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When COVID-19 first started infecting the world, my interviews with venture capitalists all somehow fit into the same shape. Investors would tell me that they are “triaging” their own portfolio to understand how to help startups that have been shaken by the pandemic. While no one directly said they would stop investing in new opportunities, many spoke of turning inward rather than outward to navigate uncertain times.
Then the conversation would inevitably turn to the runway, aka the amount of capital that would dictate how many months they could stay in business before closing. Every founder thought about it, every VC advised their portfolio companies to be wise with spending, and one startup even launched a product that helps founders raise money in preparation for a wider withdrawal from traditional investors. For what it’s worth, startup ClearCo is now a unicorn.
Fast forward to over a year and it’s been months since I heard the word runway. The term all but vanished as venture capital when an asset class exploded with new check writers and record fund closings. With companies spending weeks instead of years on follow-up funding after previous rounds, I wondered what the new tensions were in startup country.
In a conversation this week, NEA partner Ann Bordetsky put it simply: “It’s easy to get and hard to hire.”
Bordetsky, who joined NEA earlier this year, said that the next six months of start-up advice will be all about recruiting. “Find your unfair advantage in hiring the best talent,” she said. “Not everyone can hire the best of the best, so for many companies, hiring will be crucial.” In other words, “How to Hire” is the new “How to Conservation Runway”.
Hiring people has always been difficult for startups because they have fewer resources than, say, a Facebook that can offer an engineer a $ 1 million signature bonus without blinking his eyes. Still, founders tell me that hiring is getting harder and harder as more and more well capitalized startups rise with impressive ratings.
We’ve been reporting on this for years but expect the conversation to only get louder. We are finally in the great resignation.
In the remainder of this newsletter, we’ll discuss Nuro’s growth and resilience, the bombing news from OnlyFans, and the first female health unicorn. As always, you can support me by following me on Twitter @nmasc_ and sharing this newsletter with two of your friends.
The Nuro EC-1
Quiet and autonomous deliveries don’t necessarily find themselves in the same sentence often, unless you’re talking about Nuro, of course. Our newest EC-1 looks under the hood of the AV startup, which was built by former Google employees of the self-driving project, and finds its voice.
Here’s what you need to know: The four-part series examines Nuro’s path to a $ 5 billion valuation that includes dominoes and a regulatory obstacle course. It was written by Mark Harris and edited by Kirsten Korosec.
Will OnlyFans lose its only fans?
OnlyFans, a platform where YouTubers pay for exclusive content for their biggest fans, announced this week that it would ban explicit content. While the platform wasn’t designed solely for porn, the content was for the most part its most popular use case – which fueled OnlyFans’ lucrative rise over the past year. Hence the ban came as a shock as many see OnlyFans’ success inextricably linked to porn.
Here’s what you need to know: Many saw OnlyFans’ decision to retire from porn in response to being unable to find outside investors, news that leaked earlier in the day due to financial data leaked. Since pressure from the banking world supposedly forced OnlyFans to focus on more SFW content, my colleague Lucas gave Matney his two cents.
From Matney’s comment:
That shutdown is also the chance of a lifetime for the crypto industry, which could benefit from the shutdown and a recent wave of increasingly consumer-friendly crypto payment infrastructure products to create a platform that won’t collapse under the influence of payment providers.
The real challenge is making it easier to onboard new users for both a new platform and possibly their first crypto wallet – while complying with regulatory guidelines – at a time when more conventional web payment structures have become so streamlined and free content Just for adults are as fruitful as ever.
More about the current state of crypto:
Women’s health gets its first unicorn
This week at Equity we discussed a rarity in the world of technology: a women-run company in the women’s health space became a unicorn in a women-run finance company. The historic move by Maven, founded by Kate Ryder, shows that women’s health is far from a niche market.
Here’s what you need to know: With new capitalization, Maven’s comprehensive digital women’s health and benefits service could now become a platform game. My opinion is that the company wants to quietly show people how women’s health is related to the health of everyone. We’ll likely see the startup broaden its perspective on target audience, and we’ve already seen it expand into family care.
Immerse yourself in digital health more:
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