The fragility of democracies and the challenges of hardware development

Welcome to the latest edition of the TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly newsletter covering startups and market trends. If you want to receive it in your inbox every Saturday, sign up here.

Reporters and readers are always on the lookout for exclusive stories. However, sometimes it’s essential to highlight the obvious. This week, I’m reminded of the fragile nature of democracies and the role technology can play. I’ve also learned that crowdfunding may not always be the best method for launching innovative products.

On a side note, this newsletter will be on hiatus until January 6 next year. Wishing you all happy holidays. — Anna

Understanding “agentic tech”

When I came across the news that a new venture firm called ex/ante had secured $33 million in funding to invest in “agentic tech,” I was intrigued. What exactly did this entail, and what prompted prominent investors like Marc Andreessen and Union Square Ventures to support a fledgling fund manager focusing on this category?

I found Forbes’ Alex Konrad’s description of ex/ante’s focus on online privacy and security as well as the definition of agentic tech as “technology relating to human agency and rights in the digital age” to be informative. However, I wanted to delve deeper, so I sat down for a conversation with its founder, 32-year-old Zoe Weinberg.

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