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Cities, Bikes, and the ‘Return’ of San Francisco • businessroundups.org

by Ana Lopez
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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.

“San Francisco is back!”

“It never went away.”

“It’s been dead for a long time.”

They’re all recordings, none particularly good, but they all insinuate a degree of self-importance that you, of all people, know when a city’s heart beats in a way that should count.

To me, San Francisco, for all the impermanence and frustration associated with it, feels like it never left. It is too simplistic to believe that cities can leave our lives, disappear from culture or take away relevance. I’m not saying San Francisco didn’t have a legitimate mass exodus with empty storefronts and office buildings – that’s very much what happened. But people are slowly trickling back: According to Vox, citing LinkedIn data, “San Francisco has seen the second-largest increase in working-class population of any area in the United States over the past 12 months.”

It’s felt. It feels nice to eavesdrop on conversations and hear people talk about the future, see bookstores filled to close, and have a packed schedule of networking events and happy hours. I’m constantly reuniting with people I’ve only known through Twitter DMs and bumping into people – an “I’ve lived here” milestone I’ve only dreamed about. Maybe it’s just the way I’ve experienced San Francisco, but it feels like the more social energy around us is less opinionated, more present. Like, yes, there’s this huge hype cycle around AI and I think people are flocking to Hayes Valley for some reason, but given how many founders I’ve had coffee with lately? They seem more focused on building than covering the businessroundups.org pre-product. Maybe I’m just lucky, but I feel like the SF being back feels more grounded, less boastful.

It makes me think: Cities never leave our lives, they just teach us lessons about cyclical moments, passing friendships and how a community can be fickle.

If you like this newsletter, you should check it out also my personal blog! In the rest of this newsletter we will talk about pitch deck teardowns and artificial intelligence. As always you can follow me Twitter or Instagramwhere unfortunately I don’t post about the demise of this city.

A Pitch Deck Teardown to start

It never hurts to be reminded that it’s important to eat your vegetables – and that’s my lazy preamble Hi Jan Kampslatest Pitch Deck Teardown on Spinach.io. Hey. As a reminder, this series includes an overview of startup pitch decks with strengths, where there can be improvements and witty analysis.

Read the full analysis here and remember: If you want to have your own pitch deck teardown on TC+, find out more here. Also, check out all of our Pitch Deck Teardowns and other pitching advice, all gathered in one convenient place for you!

The sequel

As with any hype cycle, accountability and transparency is needed. TCs Dominic Madori Davis has written a few stories looking at how the artificial intelligence boom is sitting with historically underfunded minorities. There is good news, and there is bad. Let’s start with the good: First, female-founded AI startups are seeing a boost in VC funding. Sure. At the same time, the work isn’t done yet – bias continues to run across AI, from investments VCs make to the products founders build.

Here’s why this is important, in Davis’s words: “Discussions about diversity are more important than ever as AI enters a new golden age. Every new technology that appears comes with a dire consequence. So far, AI has contributed to racist job recruiting tactics and lower home approval rates for black people. Self-driving cars have a hard time detecting dark skin, making black people more likely to be hit by them; in one case, robots identified black men as criminals 9% more often than white men, which would shine in a new light if justice systems ever [began] adopt AI.”

3d rendered classic sculpture Metaverse avatar with network of low-poly glowing purple lines.  Machine learning and artificial intelligence concept.  Animated preview of 3D NFT artwork.  Web 3.0 technology background.

Image Credits: salihkilic/Getty Images

etc. etc.

  • Z5 Capital, a venture firm focused on start-ups in the United States, plans to raise a $25 million fund, according to SEC filings.
  • Green Bay Ventures, a VC firm founded by NEA co-founder Dick Kramlich and partner Anthony Schiller, has closed $90 million for a new investment vehicle, according to SEC filings.
  • Heard at happy hour in San Francisco: “You know, some people think Adobe is a startup.”
  • If you missed Startups Weekly last week, check out my latest issue here: “Dear Founders, Returning to the Office is a Game of Numbers.”
  • businessroundups.org is coming to Boston on April 20. I’ll be there with my favorite colleagues to interview top experts during a one-day founder summit. Reserve your pass as soon as possible! Speakers include Kerty Levy of Techstars, Dayna Grayson of Construct Capital and James Currier of NFX.

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Chat next week,


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