Startups Weekly

Unicorns are ready for a haircut

The digitization of your haircut may not have been on your 2020 bucket list, but 2021 has an even more surprising line item: Tech-powered barbershops are now a business proposition valued at nearly a

The DL on CockroachDB

As college students at Berkeley, Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis created a successful open-source graphics program, GIMP, which got the attention of Google. The duo ultimately joined Google, and even

All eyes are on India’s brightest Zomato

Relevance is often tied to rarity. As a result, the first anything — whether a birthday, scientific feat or female vice president — comes with its own weight. Whether that pressure is warranted is

The 36 questions that lead to love (but with your co-founder)

After months of beta testing, Y Combinator has launched a co-founder matching platform. The platform invites entrepreneurs to create profiles, which include information about themselves and preference

Welcome to hot due diligence summer 

Wow, that headline worked? A recent board fight at a digital health unicorn is a reminder to entrepreneurs that it’s important to set boundaries, even amid the dizzying volume and velocity of this s

Do tech mafias need a modern refresh?

Rumor has it, if you whisper mafia to a venture capitalist or tech reporter, a seed investment and headline appears within minutes. That process quickly turns into seconds if the mafia reference inclu

Dollars, deals and the importance of nondilutive capital

Today, on Juneteenth, we recognize the efforts this nation still needs to put toward addressing structural racism and disparities, including in the world of tech. This week, HBCUvc, a nonprofit that a

How many opinions does it take to hit the $100M ARR Club?

In a world of talking points and corporate jargon, opinions are refreshing — and Expensify CEO and founder David Barrett is full of them. One of his earliest lessons in life, for example, was that b

Get thrifty, and your startup might just acquire a generation

Etsy, a marketplace for kitschy and creative DIY goods, acquired Depop, a hippy and thrifty marketplace for resale goods, for $1.625 billion this week. So, today we’ll discuss the tale of two market

So, you want to democratize venture capital

A venture capitalist once told me candidly that whenever you see the phrase “democratization” in tech marketing material, think of it as a red flag. Democracy, generally speaking, often co

Dear Startups: Don’t repaint, reinvent

I feel hungover. No, not in the traditional sense, but in the dizzying way you feel when half of your world is celebrating double vaccinations and no masks, and the other half, across the world, is mo

How Duolingo became a $2.4B language unicorn

At the heart of Duolingo is its mission: to scale free education and increase income potential through language learning. However, the same mission that has helped it grow to a business valued at $2.4

Emotional marketing and an e-mail titan walk into a bar

My mom cuts to the chase when she is describing my beat to others. In her words, I cover companies like Uber before they become companies like Uber. And honestly? I can’t exactly disagree with the d

What the MasterClass effect means for edtech

MasterClass, which sells a subscription to celebrity-taught classes, sits on the cusp of entertainment and education. It offers virtual, yet aspirational learning: an online tennis class with Serena W

What does it take to create a startup ecosystem?

Say it louder for the people in the back: As tech grows bigger by the minute and venture capital adds dollar signs by the day, a startup hub’s success is not an either/or situation. The next Silicon

Let’s talk about gaslighting and fundraising

“Most of the startups I give advice to about how to raise venture capital shouldn’t be raising venture capital,” an investor recently told me. While the idea that every startup isn’t venture-b

Nonobvious acquisitions are on my 2021 bingo board

At the end of 2020, I argued that edtech needs to think bigger in order to stay relevant after the pandemic. I urged founders to think less about how to bundle and unbundle lecture experience, and mor

The disconnect between Y Combinator Demo Day and due diligence

Within 48 hours, the startup world experienced two momentous events: Y Combinator’s largest Demo Day ever, and the early investor exodus of Dispo, a photo-sharing app. Both events, while seemingly u

Startups, Supreme and soft-circling your way to an investment

In an Extra Crunch Live this past week, Cleo Capital founding partner Sarah Kunst broke down what founders can learn from Supreme, a sought-after streetwear brand. She argued that founders, similar to

NFTs don’t need crypto, but crypto needs NFTs

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