Footnotes in Sequoia startup memo – TechCrunch

Welcome to Startups Weekly, a new human version of this week’s startup news and trends. To receive this in your inbox, sign up here.

Sequoia takes things seriously. The storied venture firm has been known to react to macroeconomic events with big memos aimed at portfolio companies and sometimes the broader business scene. Most recently, Sequoia created a 52-slide deck, first reported by The Information, titled Adapting to Endure; the document reads like a follow-up course to his infamously ill-timed “Coronavirus: The Black Swan of 2020” memo from March 2020.

The firm isn’t always right in its forecasts, which is perhaps why it stuck to insider musings rather than a Medium post this time around, but it does do a service by providing a snapshot of how one of the firms most worn out and successful of all time think of a looming recession.

“Our intention in meeting today is not to be a beacon of sadness,” says the deck. “But we also believe that winning in the coming years will depend on making tough and decisive decisions to meet uncomfortable challenges that may have been masked during the exuberance and distortions of free capital in the last two years.”

Sequoia’s advice largely followed the same script other ventures have been using: broaden the runway, focus on sustainable growth and acknowledge that economic recovery may be a long way off. However, there were a few details that stood out, like a subtweet that I assume is for Tiger Global and a precise explanation of how founders should define fluff these days.

For my full take on this topic, read my TechCrunch+ column, “Sequoia is the latest venture capital firm that wants you to take the recession seriously.” In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll present a founder’s perspective on this moment in technology, a launch pad teardown, and a deal that may have slipped under the radar this week. As always, you can support me by forwarding this newsletter to a friend or following me on twitter or by subscribing to my blog.

Let’s have a heart to heart

On equity this week, CEO of Heart to Heart Josh Ogundu joined us to talk about his perspective on the early-stage founders market. Ogundu told us what he is rethinking, the importance of honesty and what to do before considering a dismissal. It’s not very often that we get guests on the show, so when we do, you know it’s going to be good.

Here’s why it’s important: Much of the advice, as the introduction to this newsletter shows, comes from investors. However, the founders are the ones living the change and making the tough decisions, so consider this episode a belated reality check.

Image credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Disassembly of the launch pad

Our own Haje Jan Kamps has started a weekly series in which he reviews a startup’s pitch deck in the form of a witty column. Most recently, she reviewed Lumigo’s Series A pitch deck that helped the startup land a $29 million round.

Here’s why it matters, in his words: “I’ve been coaching startups for a long time, and the #1 challenge we always run into is there’s no shortage of advice on how to make a good pitch deck (heck, I wrote a book about it), but what has always been missing is a good library of actual pitch decks that managed to raise money. When I rejoined TechCrunch and started talking to founders about fundraising rounds, I realized that this could be my chance. In this week’s teardown, we talk about what worked on the platform and where the company could have made additional improvements. This is information that isn’t available anywhere else, and so far it’s been a project! very funny!”

deal of the week

It certainly seems like the layoff announcements are the new stories of the funding round, but I think it’s useful to balance the doom and gloom with some growth-focused news. And no, I am not just talking about new crypto funds. This week, Planet FWD announced that it has secured $10 million for the consumer products industry to track carbon emissions. No problem.

Here’s Why It Matters Via Reporter Christina Hall:Time is of the essence to reduce emissions, with [CEO Julia Collins] noting that there are less than 100 months left to reach the 2030 global goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% from 1990 levels. Domestic consumption of things like food, which affects the earth, energy and water, represents 60% of global emissions, he added.

Cloud computing in photography studio

Image credits: peter dazeley (Opens in a new window) / fake images

over week

Spotted on TechCrunch

Report: Highly Hyped Newsletter Platform Substack Has Dropped Plans For A Series C

4 investors discuss the outlook for the US cannabis market in the third quarter of 2022

Manish Maheshwari, former head of Twitter India, leaves new startup

Founder alleges YC-backed fintech startup is ‘copying and pasting’ his business

Everything you wanted to know about Elon Musk and Twitter (but didn’t want to ask)

Spotted on TechCrunch+

Questions arise about the role of Y Combinator in the startup fix

Sequoia’s Jess Lee explains how venture capitalists think about their deals

Perhaps the faster delivery times were a poor choice from a unit economics perspective.

Dear Sophie, Does International Business Parole have any advantages over an O-1 visa?

Can Recurring Revenue Financing Drive Growth in a Turbulent Market?

Until next time,


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