Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced look at this week’s startup news and trends from senior reporter Natasha Mascarenhas.
Startups Weekly readers know I love a central story, and now I have one of my own: I’m leaving TechCrunch! This is my last issue of Startups Weekly, a newsletter I’ve been writing every week for over two years. I will continue with a new publication, reporting on venture capital and startups.
It’s a bittersweet move. I spent most of my postgraduate career at TechCrunch. The publication helped me land many professional firsts: my first scoop, my first full-length feature film, my first bull cycle with valuation rounds, and my first layoff-ridden bear cycle. I also launched an all-new show for Equity, TC’s premier podcast, interviewing guests about their best recordings and career paths. Plus, I interviewed Kevin Hart on the Disrupt stage. Grateful is an understatement.
While this will be my last Startups Weekly, it’s not the end of this newsletter. I love sharing that Hi Jan Kamps, a longtime reporter and the creator of our awesome Pitch Deck Teardown series, will be taking over Startups Weekly. Haje is one of the reporters I quote the most in this newsletter, as all of his work falls into the ‘startup must read’ category – and his witty headlines can’t hurt either.
As for who will cover my beat, TC already has a great venture desk, including but not limited to Connie Loizos, Mary Ann Azevedo, Christine Hall, Dominic-Madori Davis, and Rebecca Szkutak. Big shout out also to Kyle Wiggers, who fearlessly and thoughtfully handles artificial intelligence alongside Devin Coldewey.
In my next role, I’ll be beating the same beat and city, focusing on deeply researched feature films and firsts. To learn more about where I’m going and follow my work, check out my (free!!!) Substack and stay informed via Twitter. I’m looking forward to the new challenge. Technology has never been more newsworthy. Sources, I’m still curious about your tips: My signal: is 1 925 271 0912.
Now let’s move to a newsletter!
The AI Debate
On TC+ I wrote a story about the debate that is going on in every venture company right now: what is the best way to capture the zeitgeist of artificial intelligence?
Here’s an excerpt:
Precursor’s Charles Hudson wants to be careful, but not too careful. The venture capitalist was one of many at an AI confab last month, but he — and many others — hasn’t made a new AI investment during the current hype cycle.
Like many investors, he’s seen a turning point take over an industry before, with boatloads of capital, new founders, and sometimes fast-paced and FOMO-driven deals. Historically, Hudson didn’t mind sitting outside. “With crypto, for example, I was fine with being close to zero,” he said. “I don’t think I’m ok with zero as an answer for AI. The question is where and how.”
- OpenAI’s new tool attempts to explain the behavior of language models
- Mayfield just fell short of raising $1 billion to avoid unicorn hype
- Anthropic thinks “constitutional AI” is the best way to train models
Hit new accelerators
The team behind Better Tomorrow Ventures recorded some of its biggest wins before the company even existed – when the founding duo backed pre-seed companies at 500. Now founders Sheel Mohnot and Jake Gibson are launching their own accelerator.
Here’s what you need to know: The Mint will be a three-month accelerator based in San Francisco that cuts $500,000 checks in exchange for 10% equity in six to 10 startups. The first cohort, which will start next August, has already accepted one company and sent a second letter of acceptance today.
Better Tomorrow seems to step in where it lacks according to Y Combinator. “YC is built for scale. The advice is a lot like one-size-fits-all,” Mohnot said. “We felt with fintech, there are so many things that are unique about building that it makes sense to have something different.”
- AI2 Incubator’s new $30 million fund triples for early-stage AI startups
- Higher interest rates promote a fintech comeback story
- We are close to peak pessimism around fintech
All corporate backed for real world problems, please
On Equity this week, the trio chatted about some of the week’s deals and themes – but the show’s bright spot was undoubtedly Mary Ann’s coverage of Wellthy. The startup recently raised $25 million to help healthcare providers feel less overwhelmed with a product it describes as “tech-enabled care concierge.”
Here’s what you need to know: While the venture ecosystem has certainly rushed to support digital health startups, and mental wellbeing is growing as a conversation, there’s never enough specific to care.
- In the story of a founder’s choice to shut down her startup, and advice for others in the future
- Yes, technology growth is slowing down
- Despite a rocky start, climate technology is well positioned to tackle the rest of 2023
- And that wraps up my last Equity episode! To Equity listeners, thank you for following my entire journey on the show from jumping on Equity Fridays to hosting and leading the creation of our Equity Wednesday episodes. I’m so proud of my past three years on the show and can’t wait to be an avid listener from afar now. Much love to all of you, and I hope to win you back when I launch a new podcast!
- Programming Note: If you’re reading this in a browser, get this in your inbox too! Subscribe here and share it with your friends.
- Naturally: It’s already Disrupt season. As a reminder, there’s a ticket for every budget and role.
- And finally I have a shameless plug: Scoops make me! If you hear about a venture firm or startup that wins, raises, fails or, oh I don’t know, launches an executive because of internal events, tell me. I like to see early pitch decks and term sheets too. Happy to speaking of anonymity and explain more of my process and what I’m looking for. You can tell me things on Signal at +1 925 271 0912. No pitches, please.
Seen on TechCrunch
All Raise’s interim CEO is now full-time
Elon Musk says he has found a new CEO for Twitter
Boxed wine can be bougie with Juliet’s Allison Luvera and Lauren De Niro Pipher
Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is trying to dismiss most of the US charges against him
Twitter is launching encrypted DMs for authenticated users with security vulnerabilities
Seen on TechCrunch+
Pitch Deck Teardown: Fibery’s $5.2 Million Series A Deck
Hidden in plain sight: 5 red flags for investors
Tech workers could take labor lessons from Hollywood writers
Ask Sophie: Can I apply for an EB-1A without getting an O-1A first?
It was fun. See you on the other side – and I hope you keep reading,
A linchpin in this market‽ by Natasha Mascaren, originally published on TechCrunch