Cities, Cycles, and San Francisco’s “Return” • TechCrunch

Cities, Cycles, and San Francisco’s “Return” • TechCrunch

Cities, Cycles, and San Francisco's “Return” • TechCrunch

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Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced take on this week’s startup news and trends from Senior Reporter and co-host of Equity Natacha Mascarenhas. To receive it in your inbox, subscribe here.


“San Francisco is back!”

“He never left.”

“He’s been dead for a long time.”

They’re all takes, none particularly good, but all insinuating a degree of personal importance that you, of all people, know when a city’s heart beats in a way that should matter.

To me, San Francisco, for all the fleetingness and frustration it’s known to be associated with, feels like it never left. It is too simplistic to believe that cities can leave our lives, disappear from culture or rob us of relevance. I’m not saying San Francisco hasn’t rightfully had a mass exodus with empty storefronts and office buildings – it really is something that has happened. But people are slowly coming back: According to Vox, citing data from LinkedIn, “over the past 12 months, San Francisco has seen the second-largest worker population gain of any region in the United States.”

It made itself felt. It’s nice to listen to conversations and hear people talk about the future, to see bookstores filled until closing time, and to have a full schedule of networking events and happy hours. I constantly find people I only knew on Twitter DMs and meet people – an “I lived here” stage that I only dreamed of. Maybe that’s just how I experienced San Francisco, but I feel like the more social energy around us is less arrogant, more present. Like, yeah, there’s a huge hype cycle around AI and I think people are flocking to Hayes Valley for whatever reason, but because of the handful of founders I’ve had coffee with recently ? They seem more focused on building than on TechCrunch pre-product coverage. Maybe I’m just lucky, but I feel like returning SF feels more grounded, less boastful.

It makes me think: cities never leave our lives, they just teach us lessons about cyclical moments, fleeting friendships, and how fickle community can be.

If you like this newsletter, you should also check out my personal blog! In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about pitch deck teardowns and artificial intelligence. As always, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram, where I unfortunately do not post about the disappearance of this city.

A Pitch Deck Teardown to start

It never hurts to remember that it’s important to eat your vegetables – and that’s my lazy introduction to Haje Jan Kamps‘ latest Pitch Deck Teardown on He h. As a reminder, this series includes a presentation of starter presentations that includes areas of strengths, where there could be improvements, and witty analysis throughout.

Read the full analysis hereAnd remember: If you’d like to have your own teardown of the pitch deck featured on TC+, here’s more information. Also check out all of our Pitch Deck Teardowns and other pitching tips, all in one convenient place for you!

Picture credits: Mohd Hafiez Mohd Razali/EyeEm (Opens in a new window) /Getty Pictures

The follow-up

As with every hype cycle, accountability and transparency are needed. CT Dominic Madori Davis wrote a pair of stories about how the AI ​​boom is unfolding with historically underfunded minorities. There is good news and there is bad news. Let’s start with the good: First, female-founded AI startups are seeing an increase in venture capital funding. Shit yes. At the same time, the work is not done – biases continue to surface throughout AI, from the investments VCs make to the products founders build.

Here’s why it matters, in the words of Davis: “Discussions about diversity are more important than ever as AI enters a new golden era. Every new technology that emerges seems to come with heartbreaking consequences. So far, AI has contributed to racist tactics of job recruitment and slower home approval rates for black people Self-driving cars have trouble detecting dark skin, making black people more likely to be hit by them; robots identified black men as criminals 9% more than white men, which would put a new light on it if justice systems ever [began] adopt AI.

Classic Avatar Metaverse 3D rendered sculpture with low poly glowing purple line network.  Machine learning and artificial intelligence concept.  Example of 3D animated NFT illustration.  Web 3.0 technology background.

Picture credits: salihkilic/Getty Images


  • Z5 Capital, a US-based startup-focused venture capital firm, plans to raise $25 million, according to SEC filings.
  • Green Bay Ventures, a venture capital firm created by NEA co-founder Dick Kramlich and partner Anthony Schiller, has closed $90 million for a new investment vehicle, according to SEC filings.
  • Heard at a happy hour in San Francisco: “You know, some people think Adobe is a startup.”
  • If you missed Startups Weekly last week, check out my latest issue here: “Dear Founders, Returning to the Office is a Numbers Game.”
  • TechCrunch is coming to Boston on April 20. I’ll be there with my favorite colleagues to interview top experts at a one-day Founders Summit. Book your pass ASAP! Speakers include Kerty Levy of Techstars, Dayna Grayson of Construct Capital and James Currier of NFX.

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After a record year 2022, 8 investors explain why it’s “still only day 1” for the African startup ecosystem

Edtech reconnects with fintech

Discuss next week,



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