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Funding for female founders falls to 2017 levels as pandemic shakes up the VC market

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Cautious investors are reverting to form

So much for progress.

New data out this week from PitchBook indicates that the number of rounds raised by female-founded and co-founded companies fell year-over-year, with dollars invested in those rounds collapsing to 2017-era levels.


The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. Read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.


It’s a disappointing quarter that comes after a few years in which female founders saw an increase in the amount of capital they were able to raise. In 2016, PitchBook data shows quarterly results for female founders totaling around 100 to 125 rounds, and between $300 and $400 million in value. By 2019, those figures rose to 150 to 200 rounds per quarter, worth between $700 million and $950 million.

To see Q3 2020 manage just 136 rounds worth just $434 million is a sharp disappointment.

The depressing results come not during a time of sharply lower aggregate venture capital results, notably. Recent data concerning Q3 2020 compiled by PwC indicates that the quarter was relatively rich. Certainly, overall deal volume in the United States is down slightly compared to year-ago periods, but female founders fared worse.

In short, a fear that well-known seed investor Charles Hudson discussed with TechCrunch during an Extra Crunch Live session back in April has come true. Let’s talk about it.

A diversity downturn?

Cards on the table, I think it’s better when venture capital is more diversely distributed. Why? Because when there’s more general access to funds, we’ll see a more varied set of products built to attack a more diverse set of issues and problems. Even more, venture capital can be a pathway to financial success for founders and employees, so investing it in all sorts of folks instead of one particular demographic set can spread the wealth around more equitably.

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Google discontinues its Google Nest Secure alarm system

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Google has discontinued its Google Nest Secure alarm system, the company first confirmed to Android Police. And sure enough, if you visit the Nest Secure’s page on the Google Store right now, there’s a big button right at the top that says the product is no longer available.

“Google Nest will no longer be producing Nest Secure, however we will continue to support our security users in all the same ways,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge.

Google introduced the Google Nest Secure system in 2017. It was designed to be modular, relying on a small hockey puck-shaped device with a keypad called the Nest Guard as the central hub, sensors around the house called Nest Detects, and NFC key fobs to arm and disarm the system. It also connects to the Nest mobile app so you can get alerts and arm and disarm the system remotely. The Nest Secure system launched at $499, but Google dropped the price to $399 less than a year later.

However, the Nest Guard also had a secret, on-device microphone that buyers didn’t know about until Google added Google Assistant support to the device in February 2019. (A few months later, Google released a set of plain-English privacy commitments about its Nest devices.)

Google isn’t totally out of smart home security, though. It still sells video doorbells, security cameras, smoke alarms, and more. And the company announced a $450 million investment in security company ADT in August, saying that Nest devices will “become the cornerstone of ADT’s smart home offering” as part of that announcement.

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Keep Your Mind and Hands Busy With the Best LEGO Deals

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Image: The Lego Movie

Best Gaming DealsBest Gaming DealsThe best deals on games, consoles, and gaming accessories from around the web, updated daily.

Featured Deal: LEGO Hidden Side Lighthouse of Darkness | $32

These are the best LEGO deals for October 2020.

If you’re looking for something to occupy your quarantine hours, why not pick up a new LEGO set or two? They’re mentally stimulating, whether you’re building to instructions or just creating things from scratch, and they’re a great activity whether you’re solo or with family.

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Right now, you’ll find solid savings on LEGO sets inspired by Star Wars, Minecraft, Spider-Man, Batman, and more. Scroll on for today’s best LEGO deals!

LEGO Star Wars: The Child (Pre-order) | $80

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Baby Yoda and LEGO: two irresistible pop culture creations that seem irresistible together. LEGO will launch this adorable version of The Child with the season two debut of The Mandalorian in late October.

There’s no discount as of this writing, but even so, serious fans will want to drop a pre-order at Amazon now to ensure they can find it later this year. It’s 1,073 pieces, too, so the price-per-brick ratio is pretty solid.

And if you need a big building project to tackle in the meantime, Amazon has the full-size Attack of the Clones Yoda—a huge 1,771-piece set—for $86 right now.

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LEGO Hidden Side Lighthouse of Darkness | $32

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Image: Andrew Hayward

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Here’s a larger-than-usual savings on the super-cool and seasonally appropriate Lighthouse of Darkness, one of the set’s from LEGO’s original Hidden Side franchise. This 540-piece has a ghost pirate, a skeleton, and other minifigures, and like all Hidden Side sets, you can use a smartphone app for digital augmented reality enhancements. It’s 35% off right now at Amazon.

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LEGO Architecture Statue of Liberty | $96

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Image: Andrew Hayward

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Right now, you can save $24 off the price of the towering Statue of Liberty kit. With 1,685 pieces, it’s a meaty challenge aimed at anyone 16+, and the end result stands 17 inches tall. Grab this deal while it lasts!

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LEGO Spider-Man Spider Mech vs Venom | $36

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Image: Andrew Hayward

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Does Spider-Man really have a mech? Does he need a mech, let alone against Venom? We’re not totally sure, but we are sure of this: Aunt May is the star of this set.

Did you ever think you’d have a chance to own an Aunt May minifig? Now’s your moment. You also get Ghost Spider (a.k.a. Spider-Gwen) on a hoverboard (again, why?) and a Venom minifig alongside a giant Venom… mech. In any case, this unique set is $14 off right now.

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LEGO Star Wars Boost Droid Commander | $168

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Image: Andrew Hayward

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Here’s a cool set for kids that not only lets you build a trio of rad Star Wars droids, but also gives you the ability to interact with them via a tablet coding app. The LEGO Star Wars Boost Droid Commander kit has 1,177 LEGO bricks, a color and distance sensor, a motor that can be moved between the three built droids, and the ability to learn coding as you play via the iOS and Android app. Save $32 right now at Amazon.

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LEGO Architecture London | $34

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Image: Andrew Hayward

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We haven’t seen a good deal on one of LEGO’s Architecture cityscapes in some time, so we’re pleased to have spotted this London bargain at Amazon.

Currently 15% off list, this 468-piece set includes landmarks such as Big Ben, Tower Bridge, and the London Eye. You probably won’t be hopping the pond anytime soon, but this LEGO kit is far cheaper than a plane ticket anyway.

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LEGO Star Wars: Major Vonreg’s TIE Fighter | $52

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Image: Andrew Hayward

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Big fan of the Star Wars Resistance animated series? If so, then you might be pleased to see this Major Vonreg’s TIE Fighter set from the show.

It’s 26% off the list price right now, albeit still a bit pricey for a 496-brick set. Still, this TIE Fighter looks awesome and comes with a few minifigures: Vonreg, General Leia, Kaz Xiono, and the droid Bucket (R1-J5).

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LEGO Creator Monster Burger Truck | $41

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Image: Andrew Hayward

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It’s a monster truck. It’s a burger truck. It’s a… wait for it… monster burger truck. Now that’s three words that sound pretty great together. In fact, this original LEGO Creator set comes with instructions for three different builds with its 499 pieces, and right now you’ll save 18% off at Amazon.

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LEGO Minecraft The Blaze Bridge | $24

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Image: Andrew Hayward

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Some of the LEGO Minecraft sets are more whimsical in nature, but this one is all action. The Blaze Bridge is a lava-filled environment with interactive elements, and four minifigures: heroine Alex, a Wither Skeleton, and a pair of Blazes. It’s 20% off right now at Amazon.

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LEGO Technic Catamaran | $40

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This is a super-cool LEGO Technic build for a catamaran boat that actually floats on water. You can build it tall with a sail or short like a motorboat, and this 404-piece set is $10 off now.

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LEGO 2020 Advent Calendars | $20-30 Each

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Got a little LEGO lover in the home? These new LEGO advent calendars are fresh for 2020, each featuring 24 little LEGO prizes for each day leading up to Christmas in December.

Each one is marked down $10 right now: the Star Wars and Harry Potter sets are $30 each, while the LEGO City and LEGO Friends ones are just $20 apiece. Each bundle has 300+ pieces and might be worth grabbing now—not only while the deal is live, but also while they’re still easy to track down.

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LEGO Technic RC Stunt Racer | $81

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If you haven’t built one of the remote-controlled LEGO Technic sets before, this might be a perfect starting point. Right now, this RC Stunt Racer is $19 off the list price. It can be built into two totally different configurations, both with tank treads, motors and a receiver, a remote, and the ability to drive the completed car all over the place.

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LEGO Classic Medium Creative Brick Box | $26

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If you’re buying LEGO for a young kid, start with one of the LEGO Classic boxes. This Medium set is a good size, providing a robust 484 pieces within a handy plastic carrying case.

Without step-by-step directions, this set is ideal for getting kids familiar with the tiny blocks and unlocking a bit of creativity in the process. Of course, there are larger Duplo blocks for the really young’uns, but LEGO suggests this is ideal for ages 4+. It’s $9 off right now.

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Twitch stars are lining up to stream Among Us with AOC

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is looking for Among Us teammates. On Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez put out an open call for people to play with “to get out the vote.” In a follow-up tweet, she shared a Twitch page for AOC with the note “getting set up!”

Her tweet has already drawn attention from streamers like Pokimane and HasanAbi. “It’d be an honor,” wrote Pokimane. As Election Day 2020 closes in, politicians have been turning to game spaces to reach prospective voters.

Last week, Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s campaign created a virtual field office in Animal Crossing: New Horizons; in September, the campaign released Biden-Harris signs in-game. Presidential candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang have used Twitch in an effort to reach younger voters.

Although Ocasio-Cortez appears to have only responded to Pokimane and HasanAbi as of publication time, personalities such as Greg Miller (who recently streamed from Biden’s Animal Crossing island), DrLupo, Neekolul, Felicia Day, and James Charles have all jumped in to volunteer.

Ocasio-Cortez’s choice of game is a strategic one. (She’s also known for being a formidable League of Legends player.) In the last few weeks, Among Us — a party game where players work together to find a saboteur — has blown up into a massive hit on Twitch and mobile. The game has become so popular developer InnerSloth scrapped its plans for a sequel to focus on improving the original.

Election Day 2020 is on November 3rd. Information on how to check your registration status is available here.

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