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
Startup and tech news 📰
Podcasts you don’t wanna miss 🎧
Two women founders to follow 👀
Founder and investor tips 📝
What's On My Mind 💭
I’ve been thinking…
When the seasons change, it’s the perfect time to make change in your life. The leaves are falling, letting go of holding on for so long.
It’s time for us to let go too. 🍂
Let go of the expectations you’re setting for yourself.
Let go of the pressure society is putting on you.
Let go of the limiting beliefs you’ve told yourself.
Let go of the grief that was never yours to carry.
For the past few months, I’ve been on a rocky path to finding out what I need to feel fulfilled and what I need to let go of. When you’re a high achiever and go-getter, sometimes you go go go until you find yourself completely burnt out, physically unable to go anymore. I have done this far too many times, and while I’m working through this with my therapist right now, I can offer a few pieces of advice for other high achievers.
Let Go. Say no. Protect your time.
And when the time is right, you’ll come back stronger.
Recently Hit the Stands 📰
Things in the news you should check out
Global VC Pullback Is Dramatic In Q3 2022
The big global venture capital pullback we were all expecting is truly here. Venture funding for the third quarter of 2022 totaled $81 billion, down by $90 billion (53%) year over year and by $40 billion (33%) quarter over quarter, according to a Crunchbase News analysis.
Investing In Venture Is The Ultimate Power Play For Executive Women With Influence And Wealth
Although there is an equity battle, women have gained a significant amount of power, influence, and wealth. A great way for women to expand their power, influence, and wealth is by becoming investors in venture capital. Doing so makes women more visible and will generate 3x-5x their money. When women pursue venture investing, they can make a change in the world of VC.
Ask the Hustle: How Can I Break Into Venture Capital From a Nontraditional Background?
The Hustle interviews Overlooked Ventures General Partner, Janine Sickmeyer, about her tips for breaking into VC from a nontraditional background. Read more about actionable tips and insights.
Making Room At The Table Is Only The First Step For Minority Founders
Rent the Runway was the first company to IPO with an all-women C-suite. While this is an amazing milestone, it’s upsetting that it has taken this long. We need to eliminate barriers to entry, such as a lack of access to funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities, to make VC more accessible.
Wash U receives a research grant to study inequities in venture capital funding
Washington University's Olin Business School received a $300,000 research grant to study how the industry funnels money to startups. The study will include nine policy experts, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs who will compile data on venture capital funding to analyze the inequities in venture funding
Venture Firms’ $290 Billion ‘Dry Powder’ is About to Revive Startup Funding
Venture capital firms have a record amount of dry powder just waiting to be deployed. Jon Sakoda, the founder of early-stage venture firm Decibel Partners, analyzed a decade of venture fundraising and investment activity. He found that U.S. VC investors are sitting on $290 billion. This means that the floodgates should open sometime soon.
VC Include Announces 2022 Cohort for Fellowship of BIPOC First-Time Fund Managers
VC Include, an organization that creates an inclusive ecosystem of LPs and GPs from diverse backgrounds. It announced the 2022 BIPOC First-Time Fund Manager fellows, which is made up of fifteen emerging fund managers who are women or BIPOC. Our friend Eunice Ajim of Ajim Capital is a part of the new VC Include cohort!
When Public Markets Experience Volatility, Experts Say To Invest In Emerging Managers
Forbes recently published this piece on why investing in emerging fund managers is a safe bet during times of market volatility. Emerging fund managers often see higher returns and seek non-consensus investment opportunities. Research from Verdis Investment Management shows that “there is little to no correlation between the current public market conditions and early stage venture returns since you are investing for an exit environment 8–10 years in the future.”
Black founders only receive 1.4% VC funds—here’s how to change that
Porter Braswell quit his job in finance and took a gamble on his career to start Jopwell, a tech company that represents and advances careers for Black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals. Porter speaks about his experience starting his company and how we can change venture capital.
Google for Startups launches Startup Academy for Women Founders in LatAm
Google for Startups is holding its sixth Startup Academy for Women Founders to support women founders in Latin America. Over five days, participants will attend 40 hours of online courses that cover technical product, marketing and leadership training, as well as training on topics such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
Bank of America Invests in Backstage Capital
Backstage Capital, led by Arlan Hamilton, recently announced that Bank of America is investing in its Opportunity Fund I, the firm’s biggest and newest fund. Bank of America is one of the Opportunity Fund’s core investors and their investment will allow Backstage Capital back more innovative, world-class founders.
Meet the Newest Cohort of First Round’s Angel Track — Ready to Join Your Cap Table
First Round Capital announced the newest cohort of their angel track program, Cohort 10. Starting in 2018, the program now has over 300 alumni nationwide. The most recent cohort of angels from Spring 2022 is ready to take founder pitches. Read the Medium post to learn more about this amazing group!
When the dam breaks, IPOs are going to be wild
Not every startup worth $1 billion is ready to go public, but a lot of them are ready to list. When the IPO window opens, there might be a large number of technology companies going public. In this TechCrunch article, Alex Wilhelm discusses the potential influx of IPOs and why we need to consider pace.
JPMorgan Chase invests $1.5 million in initiatives for women of color
JPMorgan Chase invested $1.5 million in an equity design institute, led by LC Johnson, Kelley Griesmer, and Jennifer Schlueter. The institute will train women of color to develop equitable solutions for challenges such as housing insecurity and lack of access to childcare.
Serena Williams' new focus could help diversify the venture capital game
Serena Williams is planning to retire after the U.S. Open and will turn her focus to a venture capital firm she formed eight years ago. There aren’t a lot of women black-owned venture capital firms, but the industry is optimistic.
Arkansas’ First Black-Led Venture Capital Firm Announces $15M Inaugural Fund
High Street Equity Partners is Arkansas’ first and only Black-led venture capital firm. Debuting with a $15 million fund that will invest in tech-driven companies run by female and Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs in Arkansas in the heartland.
Google for Startups continued investment in Black founders and funders
Google for Startups welcomed 50 more entrepreneurs to the Black Founders Fund. All 50 of these businesses are solving important problems. So far, Google has provided $30 million in non-dilutive cash funding to startups in the U.S., Brazil, Europe, and Africa. Femly, one of the Overlooked Ventures’ portfolio companies was selected for the Black Founders Fund, among many other great startups led by Black founders.
A Little Birdie Told Me 🐦
Tweet of the moment
Hot Take of the Moment 🔥
Somebody had to say it
Founders You Should Follow 👀
Paige Hewlett | Margo
Founder and CEO of Margo, Paige Hewlett is a marketing and operations leader. Paige is building Margo, a marketing operating system that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses. The platform allows entrepreneurs to unify their growth operations with profitability tracking, marketing strategy, branding documentation, and connecting with freelancers. By day, Paige is the VP of Marketing at a SaaS company and mom. She also enjoys gardening and is a WSET-certified wine lover.
Samantha Anderl | Harlow
Samantha Anderl is the co-founder of Harlow, a platform that helps freelancers organize their day-to-day lives and get paid. Formerly a marketing consultant and freelancer, Samantha understands the ins and outs of freelancing. Samantha and her co-founder saw how much work building, managing, and marketing a freelancing business was on top of working with clients. Now, they’re helping freelancers streamline basic business operations so they can do what they love. Samantha drinks extra dirty martinis often-ish in her free time and hangs out with her dog, Karl.
New Funds Announced 🚀
Recently launched venture funds
Hustle Fund closed it’s third fund, a $46M fund to serve great founders at the pre-seed + seed stages. The firm has steadily grown its assets under management since first launching five years ago. Its first fund closed at $11.5 million, its second fund closed with $33.6 million. Founders apply for funding here.
Bessemer Ventures has announced its two newest funds: a $3.85B for Early Stage companies and $780M for our inaugural BVP Forge (SW-Tech Growth Buyout). The firm will continue to back entrepreneurs building the future.
VSC Ventures offers public relations support and storytelling advice in exchange for equity in startups. They launched in October of 2021 with a $7 million vehicle and have now closed the fund with additional $14 million dollars totaling a $21 million debut fund.
Founded in 2018 with a $53M debut fund, Building Ventures invests in early-stage startups working to create a better-built world. Building Ventures recently closed its second fund at $95 million.
Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein announced a $126 million raise to invest in pre-seed, seed-stage, and Series A startups. So far, the fund has made 15 investments with at least one overlooked founder.
Countdown Capital, founded by General Partner Jai Malik has raised $15 million for a second fund to invest in the next industrial revolution.
Tech Events 📆
Opportunities for you
NYC Tech Week | October 10th-16th
New York Tech Week is happening. We don’t know many details yet (the news was just dropped), but some pretty amazing startups and VCs will be hosting events.
Kabila's Free Virtual Co-Founder Matching Event | October 14th 1:00-2:00pm CT
Are you a startup tech founder looking for the right co-founder? Come join the virtual Co-founder matching event hosted by Kabila. Jump-start your Co-founder matching journey.
Hosting an event, podcast, or conference? Check out this thread of talented speakers looking to hop on a stage in the new year!
Long Time Listener 🎧
Audio & video you won’t want to miss
Essential People Practices for Building and Scaling Climate Tech Startups
Katelin Holloway, investor and founding partner at Seven Seven Six, joins Jay Kapoor on the CLIMB podcast. Previously head of people and culture at Reddit and investor at initialized Capital, Katelin shares how Seven Seven Six chooses categories of investment interest, ClimateTech companies that Katelin is drawn to, and the navigating the ClimateTech industry as a founder and investor.
Tips for Breaking into Venture Capital - Paige Finn Doherty’s Story
In Founder Suite’s podcast How I Raised It, Paige Finn Doherty shares her origin story of how she founded and raised Behind Genius Ventures. The fund invests in startups building the future of work and play. Paige Finn Doherty talks about her scrappy path to VC, the concept of execution velocity, and raising a fund as a first-time VC.
20VC: Why 95% of Venture Capital is Not Really “Venture Capital”
Harry Stebbings interviews Will Quist, Partner at Slow Ventures. Before Slow Ventures, Will Quist worked at Industry Ventures and in finance at Bank of America. During the episode, Harry and Will talk about Will’s journey into venture, what venture capital really is, discovering greatness, and the future of venture capital.
How to Pitch a VC, Part 3: Closing Your Pitch
Hustle Fund’s Uncapped Notes recently dropped a new episode all about how founders should conclude their VC pitches. Many founders end their pitches the wrong way because they’re unsure of best practices. Hustle Fund succinctly offers the best ways to end your meeting.
Seed to Harvest Episode 13 with Cindy Bi
CapitalX’s Cindy Bi joined Paige Finn Doherty on her Seed to Harvest podcast to chat about her investments in 12 unicorns including Rippling, Zapier, and Cruise. The two also talk about 506c rolling funds vs traditional venture funds with a special shoutout to Mac Conwell.
Live The African Dream by Eunice Ajim
Founder and Managing Partner of Ajim Capital Eunice Ajim recently started her own podcast, Live the African Dream. The podcast brings together investors, entrepreneurs, and tech leaders to talk about the challenges and triumphs of being an African on the continent or in the diaspora in today’s world. Listen to the eight episodes out now, and subscribe for new episodes!
What you need to know
8 secrets that 2nd-time founders have learned the hard way from Parul Singh.
When starting a company, the tools you use are up to you. Here’s a thread of founder-favorite software and systems.
Try this 3 part framework to make your copy impactful, authoritative, and follow-worthy.
Get your startup starter pack from Saba Karim. It includes all the tools you need to launch your company.
Karla Monterroso shares how to prepare for an online attack in this Twitter thread.
Angel investors with marketing and communications experience are an asset to your seed stage startup. Here’s why.
Make intros easy for everyone. Give people a forward-able blurb that provides context, an overview, and what you want. Read this Twitter thread on how to perfect your intro blurb.
The startup playbook on how to build a healthy business has been lost. Frank Rotman shares how to make money with a single product at low levels of scale on Twitter.
Going viral on Tiktok isn’t luck. Alex Friedman shares her formula to success on Tiktok in this extensive guide.
Here’s the series of emails you should send to a customer after they purchase your product.
34 Funds Focused on Underrepresented Founders
This power move can get you some more opportunities as a founder.
For Investors 💰
Advice & thoughts for aspirational, new, or seasoned investors
Is Venture Capital 2.0 the revolution of machine learning and data-driven VC? João Nunes takes a deep dive into the potential of machine learning in VC and insights from funds that are already implementing it.
Mark Suster analyzes what the post-crash VC market looks like.
VCs can’t get everything right all the time. Hunter Walk and Roxanne Petraeus talk about when a VC passes and is wrong.
Top mistakes first-time fund managers make from the Weekend Fund’s Signature Block newsletter.
If your VC fund deck is falling flat, the Weekend Fund is sharing a deck template that successfully raised $500M+ from LPs.
Lolita Taub just launched the Ganas Deal Partner Program where you can refer companies and receive 20% of the carry if Ganas VC invests in your recommendation.
The hardest raise in tech isn’t raising for a startup, it’s closing a Fund I.
Saka Nuru takes a deep dive into the challenges of raising your first venture capital fund.
RAISE held their LP-Only Summit with over 200 LPs. They polled attendees about their preferences, concerns, and general sentiment during this rocky time in VC. Read their responses here.
Spending your conversations listening more than talking is powerful. Erica Wenger shares her tricks for keeping the conversation on the other person.
The dollars returned matter, not the MOIC (Multiple on Invested Capital). Henri Pierre-Jacques shares why on Twitter.
During her Fund I fundraise for Behind Genius Ventures, Paige Finn Doherty asked LPs what they wanted to see in fund data rooms and why. She shares their answers on Twitter.
Before You Go 🚪
What you might have missed.
If someone wants to see you win they will help you do it.
Serena Williams announced that she is evolving away from tennis.
Can we stop telling entrepreneurs to quit their jobs and side gigs in order to raise?
The hard truth about success.
Interesting opportunity for those wanting to enter the VC space.
Are you attending TechCrunch Disrupt? Tons of great speakers will be there including Charles Hudson!
Check Warner talks about whether the fundraising market is open and what has changed on Twitter.
Canva announced a suite of new products to challenge Microsoft Office and every other productivity tool (Thank you to @TurnerNovak for this amazing thread).
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First time reader, heard about you from Naza and Sali. This is great, appreciate your perspective.
This is great, Janine. Always appreciate the tools and resources you include. I recently asked startup founders how many versions of their pitch decks they create and the responses were pretty interesting, in case it interests other founders in your network (I know I need to create a memo now) :) https://twitter.com/saigalsn/status/1580620383627186207?s=20&t=lyOplwRaDeLiL8LQoPTbSA