The cult of the founder and Silicon Valley’s lack of moral authority

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

This week Kate and Alex were back at TechCrunch’s San Francisco headquarters to chat the news with Kleiner Perkin’s Mamoon Hamid. Hamid is best known as a former member of the Social Capital team, and for driving generational change at Kleiner Perkins, a decades-old venture capital firm.

While we were prepping our notes, Airbnb announced that it is indeed going public next year. The firm’s terse statement launched 1,000 blog posts (here is one, here is another), while instigating a few jokes. After all, the IPO market is hot now. Saying that you are going to try your best to get out next year isn’t incredibly impressive from a firm with as many billions as Airbnb is today. It’s also not at all surprising.

Still, it’s a near-promise. And that means eventually we’ll get to see what the popular home-sharing and accommodations company spends all its gross margin on. Moving along, we discussed the recent WeWork revelations. If you haven’t read the Wall Street Journal’s piece on the matter, you must. It is chock-full of colorful anecdotes with WeWork’s co-founder and CEO Adam Neumann front and center.

Next, we got into the news concerning a split at Aspect Ventures, which TechCrunch covered here. We had heard rumors about the split, first reported by The WSJ, for a few weeks now and were interested to discuss what drives these sort of shake-ups with our guest.

Scooting ahead, we turned to the early-stage market where quite a few of you, our lovely friends, have asked us to spend more time. So, we talked at length about D2C startups, including the new, and we think cool Thingtesting business. You can check out their Instagram, the focal point of their business, here. Despite enjoying Thingtesting, Kate and Mamoon are bearish on the D2C movement.

All that and we had a good time. Sorry about the lack of donut continuity in the video. We’re back next week with more, and we’ll see everyone at Disrupt in two weeks!

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

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