Tech forgot his umbrella • TechCrunch

Tech forgot his umbrella • TechCrunch

Tech forgot his umbrella • TechCrunch

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 get it delivered to your inbox, subscribe here.

It’s a bit as if technology had forgotten its umbrella. Like, he remembered to pack his water bottle, wear the right shoes, and layer up, but when it came time to officially step out — and say, face the year ahead — he s realized that a waterproof hoodie wasn’t enough. He needs an industrial umbrella.

You know what I mean?

This is what I dance, or, uh, write, around. It appears that the macroeconomic environment has been reasonably volatile over the past year; and we are still seeing entrepreneurs react to the market as if it had just knocked on their door, tripped them up, and stolen all their possessions. I’m not saying that founders and investors should have perfectly predicted what the first quarter of this year will look like; I wonder how long we are going to have “the economy” as a catalyst for tough decisions.

What ultimately drives a CEO to quit? What ultimately prompts a company to proceed with its third round of layoffs? Is it the economy or is it a purely human decision that comes just months after you were told to grow at all costs? When we talk about pivots and layoffs, I think it’s important to talk about the realities of change to deal with the new normal. Abstractions like the economy are collapsing now that markets have been gray for more than a few months.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can probably leave your house during a drizzle and find yourself at the grocery store just a little damp. If you forget your umbrella during a downpour, well, now you’re soaked and no one feels so bad for you. Don’t forget them, and better yet, wear them proudly.

Can you tell it’s raining on the East Coast? follow me on Twitter or Instagram for other mediocre metaphors and thoughts. In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about a new venture capital fund that isn’t afraid to talk about privilege or honesty,

G on G

I spoke to Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal and Girlboss, about her new venture fund for founders, Trust Fund.

It is launched with a goal of $5 million, targeting a check size between $50,000 and $150,000. She’s already landed checks from the tech who’s who. Prominent investors include a host of a16z partners such as Marc Andreessen, Andrew Chen and Chris Dixon, as well as entrepreneur Ev Williams, icon Paris Hilton and investor backing Ryan Hoover and Sarah Kunst of Cleo Capital.

Here’s why it’s important: It was his high-profile and turbulent experience in the Silicon Valley spotlight that ultimately gave Amoruso the operational experience needed to launch his own venture capital firm. As she opens up a $5 million allocation to accredited investors outside of her network, she said from a portfolio construction perspective: she’s not necessarily looking for ‘diamonds in the rough’ or a diversity quota specific.

“I plan to invest in men and women and everything in between. And if anything like why not invest in privilege and ride a dude’s tails? says Amoruso “As a woman, why wouldn’t I want to invest in the advantage that a man has, like, feel free to post this – it’s true.”

Picture credits: Emilie Malan


Discord has acquired Gas, a compliment-based social media app for teens. Reports Amanda Silberling:

On Gas, users register with their school, add friends, and take surveys about their classmates. But survey questions are meant to build user trust rather than hurt it. Teenagers can be asked to choose which of four friends is the best DJ or has the most beautiful smile. Then, the chosen person will receive an anonymous message with their compliment, sent by a vague “boy in 10th” or “girl in 11th”.

Here’s why it’s important: When Clubhouse rose to fame, investors and founders were abuzz about the opportunity for innovation in the consumer social space. Since then, Clubhouse has been through its share of hardships — listen to my Equity episode with the CEO here — but so has Twitter. I think the early release of Gas and the slew of similar apps already on the site might bring some optimism to the conversation.

Tech forgot his umbrella • TechCrunch

Picture credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

The follow-up

I covered Clearco, formerly known as Clearbanc, for years. Like many, the Toronto-based fintech has had a particularly volatile past 12 months. But this week truly marked the end of an era, with co-founder Michele Romanow stepping down as chief executive of the tech unicorn.

Here’s why it’s important: Clearco has suffered numerous rounds of layoffs during the pandemic, including a reduction that affected 25% of staff. Additionally, in 2022, the Toronto-based fintech saw its fellow co-founder, Andrew D’Souza step down as CEO to be replaced by Romanow. Going forward, both co-founders will assume executive chairman positions.

“We never lie, we are under the same pressures as any other business to become a profitable business. And so we just continued to make the tough decisions…and continue to be ahead of the curve,” Romanow said in an interview with TechCrunch, explaining the change.

Red electrical power plug and cable forming a graph on a blue background.  usage-based pricing

Picture credits: Javier Zayas Photography (Opens in a new window) /Getty Pictures


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With that, I’m off to enjoy a weekend in Philadelphia with new and old friends. Anyone else tired of my East Coast tour? No? Just me? I’ll be back in San Francisco, and your inboxes, soon.

Take care of you,



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