Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced take on this week’s startup news and trends by senior reporter Natasha Mascarenhas.
Startups Weekly readers know I love pivot stories, and now I have one of my own: I’m leaving TechDigiPro! This is my last issue of Startups Weekly, a newsletter I’ve written every week for over two years. I’ll move on to a new post, continuing to report on venture capital and startups.
It’s a bittersweet move. I spent most of my graduate career at TechDigiPro. Publishing helped me achieve many professional scoops: my first scoop, my first long-form story, my first valuation up cycle, and my first layoff-ridden down cycle. I’ve also launched an all-new show for Equity, TC’s flagship podcast, interviewing guests about their best shots and career paths. Also, I interviewed Kevin Hart on the Disrupt stage. Grateful is an understatement.
While this will be my last Startups Weekly, it is not the end of this newsletter. I’m excited to share that Haje Jan Kamps, a longtime reporter and creator of our amazing Pitch Deck Teardown series, will take over Startups Weekly. Haje is one of the most quoted reporters in this newsletter because all of his work fits into the “startup must read” category, and his witty headlines don’t hurt either.
As for who will cover my pace, TC already has an incredible risk table, including but not limited to Connie Loizos, Mary Ann Azevedo, Christine Hall, Dominic-Madori Davis and Rebecca Szkutak. Big shout out to Kyle Wiggers, too, who fearlessly and carefully covers artificial intelligence alongside Devin Coldewey.
In my next role, I’ll cover the same pace and the same city, focusing on deeply researched reporting and scoops. For more information on where I’m going next and to continue my work, see my substack (free!!!) and Stay in touch on Twitter. I am excited for the new challenge. Technology has never been more newsworthy. Sources, I would still love your tips: My Signal: is 1 925 271 0912.
Now let’s get into a newsletter!
The AI Debate
At TC+, I wrote a story about the debate going on inside every venture firm right now: What’s the best way to capture the spirit of AI?
Here’s an excerpt:
Forerunner’s Charles Hudson wants to be cautious but not too cautious. The venture capitalist was one of many who attended a talk on AI last month, but he, and many others, have yet to make a new investment in AI during the current hype cycle.
Also, like many investors, he’s seen a tipping point take over a sector before, bringing in huge amounts of capital, new founders, and sometimes quick, FOMO-driven deals. Historically, Hudson hasn’t minded being left out. “With crypto, for example, it was okay to be close to zero,” he said. “I don’t think it’s okay with zero as the answer for the AI. The question is where and how.
- The new OpenAI tool tries to explain the behavior of language models
- Mayfield raised a mere $1 billion to stave off the unicorn hype
- Anthropic believes ‘constitutional AI’ is the best way to train models
Minting new accelerators
The team behind Better Tomorrow Ventures saw some of its biggest wins before the company even existed, when the founding duo backed pre-seed 500 companies. Now, founding partners Sheel Mohnot and Jake Gibson are launching their own accelerator.
Here’s what you should know: The Mint will be a three-month accelerator, based in San Francisco, handing out $500,000 checks in exchange for 10% equity in between six and 10 startups. The initial cohort, which begins next August, has already accepted one company and sent a second acceptance letter today.
Better Tomorrow seems to be stepping in where it thinks Y Combinator is missing. “YC is designed to scale. The advice is very much a one-size-fits-all,” Mohnot said. “We feel that with fintech, there are so many things that are unique in building that it makes sense to have something different.”
- AI2 Incubator’s New $30M Fund Triples in Early-Stage AI Startups
- Higher interest rates are fueling a fintech comeback story
- We are close to the maximum pessimism around fintech
All backed by companies for real world problems please
On Equity this week, the trio chatted about some deals and topics of the week, but the bright spot of the show was undoubtedly Wellthy’s coverage of Mary Ann. The startup recently raised $25 million to help caregivers feel less overwhelmed through a product it describes as “tech-enabled care concierge.”
Here’s what you should know: While the ecosystem of companies has certainly been quick to get behind digital health startups, and mental wellness is growing as a conversation, there’s never enough about specific care.
- Inside the story of a founder’s decision to shut down his startup and advice for others in the future
- Yes, tech growth is slowing
- Despite a rocky start, climate tech is in a good position to tackle the rest of 2023
- And that’s a recap of my latest episode of Equity! To Equity listeners, thank you for being with me throughout my journey on the show, from participating in Equity Friday’s to hosting and leading the creation of our Equity Wednesday episodes. I am very proud of my last three years on the show and can’t wait to be an avid listener from afar. Much love to all of you, and I hope to win you back every time I launch a new podcast!
- Programming note: If you’re reading this in a browser, get it in your inbox too! Subscribe here and share it with your friends.
- Of course: It is already interruption season. Reminder that there is a ticket for each budget and function.
- And finally, I have a shameless plugin: Scoops make me! If you hear about a venture firm or startup winning, rising, failing, or oh, I don’t know, firing an executive due to internal events, tell me. I love see first releases and term sheets too. Happy to talk about 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.
Spotted on TechDigiPro
All Raise 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 Seeks To Drop Most US Charges Against Him
Twitter launches encrypted DMs for verified users with security issues
Spotted on TechDigiPro+
Launchpad Teardown: Fibery’s $5.2 Million Series A Platform
Hidden in Plain Sight: 5 Red Flags for Investors
Tech workers could take job lessons from Hollywood writers
Ask Sophie: Can I apply for an EB-1A without first getting an O-1A?
It’s been fun. See you on the other side – and I hope you keep reading
A pivot, in this market‽ by Natasha Mascarenhas originally posted on TechDigiPro