Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced take on this week’s startup news and trends by Senior Reporter and Equity co-host Natasha Mascarenhas. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.
It’s been a big week for tech acronyms. I woke up on Monday to news that First Republic Bank has been closed down by regulators — and JP Morgan will buy $330 billion worth of assets. The news then spiraled into another question for startups: How does losing yet another banking partner, in a matter of weeks, feel in this environment?
As I learned, along with my colleagues Mary Ann Azevedo and Christine Hall, entrepreneurs feel fatigue. It’s true: When First Republic Bank was in its final moments, Silicon Valley didn’t convulse with shock or lather itself into a social media tizzy. Instead, there was a general malaise — and awareness of the gap ahead.
Read the rest of our piece on TC+: “As another startup bank partner collapses, tech feels the gap.”
As for the other acronym, you don’t have to look far to find a GPT angle these days. Alex Wilhelm and I wrote a piece about ChatGPT’s impact on edtech, inspired by Chegg’s admission that generative AI has indeed hurt new user growth. As our interviews tell us, OpenAI is clearly changing things for edtech entrepreneurs, and at large, asking them to ask much harder questions, ironically enough.
Read our piece on TC+: “OpenAI’s ChatGPT is shaking up the edtech markets.”
With that, let’s get into the perfect pitch deck and the outsider advantage. Follow me on Twitter, Bluesky or Instagram to continue the conversation. If you feel like supporting me extra, subscribe to my free Substack.
The perfect pitch deck
The inimitable Haje Jan Kamps has done 47 pitch decks in his Pitch Deck Teardown series. Now he’s asking: How could we do it better? With the help of Trulytell (with an assist from their designer, Jake Muller), Kamps sought to improve a startup’s deck until it became the perfect pitch deck. The results are certainly interesting.
Here’s what to know: It’s hard. Take this excerpt from the teardown, if that helps:
I’m sorry, but you do have to sense-check your numbers. There’s absolutely no way Supliful’s total addressable market is within 10% of the entire planet’s healthcare spend. This slide feels so insanely, ludicrously wrong, it made me wonder where this calculation came from.
Come for the window into perfection, stay for the reality checks.
- Down rounds are a ‘ticket to try again,’ says founder who raised 3 in a row
- Acquisition, retention, expansion: Why SaaS founders must understand GDR and NDR
The outside advantage that your investor may be interested in
On Equity this week, I spoke to Sam Chaudhary, CEO and co-founder of ClassDojo, and Chris Farmer, CEO of SignalFire, a venture firm that recently announced a $900 million fund to back tech startups. This interview is structured a bit differently as it was actually recorded as a TechCrunch Live session, our weekly show that focuses on helping people start better venture-backed businesses.
Here’s what to know: The best part of the interview was around outsider advantage in a sector like edtech and how to balance with insider awareness on the intricacies of the space. Listen if you want a snapshot into the thinking behind a slow-to-monetize company on how it pulled off investor patience, vision and early mapping.
- Ex-Fin Capital general partner, who led its investment in Pipe, starts new venture firm
- Aaron Burr’s tech angle, blue skies and no photos at this time
- Speaking of podcasts, let’s check in on Found: the TC podcast that gets the stories behind the startups. This week, Darrell and Becca are talking with Stefan Bauer about how Marker Learning is cutting the cost of learning disability assessments by conducting them remotely, how they’ve successfully worked with school districts to help them test their required amount of students and the potential to take Marker Learning into the prison system to assess incarcerated people and provide them with tools to learn in a way that’s better suited to their abilities. You can listen here.
- Programming note: If you’re reading this on a browser, get this in your inbox too! Subscribe here and share it with your friends.
- Of course: It’s already Disrupt season. Reminder that there’s a ticket for every budget and role.
- And finally, I have a shameless plug: Scoops make me! If you hear about a venture firm or startup winning, raising, flailing, or, oh I don’t know, booting an executive because of internal happenings, tell me. I love seeing early pitch decks and term sheets too. Happy to talk about anonymity and explain more of my process and what I’m looking for. You can tell me stuff on Signal at +1 925 271 0912. No pitches, please.
Seen on TechCrunch
How Shopify bungled its latest layoffs and made employees feel like NPCs
RapidAPI headcount down 82% from fresh layoffs less than two weeks after cutting 50% of staff
Think of the monetized children and other TC news
With DeepFloyd, generative AI art gets a text upgrade
Crypto, influencers targeted in Kenya’s new tax bid
Seen on TechCrunch+
The ice-breaking IPO we’ve waited for might not come from the US after all
AI is just someone else’s computer
Ask Sophie: Will I be allowed into the US if my passport expires in 5 months
Take care of yourself,