TC+ Roundup: Amazon is not the AI leader

Amazon has been No. 1 in the cloud for years, ever since it invented the concept in 2006. But now the company finds itself in a spot it might not be used to: playing catch-up to Microsoft when it comes to AI.

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Microsoft has hitched its wagon to OpenAI, and Amazon is betting on Bedrock. Not to mention what Microsoft has done with Copilot versus Amazon’s Q debut. AI is still a nascent technology, and enterprise buyers are going to shop around, avoiding vendor lock-in, just as they have in the cloud. But for now, it seems, “Microsoft seems to have won the perception battle,” writes TechCrunch’s Ron Miller.

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VC Office Hours: Unlocking the Farmers’ Market with Black Farmer Fund

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Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

Investors love agtech and have been pumping money into the sector for years. But according to Crunchbase, $98.6 million out of $39.4 billion has gone to just five Black-owned agtech companies since 2018. To help combat these inequalities, Black Farmer Fund is raising its second round targeting $20 million to offer economic and social opportunity to Black farmers and agricultural and food businesses in the Northeast, reports Dominic-Madori Davis.

Betting on beauty fads is big business

med spa, startup, RepeatMD

Image Credits: PM Images / Getty Images

Medical spas are projected to be a $30 billion business by the end of this decade, and investors and private equity firms are starting to take note. But TechCrunch+ senior reporter Rebecca Szkutak wonders: How are investors thinking about the risks?

“The success of these businesses is entirely based on the strength of underlying beauty fads and largely whatever unrealistic beauty standards consumers are currently trying to achieve,” she writes.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Scalestack’s $1M AI sales tech seed deck

Scalestack closed its $1 million round using 18 slides. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise, as it has three things going for it, writes Haje Jan Kamps: a killer team, impressive traction, and a customer testimonial to die for.

But even still, it’s missing some pretty crucial information.

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The most important metrics for SaaS funding in 2024

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Image Credits: Ong-ad Nuseewor (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

TAM (total addressable market) and revenue growth just don’t cut it anymore when it comes to predicting the viability of a startup, says Capchase CEO and co-founder Miguel Fernandez. Companies are focusing on sustainable growth, and for SaaS companies, that means one thing: product scalability. And that’s not measured by just one metric.

Negotiating cross-border investments: Insights from a seasoned investor

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Image Credits: Tim Robberts (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

It’s easy to give away 30% or 40% of equity in early stages of fundraising, especially when desperate for funding. H2O Capital Innovation co-founder and general partner Daniel Lloreda writes that it’s often even more difficult to find reasonable terms when doing cross-border investing.

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