Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh, human take on this week’s startup news and trends. To receive this in your inbox, subscribe here.
As the second quarter venture capital data begins to come out, it’s clear that there’s a difference between how the startup market acts and how it actually feels. Sure, capital has slowed, but at least in the US the numbers aren’t as damning as expected.
The numbers – which I recommend you check out for yourself – give a good dose of perspective during a tough time in tech. It’s a strange dissonance: regardless of the amount of capital available, it’s clear that startups in all sectors and at all stages are always reacting to macro concerns.
So this week’s layoffs column is going to be about putting that dissonance in context: we have some new data, courtesy of Trueup, that gives us an idea of who’s been hit hardest, both in terms of ‘institutions and sectors, high technology Licensee.
Trueup, a tech recruitment platform that tracks layoffs, says more than 117 unicorns have announced layoffs since the start of 2022. Of this cohort, the sector with the most layoffs is fintech, followed by crypto and digital. ‘immovable.
Notable fintech layoffs in recent weeks include Amount, which cut 18% of staff after snagging a $1 billion valuation a year prior, MainStreet, which cut 30% of staff weeks before suing a possible recapitalization, On Deck, which cut 25% and reduced its accelerator program and Klarna, which cut 10% of its workforce before seeking financing at a lower valuation.
Layoffs are also no stranger to the crypto world, as Coinbase and Gemini have also laid off tech employees in response to the market.
As my colleague Mary Ann Azevedo reports, fintech’s recent downfall stands in stark contrast to its busy 2021. It’s not entirely surprising that the same industry that saw massive venture capital gains is also making layoffs. According to investors, growth at any cost comes at its own expense, especially if there is sudden pressure to shift to profitability and focus.
Understanding which industries have the highest percentage of layoffs gives us a better directional view of where exactly the belt needs to tighten in a profitability-driven startup landscape. That said, things are quickly getting skewed: Fintech and crypto may have more publicly known layoffs due to the high level of innovation that has surged in recent years. Every startup is a fintech or web3 startup these days, so the volume could be why the reduction is so dramatic.
So that’s what I noodle these days. In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll cover a creative twist on cap table management, the impact of the Roe inversion on tech, and cauldrons. As always, you can support me by forwarding this newsletter to a friend or follow me on twitter or by subscribing to my blog.
Offer of the week
AngelList Venture launches Stack Equity Management, a way for startups to organize and manage their cap tables natively within the platform. Stack Equity is a suite of products companies use to create, update, and purchase founder, employee, and investor equity. It is available, starting today, for US-based C Corporations.
Here’s why it’s important: The company is head-to-head with its biggest competitor, Carta, when it comes to cap table management pricing. Stack Equity Management charges companies based on team members, while Carta charges companies based on stakeholders, i.e. investors, on the cap table. We love some fintech dramas!
Cauldrons, Bolts and Sour Markets: Welcome Halloween in July
We had a weird episode this week on Equity, as you can tell by the episode title. For me, the highlight of the episode by far was how a company went from chasing a startup to settling down by becoming a shareholder in the same company. Yeah.
Here’s why it’s important: Forever21’s parent company has sued fintech Bolt, which has seen ongoing struggles and a management reshuffle because it failed to deliver on its promises. Fast forward to today, the same company settled with Bolt by becoming a shareholder in the startup. Talk about a quick turnaround. Here is an excerpt from Mary Ann’s article:
As for Bolt’s comfortable new alliance with his once frustrated client, Kuruvilla now suggests that it’s all under the bridge.
He noted that “Forever21 and Lucky Brand have been using Bolt for a long time and they will continue to use it in the future with this renewed partnership.”
“ABG executives and I are working together on how to expand it further and that comes directly from their CEO as he has a very high bar for the types of partners he wants to partner with,” added Kuruvilla. “Obviously he’s a big believer in Bolt and our products. So we’re excited to take it to the next level.
All week long
Seen on TechCrunch
Looks like Elon Musk is still trying to get out of his own Twitter deal
Sequoia wants to invest $1 million in your idea, then teach you how to really sell it
Twitter begins testing ‘CoTweets’ to allow users to co-author tweets
Former Theranos Director Sunny Balwani Found Guilty of Fraud
MKBHD says yes to Google Glass, no to the Metaverse
Seen on TechCrunch+
Roe’s reversal weighs heavily on emerging tech cities in red states
As the Global Venture Capital Market Slows, Is the US Avoiding the Slowdown?
Pitch Deck Teardown: Enduring Planet’s $2.1 Million Seed Game
7 Ways Investors Can Gain Clarity While Performing Technical Due Diligence
Crypto losses hit $670 million in the second quarter, up 52% from the prior year period
Until next time,