Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh look at what’s new and trends from startups this week. To get this in your inbox, Subscribe here.
When we entered in 2021, I wrote to about the big question Every startup’s thoughts for 2021: How will a disastrous event like a pandemic show up in post-pandemic innovation? Well, spoiler alert: we are nearing the end of another pandemic year and it seems like this state will be our world for longer than I’d like to predict. In other words, my question has not aged well and today I want to ask a new one.
My question for 2022 is: How can the tech community channel activation energy into startups, especially those founded by historically overlooked founders, beyond capital? I’m not talking about hype machines or weekly lunches on specific topics, I’m talking about elusive services.
In this liquid environment, I believe entrepreneurs need more human resources than ever when it comes to building their businesses. Do not get me wrong, the gender gap in fundraising is still a blatant, embarrassing problem that Venture needs to fix. But while we are pointing out the need to get more checks out there for more founders, we also need to figure out how to keep those founders in an increasingly competitive environment. After all, Venture doesn’t fix all things – and it does can even make it difficult for a startup to grow.
Activation energy can look different every day. For example, this week I wrote about Z Fellows, an accelerator that pays people $ 10,000 to take a week off from their jobs and flirt with them, finally developing their startup idea.
The average age of a Z-Fellow is 20 to 25 years, which means that the program has also successfully convinced new founders to take the leap. Founder Cory Levy attributes the interest to the requirement of the program: You only have to take a week off.
“The best programs out there, whether it’s the Y Combinator or the Thiel Fellowship, require that high level of commitment, big life decisions,” said Levy. “Do not do that; just simulate what life would be like for a few days or a week: if you like it, great, if not, no harm, no foul. “
While Levy shows the importance of time, I think we’ll also see a growing importance for founders who rely on community and mental health support. For my full opinion on the matter, see my TechCrunch + column: More Than Another Check, Founders need activation energy.
Thank you for your continued readership this wild year. We unpacked a lot together, from Unicorns need haircuts to Tech mafias in need of a modern refresh. We thought and thought about dollars too much hot due diligence summer and Gas lighting in fundraising. We took an industry-specific approach and gave tips why crypto doesn’t need NFTs, but NFTs need crypto and Multiplayer fintech. And finally we got transparent and talked about why? Democratization can sometimes do more harm than good and how can you build Vulnerability in your workflow.
It was a busy year, but there was a lot of learning (and unlearn), which will continue to shape how ideas turn into companies and realizations into thoughtful stories. Even so, I’m happy to take a break so that you don’t hear from Startups Weekly until the first full week of January.
Let’s jump into the rest of this newsletter one last time in 2021. We’ll talk about money diversity, climate versus crypto, and the trucking creator economy. As always, you can follow my thoughts on Twitter @nmasc_ or my emotions Revue.
Corporate culture and trying not to be the “fool”
Mobility reporter Rebecca Bellan recently published a nuanced interview with Ample co-founder John de Souza, who was born and raised in Ethiopia. The serial founder is setting up a battery swap company for electric vehicles, and as Bellan notes, the odds are slim thanks to a financially strong competitor. The entire interview is worth reading, but most of all I found his comments on culture, which apparently is a big topic for him even in the heart of a red-hot industry.
You should know that: “The problem with growing businesses, especially in the Valley, is that you have a high turnover rate and so it is really difficult to grow the business while you are losing. If you can stop employees leaving, you can grow the company very efficiently. So we know that we not only pay people to stay, but also create a corporate culture. ” Said de Souza. This line caught the eye because it underscores what I think will be a massive conversation in 2022: internal communications in a company and how the big layoff has changed employee expectations of their companies.
Culture cannot be ignored:
And the starting shot of the week is …
Not us! The early stage startup aims to help other companies identify the best journalists and influencers to work with based on a deep scan of the social web. They even used their own algorithm to approach me about their funding round announcement.
You should know that: The startup confirmed that Alexis Ohanian’s 776 recently led a $ 1.25 million round that was attended by Angels from Glossier and Tesla. Ohanian pointed out that “as the internet unbundles media, influence fragments,” which I believe makes it more difficult than ever for a brand to reach and truly understand its audience. In our latest stocks podcast Alex, Mary Ann I spoke about the limitations of Notus despite the possibilities.
TechCrunch 2021 Gift Guide
Over the week
Seen on TechCrunch
Seen on TechCrunch +
Have a safe end to the holiday season and I can’t wait to talk (maybe personally) next year,