Extra Crunch Live: Join Initialized’s Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan for a live Q&A on Tuesday at 2pm EDT/11am PDT

Extra Crunch Live is on fire, and the hits keep rolling! Next week, we’ll sit down with Initialized’s Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan. You can catch the chat live on Tuesday, June 2 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT.

Alexis Ohanian is the founder and former CEO of Reddit, and his investment portfolio includes Flexport, Ro and Papa. Garry Tan has invested in Instacart and Coinbase, to name a couple, and also has a background in entrepreneurship, having founded Posterous and Posthaven. Previously, Tan was a partner at Y Combinator for four years.

For those of you who aren’t caught up, Extra Crunch Live is a virtual speaker series that connects Extra Crunch members with the brightest minds in tech and VC where the audience has a chance to ask direct questions.

We’ll talk to Ohanian and Tan about how they’re advising their portfolio companies through the pandemic. Which startups should hunker and conserve cash, and which ones should sprint and advance? Is there a middle ground, and if so, what does it look like?

We’ll also discuss their outlook on economic recovery and opportunities that allow entrepreneurs to capitalize on the speed at which the world is changing. Which sectors are piquing their interest? Is Initialized going to invest aggressively in this ecosystem or be more risk-averse than usual? What’s it like doing deals over Zoom or Google Meet?

Extra Crunch members are encouraged to drop their questions in the Q&A chat for Ohanian and Tan. We’ll get to as many of them as possible, so please click here to join.

You can find the full details for our discussion below the break.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be chatting with GGV’s Hans Tung, Eventbrite’s Julia Hartz, Superhuman’s Rahul Vohra and Plaid’s Zach Perret. You can check out the full schedule here. Members also have access to the complete backlog of Extra Crunch Live episodes, which include chats with Kirsten Green, Roelof Botha, Mark Cuban and Aileen Lee.

See you there!

Statespace, the platform that trains gamers, raises $15 million

Statespace has today raised a $15 million Series A financing round led by Khosla, with partner Samir Kaul joining the board. Existing investors, such as FirstMark Capital, Lux and Expa, also participated in the round, as well as newcomer June Fund.

Statespace launched out of stealth in 2017 with a product called Aim Lab, which recreates the physics of popular FPS games to help players practice their aim and work on their weaknesses. Statespace was founded by neuroscientists from New York University, and goes beyond the mechanics of aim itself to understand and measure several parts of a player’s game, from visual acuity across the quadrants of the screen to reaction time.

Anyone from an average gamer to a professional can use Aim Lab to improve. But the company has other offerings, too. The company is working on the Academy, which will launch in Q3 of this year, and was built in partnership with MasterClass and a number of top streamers. Users can get advanced tutorials from these streamers, which include KingGeorge (Rainbox Six Siege), SypherPK (Fortnite), Valkia (Overwatch), Drift0r (CoD) and Launders (CS:GO).

Statespace has also partnered with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to develop the “Cognitive Combine.” Just like the NFL Combine measures general skills and abilities, such as speed, strength, agility, etc., the Cognitive Combine is meant to give a general assessment of a player’s skill in a game-agnostic manner.

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The company also works directly with esports teams such as 100 Thieves and Philadelphia Fusion, building custom data dashboards and products so those teams can get a deeper look at their metrics and build practice regimes around their weaknesses.

Statespace is also sprinting to make its products more available to a broader user base, including launching a mobile version of Aim Lab and introducing Aim Lab on Xbox, with plans to launch PlayStation support soon. The company also plans to launch support for 400 games next month.

Interestingly, the technology behind Statespace, which lets the company measure well beyond the kill:death ratio and look at cognitive ability, can be used for many other applications. The company has applied for a grant alongside several universities to work on a commercial application for stroke rehabilitation.

Statespace will use the funding to continue growing the team, which has doubled since raising $2.5 million in August of 2019. The company has also brought on a few notable hires from bigger companies, including new VP of Engineering Scott Raymond (formerly of Gowalla, Facebook and Airbnb), Jenna Hannon as VP of Marketing (formerly of Uber, Uber Eats) and Phil Charm as VP of Growth (formerly of Checkr, Gainsight).

According to founder and CEO Wayne Mackey, Statespace has 2 million registered users and 500,000 monthly active users, up 400% from January.

Boulder Care opioid treatment platform picks up traction during coronavirus

With the regulations around telehealth changing rapidly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, an opioid treatment platform with a digital component is finally finding a strong market foothold after facing a mountain of regulatory hurdles.

Boulder Care was founded by Stephanie Papes, a former associate at Apple Tree Partners. She first became interested in opioid treatment after facilitating the firm’s financing round with an organization called CleanSlate Addiction Centers, which focused on in-person treatment for opioid and alcohol addiction.

There are several options when it comes to opioid addiction treatment. A common one is replacement therapy via methadone, an opioid, which relieves the symptoms of withdrawal while blocking the high that comes from use of heroine and other narcotic pain relievers. There’s also in-patient treatment, which usually comes with strict rules around the use of drugs and sometimes even legal addictive substances like nicotine, with a very low tolerance policy for relapses.

In-patient treatment is usually expensive and not often covered by insurance, and asks patients to go cold turkey. Methadone, on the other hand, requires patients to come to a clinic at least once every day. Not only does that make it difficult to live a normal life, but these clinics are often targeted by drug dealers to poach clients.

Boulder Care looks at a different approach that uses a combination of telehealth services and a prescription drug called Buprenorphine (brand name: Suboxone).

Alongside a greater risk of contracting COVID-19, and having a more severe experience of the disease than those without addiction, addicts are also at a greater risk of overdose or continued use of opioids due to social distancing and increased anxiety and stress, two huge contributing factors to addiction, according to an article published by Harvard.

Boulder Care uses telehealth to offer patients a comprehensive recovery plan, including clinician support (for medical and medication needs), a peer coach (who has lived experience with addiction and can help talk through challenges and issues) and a care advocate (who helps with administrative needs around care and insurance coverage).

“It’s not 100% abstinence only right away,” said Papes. “It’s a journey, and every incremental step and savings for the health system is good for the individual. The work that we do, just by building that trust with our participants, telling them ‘we value you, whether or not you’re using substances, and we’re not going to kick you out of the program for having an unexpected test result on your on your drug test or telling us that you use methamphetamine.’ There are a lot of policies in some of these programs that just continue to put people in harm’s way. So residential facilities will say you can’t be here for your heroin addiction if you’re smoking cigarettes, and they’ll truly discharge you from the program if you smoke. It’s not beneficial for anyone. So, we have this clinical philosophy, it’s really important, and it’s all about unconditional support.”

One of the big challenges for Boulder Care and opioid treatment organizations across the country is the regulatory limits on prescribing Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist, which means it produces euphoric effects and respiratory depression at low to moderate doses. However, these effects are much weaker than a full opioid agonist like heroine or methadone.

Buprenorphine also greatly weakens the effects of withdrawal, allowing patients to try and stabilize their life and achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Unlike methodone, Buprenorphine can be prescribed by a doctor for use at home, rather than making a trip to a clinic, where patients must be examined and drug tested before they can take their dose. However, there are regulatory limits on doctors around the number of people they can prescribe Buprenorphine to in a given time period, and doctors must also pay to get training and a license to prescribe the drug.

According to Papes, this means 80 percent of the country who could benefit from a Buprenorphine prescription can’t get it. In fact, a HuffPost analysis showed that even if all the doctors who are licensed to prescribe Buprenorphine did so at the maximum rate in 2012, more than half of Americans suffering from opioid addiction still couldn’t get access to the drug.

Part of the reason that prescribing Buprenorphine has such strict limitations comes down to stigma, with many believing in the long-held misconception that replacing one drug for another isn’t the answer, and that abstinence is simply a challenge of mental willpower, negating the fact that addiction is a disease.

There’s no doubt about the potential efficacy of Buprenorphine. In 1995, France allowed any doctor to prescribe Buprenorphine without special licensing or training. About 10x the number of addicted patients began receiving medication-assisted treatments, cutting overdoses by nearly 80 percent in four years, according to the Atlantic.

Another requirement around the prescription of Buprenorphine is that the patient had to have at least one in-person visit with the doctor before they could get access to the medication.

That visit could be someone coming into a clinic or facility seeking to change their own life proactively. It could also be at the emergency room when someone is brought in for an overdose.

“It’s very challenging when someone has a tiny window in which they’re feeling like they’re ready for change, and you have to coordinate with another facility in order to get them into your care,” explained Papes.

During this national health emergency, that requirement has been waived, allowing for doctors to prescribe this medication without an in-person meeting with the patient. This is a huge boost for Boulder Care, which runs its business entirely via telehealth.

Since the start of March 2020, the company has seen 130% week-over-week increase in weekly inquiries from potential patients, and new patient enrollments is up 32%. During COVID-19, any patient who is uninsured or under-insured can get services from Boulder for free.

Boulder recently partnered with Premera Blue Cross, an insurance plan in the Pacific Northwest, to provide zero cost share options for virtual substance use disorder treatment, which will give 2.3 million customers access to Boulder Care through at least June 30. Cost shares will be waived for all patients seeking medically necessary telehealth treatment.

Alongside revamping the way patients receive treatment for substance use disorders, Boulder is also looking to change the payment model. Traditionally, the healthcare system remunerates providers based on admissions (and often, readmissions) without focusing on outcomes. Meanwhile, outpatient fee-for-service reimburses for clinical visits and drug-testing, rather than peer recovery coaching, 24/7 text messaging and same-day access, a few of the things that contribute to successful outcomes outside of clinical treatment.

Boulder partners with paying entities for ‘bundled’ services, charging a flat rate per patient without focusing on the volume of procedures. The hope, according to Papes, is to “realign incentives and tie payment to accountability for meaningful outcomes.”

Boulder Care has raised more than $10 million with investment from Tusk Venture Partners, who led the Series A, among others.

Extra Crunch Live: Join Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg for a live Q&A May 26 at 2pm ET/11am PT

Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, is a busy man. He’s also a business man. He’s a busy businessman, but has graciously made time to join us for an episode of Extra Crunch Live, our ongoing speaker series for Extra Crunch members.

We’re thrilled to have Vestberg as a guest on the show! The episode will air on May 26 at 2pm ET/11am PT.

Full disclosure: Verizon is the parent company to TechCrunch, which means that Vestberg is our boss’s boss’s boss’s boss.

Vestberg was previously CEO at Ericsson and joined Verizon as chief technology officer and EVP of network and technology in April of 2017. In June of 2018, the company announced that Vestberg would succeed Lowell McAdams as CEO of Verizon Communications. The promotion was made official that August.

Vestberg is unlike some of our previous guests on Extra Crunch Live — VCs like Kirsten Green, Roelof Botha and Charles Hudson and entrepreneurs like Mark Cuban. Vestberg is an operator at the helm of one of the world’s biggest corporations, and, as such, provides a unique perspective on adaptation strategies during the coronavirus pandemic.

Not only can attendees plan to hear about how Verizon is thinking both short and long-term about the effects of this pandemic on business, but also about how things are changing internally at the company, from re-opening offices to keeping morale high.

Vestberg leads a company with thousands of employees and can help founders understand how to manage a company at scale, particularly during a time when decisions are being made quickly and the stakes are high.

We’re also interested in talking to Vestberg about the company’s 5G rollout. 5G technology has huge implications for startups, especially as video conferencing and high-bandwidth communication formats become more popular in the midst of physical distancing.

Oh, another important thing! We’re not going to be the only ones asking questions. Extra Crunch members can also ask their questions directly in the Zoom call. So make sure you come prepared! If you’re not already a member, you can join Extra Crunch here.

Again, this episode of Extra Crunch Live with Hans Vestberg goes down on May 26 at 2pm ET/11am PT. You can find the full details below the jump.

Meet the 13 startups graduating out of Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator

While the world feels paused, in some respects, new startups are still cropping up like usual. Today, 13 companies are graduating from the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, based in NY, with $100,000 each in funding from the accelerator.

This is ERA’s 14th class, with the accelerator having launched more than 200 companies since its inception, which have collectively raised more than $500 million.

Let’s meet the companies:

Artists on Go is a marketplace platform that connects individual hairstylists with salon owners. Stylists can rent salon space from owners for $20/hour and keep the revenue they earn from their clients, rather than splitting it with a salon employer. Salon owners, meanwhile, earn revenue on their empty space when they don’t have clients of their own.

Coinapoly is an asset management platform that helps customers go from renters to real estate owners, by letting them buy a part of their home over time while offering better risk-adjusted returns to real estate investors. The company charges fees on managed homes.

FieldClix is a SaaS platform for remote construction projects, specifically tailored toward wireless, solar and broadband construction projects. With carriers pushing toward a 5G roll out, FieldClix allows workers to collaborate on project planning, field resource management, cost tracking, etc. The company has 30 companies on the platform right now, charging a recurring monthly, tiered subscription fee per licensed seat.

Hailify is a B2B platform that looks to utilize on-demand driver fleets during their downtime in between rides. Where drivers are waiting around for their next ride, Hailify offers them a last-mile delivery gig to keep earning even without a rider. Hailify charges the on-demand driver company, and pays out drivers for each delivery made, taking a percentage of each delivery that goes through the platform.

Hazel is tackling the female incontinence space with a re-engineered adult diaper, focusing on fit, function and aesthetics. The D2C business uses new materials and techniques to deliver a disposable product that looks and feels like real underwear. Hazel launches later this fall.

Mouth Off is a dissolvable gum that is meant to eliminate bad breath, not by simply masking the odor but by attacking the molecules in the mouth that produce bad breath. Mouth Off is plant-based and has no sugar or artificial ingredients. The company, which is launching later this fall, offers both a D2C subscription and retail options for purchase.

Nayya is an enterprise business that helps employers find the right health insurance coverage plan for their employees, using data to increase transparency and provide cost-saving insights and information around the doctor network nearby. The Nayya companion product lets employees enroll and helps them throughout the year as they navigate coverage, doctors, and supplemental coverage options. Nayya also offers payroll integration.

As parental leave grows as an important feature for employees and employers alike, Parento offers an insurance-based paid parental leave platform for employers. The company offers predictable pricing allowing for employees to take up to 16 weeks off, alongside offerings for new parent coaching and transition support. The company uses a B2B model, with pricing varying based on employee salary and the existing paid parental leave policy.

RillaVoice gives companies in real-world environments, like grocery stores, fast food chains, hospitals and brick and mortar stores the chance to record and analyze their face-to-face conversations with customers. Using lapel mics and machine-learning technology, Rilla analyzes these conversations to better understand customer experience, conversion, etc. in a way that’s secure, compliant and anonymous. Rilla charges a monthly fee per seat, which ranges from $50/month to $350/month.

Salusion is a SaaS company focused on maximizing HSA tax savings for consumers and their employers. By revamping the health savings account process, Salusion lets users ‘HSA as they go’, and charges employers a fee per employee per month to administer the HSA accounts.

Spotter is a software targeted at the long-haul trucking industry, helping these companies select the best load for an individual truck and driver based on input criteria like rate, schedule and fuel costs. The platform also provides drivers with pickup and drop-off instructions. Spotter charges fleets a subscription fee per truck.

Top is a multi-channel engagement platform for brands, giving them the chance to collect privacy-compliant data without the use of cookies. Top helps brands create interactive content, such as live voting, games and competitions to collect this data and build customer profiles, which includes data such as shopping preferences and purchase intent. Top charges clients monthly for use of their data and engagement platform.

Undock is a SaaS business focused on scheduling and coordinating meetings. The predictive machine-learning model looks for the perfect meeting time for participants by comparing availability, preferences and behavior. The Undock platform also offers collaborative agenda and note-taking functionality that lays on top of any conferencing platform. Undock operates a freemium model.

Docket, a platform for organizing meeting agendas and notes, wins Zoom’s Marketplace App competition

In an episode of Extra Crunch Live last week, Roelof Botha expressed excitement not only about the shift to teleconference platforms like Zoom, but the apps and bots that may spring up on top of the Zoom ecosystem.

Interestingly, Zoom just announced the results of its Marketplace App competition, with Docket taking first place.

Docket was founded in January of 2019 with a mission to bring common sense to meetings. The company claims that more than 70 percent of meetings, both in-person and remote, happen without an agenda circulated before the meeting begins.

Docket starts from the premise that every meeting should have a prioritized, circulated agenda and then kicks it up a notch. The platform allows you to build and share that agenda, as well as take notes on meeting minutes and decisions made to share those after the fact. Docket also has a Task Manager feature, so users can share action items after the meeting to the folks that need to get things done.

Of course, Docket manages the notes, to-do lists and agendas from each respective meeting in an archive so you can go back and review the important information you need, as well as evaluate the productivity of individual meetings.

Docket integrates with Evernote, Slack and Zoom (of course). With the Docket Bot for Zoom, much of the platform’s functionality actually lives within Zoom. The agenda and recap notes appear directly in the Zoom chat, and meeting guests can take collaborative notes about the meeting without ever leaving their Zoom chat window.

Docket also retrieves the Zoom transcription and recording and attaches it directly to the respective Docket meeting as an artifact, letting you go back and search for the exact wording around a decision or meeting topic.

Zoom’s Marketplace App competition was announced at Zoomtopia in October of 2019. The winner, in this case Docket, was selected by Zoom as well as a variety of Zoom’s investors, including Emergence, Horizons Ventures, Maven Ventures, and Sequoia Capital.

Docket will receive up to $2 million in funding from these venture capital orgs, as well as an advisory session with Zoom’s top product leaders. The prize also includes priority development support from Zoom, a DTEN D7 55” all-in-one interactive whiteboard with a 3-year Zoom Rooms license, and 10 Zoom Pro licenses for three years.

Finalists from the competition include Ambition, Bloom, Discuss.io, Friday, iScribeHealth, Pledgeling, Session, Social27, and Tiled. All the finalists received a Logitech Pro Personal Video Collaboration Kit via a Logitech sponsorship of the competition.

Sequoia’s Roelof Botha is more optimistic about startups today than he was a year ago

“I just think change unfairly favors the startup, the nimble small company,” says Roelof Botha.

The Sequoia partner, whose portfolio includes Unity, 23andMe, Instagram, Instacart, Xoom and YouTube, says he’s hopeful about the opportunities this pandemic has created for companies across a variety of sectors, including healthcare, cloud computing, social and others.

We spoke for an hour with Botha about several topics, including how user behavior is rapidly evolving, trends he’s seeing, his outlook on economic recovery, how he’s evaluating new investments and how fundraising itself is changing. Fun fact: Sequoia has made 10 investments over Zoom since the coronavirus pandemic forced us to stay at home.

The full conversation was broadcast on YouTube, and the embed appears below.

Side note: Extra Crunch Live is our new virtual speaker series for Extra Crunch members. Folks can ask their own questions live during the chat, with guests that include Aileen Lee, Kirsten Green, Mark Cuban and many, many more. You can check out the schedule here.

Below, you’ll find a lightly edited transcript of our recent chat with Botha. Enjoy!

The differences in fundraising based on stage

When you’re listening to a seed-stage company, it’s often about the story. The founders paint a vision of the future. That’s part of what I love about my job, by the way. You’re sitting there and you’re trying to imagine what the world is going to look like one day and whether this company is on the right side of history. Or is it implausible that this will happen? It’s so much fun to sit there and think about that. At the seed stage, it’s about the story.

As you get to a Series A or Series B stage, the company will definitely start to have some metrics: usage numbers, early adoption numbers. If it’s an enterprise company, what are people willing to pay for your product? You start to get a sense of the metrics that back up the story. If the metrics don’t support the story, then you start to wonder if that company makes sense. In the long run, you need to have financials that flow from the metrics. But that’s typically at a Series C or later stage. And clearly, by the time a company goes public, you need to have connected story to metrics to financials.

Hydrant raises $5.7 million Series A to help consumers hydrate faster

Eight glasses of water a day. That’s the old recommendation you and I have heard growing up. And while we all know the importance of hydration to our health, some methods of hydration are more efficient than others. At least, that’s the premise that Hydrant was built on.

The company, a wellness brand that launched out of New York in 2018, has today announced the close of a $5.7 million Series A financing to grow wellness business. The round was led by Coefficient Capital, with participation from Rx3 Ventures. This brings total funding to $8.8 million for the company, who was previously backed by Soma Capital, Sixers Innovation Lab, as well as several angels and other funds.

Hydrant offers two products: Rapid Hydration and Rapid Hydration + Caffeine. They come in powder form, in packets, and are to be added to water.

The idea is that water obviously hydrates the human body on its own, but can take some time to do so, slowing getting absorbed as it travels most of the way through the digestive system before feeding the most significant portion of that water into the blood stream to nourish other organs, muscles, etc.

Other hydration products on the market, according to founders John Sherwin and Jai Jung Kim, were either too sugary, tasted bad from artificial flavoring or coloring, or didn’t offer the right mix of electrolytes to rapidly hydrate the body.

That’s where Hydrant comes in. The product was designed with a specific ratio of electrolytes and a small bit of sugar to speed up the absorption of water in the digestive system. Sherwin, cofounder at Hydrant, studied at Oxford and graduated with a BA in biological sciences before Hydrant. With the right mix of electrolytes and sugar molecules — in Hydrant’s case, those come from a bit of powdered fruit juice — the body shortcuts water’s usual absorption rate in the body.

A mechanism in the small intestine, called the sodium glucose co-transport mechanism, detects the presence of glucose molecules alongside sodium molecules. When the body detects that combination in a certain ration, it creates a ‘pump’, said Sherwin (describing his air quotes) that pushes those molecules into the bloodstream. The water follows those sodium molecules into the bloodstream as well, hydrating the body faster than with your average glass of water.

Alongside selling the product on its own website, Hydrant also has retail partnerships with Whole Foods and sells via Amazon, with more retail partnerships in the works.

The company says that the pandemic has slowed its conversations with retail partners, but that the company is reallocating its resources to focus on its own ecommerce channel. Retail is a profitable channel for Hydrant. The founders said that the company works hard to focus on retail partners that fit with the brand and maximize profitability.

All Hydrant manufacturing is done in the U.S.

Hydrant offers both a subscription and an a la carte option. Folks can buy a 30-pack of the Rapid Hydration mix for $37.50, and the caffeinated hydration mix for $43.75. People who buy as a subscription get a 20 percent discount from that. Subscription accounts for 50 percent of the company’s business, according to the founders.

Like many startups, Hydrant says its biggest challenge is competing on talent.

“We believe one of the most important drivers of success for our business is finding the right people,” said Kim. “We actually care less about direct industry experience. As a matter of fact, from our entire team, only one person comes from a directly relevant industry. The rest of the team members don’t have direct CPG or food and beverage experience. We care about people who are smart, hard workers, really curious, and who enjoy solving problems. There’s intense competition for good talent, and we’re doing everything we can to recruit that talent and pitch that we’re the right business for them to join.”

Hydrant plans on using this latest funding round to invest in talent, foster new product innovation, and invest in analytics to “double down on the data-driven DNA” of the company.

IRL, the calendar app for virtual events, launches a web product

IRL, the recently pivoted calendar app that aggregates live virtual events, has today launched a web version of the platform.

The company, which has $11 million in funding from Goodwater Capital, Founders Fund and Floodgate, started as a social planning app that helped folks find each other in the real world, based on interest and geography.

Over time, the company realized the power of the calendar itself. No one has successfully made the calendar social, explained cofounder Abe Shafi. Where you can follow someone’s music on SoundCloud or follow their updates on Twitter, how can you follow their events?

Pre-pandemic, those events were physical events, with people communing in a venue. But the coronavirus may have split open a much wider world for the startup, which recently pivoted into virtual events.

Through API partnerships with YouTube, Twitch and Spotify, as well as user-generated content, IRL (which now stands for In Remote Life) wants to aggregate all the virtual events across the globe into a curated, categorized home page. That may include an esports tournament, a virtual concert, a Zoom cocktail party or a webinar.

Critical to this push is a web presence, which launches today. Folks can follow content producers, or simply get alerts on individual events. Importantly, IRL is also launching an ‘add to calendar’ button that content producers can add to their own websites.

For now, that ‘add to calendar’ button embed is only available to select partners, with a waitlist for others interested in adding the button to their website.

Cofounder and CEO Abe Shafi explained the company’s monetization plans with TechCrunch, though warned that the current focus is gaining a critical mass before flipping on the monetization switch.

“The way we think about making money is around monetizable intent,” said Shafi. “When you’re on Facebook or Instagram, your monetizable intent is pretty low because you’re interested in what your friends are up to. Whereas, when you’re on Google your monetizable intent is really high because your intent is to find something and go somewhere else. Our monetizable intent is much closer to a Google search than it is to a Facebook or an Instagram in the sense that people come to IRL to go to other people’s content that they’re monetizing in one way or another.”

Importantly, content producers must use the app to add their own events to the platform, but Shafi told TechCrunch that the company has plans to add that same functionality to the web product.

When asked whether IRL would get into content creation itself, Shafi said that the premise of that “gives him a headache.”

“We want to be the bank,” said Shafi. “So many great people are creating content. Getting into the content business is its own beast. If we can be seen as the best place to discover it all, that’s a huge win.”

Mark Cuban: ‘Raising money isn’t an accomplishment, it’s an obligation’

Mark Cuban isn’t impressed that you’ve raised money.

“If you think the accomplishment is raising money first, we’re probably not gonna get along,” said Cuban in an Extra Crunch Live interview. “If your orientation is ‘I got to raise the money first,’ you don’t really have a company yet, and you really haven’t accomplished anything yet. […] Sweat equity is the best equity.”

We also got his take on today’s economy, the nation’s direction and his notes on what startups should do to survive in the new world. Happily, as we had an hour to chat, we managed to cover a lot of ground. The full conversation (YouTube) is after the jump, and we’ve excerpted a number of quotes for your perusal.

But up top we wanted to share Cuban’s notes regarding which companies should accept Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds from the Small Business Administration. The matter became a hot-button issue in and around Silicon Valley, where initial debate centered around which startups could access the money. After it became clear the first installment of PPP funds wasn’t going to last, whether startups should access to the capital at all became a question. Some venture-backed companies even decided to return their PPP check.

According to Cuban, when PPP was first put together, the market’s “perspective was that there’d be plenty of money for everybody. You know, people didn’t really want to do the math.” Cuban said that if there was $350 billion in the pot and one million small businesses, the fund would have worked out to $350,000 apiece. “Well guess what,” he said, “there are 30 million companies, [and] like 20 of them are independent contractors.”

Once you did the calculations again with that many companies eligible for PPP funds, you could tell that the money wasn’t going to last. So Cuban told firms that he’s invested in where he has sway to “either not apply or just pay it back immediately.” Why? “For the betterment of the country and the economy,” he said, adding that “if you do have access to capital” or “your business isn’t dramatically impacted [then] let’s leave [the PPP money] for the people who need it the most.”

As noted, the full video is below (you can join Extra Crunch here!), along with Cuban’s notes on startup advice during the pandemic, American 2.0 (and Marc Andreessen’s essay), AI, pre-seed companies, his future in politics and how to pitch him.

Mark Cuban on the record

How he’s advising portfolio companies during the pandemic:

So first and foremost, communicate. Second is be honest. Third is be transparent. And fourth is be authentic. Because everybody is nervous. Everybody is terrified at a certain level. So you just have to recognize that. People are going to need that honesty from you and people are going to want communications from you. That’s been the primary thing around what these companies should do.

Regarding cutting costs: Every business is different. On the smallest ones, they’re already grinding, and it’s typically dependent on the founder. I’ve really tried to encourage people to keep all their employees on if at all possible. That there’s gonna be a lot of change and that’s going to create a lot of opportunity. So, if you can hold on to your employees and push forward in any way, shape, or form, you may have an opportunity.