Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh look at this week’s start and startup trends. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.
Tech innovation is a cycle, especially in the protagonist-driven world of early stage venture capital and copycat nature of startups.
The final proof? Y Combinator this week announced Launch YC, a platform where people can sort accelerator startups by industry, batch, and launch date to discover new products. The famed accelerator, which has seeded Instacart, Coinbase, OpenSea, and Dropbox, among others, is inviting users to vote for newly launched startups “to help them climb the leaderboard, try out product demos and learn about the founding team,” it said in a blog post.
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If it sounds familiar, it’s because — in my perspective — Y Combinator is doing a not-so-subtle swipe on Product Hunt, a nearly decade-old platform synonymous with new startup launches and feature announcements.
Y Combinator doesn’t necessarily agree with this characterization: Lindsay Amos, the accelerator’s head of communications, told me via email that “we encourage the founders of YC to launch on many platforms – from the YC Directory to Product Hunt to Hacker News to launch YC – to reach clients, investors and candidates.”
The overlap is not isolated. As Y Combinator makes a Product Hunt, Product Hunt makes an Andreessen Horowitz. Meanwhile, a16z makes its own Y Combinator. Not to mention Product Hunt has investment capital of a16z and previously went through the Y Combinator accelerator.
More than a tongue twister, the strategy is a signal about what institutions care about bidding today (and why they’re starting to borrow more than sugar, or deal flow, from their neighbors).
For my full opinion, read my TechCrunch+ column, “YC makes a product hunt, product hunt makes a a16z, a16z makes a YC.”
In the rest of this newsletter we will talk about Coalition, Backstage Capital and the temperature swings of summer in Africa. As always, you can support me by forwarding this newsletter to a friend or follow me on twitter or subscribe to my blog.
Offer of the week
Coalition! Built by a quartet of women entrepreneurs in an enterprise, Coalition is a fund and network that seeks to bring more diverse decision-makers to cap tables. The two-pronged approach of fund and network helps Coalition to cover multiple fronts: founders can turn to the firm for capital or the network for advice without further dilution. Aspiring investors and advisors can turn to the company to build their portfolios, and LPs can put money into an operation committed to broadening diversity on cap tables, which are known to bring economic benefits.
Here’s why it’s important: Coalition co-founder Ashley Mayer, the former VP of communications for Glossier, explained a bit about the building philosophy behind the new company.
Mayer explained that she and her three co-founders saw the value of a “portfolio” approach to careers, essentially going deep into their respective operator roles, while also angel investing and ultimately scout investing. Three of them previously worked in a company, but left it because they lacked the experience of working. Now they’re trying to find a way for people to keep and build their day-to-day jobs. Coalition co-founder and Cityblock Health founder Toyin Ajayi said that “as one of the few women of color to run a venture-backed company, I feel a deep obligation to keep the door open for others.”
When are layoffs important? Trick question — always
This week on Equity, we talked about Backstage Capital laying off a majority of its staff, weeks after halting investment in new startups. The staff reduction, which affected nine of Backstage Capital’s 12-strong workforce, was due to a lack of capital from limited partners, according to fund founder Arlan Hamilton.
Here’s why it’s important: Backstage Capital has invested in more than 200 startups built by historically overlooked entrepreneurs, while Hamllton himself has invested in more than two dozen venture capital funds. Despite having an impact, no company can be immune to a company’s difficulties (or grow in an environment fraught with macroeconomic and cultural hurdles). Below is a sampling of my story.
Without more support, it will be difficult to close new investments, put more assets under management and make more follow-up investments, Hamilton said.
“Someone asked me, ‘why don’t you manage more?'” she said during the podcast. “You have to ask these LPs, you have to ask these family offices, you have to ask these people who ask me ‘how can I be helpful’ and I say ‘invest in our fund’ and I never hear from them again.”
Africa charts its own course
Dominic-Madori Davis and Tage Kene-Okafor of TC wrote a story about how the downturn is playing out in Africa, essentially an answer to why we should all tune in to the continent’s activity this summer.
Here’s why it’s important: Africa’s venture capital totals weren’t too bad in the first quarter, but investors think it may be a slowdown in reporting. If most deals were made before high interest rates, war and inflation, experts say, we could soon see an economic downturn hitting emerging markets. The story doesn’t stop there; I’d read more to see what Tiger Global tells us and how August is shaping up to be an important month of movement.
during the week
Seen on TechCrunch
OK, whose rocket just hit the moon?
This employee doesn’t exist: FBI warns against deepfakes in job interviews for tech jobs
Formerly wealthy NFT buyers party through the pain
Robinhood almost imploded during the GameStop meme stock chaos
FTX Says There Are No Active Talks To Buy Robinhood
Seen on TechCrunch+
Your startup pitch deck needs an operational plan
3 questions for the startup market as we enter Q3
Reveal your Scope 3 emissions, cowards
What is a fintech worth today?
Until next time,