Episode 136
Oct 22, 2019

VC hype vs. Wall Street

This week we're diving into all the unicorn companies that rode a wave of venture capital hype onto the rocky, unforgiving shores of the stock market.

After a disastrous initial public offering, SoftBank took over WeWork this week in a deal that cost the real estate and maybe-tech company some $39 billion in value and gave ex-CEO Adam Neumann the most golden of golden parachutes on his way out.

WeWork is the most extreme example of a Silicon Valley unicorn to stumble on its way to Wall Street. Uber, Slack and Lyft have all had post-IPO struggles after years of building venture capital hype.

So what’s going on? Why the disconnect between deep-pocketed VCs and the public? And is a collapse like WeWork’s the exception or the rule? Where does Wall Street figure in all of this? And what’s going on with SoftBank anyway? The New York Times’ Erin Griffith, who reports on startups and the venture capital world, helps us sort it out. 

Plus, we hear your feedback on last week’s fashion and sustainability episode and get possibly our weirdest answer to the Make Me Smart question yet.

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The team

Molly Wood Host
Jody Becker Interim Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Sam Anderson Associate Producer