Hi there 👋 Welcome to No Longer Overlooked, 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
Thoughts on work-life integration
So many new VC funds announced!
Founders to keep your eye on
Programs for founders to apply
What's On My Mind 💭
I’ve been thinking…
Work-life balance has been this mythical creature that working parents and businesspeople have been trying to explore and capture for years. Even people with the best life hacks and career tips still find themselves overworked and stretched too thin on occasion. So let's cut to the chase. Work-life balance is a myth. So should we be focusing on the pursuit of work-life balance or consider it unachievable and flip the script to conquer work-life integration or better yet, be comfortable with neither?
First, let's talk about what these mean. Work-life balance is the idea that someone can equally prioritize career demands and personal life outside of work, setting clear boundaries between the two and feeling in balance with both. While in contrast, work-life integration is about blending the two together in a harmonious fashion such that we were forced to attempt during remote-work living. Although I do find myself in the work-life integration camp, I still struggle to find the time for everything. No matter how much of a planner and organizer I am, there is no such thing as catching the mythical balance.
As a lot of companies are going back into offices, work-life integration is coming to a halt. No longer are you able to throw a load of laundry in between zoom meetings or take a long morning run in place of the commute to the office? Employers should consider this and continue to offer wfh days and flexible remote working environments because now that people have had a taste of what it's like to integrate the two, they will likely look for companies that support this. Of course, work-life integration isn't just about remote working. There's much more to the pursuit of the balancing act that we face.
The other evening I was at dinner with my husband for our weekly Wednesday date night. We have done Wednesday date nights for five years now as a way to ensure the bedrock of our family is strong. To us, this is actually a part of our work-life integration. Sometimes that night is dedicated to our own personal side hustles as we still bounce ideas off of each other while eating take-out in our office and sometimes we keep the laptop at home and look into each other’s eyes.
Anyway, we were sitting there on a patio in the sunlight, talking about the kids, and this topic came up. Honestly, balance is something I have struggled with ever since being a mother. In Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, she talks about the challenges of striving for balance as a parent and a businesswoman. The guilt she faced when she attempted to work part-time and be home with her new baby part-time. It’s a constant struggle to give everything the attention it deserves. This is how I always feel deep inside. And I know a lot of other working parents can relate.
So although we roll our eyes at the thought of work-life balance and push aside one of the pillars of life to prioritize another, just know that you aren't meant to have everything in perfect balance. Maybe if we release the burden of that thought, we will all feel lighter.
Don't wait until you see your structure topple down before you choose to accept that it was never meant to be so perfect in the first place.
What I’ve Been Working On 💁🏻♀️
Things I care about that I want to share
Apply to Fund // Apply for Funding
Things are heating up over at Overlooked Ventures! If you're interested in becoming an LP and being a part of our fund, express interest here.
Founders, we're so excited to start deploying capital in the coming months. Please apply to be considered for Overlooked Ventures Fund I using this link.
Top Secret Project
I need some founder beta testers for a top-secret project. I can't give too much away yet. Sign up here if you're interested, and I'll reach out with more details soon. We already have over 600 people signed up without even knowing what it's about. Amazing!
OV in NYC!
Brandon Brooks and I will be in New York City September 12th-19th! I'm staying in the lower east side and would love to meet up for a morning workout, smoothie walk, or a lunch date. Let me know if you're interested by filling out this form. I'll also be hosting an Overlooked Ventures Meetup so stay tuned for more details.
Speaking at GSV Startup Bootcamp
I'm a speaker at GSV Startup Bootcamp, a sprint for startup people to build confidence, capabilities, connections & courage. I'll be presenting at a few sessions over the next 7 weeks. The best part: you can sign up for free!
Weekly Twitter Spaces with Brandon
Co-founder of Overlooked Ventures Brandon Brooks is hosting weekly Twitter Spaces chats with startup founders. In these Q&A sessions, you can ask just about anything you'd like to know. Don't miss the next one!
Recently Hit the Stands 📰
Things in the news you should check out
Crunchbase found that funding for Black entrepreneurs has significantly increased over the last year, even though the overall numbers are still small. Black founders received almost Funding to $1.8 billion during the first half of 2021. There are many reasons why this positive change is happening, including the presence of more Black VCs and last summer's racial justice movement. But still, more work needs to be done.
AngelList just launched a new feature called Deal Partners, which allows fund managers to share deal-level carry. This tool helps GPs to build partnerships beyond just the management or fund level. Deal Partners is easy to use so that you can select recipients to share carry with a link. All your deal partner has to do is accept the link and the carry-sharing agreement is final.
Venture capitalists target the creator and influencer economy, and startups are building tools to support them riding a boom in investors targeting the so-called creator or influencer economy. This market is unexplored even though it provides digital tools to content creators or influencers that help them run their businesses.
Nuseir Yassin, CEO, and founder of Nas Academy, closed an $11M Series A Funding after not taking venture money for 5 years. The round was led by Lightspeed, a VC firm that invests in people building tomorrow's companies today. Nuseir said that this opportunity was too exciting to miss, and believes that the creator economy is only growing.
A Little Birdie Told Me 🐦
Tweet of the week
Hot Take of the Week 🔥
Somebody had to say it
Founders You Should Follow 👀
Founders making moves
Amelia Lin, Saga
Amelia Lin is the founder and CEO of Saga, an app that lets you save your family's memories. You can capture memories in voice and photos to build a family memory book. Amelia and Saga also have a Moms Club on Clubhouse, where they host multiple clubs per week. A former product manager and marketing expert at companies like Udacity and Goodreads, Amelia attended Harvard University for undergrad and for her MBA. We are so excited about Saga and how easy it makes it for families to share life events and memories.
Kim Mcnichol, Schoolyard TV
Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Schoolyard, social-first production and distribution network, Kim Mcnichol is a creator talking about the creator economy. Kim is a Filipina-American and has many years of experience working with Hollywood creators and brands. She is both innovative and creative and makes Schoolyard TV so great. You can watch Schoolyard TV content on Youtube and Amazon Prime!
New Funds Announced 🚀
Female Founders Fund: just closed Fund III with $57M for female founders. Anu Duggal, the founding partner of Female Founders Fund, says 70% of this fund is invested in BIPOC founders. Melinda French Gates was one of the key institutional LPS in FFF.
Not Boring Capital: was launched by Packy McCormick to invest in companies with stories to tell. This $8 million venture fund will invest mainly in Seed through Series B companies.
Zeal Capital Partners: Nasir Qadree debuted one of the largest solo funds in venture. His first fund closed at $62.1 million, focusing on financial tech and the future of work.
Artemis Fund: Houston-based firm Artemis was founded by three women who are encouraging women-led startups. This micro VC fund is looking to invest in 15 companies.
EKA Ventures: Eka Ventures closed their first $95M Impact VC fund to invest in sustainable consumption, healthcare, and society.
HYPER by Product Hunt: Product Hunt now has a venture fund! This is a new kind of early-stage venture firm powered by community and distribution.
Aperture Venture: This new $75 million fund just launched to invest in seed-stage fintech and enterprise companies with a Black, Latin, and/or female founder.
Moxxie Ventures: Katie Stanton closed her second fund at a total of $85 million, adding Alex Roetter as a managing partner.
Capstar Ventures: Capstar Ventures is debuting with a $41 million fund, and is founded by Kathryn Cavanaugh, who is investing in innovative consumer companies.
Startup Bookshelf 📚
Hail Mary is a fiction novel based on astronaut Ryland Grace, the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission. He doesn't know that his success is the only way to save humanity and the earth, the only thing he does know is that he has been asleep for a very long time. Ryland is left alone to solve a scientific mystery.
Deadline to Apply 📅
The Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Accelerator, Powered by gener8tor invests in up to ten high-growth startups per year (two cohorts of five) founded by Black entrepreneurs. Deadline to apply is August 15th!
With Product Hunt's announcement of Hyper also came to the announcement of the new Hyper Founder Program. This 8-week founder program focuses on what modern founders need: mentorship, community, distribution, and funding.
Amazon has a program to help Black business owners build sustainable equity and growth as sellers. They provide access to financial support, strategic business guidance and mentorship, and marketing and promotional support. The application closes July 29th, so make sure to get yours in!
Lightship Capital is hosting Twitch Pitch to help founders get in front of real investors and pitch their startup idea. The event is completely virtual and hosted on Twitch. Apply by filling out an application and submitting your 5-minute pitch video.
Startups to Watch 👀
Spundle is a blow dryer that helps you dry your wigs and bundles in 15 minutes. Spundle is Black women-owned and saves you time and eliminates heat damage. The founder Shawna is an Electrical Engineer who is revolutionizing the wig and weave care industry.
Have friends who are expecting, or have little ones under 10yo? Amelia Lin @ Saga is building something new to help busy parents save family memories - it's like an interactive digital scrapbook. They've gotten rave reviews and are looking for a few more beta testers - learn more here, email email@example.com for an invite.
Schoolyard works with emerging content creators who co-own and create their shows on the post-cable network. As an underrepresented founder, we find it important to work with creators who are often underrepresented and overlooked. Current startups on the market in the media space are missing the key differentiators that Schoolyard offers, that will make it one of the leading names in creator-focused media.
Before You Go 🚪
What you might have missed.
A tip for your investor newsletter updates.
Black women in VC, add your details here!
The co-founder of Canva is a billionaire. She's going to donate her wealth away.
Get your Black Girls Code the Future coloring book here.
Don't forget to check on people on the inside.
Thanks for reading! I’ll catch you next time. And don’t forget to share Let’s Start Up with your community!