Dear Founders, Returning to the Office is a Numbers Game TechCrunch

Dear Founders, Returning to the Office is a Numbers Game TechCrunch

Dear Founders, Returning to the Office is a Numbers Game TechCrunch

>>> DOWNLOAD MP3 <<<

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.


Towards the end of 2022, a number of entrepreneurs, some quoting Elon Musk, told me they would bring back an in-person work culture the following year to help promote productivity and, in some cases, loyalty . One founder even told me over drinks and fancy snacks that he wasn’t worried about losing talent – because those who leave just because there’s an in-person mandate weren’t really focused on the mission at the start.

While some founders are clearly set on a comeback, others are confused. There’s the argument – sometimes coming from venture capitalists desperate to see portfolio companies succeed – that being in person will help boost productivity, and ultimately the bottom line. And there’s also the counter-argument that remote work allows for more inclusive and broader hiring, which could also help, well, the bottom line.

And if 2023 isn’t the year of the bottom line, I don’t know what else it could be. Kruze Consulting, an accounting firm for startups, has leveraged the finances of over 750 companies, which includes over $300 million in quarterly revenue and over $750 million in quarterly expenses. I spoke to Healy Jones, who leads financial planning and analysis for Kruze Consulting, about his findings — and the results, he thinks, offer some balance to the debate.

For more on his findings, read my TC+ column “Data Indicates the Value of Startup Desktops.” In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about loud VCs, Salesforce spinoffs, and Artifact. As always, you can follow me on Twitter or Instagram.

The wrinkle

On paper, venture capital seems to be back. The wave of new funds gives me, and more importantly founders, the impression that VCs are back in business and ready to write lots and lots of checks. But one could argue that the announcement dates of new venture capital funds, like the phrase “oversubscribed,” mean little in practice.

Here’s why it’s important: There are several reasons why not all dry powder is as edgy as one would hope. While new fund announcements are certainly exciting, the fund may already be partially invested and investors should make capital calls before issuing those checks. The signal to watch is less around new funds coming into the VC space and more around, Why is this VC firm announcing their fund now, versus before, versus see you ? What is the argument to show that you are playing the offensive at the moment? I imagine it’s more complicated than “business as usual”.

Picture credits: Getty Images/den_mark/DigitalVision

Salesforce, sales fund

Firsthand Alliance, led by solo investor Simon Chan, is a venture capital firm looking to capitalize on Salesforce. Here’s how: The company, which closed an initial $25 million investment vehicle, landed investments from 21 founders acquired by Salesforce, while Chan himself built the company he says is based on Einstein, Salesforce’s All-Enterprise AI initiative.

With the support of alumni and advisors, the society hopes to help start-up companies gain additional support and, of course, new capital.

Here’s why it’s important: Mafia funds can be exclusive, both in which LPs are invited to the table and in which companies obtain financing. In a statement to TechCrunch, Chan said the scope of the company’s investment goes “far beyond the Salesforce app ecosystem” and founders don’t need to be alumni. Salesforce to be considered. Currently, 35% of Firsthand Alliance’s portfolio is founded or co-founded by women, and 50% of the portfolio is co-founded or founded by people of color.

Impressive. And, well, an interesting moment considering both the layoffs and the strains seeping out of the mothership as we speak. Maybe it’s time to capitalize on the changes that are happening to old playing fields?

Cartoon of dogs barking outside the Salesforce Tower.

Picture credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

The follow-up

There’s no such thing as a good comeback story to follow, is there? The Instagram co-founders are back with a new social app, looking to make news consumption easier and smarter. The startup, Artifact, is accepting people on its waitlist as we speak.

Here’s why it’s important: Artifact is targeting a controversial company because it has to do with news consumption, control, algorithms and, no offense, easily persuaded consumers. If you’re frowning at all the potential issues that can arise with this business, you’re not alone. We talk about the news and why we still have hope on Equity.

smartphone placed on colored tiles/blocks

Picture credits: Artifact screenshot via The Verge (Opens in a new window)


Seen on TechCrunch

Getaround car-sharing SPAC lays off 10% of its staff

Car-sharing platform Getaround receives NYSE delisting warning

There are still robotics jobs to be found (if you know where to look)

Apple stock falls due to rare shortfall

Coinbase’s Asset Recovery Tool Just Saved My Bacon

Seen on TechCrunch+

Pitch Deck Teardown: Laoshi’s $570,000 Angel Deck

Dear Sophie: What H-1B and other immigration changes can we expect this year?

Which open source startups exploded in 2022?

What do recent state tax changes mean for US SaaS startups?

Why invest in Ukrainian startups today?

It was one of those weeks filled with energizing conversations with entrepreneurs, both seasoned and new, that remind me of what ambitious global technology is all about. Even with the obstacles faced by technicians from every angle, it is rejuvenating to see how the hope of an idea can push further than reality.

On that serious note, always,



Do you find AfroNaija useful? Click here to give us five stars rating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button