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Hello, and welcome to Hump Day! If you’re not already full of tech egos, you’ll want to tune into today’s Equity podcast where Natasha M and Alex talks about how ego got both Sam Bankman-Fried and Elizabeth Holmes to where they are today.
Mark your calendar for tomorrow’s podcast of Walter and Silicon Valley-based attorney and businessroundups.org+ columnist Sophie. Starting at 9 a.m. PST / 12 p.m. EST, they will discuss immigration-related issues and answer questions about layoffs, work visas, and being a visa officer in technology. The public is invited to submit questions.
Now on with the news! — Christine
The businessroundups.org Top 3
- More layoffs: I hate that layoffs have become a regular part of this newsletter, but today, Mary Ann writes about the fintech company Plaid laying off 20% of its staff, with CEO Zach Perret telling employees that the motivation for the cuts came from “hiring and investing before revenue growth.” I assume companies will get better at forecasting, although with this macroeconomic environment it’s probably better to throw the crystal ball out the window.
- Avatars are everywhere: Speaking of things in the news lately, WhatsApp rolling out 3D avatars, Jagmeet reports. Just in time for the movie.
- Against the VC trend: Security compliance and automation will never go out of style, and Drata proves that this sector is still attractive to investors. The company, which helps clients adhere to frameworks such as SOC 2 and GDPR, raised $200 million at a valuation of $2 billion. Paul has more.
Startups and VC
Tage follows the happenings at the African fintech Chipper Cash. This week, the company already announced layoffs, and today we find out that FTX, the lead investor, cut Chipper Cash’s valuation from $2 billion to $1.25 billion shortly before FTX filed for bankruptcy.
It was a big day for new funds. Manic writes about India’s Blume Ventures, which more than doubled in size after raising more than $250 million for its new fund. Connie reports on 645 Ventures, led by a data-driven duo that just secured $350 million in capital commitments. And finally, Thoma Bravo has had an acquisition crack lately, and Ron writes that they now have a record $32 billion in new capital to fuel buyout funds.
Enjoy five more:
- The VC drop was heard all over Europe: Ingrid gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Atomico’s report on how much venture capital European start-ups are on track this year.
- Row, row, row your boat: Harbor Lab has raised €6.1 million to automate all the things that happen when you dock a ship in a commercial port. Mike has more.
- I think this truck smiled at me: Einride’s autonomous and electric truck seems to have a face. And you might even get to see one for yourself. Paul writes that the company has raised $500 million in equity and debt to expand in Europe and North America.
- A SIM card is not required: Telegram’s Premium offering just hit 1 million paying users, as reported by Manicand now the company is auctioning off virtual phone numbers so people can use the instant messaging app without a sim card, Ivan writes.
- It helps to know what you spend: Today I’m reporting on MarginEdge, a restaurant technology company that raised $45 million in new funding to collect real-time data from a restaurant’s back-office operations to give merchants a better idea of how much they’re spending.
To win over investors, use growth as your differentiator
Despite the doom and gloom, investors are still meeting founding teams as they look for places to park their money. Suave storytelling skills are good, but they’re not enough: once you’re in the room where it’s happening, it’s critical to make the best use of everyone’s time.
To make investor buy-in more likely, Jon Attwell, leader of the Seedstars Growth Track, advises teams to create metric customer journey maps detailing “all the mini-processes customers go through and the paths they follow. ”
Growth projections are nice, but showing investors concrete plans for onboarding and retention, reducing churn and addressing other growth drivers can show how well you understand your market.
“For investors, it’s a rare treat to see an obsession with the detailed metrics of a customer journey,” Attwell writes.
Three more from the TC+ team:
- We won’t tell you anything you didn’t already know…: But we give it a TC twist. Bekka examines the valuations of fintech unicorns and how much they have fallen in 2022.
- Two rich men go to a crypto conference…: Jaquelyn is at the Benzinga “Future of Crypto” event and saw Kevin O’Leary and Anthony Scaramucci discuss all about SBF, FTX and what’s next for crypto.
- Complaints are running out: Tim has heard complaints from opponents about the United States’ climate legislation, which he says is a sign that it is already working.
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Big Tech Inc.
In the “do you think?” files, San Francisco is now reconsidering its policy on police using killer robots, Paul writes.
I’m often polite to Alexa — my husband rolls his eyes when I say “please” and “thank you,” so I was intrigued by AmandaToday’s story that Amazon will give your overworked delivery driver $5 if you ask Alexa to thank your driver. I mean, why not start that habit in gift-giving season? I now see my Alexa’s green light flashing…
Five more for you: