Axios Closer

Picture of a golden bell on a white background.

🍓 Happy Tuesday! The Axios business team is in New York today for a brainstorm sesh on what we could be doing better or differently. (Ideas? Let us know.) We also noshed on those boutique gourmet strawberries we wrote about a few weeks ago. Our verdict below.

🚨 Situational awareness: Netflix’s stock sunk more than 20% after hours after reporting its first subscriber loss in more than 10 years. Go deeper.

Today's newsletter, edited by Pete Gannon, is 688 words, a 2.5-minute read.

🔔 The dashboard: The S&P 500 closed up 1.6%.

  • Biggest gainer? Signature Bank (+8.1%) on the first day of trading following first-quarter results.
  • Biggest decliner? Dentsply Sirona (-13.4%), following the departure of CEO Don Casey.

1 big thing: Funding Asian and Pacific Islander leaders

Illustration of a golden sparkling briefcase.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Dozens of prominent investors, entrepreneurs and cultural figures of Asian descent are funding a new venture to back founders with Asian and Pacific Islander (API) backgrounds, Hope writes.

Details: Gold House, a nonprofit collective of API leaders, announced its Gold House Ventures fund on Tuesday, with $30 million from partners across fields.

Why it matters: API founders continue to face stereotypes when building businesses, fund managers tell Axios.

  • While corporations have for decades pledged to focus on more diverse and inclusive hiring and funding, “Asians are not always included in efforts that target minority populations and underrepresented populations,” Megan Ruan, general partner at Gold House Ventures, says.

Given the unique challenges that early API founders face, Gold House has recruited some of the most successful API entrepreneurs as backers or mentors. Among them:

  • Tony Xu, DoorDash’s CEO and co-founder; Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube; Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao; and brothers Kai and Charles Huang, who created Guitar Hero.

What they’re saying: VCs at NEA, Juxtapose, Accel and Floodgate tell Axios exclusively that Gold House Ventures helps API founders connect on broader goals.

  • "The fact that Gold House's mission is focused on unity, success and representation is also a meaningful bonus, as is the incredible network of influential APIs involved that are at the ready to help out portfolio companies,” Iris Choi, partner at Floodgate, says.

The big picture: “We're trying to help ourselves to also help others,” says Bing Chen, president and co-founder of Gold House and a GP of the fund.

Go deeper.

2. Charted: Remember Deezer?

Global market share of music streaming services
Data: MIDiA Research; Chart: Axios Visuals

Deezer is going public via a SPAC deal valuing the music streaming service at €1.05 billion, or about $1.1 billion, Axios' Kerry Flynn and Tim Baysinger report in Axios Pro Media Deals.

Why it matters: Deezer owns just 2% of the global music streaming business and is unprofitable, but the hope is this SPAC deal will drive the company's growth and turn a profit.

  • Deezer has 9.6 million paid subscribers, which pales in comparison to Spotify's 180 million.

Flashback: Deezer tried to go public in 2015 but abandoned the plan, blaming market conditions.

Sign up for Axios Pro Media Deals, a premium subscription product providing news and analysis from experts, for experts.

3. What's happening

😷 The TSA will no longer enforce the COVID-19 mask mandate on planes following a federal court ruling. (CNBC)

💰 Former Uber exec Anthony Levandowski, pardoned by former President Trump after a trade secrets conviction, got VC funding for a new startup. (Axios)

4. CNN+ future more uncertain

CNN+ logo animated to fall down

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Warner Bros. Discovery has suspended all external marketing spend for CNN+ and has laid off CNN's longtime CFO as it weighs what to do with the subscription streaming service moving forward, five sources tell Axios' Sara Fischer.

State of play: CNN+ has roughly 150,000 subscribers.

  • Warner Bros. Discovery wants to eventually build one giant service around HBO Max.

Details: Inside CNN, executives are frustrated that new leadership is moving quickly to dismantle what they see as an eventual lifeline for the cable network.

  • Inside Discovery, executives are frustrated that the service was launched, making it harder now to pivot the company's efforts toward something better aligned with Discovery's goals.

Between the lines: Blame bad timing, limited communications and misaligned incentives for how CNN and Discovery got strategically mismatched on such a massive product rollout.

Read Sara's story.

5. Berry good afternoon in N.Y.

Control group strawberries and Oishii strawberries. Photo: Hope King/Axios

Today was a special day, Hope writes.

Our Axios Markets, Closer, Capital and Crypto newsletter teams met in person in New York. We took the occasion to try some strawberries.

  • Your standard store-bought strawberries.
  • And a Japanese variety supplied by Oishii, which has grown more and more popular with restaurants and influencers.
  • Two boxes of 11 go for $100, not including local delivery.

Our impression: The Oishii berries had a sweet aroma. The uniformity of each berry in size and color was striking when compared to our control group.

  • While some people felt the berries tasted no better than fresh wild strawberries, others felt they were very good compared to inconsistent strawberries you might get — especially when out of season.

Our verdict: Nine Axios reporters and editors who tried the berries on average rated the taste a 7.3 out of 10.