What is not a great idea for my energy level? Then, after a week of TechCrunch Disrupt, he gets on a plane to attend a startup event in Oslo, Norway. I've just gotten over the jet lag, so now it's time to get back on a plane and do it all over again. In 2016, I spent a lot of time in Oslo, and whined about the lack of sophistication in the Norwegian startup ecosystem. I was curious if they were figuring out how to start a startup. So, yes, kinda. The startups themselves are vastly more competent than they were seven years ago, and it's incredible what seven years of ecosystem development does. Many accelerators, support systems, and even a number of investors are starting to pop up.
I was moderately horrified, and more than a little bit surprised to find a contender to wear the semblance of this nascent and delicate ecosystem crown: The investors. Not all of 'em, obviously, but many of the ones I spoke to had an astonishing affinity for short-sighted thinking. I saw quite a common recurrence of a mistake I saw repeatedly in the U.K. ecosystem 15 or so years ago: Angels and pre-seed investors negotiating for way too much equity in the companies. That's not a good idea - not in an industry where the financial model is powered by the outliers. VC works despite most startups giving poor returns, but only if a few startups are able to deliver a home run. It's a numbers game that falls apart if your agreement structure is such that you virtually guarantee that investors will take one look at the cap table and realize that if they invest, the founders are at risk of losing interest. In other words, it's short-sighted, and founders shouldn't stand for it when demanding a 30% share in a fledgling company. The problem is easily solved by a shrewd investor willing to take a smaller portion of the companies for the same amount of money. It is both founder-friendlier, and it means the investment becomes more competitive against other investors. The founders just need to know that it's okay to push back against excessive terms, and hope the investors will realize that they're in it for the long haul.
With that screed of discontent out of the way, let's take a look at what happened in startup land this week?
TechCrunch Disrupt was last week, but our dastardly crew of keyboard warriors have been hard at work, summarizing and pulling out some of the gems of the sessions you may have missed. Developers, we still need you, Paul Paul reports on GitHub's CEO, saying that despite AI gains, demand for software developers will still outweigh supply.
Open a ticket: I interviewed the Atlassian CTO and covered how Atlassian was late moving to the cloud, but on the ball with AI.
We don't need no steenkin' investors, said Dominic-Madori, chief executive of Bootstrapping.
So Talkdesk may just have done its third round of layoffs in less than 14 months, but it seems like the tide is turning. But, not quite, but may the deep cuts be done, and everyone is just waiting.
Although it's hard to raise VC funds, there's been no shortage of new ventures announced over the past few weeks. Jacquelyn reports that Blockchain Capital has launched two new funds, worth $580 million, for a total of $580 million.
Kyle reports that VC firm Fuse closed its $250 million fund to invest in Pacific Northwest startups.
Tage reports that pan-African contrarian investor P1 Ventures reaches a $25 million first close for its second venture.
Christine reports that Mythos Ventures scooped up $14 million for its AI fund.
Connie notes that Industry Ventures raised $1.7 billion to snap up more stakes - and companies.
In TC+, I took a look at new numbers from Carta, showing that while the '' 2 and 20' fee structure is most common, there are definitely a bunch of exceptions.
Another week, another wall of AI coverage from myself and my colleagues, as it continues to be the darling of the startup world, with some stratospheric valuations this week. OpenAI's valuation is set at $80 billion+, and AlphaSense, a market-intel firm, raised $2.5 billion at a $2.5 billion price tag. Devin interviewed Anthropic's Dario Amodei on the Disrupt stage, and the company's CEO shared the startling realization that he's not sure there are any limits to what AI can do. The equity podcast team leaped into the love fest in this week's episode entitled The Love fest.
Sarah sources tell the New York Daily News that Tinder snobs can now pay $499 per month to be matched with the'most-sought after' profiles.
Ron reports that Cisco is preparing to acquire Splunk in a $28 billion multi-billion deal, giving shareholders a hefty premium.
Uber is tighter with taxi companies, Kirsten reported.
Amanda reports that Reddit will now pay users real money for popular posts.
Looking over your shoulder: Zack reports that, yes, you have to update your Apple devices again, because spyware is bad.