Let’s Start Up! - Issue 44 | Invest in Yourself ✨
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
Understanding and coping with change
Articles, podcasts, and advice to help you level up
Moving the needle
Two founders building for everyday life
All my life, I’ve been the definition of an extrovert - energized by parties and events, and friends, and the thought of even being alone for a few hours would fill me with anxiety. And even as an entrepreneur, I would sit at a bustling coffeeshop day in and day out, because that was the only way I could feel alive and focused.
But in the last few years, I found this practice to be nearly debilitating. My anxious feelings that were once fears of loneliness have swapped with fears of being around too many people. Sure, it could be because I have four small children and want my own quiet time, or it could be because as we age, our needs change along the way. And we all know the pandemic and, more specifically, the isolation during those months, will have lasting effects on us that we have yet to discover. But I have been feeling such a disconnect between the woman I was a few short years ago and who I am now that it was enough for me to bring the matter to my therapist.
After hearing the physical changes that coupled with this feeling of exhaustion (lack of sleep, shoulder and neck pain, headaches, etc.) she mentioned that it could be burnout. I’ve suffered burnout through the years, like most founders. The intense highs and lows is enough for any entrepreneur to collapse. And the need to always feel connected and constantly plugged in on social media, Slack, and email will come at a cost, if you’e not careful. Now, I talk about this a lot because I truly believe that mental health is the single most important and overlooked issue that founders face. We read books about business tips and marketing how-tos and most of the time, they are riddled with the idea that you must go, go, go, in order to be successful. But founders who glamorize hustle culture have not seen the effects of it yet.
While my introvert/extrovert identity shift has made me feel not like myself lately, I am trying to embrace the alone time.
But enough about me…
I went to my Twitter community to ask if anyone has gone through something similar, and I’m glad I did because my friends had some great advice. Some people shared that it is burnout they have experienced and healing from that is a long journey. Dr. Karen Wilson said parenthood changes the brain but to embrace the changes.
One piece of advice stood out to me. Jenny Chao said she attributes the shift from extrovert to introvert to “feeling happy with spending alone time and focused time with the people she loves versus constantly wanting more.”
As we go into the weekend, I leave you with a reminder to embrace who you are, leave the judgment behind, unplug when things feel heavy, and invest in yourself.
Because friends, the most important part of your business is YOU.
What I’ve Been Working On 💁🏻♀️
Here’s what I’ve been up to lately
Trip to Washington, DC
I was in DC last week, along with my Chief of Staff Jaime. It might have been rainy and overcast in DC, but the meetings were energizing! We stayed at The Eaton Hotel and met with all of our DMV-based founders over coffee chats and meals.
Ohio Securities Conference with Sean Grant!
On Thursday, I gave a talk at The Ohio Securities Conference about the importance of putting capital into historically ignored entrepreneurs in the Midwest with the CFO of the Columbus Region. Together as a community, we are continuing to move the needle!
Ask the Hustle: How Can I Break Into Venture Capital From a Nontraditional Background?
The Hustle interviewed me on how to break into venture capital from a non-traditional background. In the interview, I shared advice on how to dip your toe into VC, build a network, and what it’s like to be a VC!
Silicon Valley's not-so-secret thing for turning everyone into millionaires is angel investing. Here's how they do it
Business Insider wrote a snappy article sharing how different investors approach angel investing and the growing number of digital platforms and angel groups eliminating barriers to entry. I was quoted for my experience fundraising as a founder and how it influenced my angel and venture capital investments.
Recently Hit the Stands 📰
Things in the news you should check out
Black History Month: 12 Black women share what Black joy means to them
Overlooked Ventures’ Inclusive Communities Manager, DEIB Consultant, and Twitter Queen Chauntelle Lewis was featured in the Stylist for sharing what Black joy means to her during Black History Month in the UK. One of the ways Chauntelle experiences Black joy is through gardening, which makes her feel grounded and happy. She says, “there’s something magical about seeing something you’ve grown from seed flourish and bloom and, like Black joy, it’s ever-evolving and dynamic.”
Unsure of what to invest in? How about women-led companies?
Venture capital fund How Women Invest released a new report about How Women (and Men) Invest in Startups. The report finds that women are more sophisticated investors than their male counterparts and back startups that go on to make an impact. Simply put, we need more women investing in women-led companies in order to build wealth and change business dynamics. Read the article from BizJournals to see more of their findings.
Scoop: Tiger Global raising $6 billion for next private tech fund
Axios announced that Tiger Global is raising $6 billion for its next fund, which is less than half of what it raised for its prior fund. Tiger Global, which has called over $36 billion in capital, is an investor in companies like TikTok parent ByteDance, Databricks, Stripe, ByteDance, and Shein. The size of Tiger’s new fund reflects a decrease in startup funding round sizes and valuations.
Market Map: Economic volatility reshapes the outlook for AI & ML
Investors have slowed down on investing in AI and machine learning startups because of market volatility. In Q2 2022, there was a nearly 28% quarter-over-quarter decline in AI and machine learning VC deals. Although the market is showing a decrease in these deals, Overlooked Ventures is still bullish on AI and ML (for example moment.ai).
VC Funding Towards Black-Founded Startups Has Dramatically Slowed Down Since Last Year
In 2021, VC firms followed through on their promises to invest in overlooked and historically-ignored founders. VC investments in general have fallen, and it appears Black founders might be harmed the most. So far in 2022, Black founders have only received 1.2% of overall VC investment in the U.S.
Large-scale investors flock to venture debt's 'phenomenal returns'
Venture debt is a type of loan for companies with venture capital backing. Banks or non-banks that offer venture debt use the company’s previous fundraising as validation when underwriting the loan (SVB). Venture debt has become more popular in recent years, in fact, big firms like Bain Capital have added venture debt offerings because they lead to “phenomenal returns.”
A Little Birdie Told Me 🐦
Tweet of the moment
Hot Take of the Week 🔥
Somebody had to say it
Founders You Should Follow 👀
Molly Retter | Goblin
Molly Retter is the Founder of Goblin, a whimsical to-do list app that helps you declutter your mind so you can focus on cultivating joy & work/life happiness. She is skilled in many trades, including coding and professional beer brewing beer. Molly is building Goblin in public and she openly shares her journey on Twitter and the Goblin blog. Goblin recently entered private beta and the MVP is live! If you’re interested in improving your productivity with the help of a Hype Goblin, join the waitlist here to get access!
Maria Boustead | Po Campo Bags
Designer and entrepreneur, Maria Boustead is the owner of Po Campo Bags, which sells bags for your bike that can go along for the ride. Maria found her love of biking as a way to get around while studying abroad in Germany during college. Post graduation, Maria continued to cycle and worked as an Industrial Designer. She needed a bag that could be used on her bike and off of it, while also looking nice. Po Campo Bags sells several different bags and bike accessories for commuters, kids, and more!
VC Firms Hiring 🌟
Venture into VC
Nicole DeTommaso shares VC Job Openings every week on Twitter! Follow her and check out this week’s thread!
Behind Genius Ventures is hiring a part-time investment analyst.
Alexis Ohanian’s venture firm 776 is hiring a Venture Capital Analyst.
New Funds Announced 🚀
Recently launched venture funds
Hustle Fund recently announced the close of its third fund at $46.1 in capital commitments. Since launching five years ago, Hustle Fund has grown to $125M in assets under management. Go, Hustle Fund!
Founder of TaskRabbit and general partner at early-stage VC firm Fuel Capital Leah Solivan is launching her own fund. Precedent Collective will cut checks to early-stage companies.
Sarah Guo launched Conviction with a $100M inaugural fund that will back Software 3.0 companies on the path to becoming the most important companies of tomorrow.
Bill Clerico, along with Anukool Lakhina, Ilya Volodarsky, George Whitesides, and Erin Wood, started a new $35M venture fund backing founders building solutions to wildfire.
Point Nine, a Berlin-based VC firm, raised a new seed fund at €180m. Now on its sixth fund, the firm will back B2B marketplaces and B2B SaaS startups.
NextView just announced their close of $200M across two new funds! NextView invests in pre-seed and seed-stage startups.
Long Time Listener 🎧
Audio & video you won’t want to miss
**Hustle Fund GP Elizabeth Yin on Scaling Your Fund Strategy From Fund I to Fund II and Building An Investor’s Oasis with Camp Hustle | Seed to Harvest Ep 32
Elizabeth Yin at Hustle Fund, known as @dunkhippo33 on Twitter, joins Paige Finn Doherty on the 32nd episode of Seed to Harvest to share what she's learned from 700 LP meetings, creating camp hustle and the origin story of her infamous Twitter handle.
Re-Think Your 20s | Landon Campbell | TEDxWrigleyville
Landon Campbell, General Manager at Drive Capital and host of the podcast In Their 20’s, Ted Talk is live! Landon’s goal is to help people rethink their 20s, which includes showing that there are multiple paths to success. Watch his fantastic Ted Talk at Wrigleyville here.
Founder Tips 📝
What you need to know
Ali Rhode from Outset Capital compiled an Airtable of 71 incredible Black-founded funds including Charles Hudson, Mac Conwell, Arlan Hamilton, and many other amazing Black fund managers!
Luke Sophinos raised ~$30M for his startup, most of it through cold email. Here is how he did it.
You used to have 3 seconds to catch someone’s attention on social media. Now it’s 1.7 seconds according to Facebook.
Every founder should have professional headshots for their website and pitch deck.
Startups to Watch 🚀
Don’t miss out on these great opportunities!
Tax Lab’s SynkBooks
SynkBooks is a better bookkeeping solution developed by Isai Bismark Cortez, a tax lawyer who has spent his career defending clients from IRS audits all the way up to the United States Tax Court. In addition to bookkeeping software, SynkBooks offers tech-enabled services to manage their bookkeeping and tax needs. SynkBooks is raising soon on Republic with a minimum goal of $50K. Reserve your spot now to ensure you can invest when Tax Lab starts the offering!
Open for Work
The following professionals are looking for full-time employment and come highly recommended by me! *for more info and a resume, reply and I’ll connect you!
Katerina Dimitratos, COO
Katerina Dimitratos is looking for a COO role! She was formerly COO at Epoch Financial Group for 2 years following her promotion from Chief Strategy Officer. Before that, she spent 5 years at PwC in roles that ranged from Senior Strategist to the US Leader of Asset and Wealth Management, Risk Management, and Marketing & Sales. Prior to PwC, she was the global lead at Bloomberg for the Athens & Cyprus stock exchanges and an analyst at S&P Global.
If you are looking for a remote/hybrid COO in NYC, let me know so I can forward Katerina’s information to you!
Adam Grant, VC Professional
Adam Grant is an accomplished professional whose career success can be seen across multiple industries. He is the Principal at Overlooked Ventures, where he supports all aspects of deal execution, building investment theses, sourcing new investments, and monitoring the internal deal pipeline. His pathway to venture is unorthodox but shows a common theme of adding value in all of his previous endeavors. Before becoming an investor, he deployed more than $2B in capital to assist startups and grow industrial bases. He has previously held titles with firms such as VU Venture Partners and Republic.co. In addition, he's a curious mind inspired by the passion for strategically supporting and investing in the most passionate founders who will change the world.
Emmett Naughton, Software Engineer
Emmett Naughton is a software engineer with over five years of experience who loves building incredible user experiences. He has worked with startups, and merchants to bring their products online He is also co-parent of CoderDads, a group that aims to bring together dads who code (and want to code) so that they can learn from each other as well as help support their families with the flexibility that comes with remote work He is looking for his next opportunity as an engineer working with a collaborative team! Watch Emmett Naughton’s interview with Taylor Desseyn on YouTube to learn more about him.
Before You Go 🚪
What you might have missed.
Copy.ai just hit $10M in ARR! If you haven’t used the system and you’re a marketer, copywriter, or entrepreneur, it will make your life so much easier. Check it out here.
Coatue General Partner Matt Mazzeo left the firm to launch his own fund.
You deserve to be held, too.
Melinda Gates is investing $1 billion in women
Magazine covers featuring Black women, from Cori Murray
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