Welcome to Startups Weekly, this week’s spotlight on startup news and trends by Senior Reporter and co-host of Equity Natasha Maskerenhas To receive this in your inbox, subscribe over here.
One of the quieter conversations in venture capital has grown louder in DMAs and interviews over the past few months: Perceived bias in venture capital has become a branding issue for some emerging and diversified fund managers. Scene.
Everyone has a story, but they’re all a bit alike: A woman VC is starting a fund, and she’s either expected to invest only in female founders compared to other female VCs, or to have a diversity, equity and inclusion angle. As the main thesis. Another is that, from an ever-homogeneous group of LPs or even founders who view female VCs as monolithic, some female VCs have completely changed the names of their firms so that they are perceived as more gender-neutral.
Read my full commentary on this topic with Rebecca Skutak on TC+: “Bias for female VCs is a branding issue.”
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about Upfront Summit 2023 and the amazing deal it’s all about. As always, you can follow me Twitter Or Instagram to continue the conversation.
VC confab brings surprise and AI
All of your favorite venture journalists were busy this week at the Upfront Summit 2023, a two-day, invitation-only event that brought together industry insiders—and celebrities—to talk about the future of venture capital. I interviewed a past and present guard at Kapur Capital. I shook hands with Jamie Lee Curtis and stole interview tips from Kara Swisher. And Al Gore tried to recruit the entire audience to be more serious about fighting climate change.
Overall, the conference fueled my story plans for the next month, so stay tuned for more follow-up angles. And some pieces too. I’m going to start again on the forum talking about AI.
Here’s why it’s important: If you ask me, AI was a ubiquitous figure at Upfront. No wonder: iPod technology is often out of demand. But in 2021, when investors are pouring billions of dollars into 15-minute grocery delivery companies and Web 3, the atmosphere is different. Venture capital is locked up, deals are moving slowly and some investors are licking their wounds from the setback so far.
My colleagues took the microphone to discuss the latest and greatest headlines in equity this week. The entire event was a hoot. Unexpectedly, for all, it was the return of Better.com. News earlier this week that Amazon is allowing employees to use their stock to finance home purchases and even second homes.
Here’s why it’s important: It is a creative, but also surprising, partnership. Better has been a customer of Amazon’s web services since 2015, and its credit sourcing system is fully powered by the software, according to a statement. Still, he has gone through his fair share of struggles that have put him in doubt about a better future. Do we have to go through all the records?
Featured on TechCrunch.
Salesforce strikes back.
Everything Elon Musk and execs shared at Tesla Investor Day (skipped)
Chamath Palihapitiya: It may take three years for the market to ‘properly’ replace the late Kos.
OpenAI launches API for ChatGPT, plus capabilities for enterprise customers
Gamers are fixing a video game ‘taken’ by hackers.
Featured on TechCrunch+.
Maybe Substack can really grow without venture dollars.
Pitch Deck Teardown: Gable’s $12M Series A deck
Does web3 venture need a bond because AI has all the hype?
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