches haven’t taken off the way, say, the Cubesat standard has — which, by the way, Aerospace also pioneered. The goal of Slingshot 1 is to create a standard satellite bus that’s as adaptable and easy to use as USB or ATX, using open standards but also meeting all the necessary requirements for se

Ring ring ring ring Solanaphone

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Welcome back to Chain Reaction. Last week, we talked about the NFT community being down bad but still down to party. This week, we’re looking at the desperation of web3 startups for a post-Apple tech industry. If you want to get this in your inbox every Thursday, you can subscribe on  TechCrunch’s newsletter page. crypto wants its own iPhone There are few consumer companies with a better reputation among users than Apple, there are also few “web2” companies that are more despised by crypto startups than Apple. We’ve talked a bit about Apple’s reputation in the crypto space over time. The App Store’s rules are pretty hostile to crypto and NFT startups, but it’s not the least understandable move for Apple which banks money on taking cuts of in-app transactions and justifies its monopoly by saying that they’re protecting users from scams and malware. Well, no one can argue that it’s simple to avoid scams in the crypto space these days, but life under Apple’s mobile empire is still

Notch will sell you insurance in case your Instagram gets hacked

Getting hacked sucks. It’s even worse if you’re a digital creator whose social media accounts literally pay your bills. When creators get hacked, it can mean that they aren’t able to post sponsored content, earn payments from badges or operate their Instagram shops — it’s debilitating, like if a chef broke their arm and had to cook with one hand. The Israel-based startup Notch is trying to see if insuring creators against Instagram hacks could offer a solution. Starting at $8 a month, creators can sign up for Notch’s Instagram account insurance, which means that if they get hacked and lose access to their account, the startup will pay them a stipend and help them regain control of their page. TechCrunch reviewed a sample insurance policy, which quoted a $459 annual fee (or about $38 a month) for insurance that pays out $244 for each day that a creator can’t get into their account after a hack. These daily reimbursements kick in after a 48 hour waiting period and max out at $22,000

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