Startups

Alloy Automation, Fiveable and Parthean founders discuss raising first dollars at TC Disrupt

Comment

When you’re building a startup and thinking about what it’s going to take to raise your first dollars in a slowing capital market, perspective can be very helpful. In this case perspective, like any story worth telling, has two sides — founder and venture.

Of course, we’ll cover both sides of the venture capital coin at TechCrunch Disrupt on October 18-10, and we’ve already announced the investors who will offer the venture perspective on the first fundraising question. Now, we’re thrilled to tell you that Amanda DoAmaral, co-founder and CEO at Fiveable, Sara Du, co-founder and CEO at Alloy Automation and Arman Hezarkhani, founder and CEO at Parthean, will join us on stage to share how they navigated the capital markets.

In a session called, “How To Raise First Dollars When Investors Are More Cautious, The Founder Perspective,” these panelists will discuss not only what it took to get where they are today, but how their perspective has evolved in light of the changing economy. All three founders bring funding bonafides to the table.

  • Amanda DoAmaral’s Fiveable landed $10 million in a Series A round in 2021, led by Union Square Ventures.
  • Sara Du’s Alloy Automation closed a $20 million Series A led by a16z last February.
  • Hezarkhani’s Parthean, raised $1.1 million at a $12 million valuation last January, from Litani Ventures, Gaingels, Amino Capital, Morning Brew’s Alex Lieberman, Republic Venture partner Namrata Banerjee and others.

What strategies did these founders use to secure their funding? Will the slow down affect their plans moving forward, and what advice can they offer early-stage founders contemplating their first venture play in a sluggish market? Learn more about the folks who will break it down for you.

Amanda DoAmaral is an educator, activist and co-founder and CEO of Fiveable, a social productivity platform for students. She spent five years teaching high school history in Oakland, California, which ignited her passion for creating equitable educational opportunities. DoAmaral is a vocal advocate for inclusive history curriculum and active within the Milwaukee tech community.

Sara Du is the co-founder of Alloy Automation, a no-code automation platform for e-commerce. Founded in 2019, Alloy is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital Ventures, Y Combinator and a group of unicorn founders from companies including Attentive, Klaviyo, Shippo and more.

Prior to starting Alloy, Du spent one undergrad year at Harvard before leaving to work at Snapchat as an engineer and then at Wish as a designer.

Arman Hezarkhani is the founder and CEO at Parthean, which offers a way to learn about and manage personal finances. Prior to Parthean, Hezarkhani founded Ahez Inc, a technical marketing consultancy with clients like Google Cloud, Android and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

Hezarkhani also served as an adjunct professor at CMU, where he taught a full-stack web development course and was an engineering intern at Google. Hezarkhani holds a bachelor’s of science in electrical and computer engineering from CMU.

TechCrunch Disrupt is back in person on October 18-20 in San Francisco. Early action equals bigger savings. Buy your pass now and save up to $1,300. Student, government and nonprofit passes are available for just $195. Prices increase July 29.

 

More TechCrunch

Meta’s Oversight Board has now extended its scope to include the company’s newest platform, Instagram Threads. Designed as an independent appeals board that hears cases and then makes precedent-setting content…

Meta’s Oversight Board takes its first Threads case

The company says it’s refocusing and prioritizing fewer initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customers and add value to the business.

SeekOut, a recruiting startup last valued at $1.2 billion, lays off 30% of its workforce

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender SoLo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

OpenAI is removing one of the voices used by ChatGPT after users found that it sounded similar to Scarlett Johansson, the company announced on Monday. The voice, called Sky, is…

OpenAI to remove ChatGPT’s Scarlett Johansson-like voice

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

1 day ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine