Bullpen Capital, a now 10-year-old, venture fund in San Francisco that focuses on what it calls post-seed investing — it backs startups that have already raised up to $5 million and “aren’t quite ready for a $10 million check but another $5 million would make them dangerous,” says firm co-founder Paul Martino — just closed its fifth fund with $130 million in capital commitments.
The firm also brought aboard a new general partner: Ann Lai, formerly of Binary Capital, a firm that has since closed its doors but where Lai, who has a PhD in engineering sciences from Harvard, developed a thesis around bringing in more diverse startups from both a startup and geographic perspective — work that, it turns out, is also a prime focus for Bullpen.
In a call with both Martino and Lai earlier this week, they pointed to the startup Hemster to illustrate how both Bullpen
In late July, a Congressional subcommittee successfully compelled four major tech company CEOs to formally answer questions over allegedly monopolistic business practices — a public spectacle marred only by COVID-19-related isolation of the attendees. Amazon, Facebook, and Google faced some of the heaviest questioning, but Apple certainly didn’t walk away untouched, as it was peppered with evidence that its App Store was abusing its increasingly dominant position within the software industry.
The “Online Platforms and Market Power” hearing matters because it paved the way for formal antitrust actions against four of the world’s largest companies, technology or otherwise. Individually and collectively, they reach billions of people, with an outsized impact on the hardware, software, and services enterprises and end users rely upon every day. While all four of the tech giants portray themselves as ambitious good actors, there are certainly negative consequences to their actions.