Startups Weekly

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

The Product Manager asterisk

You can get Startups Weekly in your inbox every Saturday, so subscribe here to join the cool kids Product manager might be one of the most grey roles within a startup. However, as a company progresses

How capital-as-a-service can help you get your first check in 2021

“A lot of founders mix up raising money with making money.” This quote, which Career Karma founder Ruben Harris mentioned off-hand on a phone call with me, has been on my mind for months. In f

Chief community officer is the new CMO

Community isn’t a single Slack group or event or newsletter. It’s an aggregation of all of these touch points, and includes both customers, eventual customers and one-time users. Despite this nebu

Multiplayer fintech, and the muddled world of startup data

There’s always a fintech angle, even on Valentine’s Day. This week, I covered Zeta, a new startup working on joint finances for modern couples. It aims to take away the money chores of a relations

Bumble’s first date with the public markets

The public markets have been so active lately that it’s hard to drum up excitement for yet another company making its way to the bull market. But, in the case of Bumble, a dating app where women mes

Work trips are making a $5 billion comeback

Would you bet millions of dollars on a corporate travel comeback? Doesn’t matter. Andreessen Horowitz, Addition and Elad Gil are anyways. This week, the trio led a nine-figure financing round in Tri

Stay gold, ‘Plaid for X’ startups

A failed acquisition usually triggers the same series of questions: What does this mean for early-stage startups in the sector? Will a chilling effect occur and hurt valuations? Will VCs stop funding

The next Zoom wants to be nothing like Zoom

In the past few months, there hasn’t been one conversation I’ve had about remote work that doesn’t include a mention of Hopin, a virtual events platform last valued at $2.1 billion.

The big question on every startup’s mind for 2021

My big question for 2021, and the one that is on every startup’s mind, is how will a cataclysmic event such as a global pandemic show up in post-pandemic innovation? I think we’re in the early

What startups can learn from this dumpster fire year

Want this newsletter in your inbox every Saturday morning? Sign up here. Remember when it was news that venture capitalists were open for business? Or when Zoom investing was only done by that one guy

How Zoox turned a failed Series C into the future

I often begin calls with founders by asking why they’re willing to bet their livelihoods on an idea that will most likely fail. It’s a small hack that lets me see how vulnerable a founder is, and
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