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  • 🚀 Keeping up with Carta 🟥

🚀 Keeping up with Carta 🟥

PLUS: Apple’s 2024 Rollercoaster 🍎

Hi Everyone. This is Take Off. We're like a hidden Easter egg in your favorite video game - surprising, delightful, and adding an extra layer of fun to your tech news consumption.

Here's what we're serving up today:

  • Keeping up with Carta 🟥

  • Apple’s 2024 Rollercoaster 🍎

  • Trending Tools ⚒️ 

  • Wednesday Wires 💰

Keeping up with Carta 🟥

VC Twitter saw more drama this past weekend than the Kardashians sisters. Now this ain’t SVB/SBF level drama, but still worthy for you to grab some popcorn and read on.

Enter the star - Carta.

The Protagonist

For those of you who don’t know what Carta is, they are Silicon Valley’s de-facto cap-table management software. The company manages the cap-table for around 40K startups

Carta started off in 2012 with performing equity management. But just handling equity was too small a dream for Carta. The company has been busy trying to build the ‘NASDAQ for the private markets’.

The Drama

The drama started off with a tweet from Karri Saarinen, CEO of Linear, which used Carta to manage its equity stakes.

Karri accused Carta of approaching its investors about selling their Linear shares.

Now, why is that a big deal?

Well, Carta is using confidential data about Linear’s investors to reach out to their investors to broker sales of Linear stock.

That’s kinda like if Facebook was selling your data for ads. But its product wasn't free, it cost you $20k+ a year and you still didn't give it permission to sell your data.

Not cool Carta.

The Aftermath

Karri’s tweet explodes, causing what must have been a total mayhem at Carta HQ.

This resulted in Carta’s CEO, Ward, to publish a medium article stating the company had decided to get out of the secondary stock trading business that facilitates buying and selling private startup shares.

The Big Picture

Carta CEO, Henry Ward had downplayed the effect of shutting down their secondary market trading business stating that it wasn’t a major revenue stream doing $3M compared to their Cap Table and fund administration business doing $250M and $100M respectively.

But But But. Just because this was a relatively small business for Carta right now, doesn't mean that it couldn't have become big.

Carta’s last fund-raise at a valuation of $7.4B was at-least in part based on the promise of secondary trading growth. 

So where does this leave Carta? Sure, it’s NOT a sinking ship. It’s become a crucial financial infrastructure for Silicon Valley. But its founder’s grand vision has been punctured by his own missteps. 

Apple’s 2024 Rollercoaster 🍎

“New Year, New Me” - a phrase that seemingly bounced off Apple’s stock as it decided to take a dive at the start of the year. The only direction it knew was down, that is, until recently when the tide began to turn.

A Bumpy Start

The year kicked off with Barclays looking at Apple’s stock and going, “Nope, not feeling like it.” They downgraded it, pointing fingers at the iPhone 15’s not-so-sparkling sales, especially in China.

Foxconn, a key Apple assembler responsible for around 70% of the tech giant’s iPhone, said that Q1 revenue would likely decline following what it described as a “flattish” holiday quarter.

And to add to the drama, The NY Times dropped a report that the US Department of Justice is sharpening its claws for an anti-trust lawsuit against Apple. 

Damn. That’s a whole lotta bad news to start off the year with.

The Comeback Kid

However, their shares rallied Monday to their first daily gain of 2024 after the company announced the Vision Pro mixed-reality headset. 

Why wouldn't they? People flocking to buy $3500 headsets surely aint gonna hurt Apple’s bottom line.

Closing In

While Apple has been riding the rollercoaster this week, they might want to have a look in the rear-view mirror as Microsoft has been slowly creeping up on it. 

The OpenAI investor who started the AI revolution last year has been ramping up efforts on all business fronts and could possibly steal the throne of the world's most valuable company in 2024. 

☄️ Asteroids ☄️

Twitch faces a 35% staff cut, axing 500 roles. This follows previous layoffs, leadership shifts, and operational woes. Twitch's South Korea service closes due to high costs. 📉🎮

Hyundai's Supernal unveils S-A2, an electric VTOL for 2028 city commute. A refined vision since its Uber Elevate partnership, it aims for FAA certification. 🌍🔋

Pennsylvania pilots OpenAI's ChatGPT for state admin tasks. Initial phase with Office of Administration, potential expansion based on feedback. They aim to enhance services, create clear policies, and assist in recruitment. 👨‍💼💻

🐰 Rabbit - AI-powered pocket companion

🎨 Addio - Create an estate plan over your morning coffee

📰 Rimo - AI’s article revolution

💰 Wednesday Wires 💰

Quora secures $75M from a16z for Poe, its AI chat platform. Poe's creator economy lets users monetize AI bots, attracting developers. Valued at $500M, down from $1.8B in 2017, Quora focuses on Poe's growth, integrating various AI models. 🤖🎨

Former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal jumps into AI, raising $30M for a startup focusing on large language model software. Backed by Khosla Ventures, Index Ventures, and First Round Capital, this marks a new venture after his exit from Twitter. 🌐💡

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