Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh look at this week’s start and startup trends. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.
I’ve noticed that the much-anticipated re-correction of private tech startup valuations and fundraising expectations has a web-sized asterisk.
While many funds are returning to more conservative checks, with a focus on profitability and business fundamentals, crypto remains a spotlight sector that attracts committed multi-billion dollar funds and investment terms that remind us more of 2021 than 2022.
So, is it hype, the promise of innovation in crypto, or a bit of both? Venture capitalists and founders at all fundraising stages spoke to current investment strategies when it comes to investing in this cohort of startups. The contrasting strategies boil down to technical differences in cap tables, the culture of communities on which many businesses in this space are built, and of course the non-crypto world’s fear of missing out. As Freestyle’s Jenny Lefcourt tells me, “Web2 got the memo that the ratings are coming down, and web3 isn’t.”
For my full take on this topic, check out my latest thenewsupdate+ column with our new crypto reporter Jacquelyn Melinek: Crypto is changing the investment landscape for even the most disciplined VCs.
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll look at a digital fertility company, Fast’s shutdown and Better’s doom, and our recent Austin City Spotlight. As always you can support me by forwarding this newsletter to a friend, follow me on twitter or subscribe to my personal blog.
Offer of the week
Conceive is a digital fertility program that takes a page out of CEO Lauren Berson’s professional and personal playbook. Years ago, the former Andreessen Horowitz partner left her investing gig to join Weight Watchers. She soon noticed that there was a “wonderful, palpable, continuous experience” of people supporting each other as they collectively go through a vulnerable time. Meanwhile, she struggled to have a child with her partner – a lonely few years filled with questions, loss and confusion.
Here’s why it’s so important: Conceive offers an eight-week pregnancy program that pairs users with other families on similar trips, whether it’s their first or sixth time. Cohort-based learning is then complemented by coaches and asynchronous curriculum.
What struck me most is that this business will only succeed if it works: Berson explained that she is deliberately starting the direct-to-consumer route because she didn’t want to serve just people who were “lucky enough to work for an employer.” “. which” provided fertility benefits.
One man is fast, the other man is better
Well, we screwed up: The fintech world was rocked this week with the news that Fast, a one-click fast checkout platform, is shutting down. The company cited slow growth, high combustion and the inability to raise more money as reasons for its demise. Affirm offered a vast majority of its technician jobs along with the shutdown, but clarified that they wanted the talent (not the technology).
Here’s why it matters: As we discussed on Equity this week, failure can feel like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” in the world of startups. The key takeaway from the episode, which I urge you to listen to, is that there are often dozens of factors that contribute to a startup’s defeat. Theranos and WeWork play a role in understanding fraud at its peak, but pivots and layoffs also provide important signals about how founders respond to tensions.
Failure is complex
Austin does not compete with Miami, relax
This week thenewsupdate traveled to Austin, Texas for our latest City Spotlight. But there was nothing budding or basic that we unearthed. The city is a solid tech hub, full of unicorns, tech giants and absolutely no inferiority complex when it comes to Silicon Valley comparisons. Hey.
This is why it matters through Mary Ann Azevedo: “Austin was not an overnight success. For years, it was mostly known for its software scene – in addition to being the live music capital of the world. But today there are new growing sectors such as crypto/web3, real estate technology, CPG and insurance technology. As in other mature markets, companies that have had success in the past are now spawning a new generation of entrepreneurs and also attracting others from different countries.”
To keep it weird:
during the week
So, are we hanging out next week? thenewsupdate Early Stage 2022 is April 14, aka around the corner, and it’s in San Francisco. Join us on a one-day founding stop with GV’s Terri Burns, Greylock’s Glen Evans and Felicis’ Aydin Sekut. The TC team has gone out of their way to come back in person, so don’t be surprised if the panels are a little spicier than usual. Here is the full agenda and buy your launch tickets here. Follow our new senior crypto reporter, Jacquelyn Melinek and our new senior enterprise reporter, Kyle Wiggers† Finally, if you missed last week’s Startups Weekly, read it here: “What 411 YC Demo Day Pitches Will Teach You About Startups.”
Seen on thenewsupdate
Tech workers describe arrests and interrogations as they flee Russia
Flutterwave Responds When CEO Is Put On Site For Alleged Bullying By Ex-Employee
Stop trying to raise a debut venture fund – go for the SPV instead
Musk Takes a $3 Billion Bite From Twitter; Tesla mogul has a 9.2% share of the social network
I know how the world ends, and it’s with a Twitter edit button
Seen on thenewsupdate+
Viewed 3 times: Elon’s Twitter flight from fantasy
Why a 35-year-old travel IT company decided to cut its technical debt?
The global venture capital market slowed in the first quarter, but not as much as you expected
Sounds apart with CFO after difficult SPAC debut
What Axie Infinity’s Binance bailout means for the future of crypto
Until next time,