Let’s Start Up - Issue 41 | Let that Sh*t go
POV: You're a founder building a startup
Hi there 👋 Welcome to Let’s Start Up a newsletter, curated by me, Janine Sickmeyer, a tech founder turned investor. Follow me as I share startup tips, industry news, founders you should know, and investors putting their money where their mouth is.
What's In This Issue 🗞
A brief look into what you'll be reading about
Let’s not sugarcoat the founder's experience
Startup news and insights
Two women founders building great companies
Wholesome news just for you
What's On My Mind 💭
I’ve been thinking…
This week I spent time with family at the beach, soaking up the sun, and enjoying morning runs by the water. If you can believe it, I was sans laptop for 7 days (!!).
In the last decade, I’ve taken very few days away from my computer. As a founder and now investor, I never felt that I could take a true break. I always thought I should be doing more. If this sounds like you, I beg you, please don’t do what I did. I wish someone would have given me the same advice as Khadija said 👇🏻
After selling my first company, I finally felt like I could breathe. So much weight was lifted off my shoulders. While it was hard to let go, I started focusing on my hobbies and making time for myself. The time to do this isn’t when you exit your company. You can keep telling yourself that you’ll take time off once you hit a certain milestone. But you shouldn’t wait - your future self will thank you.
This thread from Khadijah A. Robinson really stood out to me. Being a founder is not all rainbows and sunshine. It takes a toll on your personal life, friendships, finances, and so many other aspects of your life.
Here’s to not sugarcoating the founder experience. And if you’re a mom + a founder, well, the world doesn’t play nicely to you. You are expected to be the BEST mom, the BEST founder, the BEST cook, the BEST homemaker, and all of the other things society pressures us to be.
I beg you to LET THAT SH*T GO. Free yourself from the societal pressure to be the BEST everything.
You owe it to yourself to take breaks and get help when you need it.
That is when you will find the best version of yourself. ❤️
Recently Hit the Stands 📰
Things in the news you should check out
Meet 35 founders actively writing checks to other startups that entrepreneurs should scramble to pitch
Startup founders often wear many hats, and investing in startups is one of them. Founders bring a unique lens to startup investing and advising, making them a great addition to any startup cap table. This Business Insider article introduces several startup founders and investors including our good friend Harold Huges!
Market dissonance doesn’t always include an easy hot take
There are a lot of conflicting opinions on the state of the market right now. No one agrees on anything and it’s confusing. In the Startups Weekly newsletter, Natasha Mascarenhas shares what they’re hearing about the market and why many remain optimistic despite the valuation cuts and stock market.
SPVs: A Tool For Women-Led VCs, Angel Groups, And Investors
Overlooked emerging managers are having a harder time raising money from institutional investors and family offices while mega funds aren’t having any trouble at all. The high minimum investment is difficult for some HNWI. Read this post from Forbes to learn about SPVs and their advantages.
Why ‘warm’ intros hold back diversity in VC
Old habits by venture capitalists are not helping improve diversity in the industry. In 2022, VC firms are still using warm intros as the primary source of new deals. VCs need to consider a new alternative to eliminate bias and go beyond their networks. In this article, UKTN explains the problem with warm intros and how VCs can fix the issues that come with them.
After Roe’s reversal, founders of women’s health startups prepare for battle
Although advocates and organizers have been preparing for Roe v. Wade to be overturned because of the leaked draft opinion, the official ruling in late June was still devastating. Women’s health startups are stronger than ever, and they’re on the front lines fighting for the rights of women and non-binary people.
Tiger Global to slow startup investments for two quarters, eyes new fund later this year
Tiger Global, one of the most high-profile investment firms, plans to slow down its startup investments for two quarters. Partner Alex Cook told founders that the firm is evaluating market conditions and plans to limit the number of new checks it writes until December of this year. He also said that Tiger Global has billions of dollars in dry powder.
2022 half-year update: Female founders remain resilient
According to PitchBook data, US startups with one or more female founders raised $20.8 billion of venture capital. This represents over 93% of the deal value raised in the first half of 2021. View more data on women founder funding statistics in this article from Pitchbook and on their Female Founders Dashboard.
Predictably Bad Investments: Evidence from Venture Capitalists
Ethan Mollick shared a paper authored by Diag Davenport (Chicago Booth) titled Predictably Bad Investments: Evidence from venture capitalists. The paper shows that half of VC investments are predictably bad because VCs put too much focus on founder talent and aren’t good at identifying said talent. Read this thread from Ethan Mollick to learn about the paper and findings.
Introducing the first 50 recipients of the Latino Founders Fund
Google committed $7 million last year to help Latino founders grow and to support orgs. nurturing communities of Latino-led startups. $5 million of the funding goes to Google for STartups Latino Founders Fund. At the UnidosUS Annual Conference in San Antonio, Google announced the 50 founders in the program who will receive $100,000 in cash, hands-on support, Google Cloud credits, and access to therapy sessions.
Serena Williams Invests in Karat with Goal of Hiring 100,000 Black Software Engineers
Job interviewing platform Karat received investment from Serena Williams. The company has a goal to double the number of Black software engineers in the U.S. Only 5% of software engineers in the United States are Black. Karat conducts interviews for software-related job positions and makes coding assessments for candidates.
Meet The 7 Startups Selected For The Black Founders Build With Alexa Program!
Black Founders Build with Alexa announced the seven startups selected to participate in the program. Designed by Alexa Startups and the Alexa Fund, this program amplifies Black talent and entrepreneurship to help build the next generation of voice, AI, and ambient experiences. Congratulations to Overlooked Ventures portfolio company moment.ai, founded by Megan Gray, for being selected! Read this article to learn more about the seven companies!
Maximizing the impact of catalytic capital when supporting emerging fund managers
In this article from Impact Alpha, Spring Point Partners shares the importance of investing in emerging fund managers and underrepresented fund managers. Spring Port Pointers shares why investing in EFMs is good for the entire startup venture capital ecosystem.
Forecasting a Return to Venture Normalcy
AngelList Venture Head of Data Science wrote an article supporting the predictions that we are not in a bear market, but rather reverting to normal after a bull market. Venture activity and markups are headed towards the normal line, which is considered very positive by historical standards.
A Little Birdie Told Me 🐦
Tweet of the moment
Hot Take of the Week 🔥
Somebody had to say it
Founders You Should Follow 👀
Keep an eye on these founders making moves
Veronica Lee, Borderless
Veronica Lee is the Co-founder and CEO of Borderless. Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Veronica has lived all over the world when studying engineering at NYU Abu Dhabi and working as a mechanical engineer in Japan and Sweden. Currently based in Santiago, Chile, Veronica is building Borderless along with her co-founder Shun Kasahara. The platform helps people discover companies and university programs looking for and accepting international talent. Using Borderless, anyone can explore opportunities and apply. Earlier this month, Borderless was named #1 Product of the Day on Product Hunt!
Mandy Woodland, Amp Health
One in three American adults has prediabetes. Mandy Woodland is building Amp Health to help prediabetics stay in range with a non-judgmental approach to behavior change using data-powered personalized, actionable insights. Mandy is a dog mom, Red Sox Fan, and is on a mission to prevent 10 million people from developing chronic disease in the next 10 years. Check out Amp Health to learn more about what Mandy is building. Make sure to join the waitlist to be notified of when Amp Health launches!
Wholesome Content ☀️ (a new section!)
Repeated trauma is taking a toll on us all and we all need a little smile sometimes
NASA’s James Webb Telescope Images Show Deep Space in Exquisite Detail
You’ve probably already seen the scientific images from the James Webb Space Telescope, but they’re so spectacular that I want to show them to you again.
Some Surprising Good News: Bookstores Are Booming and Becoming More Diverse
300+ local bookstores have opened in the last two years - it’s somewhat of a revival. Read this article from New York Times to learn about one of those bookstores and why people are seeking real-life recommendations.
Just an Innocent Tweet for you!
I have a new bucket list, and it’s something from a book nerd’s dreams! Which of the 30 have you visited and which ones are you adding to your list? 📚
New Funds Announced 🚀
Recently launched venture funds
Mario Gabriele announced the launch of his venture capital firm, General Capital, a $12.25M fund designed to help a small number of epic startups maximize the power of storytelling. Learn more about the new fund here.
Lightspeed unveiled the closing of $7 Billion of committed capital to serve Founders across the globe. The $7 Billion is distributed across several funds including three Lightspeed US funds ($6.6B), a Lightspeed India early-stage fund ($500M), and debuting Lightspeed Faction, an independent team dedicated to backing founders in blockchain infrastructure.
Jeff Cherry, Founder & Director of Conscious Venture Partners, announced the launch of a new $50M fund that will back 300-400 startups. Many of the companies funded will come out of the Conscious Venture Labs accelerator.
Erika Lucas, founder of Stitch Crew and VEST, has raised a $2 million fund in 2 months to invest in women founders.
So. Many. New. Venture. Funds. (courtesy of TechCrunch)
More and more new venture capital funds are closing, and TechCrunch is keeping track. here’s a list of ten recently closed venture funds.
Deadline to Apply 📆
Opportunities for you
Apply to 2021 Tech Crunch Events | July 31st
To be considered for Startup Battlefield 200 at TC Disrupt 2022, industry-specific Sessions events, and geographically specific TC Spotlight events, apply to using this form.
SoGal Foundation Black Founder Startup Grant Application ****| Rolling Applications
SoGal Foundation partnered with Winky Lux, bluemercury, twelveNYC, Twilio, Walmart.org’s Center for Racial Equity, and more sponsors to provide $10k and $5k cash grants to Black women and non-binary founders.
If you’re a SaaS or marketplace company with a product and modest tracking looking to raise $500K to $5M, schedule a call with Jason Calacanis’ investment team.
Fearless Fund is accepting applications for its WOC small business grant. Fill out the form to be considered!
Events you don't want to miss
LA Tech Week | August 15-21
LA Tech Week is next month! This event is a week full of events hosted by VCs and startups to celebrate the growing LA ecosystem.
Inside Meet Our Fund 4 | October 25th
Founders, this one is for you! This time, let the investors pitch you. Inside is hosting another Meet Our Fund event where venture capitalists will present their funds to an audience of founders.
On the Founders Library 📚
Founder resources from Cobble
Article: You've Got a Meeting with an Investor! Now what?
Congrats! You have a meeting — IRL or Zoom — with someone whose interest you piqued and who might become an investor in your company. Now what? Here are some tips to help you prepare and make the most of your conversation.
Article: Dear Founders: Let’s talk about Side-Hustles, Freelancing, & Part-time Jobs
Of the many lessons I’ve learned along my entrepreneurial journey, most of them have had something to do with money. Whether it was figuring out my cash flow or underestimating my costs and expenses, the lessons that have stuck with me the most have been financial ones.
Sign up for Cobble to get access to all of these resources and more (it’s free).
What you need to know
All Raise tweeted out asking for anyone who has DMs open to help new female and non-binary founders/funders with their ideas. Look at the replies to see them.
Nicole DeTommaso of Hustle Fund tweeted six pieces of advice for cold emailing venture capitalists. Her advice includes bold subject lines, keeping it short and sweet, and adding a compliment.
CEO of MircroAcquire Andrew Gazdecki shares candid advice on his experiences bootstrapping vs raising capital. Watch the video on Twitter.
Saba Karim put together a spreadsheet with the names of 65 VC firms, which includes tier 1 VC’s, top accelerators, PE/hedge fund cross-overs, and top tier funds. Request access here.
Eric Bahn shares his recommended tactics on how to improve your pitch deck titles in this Twitter thread.
This isn’t another bland, boring entrepreneurship thread. Khadijah A. Robinson unveils what it’s actually like to be a founder. Read the thread.
For Investors 💰
Advice & thoughts for aspirational, new, or seasoned investors
Nichole Wischoff openly shares what it was like raising her first venture fund.
Read this thread from Afore Capital to see program transparency stats done right.
Before You Go 🚪
What you might have missed.
The Pomodoro method, but give me a 5 week break.
Uber’s app now has ads. Get ready for Blueberry ads.
He’s not wrong 🤷🏻♀️
I could never be a therapist because I can’t hear a single piece of gossip without asking for a picture of the person. (Mabel Lewis) 😅
Politicians using TikTok properly 👏🏼
After 14 years at Airbnb, co-founder Joe Gebbia is taking a step back.
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