Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced look at this week’s startup news and trends by Senior Reporter and Equity co-host Natasha Mascarenhas. Subscribe to receive it in your inbox here.
After the mass exodus of technology by technology, we’re starting to see laid-off talent starting companies that are ambitious and aspirational. I’m talking about the legal analyst let go by Better.com who started a legal tech startup, or the head of security at Twitter who started a Twitter rival with security at its core. It’s refreshing and it’s palpable.
Is there something in the water? Are they breeding grounds of a specific subset of companies? Is it just easier to start a business these days? Unfortunately, it is difficult to pinpoint what exactly the reframing of risk in 2023 is. It could be that 2022 is over – or it could be that technology’s great reset has reminded some that it’s time to take the plunge, as nothing can be taken for granted.
It’s worth noting that there’s only a portion of people who can afford to take this risk, especially after haphazardly losing an employer contract safety net. In a previous piece, I looked at how some tech workers are responding to risk by doing more due diligence on potential employers, taking on two jobs, known as overemployment, or rethinking their personal finance mindset.
Those who can afford to jump into construction may be a smaller cohort, but oh, they have stories to tell. Read my latest piece that discusses this trend of spin-offs in TC+: Tech layoffs are creating a new era of sloppy (and humble) founders.
If you still want to read more about how the labor market is doing, I have two add-ons! Read this latest from Ron Miller, which gives us much needed hope about why the tech job market may not be as shaky as we think. You’ll also find a comprehensive list of all layoffs in 2023 in this list, compiled by our SEO champion Alyssa Stringer.
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about a new podcast about one of tech’s biggest startup competitions, a touch of fundraising fairness, and some surprising data on trends dying out. As always you can follow me Twitter or Instagram to continue the conversation. I also write on my personal blog, if you want to follow along with the 1,821 other people who get hung up and be too long-winded.
Within Startup Battlefield
Ready for a newsletter for your ears, anyone? The ukbusinessupdates.com Podcast Network has a new podcast – and it takes you inside one of the most anticipated startup competitions in the world: Startup Battlefield at ukbusinessupdates.com Disrupt.
Here’s why it’s important: The four-part series covers the entire process behind the contest, from the application to the winner, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next installment (even though I literally had a front row seat when all of this happened). It’s a must-listen for hopeful applicants, curious VCs, and anyone interested in telling stories behind early-stage startups.
Listen to the first episode here, or wherever you find podcasts.
“You Can Raise Money Forever”
I spoke with Meena Harris, the creator of Phenomenal Media and the niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, and Helen Min, the former head of marketing at AngelList, Plaid, and other top technology companies. They have teamed up to launch Phenomenal Ventures, which just closed a $6 million debut fund with leading investors to support SaaS, fintech and future of commerce enterprise businesses.
Here’s why it’s important: We have some candor that VCs fill my DMs. The fundraising process for Phenomenal Ventures’ fund, by the minute, took about a year. “I am very transparent about this and I wish more people were; we planned to raise a larger fund,” she said, adding that they closed the first half of the fund in the first three weeks of fundraising.
Ultimately, due to the market slowdown and LP freezes, Harris and Min decided they would stop fundraising after their initial shutdown. “There is a real trade-off between the time we spend fundraising and the time we can actually spend on deal flow and meeting founders and helping our portfolio companies, so we decided to call it out,” added Min.
In her latest piece, TC’s Sarah Perez asks, “Was there a Twitter exodus or just a Twitter hiatus?” She checks in on how Twitter alternative offerings have fared since Elon Musk took over Twitter, ushering in both a vocal exodus and a rise of clones.
Here’s why it’s important: In her words: “The data indicates that many apps continue to grow at a lesser rate, while the growth of other apps is slowing down. But it also shows that Twitter itself was never significantly affected, at least in terms of new app installs. But there’s more; she also examines how Twitter use has been impacted by a wave of critical but vocal press, and how Reddit and Discord fit into the conversation.
Seen on ukbusinessupdates.com
As the ChatGPT hype heats up, Neeva launches its generative AI search engine internationally
The Chinese gaming industry is shrinking for the first time in years
How a Brazilian startup’s pivot to corporate cards paid off
Security Breach? Don’t blame your employees
Seen on ukbusinessupdates.com+
The trilemma for delivery on demand
Anchor your business in fundraising with the ‘why now?’ slide
A decade of fintech failures: 4 innovations that didn’t live up to the hype
Silicon Valley goes to war
5 red flags for buyers to watch out for during the M&A process
Chat next week,