Dry powder’s slow fuse, basic landing page, generative AI hype • TechCrunch

It’s impossible to plan for everything that could go wrong while building a startup.

A definitive founder’s guide must include chapters like “So You Hired the Wrong Person,” or “Five Ways to Tell if an Investor is Lying to You.”

A definitive guide must include chapters like “So You Hired the Wrong Person,” or “Five Ways to Tell if an Investor is Lying to You.”

Mentors and advisers come in handy, but startups move at breakneck speed. Investors say they want to add value, but for entrepreneurs under pressure, it’s hard to know exactly when to ask for help.

Prior to co-founding and CEO of TigerEye, Tracy Young held similar roles at construction productivity software startup PlanGrid.


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Although she led the company to $100 million in ARR before the Autodesk acquisition, she has had “years to dissect the mistakes I made with my first startup,” she writes in TC+.

Young looks back at “five key points of failure” that are common pitfalls in every founder’s path, and shares tactical advice for dealing with internal conflicts, losing product-market fit and other stumbling blocks.

“If these reflections help even one founder make one less mistake, I will consider this effort worthwhile.”

Thursday 19 January at 10am PT/1pm ET, Tracy Young will join me in a Twitter room to talk about how she tackled these and other common founder challenges. Bring questions and join the chat!

One final note: TC+ roundup is TechCrunch’s fastest growing newsletter! Thank you so much for reading and subscribing!

Walter Thompson
Editor-in-Chief, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

3 questions founders should ask investors in Q1 2023

Maneki-neko (literally

Image credit: Yago Studio (opens in new window) / Getty Images

Money is power, and VCs know it.

That’s one of the reasons why so many founders perform insufficient due diligence on their investors, says Talia Rafaeli, a partner with early European VC fund Kompas.

Rather than going into a pitch meeting hoping to obtain favorable terms, Rafaeli advises entrepreneurs to ask investors direct questions about liquidity, exit expectations and how they intend to add value over time.

“A tough economic climate does not mean that the power dynamic automatically tips in favor of those with money,” she says.

“The best working relationships are those built on a fair foundation of honesty and clarity.”

Will record levels of dry powder trigger a belated explosion of startup investment?

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There’s a subtext to the waves of layoffs and Craigslist ads for discounted office furniture: tech investors have amassed about $290 billion in dry powder.

“Despite the slowdown, strong cash inflows and tailwinds for digitization spending are leading some market participants to believe we are in a strong investment cycle,” according to Raphael Mukomilow and Pierre Bourdon at Picus Capital.

After tracking uninvested capital by year back to 2006, the pair found that “a crisis in the investment landscape has often been followed by years of systematic outperformance, and history has a way of repeating itself.”

Oops! Is generative AI already becoming a bubble?

generative AI, bubble

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Generative AI is making a splash with apps like Lensa AI, DALL-E and ChatGPT, but does that make it a strong investment?

Several VCs who responded to a recent TechCrunch+ survey “said the growth of technology has reminded them too much of crypto,” writes Rebecca Szkutak.

“Everyone is piling on faster than they should be.”

When will IPOs return? The past may hold some clues

Time is money concept with hundred dollar bill and clock face on it.

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Natalia Holgado Sanchez, head of capital markets at Secfi, studied the impact of five recessions since 2002 to see how well privately held start-ups held up, “and most importantly, how long it took the IPO market to reopen.”

For each period, Sanchez looked at the motivating events, the similarities and differences between this downturn and previous crises, and how startups were affected.

“Based on historical data, the IPO market has opened after 18 to 24 months on average,” she found. “Given that we are now about 9 months since our window closed, we could see movement by June 2023.”

Dear Sophie: How can I transfer my H-1B to my new startup in 2023?

lone figure at the entrance to the maze hedge which has an American flag in the middle

Image credit: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

I am RESOLVED: This is the year I finally live my dream and create my startup! I currently have an H-1B for my full-time engineering role at another company.

How can I transfer my visa to my startup? How do we structure the startup for immigration success?

– Restless and dissolute

Teach Yourself Growth Marketing: How To Set Up A Landing Page

Orange funnel on light background

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In the first article in a five-part series on growth marketing basics, Jonathan Martinez explains how to create an essential part of any company’s sales funnel: a landing page.

This overview includes basic steps for writing a clear headline, offering visitors social proof that builds credibility, and creating calls-to-action that deliver results.

Next week, Martinez, who helped scale startups like Uber, Postmates and Chime, will share his tips for launching a paid acquisition channel.

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