Gift Guide: 6 entrepreneurs tell us what they really want this year


Image Credits: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

Welcome to TechCrunch’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide! Need help with gift ideas? We’ve got lots of them. Looking for our other guides? Find them here!

2021 was largely defined by the great resignation, in which tens of millions of people left their jobs in pursuit of other opportunities. A sliver of those folks made their next career move into a personal one: betting on themselves by going solo. As a result, we have seen the rise of solopreneurs, either as a business owner, investor, or even a journalist choosing to start their own publication, traditional newsroom be damned!

Betting on yourself is an ambitious yet lonely process, so I surveyed a handful of solopreneurs to see what their gift wish lists look like this holiday season. We set no restrictions, so we weren’t sure what to expect — but what we got was a fun, thoughtful, and eclectic list of ideas; some focusing on productivity, others on comfort, and others on self-care. If there’s a running thread between them, it’s this: if you’re setting out to do things yourself, take care of yourself.

Casey Newton, founder of Platformer

Dell UltraSharp 34 Curved USB-C Hub Monitor

Image Credits: Dell

As the appeal of remote work goes from a question mark to a definitive statement, everyone is re-thinking their monitor game. Newton, who publishes a daily guide for understanding the social networks built by behemoths and challenged by startups, is eyeing a curved monitor. Why constantly switch from window to window when you can have one mega panoramic view of everything?

Price: $935 from Dell

Price: Not yet available for sale, but consumers can sign up to be notified when open for purchase.

Mac Conwell, founder of Rarebreed Ventures

Aviron rower

Image Credits: Aviron

“What is better than a rower that works almost as a game system?” said Conwell. Well, I don’t have a witty retort to that, but am definitely interested in rowing away from Zombies, and, as the VC says, mixing competition with low-impact workouts.

Price: Ranges from $2,199 to $2,499 from Aviron


Image Credits: GoodMylk

Foamy lattes and plant-based milk may not seem like they go together too well, but GoodMylk is aiming to change that. Conwell is an investor in what he claims is the “healthiest alternative milk on the market.” Shipped concentrated, GoodMylk helps people who like the taste of homemade hemp, almond and oat milk recreate the product without the hassle of a cheese cloth. Put differently, the founder Brooke Rewa discovered a proprietary flash-blast freezing technique that helps you make alternative milk, fast.

Price: $68 for a six-pack on Goodmylk

Ankur Nagpal, founder of Vibe Capital

Oura Ring

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Other than the Apple Watch, Oura rings may be the most popular wearable among techies. Users receive three daily scores, one to measure how well they slept last night, one that tracks fitness activity, and finally one that tells you your readiness to take on the day. All three matter when it comes to balancing the demands of work, live and the growing overlap between the two, so if you’re into numbers and tracking the Oura ring could be for you. It also offers at-home sizing so don’t worry about losing it when you’re washing the dishes. Or do, because I still would find a way.

Price: Starts at $299 from Oura Ring

Proof cocktail syrup

Image Credits: Proof

Proof sells old-fashioned, small-batch cocktail syrup in flavors such as pecan, citrus sour and maple bacon. While I’m not entirely sure about the last one, the syrups sound like a festive way to liven up your own bar cart or at least subtweet at your friends lack-thereof.

Price: $33 from Proof

Shila Nieves Burney, founder of Zane Venture Fund

A trip to an island for 6 months to work

Aerial view of Cousine island showing beach and villas. Cousine island. Seychelles.(Property released)

“There is something about being near water that is extremely soothing and motivating for me,” Burney said. “I am originally from Florida and live in Atlanta where there are no beaches so I yearn to be near water as often as possible for self-care, and for rejuvenation.” As people go to work from home to work from anywhere, I totally resonate with this type of wishlist item; it’s harder to get Prime Delivery on it, but it seems like island time would fulfill us all in ways that a frother will not. The investor also added that she wants a spa subscription, which… might be a bit easier to gift.

Price: Please check with your local travel agent, as this could range depending on how much you plan to indulge.

Regular girlfriend meetups

Let’s trade some meetings for meetups that have nothing to do with our day jobs as we enter 2022. “As a solo GP, I still yearn for the company of girlfriends to just BE, no agenda,” Burney said. She makes a good point, considering that those are the easiest plans to not prioritize sometimes simply because you know your OGs will always be there for you. Well, here’s a healthy reminder that your friends may be loyal, but they also need attention.

Price: Priceless.

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