As we get closer to the end of the year, we’re running more stories that look back at topics we examined in depth over the last several months, and several that offer well-informed predictions for the year ahead.

This week, Bill Taranto, president of Merck’s Global Health Innovation Fund, wrote a TechCrunch+ article that explored six digital health trends his corporate VC fund is tracking as we enter 2022.

Between Q1 and Q3 2021, healthcare startups landed $21.3 billion in VC, “dwarfing the previous record of $14.6 billion set in 2020,” writes Taranto.

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“Companies with strong offerings, management teams and balance sheets are poised to capture tremendous value.”

According to Crunchbase, Merck GHI has made 75 investments with 22 exits so far, including companies that span everything from drug discovery to diabetes detection.

Artificial intelligence, IoT and data analytics are the primary drivers of innovation, says Taranto, “especially with data becoming the central currency of healthcare.”

We’re publishing on a light schedule between now and New Year’s, but we’ll be back with another roundup on Friday, December 31 to close out 2021.

Thanks very much for reading TechCrunch+, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas weekend!

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch+

10 growth marketing experts share their 2022 predictions and New Year’s resolutions

Wooden blocks showing a hand turning wooden blocks that read 2021 into 2022

Image Credits: Nora Carol Photography (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

We reached out to 10 growth marketing experts to find how they were preparing for 2022 and to ask if they had any New Year’s resolutions to share.

The answers and advice we received were as varied as the people we polled, but nearly all of them indicated that learning — e.g., analytics training, getting started with AI tools, etc. — was high on their to-do list.

Here’s who we spoke to:

  • Jonathan Martinez, founder, JMStrategy
  • Kate Adams, SVP of marketing, Validity
  • Richard Meyer, growth marketer, Tuff
  • Bas Willems, head of marketing, DataSnipper
  • Gus Ferguson and Alyssa Crankshaw, co-founders, Ascendant
  • Shane Hegde, founder and CEO, Air
  • Tracey Wallace, director of marketing, MarketerHire
  • Greg Sheppard, CMO, Templafy
  • Lauren Kelly, CMO, ThoughtExchange

How does former Better.com CEO Vishal Garg still have a job?

Better.com CEO taking time off

Image Credits: Better.com

Former Better.com CEO Vishal Garg is now taking time off after laying off 9% of the company’s workforce a few weeks before its planned public market debut.

The announcement was so poorly handled, the company soon hired a crisis management firm and eased Garg out of his leadership role after emails surfaced in which he berated investors.

Better.com says it has since hired an outside firm “to do a leadership and cultural assessment.”

Mary Ann Azevedo and Alex Wilhelm looked at the company’s corporate structure and found that investors have enough leverage to push the embattled founder overboard — which means they “must not be agitating for Garg’s complete removal.”

Capital is a commodity

packs of dollars on pallet isolated on white background

Image Credits: AlexLMX (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

By July 2021, startup founders had raised $268.7 billion from global VCs, an amount that surpassed the previous year’s total.

When cash is this plentiful, “capital is a commodity,” according to Charlie Graham-Brown, partner and chief investments officer of Seedstars, and Daniela Moreno, the firm’s investments marketing manager.

In a post that walks founders through different VC platform styles and the value they can provide, the authors stipulate two rules:

  1. No individual or VC firm is good at everything.
  2. What a startup needs the most will change over time.

Demand Curve: How Ahrefs’ homepage educates prospects to purchase

Laptop computer engulfed in flames

Image Credits: PM images (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Home pages with high conversion rates have one thing in common: they make it extremely easy for a customer to buy.

“People have short attention spans, so if your homepage is confusing, they’re going to leave,” writes Demand Curve Community Manager Joey Noble in his latest TechCrunch+ post.

In a detailed analysis of the homepage for SEO agency Ahrefs’, Noble explains how the site captures reader attention, reduces friction and increases desire.

Bitcoin is religion; web3 is greed

Image Credits: Nigel Sussman (opens in a new window)

In the final edition of The Exchange that we’ll publish in 2021, Alex Wilhelm turned his attention to a recent Twitter thread where Block CEO Jack Dorsey claimed that end users don’t own web3, “the VCs and their LPs do.”

His comment didn’t go over well with some prominent crypto enthusiasts who insisted that web3’s decentralized nature is one of its core features. “Is Jack wrong? No, he is not,” wrote Alex.

However, “while I am more than content to nod along to Jack stirring the web3 pot, I don’t agree with his general philosophy.”

Dear Sophie: What’s allowed between a K-1 visa and a green card?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

Great news! After a long COVID delay, my fiancée finally arrived in the U.S. on her K visa.

We’re thinking about eloping to Las Vegas for a quick wedding so we can get started on her green card application. (In Silicon Valley, we’d have to wait a few months to get a marriage license.)

After we file, we want to have a big wedding in the spring with her family and friends in her hometown and then go on a honeymoon. Is that allowed?

— Happy in Hayward



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