elcome to the TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s inspired by the daily TechCrunch+ column where it gets its name. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here.
Journalists and readers love scoops. But sometimes it’s important to state the obvious. This week, I’m reminded that democracies are fragile but that technology can help. And also that crowdfunding isn’t always the best way to launch an innovative product.
On a side note, this newsletter will be taking a break until January 6 next year, so wishing you all happy holidays. — Anna
Why agentic tech?
When I read that a new venture firm called ex/ante had raised $33 million to invest in “agentic tech,” I got curious: What did that mean, and why were LPs such as Marc Andreessen and Union Square Ventures willing to back an emerging fund manager focusing on this category?
I already had something to go on: Forbes’ Alex Konrad noted that ex/ante would invest in online privacy and security, and described agentic tech as “a fledgling term that the fund defines as technology that relates to human agency and rights in the digital age.” But I still wanted to know more, so I had a chat with its founder, 32-year-old Zoe Weinberg.