Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced take on this week’s startup news and trends from senior reporter and equity co-host Natasha Mascarenhas. To get this in your inbox, subscribe Here.
After the massive brain drain from the tech industry, we’re starting to see laid-off talent creating companies that have ambitious and ambitious goals. I’m talking about the legal analyst who got fired from Better.com and founded a legal tech startup, or the head of security at Twitter who founded a security-centric Twitter rival. It’s refreshing and it’s tangible.
Is there something in the water? Are they hotbeds of a specific subset of companies? Is it easier to start a business these days? Unfortunately, it’s hard to say what exactly the reframing risk is in 2023. It may be that 2022 is over – or it may simply be that technology’s awesome reset has reminded some that it’s time to take the plunge, as nothing can be taken for granted.
It’s worth noting that only a subset of people can afford to take that risk, especially after voluntarily losing a safety net from an employer contract. In a previous article, I looked at how some tech workers respond to risk by scrutinizing potential employers, taking on two jobs, also known as overemployment, or redefining their personal finance mindset.
Those who can afford to get into building may be a smaller cohort, but oh, they have stories to tell. Read my latest article covering this trend of spinoffs in TC+: Tech layoffs create a new era of scrappy (and humiliated) founders.
If you still want to read more about how the job market is doing, I have two add-ons! Read this latest from Ron Miller that gives us some hope as to why the tech job market may not be as shaky as we think. Also included in this list is a comprehensive list of all layoffs in 2023, compiled by our SEO champion, Alyssa Stringer.
In the rest of this newsletter, we talk about a new podcast on one of tech’s biggest startup competitions, a push for honest fundraising, and some surprising data on trends that are fizzled out. You can follow me as always Twitter or Instagram to continue the conversation. I also write on my personal blog if you want to follow the 1,821 other people who come to hang and be too wordy.
Inside Startup Battlefield
Ready for a newsletter for your ears, anyone? The TechCrunch Podcast Network has a new podcast – and it takes you into one of the most anticipated startup competitions in the world: Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt.
Therefore it is important: The four-part series covers the entire process behind the competition, from application to winner, and I’m already eagerly awaiting the next installment (although I literally sat in the front row as it all unfolded). It’s a must-read for hopeful applicants, curious VCs, and anyone interested in the storytelling behind early-stage startups.
Listen to the first episode here or wherever you can find podcasts.
“You can fundraise forever”
I spoke to Meena Harris, creator of Phenomenal Media and niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, and Helen Min, former head of marketing at AngelList, Plaid, and other top tech companies. They have teamed up to found Phenomenal Ventures, which just closed a debut $6 million fund with top-tier investors to back companies in the enterprise SaaS, fintech and future of commerce space.
Therefore it is important: We have some openness about VCs filling my DMs. The fundraising process for the Phenomenal Ventures fund took about a year per minute. “I’m very transparent about this and I wish more people were; We have set out to raise a larger fund,” she said, adding that they closed the first half of the fund in the first three weeks of fundraising.
Eventually, due to the market slowdown and LP freezes, Harris and Min decided they would stop raising funds after their initial close. “There’s a real tradeoff between the time we spend raising funds and the time we can actually spend on deal flow, meeting founders and helping our portfolio companies, so we decided to call it that,” added mins added
In her latest play TC’s Sarah Perez asks, “Was there a Twitter exodus or just a Twitter hiatus?” She reviews how the range of Twitter alternatives has evolved since Elon Musk took over Twitter, ushering in both a vocal exodus and a rise of clones.
Therefore it is important: In her words, “The data shows that many apps continue to grow at a slower rate, while other apps see a slowdown in growth. But it also shows that Twitter itself has never been significantly impacted, at least as far as new app installs go.” But there’s more; She also examines how Twitter usage has been impacted by a barrage of critical but noisy press, and how Reddit and Discord fit into the conversation.
Seen on TechCrunch
As the ChatGPT hype peaks, Neeva launches its generative AI search engine internationally
China’s gaming industry is shrinking for the first time in years
How a Brazilian startup’s move to corporate cards paid off
Security breach? Don’t blame your employees
Seen on TechCrunch+
The on-demand delivery trilemma
Anchor your company in fundraising with the “Why now?”. slide
A decade of fintech failure: 4 innovations that didn’t live up to the hype
Silicon Valley is going to war
5 warning signs for buyers to watch out for during the M&A process
next week chat