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.
These days, the guiding principles of technology are not too hard to find: discipline, focus, and financial security. But I’ve always found those same focuses to be at odds with what it means to be an early-stage founder, laying out your vision: you have to have Elon Musk-level ambition, big dreams, and the ability to sell a company to investors. Before there are any real parameters behind it.
In some ways, it’s the investor’s job to see why to say yes anyway. In other ways, the recession is causing very early-stage founders to professionalize faster and faster. Rather than a noisy pre-seed, it looks like a late-stage company going for Series C.
I’ve noticed little things in how early-stage founders have changed their tune, suggesting that checks are now less about messiah and more about making money.
Read the rest of the column on TC+: “Founders Change Their Voices.”
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about AI branding, venture outsourcing, and modern entrepreneurship. As always, you can follow me Twitter Or Instagram to continue the conversation. If you want to support me further, subscribe to my very free Substack.
We are starting to see AI as a factor in the decline of technology.
Layoffs are a near-daily occurrence in this news cycle — I’ve covered major and clubhouse layoffs within an hour of each other — but the reasons behind each layoff are usually no different. Dropbox surprised me. CEO Drew Houston, who laid off 16% of his workforce this week, cited the “calculation of the AI age” in connection with the layoffs. “For many years, we have believed that AI will give us new superpowers and completely change the way knowledge works. And as this year’s product pipeline shows, we’ve been building for a long time ahead.
Here’s what you need to know: I expect there will be more redundancies in the workforce, partly due to artificial intelligence. It’s nothing new: The concern I often hear around AI is its ability or intent to replace everyone’s jobs. To break out of that pattern is to find more leaks: Harvey AI, sponsored by Sequoia this week, is the buzz at tech dinners to elevate lawyers.
The venture failed
TC’s Mary Ann Azevedo broke the news this week: “Fintech-focused VC firm Antimis Group lays off 28% of workforce as part of restructuring.” She reports, “Anthemis declined to provide more details on its strategy going forward, instead referring me to this blog from co-founder Amy Nauiokas. In the post, Nauiokas wrote that the company aims to “translate the 2022 budget into sustainable transformation in private markets through early-stage investments.”
Here’s what you need to know: Although I feel like many are ghosts these days, we don’t often see layoffs. The cuts will continue – and perhaps louder this time. Last June, Backstage Capital fired most of its employees, now only two people remain in the venture firm.
A modern approach to an entrepreneur
On this week’s Equity, I interviewed Ochon Ankur Nagpal, founder of business owner-oriented FinTech, as well as Teachable and Vibe Capital. We talked about everything from the temperature of individual GPs and how building up in public influenced his direction.
Here’s a snippet of what we got. Recording in minutes: “To be a great CEO… you have to be a gentle sociopathic. And when I come in as CEO, there are a lot of things that I like to fight because it goes against my values as a person,” Nagpal said.
- An interesting parallel: Instacart founder and former CEO Apoorva Mehta has raised $30 million for the new healthcare startup, the WSJ reported last year. That news makes current Instacart CEO Fiji Simo running a health care clinic all the more interesting, Fortune reports. According to TechCrunch, what a strange parallel between the former and current leadership of a grocery delivery startup! Jokes aside, it’s probably a nod to what Amazon tried to do with the Whole Foods and One Medical Instacart version.
- A big apology; For those I missed last week in Boston. I was ready to jump on stage, but food poisoning—from a coffee shop that shall remain unnamed—got the best of me. But I’ve heard it’s noisy, so watch out for the TC+ roundup posts coming your way soon.
- Programming Notes: If you’re reading this in a browser, get it in your inbox too! Subscribe here and share with your friends.
- of course: It is a time of turmoil. Remember there is a ticket for every budget and role.
- And finally, I have a shameless plug: They make me scap! Tell me if you’ve ever heard of a venture firm or startup winning, scaling, crowding out, or, oh I don’t know, firing an executive due to internal events. I like to see. Early stages of pitch And timetables too. Happy Speaking of anonymity And further explain my process and what I am looking for. You can tell me things on signal at +1 925 271 0912. No tones, please.
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take care of yourself,