AI-powered drug development, VW teams up with Rivian, and the DEI debate | Equity Podcast

AI-powered drug development, VW teams up with Rivian, and the DEI debate | Equity Podcast

Funding and Partnerships

  • Formation Bio raised $372 million in Series D funding, totaling over $600 million, using AI to accelerate drug development.
  • Volkswagen invested $1 billion in Rivian for software development, aiming to reduce production costs and improve software and electric architecture.
  • The potential partnership could be worth $5 billion and includes a joint venture.

TechCrunch Reporting and Industry Trends

  • TechCrunch's reporting on early-stage startups can lead to significant developments, such as acquisitions or increased funding.
  • The Fediverse, a decentralized version of Twitter, gained attention after Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter, leading to increased adoption and the creation of various instances focused on specific interests.
  • Scale AI founder Alexander Wang's recent post on X advocating for a shift from DEI to MEI sparked controversy and divided opinions.
  • Statistics show a decline in women recruits and DEI-related job listings in the US data industry, raising concerns about the impact of the ongoing debate on diversity and inclusion efforts.

Challenges in Diversity and Inclusion

  • The resignation of Fearless Fund's founder after a lawsuit alleging discrimination against non-black women founders highlights the challenges faced by initiatives supporting underrepresented founders.
  • The legal action against Fearless Fund raises questions about the potential chilling effect on other funds and efforts focused on providing funding and support to minority founders.


  • The speaker expresses gratitude to the audience development team and Henry Pet, who manages TechCrunch audio products.
  • The speaker appreciates the audience for listening and promises to engage with them in the next episode.

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