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TechCrunch+ Roundup: 2022 Stock Options Report, Pivot to SaaS, Crypto Investor Survey

We spend a lot time praising investors and tech entrepreneurs for their appetite for risk. But why don’t we put startup workers on the same pedestal?

Who takes more risks: a Stanford graduate who leveraged his network to raise a fundraiser or an immigrant worker who moves to an expensive city for a start-up job?

In its latest annual report, Secfi, which helps workers manage equity, found that 24% of companies on its platform reduced their valuation last year.

“For people working in these startups, this means that some (in some cases, all) of their employees’ stock options have spent 2022 underwater,” writes Frederik Mijnhardt, CEO of Secfi.

Considering how critical equity is to attracting tech talent, “underwater stock options have the potential to negatively impact hiring and retention in the startup ecosystem” , he wrote.

Investors won’t stop pushing for cuts anytime soon and more layoffs are on the way. Here are some candid tips for late-stage startup workers:


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Hoping for the best is not a strategy, and your employers will say whatever it takes to keep you focused and productive. If or when you’re fired, there’s a chance a TechCrunch reporter will find out before you do.

If you’ve nurtured an idea for a business, prepare a pitch deck and start reaching out to investors now. They will be more receptive than you think.

It’s not hot.

Yesterday, Monique Woodard tweeted that she launched Cake Ventures Fund I, “a $17 million seed and pre-seed fund”. Similarly, Axios reports that Social Capital is shifting its new fund towards early-stage deals.

Expect other venture capitalists to follow suit; despite the maverick myth of the tech investor, the herd mentality dominates.

Raising enough funds to build your MVP and strive to adapt the product to the market may seem risky, but is it more precarious than working in a late-stage startup in Q1 2023?

Thanks for reading,

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

You are not going to grow in your 2021 assessment

Picture credits: nfsphoto (Opens in a new window) /Getty Pictures

Many, if not most, founders tethered to their 2021 valuations are living in a fantasy, according to Jeremy Abelson and Jacob Sonnenberg of Irving Investors.

For this TC+ post, they came up with “the simple calculation of how long it will take for companies to price their IPO at a fixed level relative to their previous 2021 valuations.”

Companies with 75% year-over-year growth “can lead the discussion,” but “if your growth is less than 30%, there’s a good chance your 2021 valuation growth won’t be possible.”

Why Africa Had No Unicorns Last Year Despite Record Fundraising

Picture credits: Getty Images

Unicorns are becoming an endangered species in the African startup ecosystem, reports Tage Kene-Okafor.

Although funding in the region increased slightly in 2022, “no unicorns appeared throughout the year, compared to five in 2021,” he writes.

“So what happened in Africa in 2022 that made it so…weird?”

Forecast for the longevity industry in 2023

An iced cake with candles that you blow out, as if someone just out of frame is making a wish.

Picture credits: Myron Jay Dorf (Opens in a new window) /Getty Pictures

A tsunami of money is approaching.

“By 2030, the over-50 market is expected to grow to 132 million people, who are expected to spend an average of $108 billion annually on technology products,” according to Abby Miller Levy, managing partner and founding president of Primetime Partners.

Services like telemedicine and preventative care are just two aspects of the market: longevity technology also encompasses retirement planning and other services for seniors.

“We see incredible momentum for founders, untapped areas to build new businesses, and a window into an increasingly tech-enabled and rapidly growing consumer market.”

Some investors are (cautiously) implementing ChatGPT into their workflows

Picture credits: Mary Born (Opens in a new window) /Getty Pictures

Can AI produce polite rejection letters, automate certain aspects of due diligence, or write accurate market maps?

Some investors are already evaluating ways to integrate ChatGPT “into their workflows to do their jobs better, smarter, and maybe even cheaper,” report Natasha Mascarenhas, Christine Hall, and Kyle Wiggers.

They interviewed several VCs to learn more about potential use cases, some early experiences, and the technology’s limitations when it comes to shades and tone.

“It doesn’t automate the important conversations we have with journalists,” said Worklife Ventures founder Brianne Kimmel, “but I think it’s good enough for some pretty simple stuff.”

How we pivoted our deep tech startup to become a SaaS company

U-turn traffic sign

Picture credits: Thomas Winz (Opens in a new window) /Getty Pictures

Soon after the launch of iOS location app Burbn, its developers realized that users were mainly interested in its photo sharing features.

After making a data-driven pivot, they revamped and rebranded their app, which we now know as Instagram.

ECM PCB Stator Technology was created to build next-generation electric motors, but after researching the market more closely, CEO Brian Casey determined that a SaaS model offered clear advantages.

“The market forces, customer needs, and opportunities that existed for your business when it first raised and launched will almost certainly change later,” Casey says.

6 Crypto Investors Talk DeFi and the Way Forward for Adoption in 2023

Light beams representing the data transferred through the input and output ports of the blockchain;  web3 framework

Picture credits: Flavio Coelho (Opens in a new window) /Getty Pictures

Jacquelyn Melinek interviewed several crypto investors to learn more about what they are looking for and how they are advising their portfolio companies in Q1 2023:

  • Michael Anderson, Co-Founder, Framework Ventures
  • Alex Marinier, Founder and General Partner, New Form Capital
  • Samantha Lewis, Principal, Mercury
  • Paul Veradittakit, General Partner, Pantera Capital
  • David Gan, Founder and General Partner, OP Crypto
  • Mike Giampapa, General Partner, Galaxy Ventures

Dear Sophie: Do you have any tips for presenting a strong H-1B case? What if I’m not selected?

Lone figure at the entrance to the maze hedge which has an American flag in the center

Picture credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophia,

I am currently on regular OPT. My employer will sponsor me in the H-1B lottery in March.

Can you share tips for presenting a strong H-1B case if I am selected? If I’m not selected, then what?

— Competent and pragmatic



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