Let’s Start Up - Issue 45 | The key to entrepreneurial success 🗝
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
The power of a supportive partner, friend, or investor
Startup funding stats for Women and Black founders
Two founders of funds investing in the next-gen of entrepreneurs
Founder & investor tips you can actually use now
What's On My Mind 💭
I’ve been thinking…
A supportive partner is the key to entrepreneurial success.
I celebrated 8 years of marriage this week and my husband has been by my side since before I started my first company. When the two of us first met, he was just getting his business off the ground. We spent those early days connecting over marketing and dreaming about turning our side gigs into full-functioning businesses. In these last eight years of marriage, and the years we dated before, we’ve supported each other’s ambitions and championed one another. Plus, ended up turning those side-gigs into profitable companies with dozens of employees and thousands of customers. Though it hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows. We’ve also had the not-so-pretty times when one of us had to be honest and tell the other that they were doing too much and needed to take care of themselves.
While having a partner who is also an entrepreneur is ideal for some founders, some prefer one who offers a stable, traditional job. Seriously, having a steady income and insurance is not something to dismiss or take for granted. The needs of founders aren’t one size fits all. A partner isn’t even what everyone wants or needs.
Whether it’s a supportive partner, family, or friends, it’s so important to have supportive people on your side as you go through the ups and downs of the entrepreneurship journey. We not only need supportive people in our circle but from the entire startup ecosystem. Fellow founders and investors (and the people who invest in investors) need to have more empathy. How? Listening to founder concerns and treating the founder relationship as more than just a transaction are both good places to start.
All in all, it’s important to surround yourself with an empathetic support system, no matter if it’s a family member, childhood best friend, or investment partner. It makes the lows not feel as low and the highs even higher.
What I’ve Been Working On 💁🏻♀️
Here’s what I’m up to
Morning Brew’s Leading Questions
Morning Brew just launched a new freebie! The Leading Questions is an 8-email series of interviews with industry leaders and their unique approaches to leadership. I am honored to be included as one of the eight leaders interviewed! Sign up to hear from me and other amazing leaders like Nora Ali, Alex Lieberman, and Kara Goldin.
Ask the Hustle: How Can I Break Into Venture Capital From a Nontraditional Background? | Hubspot’s The Hustle
Sara Cravatts from 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
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 interviewed and 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
This startup wants to reimagine egg donation
Cofertility, a company that makes egg donation, egg freezing, and egg donor matching better, just launched! Founded by Lauren Makler, Arielle Spiegel, and Halle Tecco, Cofertility allows people to freeze their eggs for free when they donate half of them. Cofertility could foster a more diverse pool of candidates for intended parents and is giving young women the option to freeze their eggs without the large fees. Cofertility launched with a $5 million seed round led by Initialized Capital and Offline Ventures.
Black startup founders raised just $187 million in the third quarter
Black founders are receiving less and less capital. Crunchbase released data showing that Black founders raised $187 million in Q3, a staggering decline from the nearly $1.1 billion they received in Q3 2021. Black women raised 49% of the $187 million totaling around $91.63 million. While these numbers aren’t necessarily surprising, we are still appalled by the results. Tiana Tukes of Colorful Capital says: “When the venture capital industry catches a cold, underrepresented founders catch pneumonia.”
Carving out conviction around the future of AI with Sarah Guo
Sarah Guo announced last week that she launched a new $101 million fund to back companies that are building artificial intelligence and software 3.0. Before launching her own fund, Sarah Guo invested at Greylock for a decade. Sarah joined Natasha Mascarenhas and Alex Wilhelm on the TechCrunch Equity podcast. In this article, TechCrunch lists four key excerpts from the interview.
Meet 13 first-time healthcare founders who beat the odds to raise cash from VCs in a choppy market
Founders are struggling to raise funding in 2022. Business Insider highlights 13 healthcare founders that have raised venture capital for the first time this year. These startups have raised anywhere from $5 million to $70 million in early-stage funding. Read the article to meet the extraordinary founders changing healthcare.
The New Role Models Proving Entrepreneurship And Motherhood Aren’t Mutually Exclusive
Deena Shakir, Partner at Lux Capital and a mother of two young children, is interviewed in Forbes about how high-growth startups successfully built their businesses through pregnancy, newborns, and young children. Shakir shares her conviction that becoming a mother can lead to incomparable levels of productivity and efficiency.
The highs and lows of Q3 venture capital data for women startup founders New PitchBook data found that companies with all women founders are raising less capital this year. Through Q3 of this year, women have raised 1.9% of all venture capital allocated, compared to 2.4% at this time last year. Black, Latina, and Indigenous American women received even less funding.
A Little Birdie Told Me 🐦
Tweet of the moment
Hot Take of the Week 🔥
Somebody had to say it
Founders You Should Follow 👀
Founder of funds edition!
Sarah Guo | Conviction
Sarah Guo is a startup investor and the founder of Conviction, a venture capital firm purpose-built for Software 3.0. Before she announced her $101 million inaugural fund, Sarah was General Partner at Greylock. Sarah is most interested in ****technology companies that improve the way we work, create, transact, and collaborate. In her free time, Sarah enjoys piano, helicopters, food, and sci-fi. Learn more about Sarah, her investments, and her interests on her website.
Jesse Draper | Halogen VC
Founder & Investor at Halogen VC, Jesse Draper invests in early-stage consumer technology companies led by women. Jesse is a mom of three boys and has dedicated herself to encouraging women in the workplace. In addition to being a venture capitalist, Jesse is an Emmy-nominated talk show host and host of the MOMumental podcast, which explores the world of childcare, education, foster care, and parenting. Learn more about Jesse Draper and her work here. (PS - she’s raising!)
Founder Tips 📝
What you need to know
There isn’t a recipe for success when it comes to podcasts. Amanda Natividad shares what is wrong with most podcasts and how you can create a successful one.
Justin Gordon shares the top 26 questions with the best answers & advice from VCs, angels, founders, and operators in this Twitter thread.
Jeanine Suah of Brex is opening up her office hours for founders interested in using Brex and to talk fundraising or jam on GTM strategy.
If you want to build an African startup, it's not about copying the Silicon Valley model. It's about finding the African way to do things.
The job of a CEO is to be a good person, treat people well, and lead with empathy and respect. No one likes an a**hole.
Nathan Baschez announced Lex, a word processor with artificial intelligence so you can write faster.
Sneha Saigal asks startup founders on Twitter if they have two versions of their pitch decks. Here are their responses.
For Investors 💸
Curated for you
If you’re on VC Twitter, you’ve seen the hot takes about early-stage startups and VCs. Andrew Oddo shares data from Angel List and SVB based on actual startups in Q3.
Seed investors are basically founding team members. They are colleagues, friends, mentors, a sounding board… you name it.
Here’s how LPs use the power law to decide how many funds to invest. They’d rather invest in a select few or none at all.
If you’re a new investor or are just looking for ways to improve your operations with the right tools and apps, take a look at VC Stack.
Here’s the kind of slide you need for your fund presentations.
Eric Woo’s go-to advice for emerging VCs: KNOW YOUR LP (KYLP). It will help you identify the type of LP and adjust your approach accordingly.
Before You Go 🚪
What you might have missed.
Serena Ventures shares its Fund I portfolio statistics transparently the way every VC should! 76% underrepresented founders, 53% women founders, 47% Black founders, and 12% Latino/a founders.
Uber, but without the car or the food.
Chris Dixon addresses a16z's investment in Adam Neumann's new company at TechCrunch Disrupt. Here’s what he said.
VC job openings, courtesy of Nicole DeTommaso, with tons of international roles!
Stop inviting the same people to speak at events.
Are the Twitter algorithms already getting worse?
Looking for the best books about grief and grieving? Look at this thread.
The dilemma of being young in startups/VC…
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