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TechCrunch Disrupt: AI in focus at this year's startup conference

TechCrunch’s annual Disrupt startup conference in San Fransisco is coming to a close. TechCrunch Reporter Alex Wilhelm joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss how AI's impacts on labor and the modern labor economy were major talking points throughout the conference. Using Instacart (CART), ARM (ARM), and Klaviyo (KVYO) as recent IPO examples, Wilhelm notes that many of the startups showcased at the conference are still “early stage” and may not be considering going public just yet while venture capitalists remain open-minded.

TechCrunch is owned by Yahoo, the parent company of Yahoo Finance.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Video transcript


JOSH LIPTON: It's the final day of TechCrunch's annual Disrupt startup conference in San Francisco. Disrupt brings together startup founders, investors, and tech entrepreneurs looking to discover what's next in business. TechCrunch is owned by Yahoo, which is also the parent company of Yahoo Finance.

Here with the biggest topics at the conference is TechCrunch's reporter Alex Wilhelm. Alex, let's start with the obvious here. How are entrepreneurs talking about AI at the conference?

ALEX WILLHELM: Well, I mean, honestly, I wish they would talk about something else part of the time. I say it with a slight tongue in cheek feel. But it certainly is the main point of conversation, where AI is going to disrupt existing business models and companies, where it's going to find new purchase and new sectors and amongst new demographics, and then also kind of who's doing it best right now. So it's a pretty wide-ranging conversation, but it seems to be a part of every conversation.

AKIKO FUJITA: Alex, you know, one of the things that we've been talking about here at the New York stock exchange all week is just the tech IPOs, you know, whether in fact the strength-- the relative strength, although the stock is down now. We're talking about Arm, Instacart, Klaviyo, whether that's going to lead to a bigger pipeline of some of these startups coming forward. I mean, you've got startups at the conference. What's the chatter on the sidelines about whether they feel like they want to test the public markets?

ALEX WILLHELM: Well, the founders that are here are a little bit more early stage than companies that are going to be thinking about going public. But I have been talking to a lot of venture capitalists who are also here who do have a later stage portfolio. And I think everyone's pretty happy that each of those IPOs went well, Arm priced and then opened above, as we all know. And from the other two IPOs, we also saw raised ranges. And then in the case of Klaviyo, they actually priced above that raised range. So it feels like a little bit of momentum.

But I think if you're coming off of an 18-month IPO drought in the startup world, anything seems like a cool drink of water. So I think it's a little early to say, but everyone is watching those debuts carefully and keeping track of their stock prices in the aftermath to see if those early gains hold up or if they just kind of blow off.

JOSH LIPTON: So, Alex, AI, public debuts, what other takeaways you have for us there? What else are you hearing on the ground?

ALEX WILLHELM: Yeah. So what has really been a surprise to me and a pleasant one is that, I thought, overall, optimism energy would be a little bit down this year. You know, tech stocks have had a rough couple of quarters. We've seen a dramatic repricing of tech valuations in the private and public markets. But instead, you know, walking around here talking to founders, talking to investors, everyone's pretty stoked. You wouldn't even really know that we're supposed to be in kind of a downturn moment in the startup world. So optimism still reigns.

And that's I think good news for both the American economy and the global economy writ large, because, you know, if entrepreneurs are very busy, and they believe the future will be better, then they're going to build lots of good stuff. So that's been a pleasant surprise.

And then the other thing that's kind of taken me a little bit is people are talking about the impact of AI on labor and kind of where we're going to see the most changes in the modern labor economy when AI becomes a little bit more widely distributed. So that's also caught my eye.

JOSH LIPTON: All right. TechCrunch's reporter Alex wilhelm, thanks so much for that. We appreciate it.