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Zombie startups • TechCrunch


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People leave their jobs for all sorts of reasons, but when a CFO leaves a highly regarded company as a result of a layoff by the company itself, leaving can be a sign of a bigger problem.

This is one of the takeaways from speaking to Continuum CEO and co-founder Nolan Church about a series of recent CFO resignations, including but not limited to OpenSea, Noom and Brex. The founder reiterated that we don’t know the exact reason people leave, but he also noted that it’s a red flag from a hiring perspective.

He also introduced me to the idea of ​​zombie companies, which I appreciate because it’s officially spooky season and we love a carnival framework. The zombie companies are basically the ones that raised tons of money during the boom cycle but didn’t generate nearly enough revenue to justify the valuation. The late-stage market is full of them, says Church, and it will take a while for us to realize this because many people have excess capital and enough runways to hide.

It’s an interesting and colorful idea why some executive shakers sound louder than others. For more thoughts, read my full TechCrunch+ column, “Are the CFOs okay? (Answer: Yes, but CEOs? That’s complicated). “

In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about do-it-all startups and Sarah Guo’s new VC fund. If you like this newsletter, please help me quickly? Forward it to your friends, share it on Twitter and follow My personal blog for more content.

Do it all

This week, I wrote about Getaway, using Pacaso with its own spin on the vacation home ownership market. Doing the job of convincing people that they deserve a vacation is hard. The business of convincing people that they can co-own a vacation home and enjoy it at the same time can be harder.

Here’s why it’s important: When you’re a seed-stage startup, the best way to stand out from a unicorn competitor is to do it all. Lately, I’ve seen a lot of startups that want the best of both worlds for consumers, and Getaway is no different – combining investment and enjoyment in one product.

While I’m all devoted to startup energy, I wonder how this is mapped out with the larger conversation of growth-stage startups realizing they need to tighten their minds. rational and focused. In other words, if the giants are looking inward and focusing on what makes them revenue, will early-stage startups have time to ramp up their capital buffers? ? Food for thought.

High confidence, why not?

For Equity this week, Alex and I interviewed Sarah Guo, Greylock’s former partner on her new company, Conviction. She raised $101 million in 10 weeks for her first fund, a process that she said took too long but, apparently, resonated with some investors. We’ve extracted key passages from the chat for TC+, so keep reading.

Here’s why it’s important: Sensational AI aside, Guo’s framework for interesting applications in this space is useful when trying to distinguish what she’s interested in and doesn’t care about. Below, you’ll see how she thinks about it.

I think you can take a very clear view of the big picture and say, what is valuable to the customer? I think there is a way to do bottom-up, and modally adjusted, sort of thing, right? We can categorize everything. We can generate code. We can do math. We can create images. And I think that’s an interesting thing. [But] I think the way I tend to see the world is to be interested in a set of problem areas that I know well because I know the client well.

Nail, not hammer first. So you’ll find me investing in secure infrastructure, developer tools, productivity apps, creative apps, generally the same kind of business-like relational database applications. business to keep records, [and] verticals that I think are huge, interesting, and data-affected by this, like comp bio. The reason I think software 3.0 is a really relevant term is because I’ve only named a few categories of software that I know well, but I don’t see a future where all those [categories]With advances in computers and data and algorithms, don’t get smarter.

I think there will be brand new applications of AI that don’t fit into the existing categories. Image creation is not an existing software category. Autonomy is not a category of software that exists without AI. So I think there will be brand new categories of apps… but I’m following customers more than anything else.

Image credits: Sarah Guo

A few notes

TechCrunch Disrupt will happen next week, somehow. Safe ride for those of you who went into town and sorry to those of us who lived in San Francisco and now sure won’t be able to get a table at Che Fico.

It will be an explosion, a short talk, a realization and a week not to be missed. Here is the whole program of workand here is where you can get it ticket.

Remember you can use the code “STARTUPS” to get a special reader discount on Disrupt tickets. We also have a special program for those affected by layoffs. If you are fired, Click here to get a free ticket to TechCrunch Disrupt’s Expo.

As you know, I co-host Equity, which comes out three times a week and is TC’s longest running podcast. We also have some close friends to listen to: including crypto-focused program that follows Chain Reactionand Founder-focused program run by Found. TechCrunch Podcast is also impossible to miss, so pay attention to all the good shows they are putting on.

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Same time, same site, next week?

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