You’re not that special (I swear, there’s a starting angle here) – TechCrunch


Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh take on this week’s startup news and trends for humanity first. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.

For long-time readers of Startups Weekly, you’ll remember that edtech used to be my bottom line. For example, the first day strike. Most of my coverage was focused The rise of edtech in the early innings epidemic unicorn mad rush and even some IPOs. Duolingo remains the company I know the most about, mainly because I have written thousands of words about his clever owl and the history of the place’s founding.

While I’m more focused on fintech these days, I’ve been wondering if edtech is still a big deal or if the sector, like many in a recession, is facing a reset. This week, I interviewed seven leading venture capitalists focused on education technology to better understand how the industry is faring during the downturn.

The big take. Edtech faces a reality check in the form of discipline. Investors explained that the entire startup ecosystem is slower this year. edtech is no different. If anything, as USV’s Rebecca Caden says, “The boom in the category over the last few years means that most of our education-based portfolio is pretty well funded. [ … ] phases will be opportunistic rather than out of necessity, and most are focused on building their businesses over the next few years.”

As Caden describes, it’s time to focus, and edtech fortunately has the capital to do just that. It makes me think a little about the advice my friend often gives to our friend group. we’re not that special and that’s a good thing. He means it in the kindest way, and the lesson there is that feelings of change, stress, or anxiety are not as profound as we might think when we first experience them. What we feel is shared by other people in their mid-20s, or, well, in other startup industries now. What matters is that if you’ve invested in yourself long enough, until the spotlight comes on and when the lights go out, you’re still there. Just quieter and maybe a little more focused behind the scenes.

Anyway, read my TechCrunch+ piece for the full survey: “7 Investors Discuss Why Edtech Startups Must Get Back to Basics to Survive.” You can also check out my accompanying analysis, “Edtech is no longer niche, and that’s a good thing.”

In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll cover Haus’ closed doors, SoftBank’s performance fund, and a pitch teardown you won’t want to miss. As always, you can support me by forwarding this newsletter to a friend or following me on twitter

Bring on the House

I wrote about Haus , a VC-backed aperitif company is up for sale in light of the collapsed Series A. CEO and co-founder Helena Price Hambrecht spoke with TechCrunch about what happened between the company and its potential lead investor, the reasoning they got behind the failed deal, and what’s next.

This is what is important. I’ve never seen an entrepreneur so transparent about the challenges and unfortunate outcomes that occur in startups. Here is an excerpt from my interview with him.

“It is always dangerous to be short of money. We got there, and it’s unfortunate, but I know there are a lot of companies right now,” Hambrecht says. “I’ve been sharing my work online for 20 years. It’s definitely something in my DNA. If me sharing this process is helpful to another founder who is in a difficult situation and considering their options, then that makes it all a little more worthwhile.”

As for the entrepreneur, a Silicon Valley branding veteran, there are no immediate plans to jump into a new startup.

“My goal right now is to be as helpful as possible so that this ABC process has the best possible outcome. After that, I will take some time to process the last four years; it was so extraordinary as well as brutal and traumatic. I’m going to relax and process it.”

Image credits: MirageC: (opens in new window) / Getty Images

So when is SoftBank Execution Fund III coming down?

This week on Equity, your favorite trio delved into the numbers and nuances behind the headlines. That meant SoftBank, Coinbase, and deals from ByteDance, Haus, and Axios.

Here’s why it’s important. Part of the conversation hovered over SoftBank’s losses, which was really the highlight of the show. Are we seeing a redemption arc taking shape for one of the biggest, liveliest investors of the past few years? And what does Tiger Global think? Lots of questions and it’s always nice to get Mary Ann and Alex.

SoftBank Group Chairman Masayoshi Son keynote speech at JCI World Congress

Image credits: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Pitch Deck Teardown. Five Flute’s $1.2 million pre-seed deck

TC’s Haje Jan Kamps is back with another pitch demolition, this time looking the deck that helped Five Flute raise a $1.2 million seed round.

Here’s why it’s important. If you haven’t been following this series, you are, and I mean this in the kindest way possible, missing out. Haje goes slide by slide and in this case taught me a lot about why there could be more in terms of deck length and why “word block” is a major mistake founders make. Read the story here and: pitch for the Haje series if you dare so much.

If you missed last week’s newsletter

Read here: “Venture investors to founders. give up for what? We also have a companion podcast that you can listen to here“Founders, Whales, and Sea Changes in Entrepreneurial Energy.”

Seen on TechCrunch

Coinbase earnings miss expectations as crypto winter rages on

Finix raises $30M as fintech spotlights its sides

Mark Cuban and Mavericks in Hot Water Over Voyager ‘Ponzi Scheme’

Cloud Security Startup Wiz Reaches $100M ARR in Just 18 Months

Seen on TechCrunch+

The best cloud unicorns aren’t as overrated as you might think

Some candid advice for open source startups looking for product-market fit

How digital health startups are navigating the post-Roe legal landscape

Same time, same place, next week? talk soon

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