Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh, human take on this week’s startup news and trends. To receive this in your inbox, subscribe here.
I noticed that the long-awaited re-correction of private tech startup ratings and fundraising expectations comes with a web3-sized asterisk.
As many funds revert to more conservative check writing, with an emphasis on profitability and business fundamentals, crypto remains a sector in the spotlight that attracts billion-dollar dedicated funds and investment conditions 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 stages of fundraising spoke about current investment strategies when it comes to investing in this cohort of startups. The contrasting strategies come down to technical differences in cap tables, the culture of communities that many businesses in this space are built on, and of course, the fear of the non-crypto world missing out. As Freestyle’s Jenny Lefcourt tells me, “Web2 got the valuation drop memo, and web3 didn’t.”
For my full take on this topic, check out my latest TechCrunch+ column with our newest crypto journalist Jacquelyn Melinek: Crypto is Changing the Investing Landscape for Even the Most Disciplined VCs.
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll look at a digital fertility business, the closure of Fast and the fate of Better, and our recent Austin City Spotlight. As always, you can support me by forwarding this newsletter to a friend, follow me on twitter or by subscribing to my personal blog.
Offer of the week
Conceive is a digital fertility program taking a page from CEO Lauren Berson’s professional and personal playbook. Years ago, the former partner of Andreessen Horowitz quit her job as an investor to join Weight Watchers. Soon she noticed that there was a “continuing, palpable beautiful experience” of people supporting each other as they collectively went through a period of vulnerability. In the meantime, she struggled to have a child with her partner – a lonely few years full of questions, loss and confusion.
Here’s why it’s important: Conceive offers an eight-week “try to conceive” program that matches users with other families on similar journeys, whether it’s a first IVF experience or a sixth. Cohort learning is then complemented by coaches and an asynchronous program.
What struck me the most was that this company will only be successful if it works: Berson explained that she intentionally started in the direct-to-consumer route because she didn’t just want to serve people who had ” the chance to work with an employer”. which “offered fertility benefits.
One man’s fast is another man’s best
Well, we’ve got it spellbound: The fintech world has been rocked this week with news that Fast, a quick one-click payment platform, is shutting down. The company cited slow growth, high consumption, and the inability to raise more money as reasons for its demise. Affirm gave a large majority of engineers job offers alongside the shutdown, but made it clear that they wanted the talent (not the technology).
Here’s why it’s important: As we talked about on Equity this week, failure can feel like a “choose your own adventure” in the world of startups. The important takeaway from the episode, which I invite you to listen to, is that there are often dozens of factors that play into a startup’s defeat. Theranos and WeWork play a role in understanding fraud at its height, but pivots and layoffs also give important signals about how founders are responding to the strain.
Failure is complex
Austin is not in competition with Miami, relax
This week, TechCrunch traveled to Austin, Texas for our latest City Spotlight. But there was nothing nascent or fundamental 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. He h.
Here’s why it matters via Mary Ann Azevedo: “Austin wasn’t an overnight success. For years, it was mainly known for its software scene, in addition to being the live music capital of the world. But today, new growth sectors include crypto/web3, real estate technology, CPG and insurance technology. As in other maturing markets, businesses that have been successful in the past are now spawning a new generation of entrepreneurs and attracting others from diverse locations.
All week long
- So, are we going out next week? TechCrunch Early Stage 2022 is April 14, which is just around the corner, and it’s in San Francisco. Join us for a one-day Founders Summit featuring Terri Burns from GV, Glen Evans from Greylock and Aydin Sekut from Felicis. The TC team can’t wait to get back in person, so don’t be surprised if the panels are a little spicier than usual. Here’s the full program, and grab your launch tickets here.
- Follow our new senior crypto journalist, Jacquelyn Melinek and our new senior corporate reporter, Kyle Wiggers!
- Finally, if you missed last week’s Startups Weeklyread it here: “What the 411 YC Demo Day presentations will teach you about startups.”
Seen on TechCrunch
Technicians describe detentions and interrogations as they flee Russia
Flutterwave Responds As CEO Is Indicted For Alleged Bullying By Ex-Employee
Stop trying to raise a first venture capital fund – go for SPV instead
Musk Takes a $3 Billion Bite on Twitter; Tesla tycoon owns 9.2% share of social network
I know how the world ends, and that’s with a Twitter edit button
Seen on TechCrunch+
3 Views: Elon’s flight of fancy on Twitter
Why a 35-year-old travel IT company decided to reduce its technical debt
The global venture capital market slowed in the first quarter, but not as much as expected
Latch parts ways with CFO after rocky start at SPAC
What Binance’s Axie Infinity Bailout Means For The Future Of Crypto
Until next time,