FTC Chair Lina Khan says the agency is going after Big Tech “mob bosses.”

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is focusing its efforts on combating Big Tech, according to FTC Chair Lina Khan, who spoke Tuesday at the TechCrunch Strictly VC event in Washington.

Khan said the agency is focused on going after players who cause the most harm, not just increasing reporting. “It was important to me to make sure that we were actually paying attention to where we saw the most harm,” Khan said. “Where do we see players who systematically engage in this illegal behavior? Being able to get to the ‘mob boss’ will be more effective than catching up with the henchman downstairs.”

The comments come days after The Wall Street Journal reported that the FTC was opening an antitrust investigation against Microsoft over its partnership with Inflection AI. According to The New York Times, the FTC and the Department of Justice have reached an agreement to investigate Microsoft, Open AI and Nvidia for potential antitrust violations.

In recent years, the FTC has also targeted Meta, Amazon, Google, Apple and other companies.

Khan says the FTC wants to be effective in its enforcement strategy, which is why it takes on lawsuits that “target some of the most important players.” She said if the FTC is successful, it could have a positive impact on the market.

The types of cases the FTC selects can be a deterrent, she said, noting that the FTC is already watching this. “Five, six, seven years ago, when you were thinking about a potential deal, antitrust risk, or even antitrust analysis, was not on the agenda. And now it’s front and center. So as an enforcer, if companies start thinking about this legal issue, that’s a really good thing because we don’t have to spend as many public resources on transacting.”

Speaking to an audience of startup founders and VCs who see exiting as the big way out, Khan noted that the law actually prohibits an exit or acquisition that would strengthen a monopoly or allow a dominant company to create a competitive threat.

Khan said the FTC receives as many as 3,000 merger filings with the agency each year, and about 2% of those deals are reconsidered by the government.

“So we have 98% of contracts, most of which are being implemented,” she said. “If you’re a startup or founder and you want an acquisition as an exit, a world where you have five, six, seven or eight potential suitors is, in my opinion, a better world where you only have one or two, right? So actually promoting more competition at that level to give startups more knowledge of a fair shot at getting a better valuation, I think would also be beneficial.”