Startups Weekly (Taylor Version) – TechCrunch


Welcome to Startups Weekly, a new human look at this week’s startup news and trends. To receive this in your inbox, subscribe here.

If you don’t understand this title, let’s start with a brief history lesson.

Taylor Swift is re-recording all of her albums, but not in the name of nostalgia. Instead, Swift is undertaking this highly anticipated project so that she can control her music instead of a separate music label. The first of her iconic albums came out this year, annotated with “(Taylor’s Version)” so longtime fans can stream music that benefits the star, not the record label-owned music.

The kick-off lesson, prepared as part of Swift’s bold move, is less of a leap than you might think: 2021 reminded me of the power of self-advocacy and the importance of changing my mind.

In 2021, we saw employees start asking more of their employers. The Great Resignation was more than just a hiring nightmare, it was a concerted effort by employees to quit their current jobs in search of something more, less, or balance. Some have even gone the solo route, pursuing the glamor of the designer economy and betting on themselves. These people, like Swift, got me thinking about how to manage and expand influence as you mature in your career. Sometimes that means re-recording all of your albums. Other times it means talking about the gas lighting that happens during fundraising.

Self-advocacy can often depend on unlearning things that you thought were true. For Swift, she has changed her mind about the role she wants to play in owning her music. In 2014, Swift turned to the WSJ to oppose streaming, pirating and file sharing, saying “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important and rare things have value. Valuables must be paid for. In my opinion, music shouldn’t be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will one day decide the price of an album. In 2021, Swift shifted its focus away from removing Spotify and Apple Music, and instead focused on ownership as a channel for building value.

This year, I’ve changed my mind on a lot of things, from what constitutes an unconventional path to entrepreneurship to when it’s time to challenge the status quo (albeit the status quo). My work has remained the same – reporting on emerging fund managers and founders, and the cross-cutting decisions they make – but the way I executed is different. For example, I thought asking the founders about their competition was a good litmus test for the franchise, but now I’m asking the same people their most nasty belief in how to build – and it works much, much better.

Empowerment of the individual and the urge to speak now was a defining feeling of the year. To learn more about what I’ve unlearned about startups this year, check out my TechCrunch + column: “What I’ve unlearned about startups this year”.

Before I move on to the rest of this newsletter, I want to convey my condolences and prayers to everyone who knew Tyson Clark, a general partner of GV who died this week at the age of 43. Clark was one of the most prominent black people. investors in the venture capital industry, with a respectful legacy that will clearly be missed by many.

For the rest of the day, we’ll talk about the diversity of money, the crypto climate, and the economics of the trucking makers. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @nmasc_ or on Instagram @natashathereporter.

Various investor initiatives

Image credits: Zane Venture Fund When Shila Nieves Burney first closed for Zane Venture Fund, a venture capital firm she set up to invest in various founding teams, she realized she didn’t see a single woman and hardly any colored people.

“It’s a problem,” she said. “And I felt like I could keep raising like that, but I’m going to keep making white men rich.” Today, the emerging fund manager announced the closing of a million dollar “diversified investor initiative” in which ZVF has allocated 25 slots in its first fund to LPs who identify as women and people of color. SEC filings show Zane Venture Fund is looking to raise up to $ 25 million for its first fund, so Burney’s exclusion plays a small but critical role in who will benefit from any returns of the vehicle. .

Here’s what you need to know: While Burney explained that the broader fundraising environment for emerging minority managers “has slowed down considerably” from earlier this year. It reminds him of the first fundraiser in 2018, when LPs said diversity is not a strategy or a differentiator. “I just keep doing it like my thesis, and while it was the wave a year ago, it’s just cold right now… we find our tribe of LPs.”

The money behind the money:

If you are not in crypto, you are in climate

Image credits: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

Climate is shaping up to be the flagship industry for 2022. Most recently, I won the launch of Climactic, a new venture built by former Lyft CSO and a co-founder of Freestyle Capital. The duo are taking on the hot new industry by focusing on companies that will help businesses meet their carbon emissions targets.

Here’s what you need to know: Kapoor admitted that the climate knowledge specific to Climactic’s expertise is “light” compared to “OG climate investors”. Entrepreneurs largely ask Climactic for help with sales, marketing and pricing of the business; no detailed explanations on the limits of the marketing of cellular meat. The company employed a number of consultants who were former sales and marketing managers at other companies, which led to cross-pollination between the scientists in charge of the breakthrough technology and those less in the business. weeds.

On the next one:

And the startup of the week is …

Image credits: Getty Images

True North! Built by Jin Stedge and Sanjaya Wijeratne, the early stage startup has raised $ 50 million this year to enable independent truckers to run their current businesses more efficiently. It helps find, book and coordinate concerts, accept payments and optimize itineraries.

Here is what you need to know: The business-in-a-box format may have gotten quieter in the startup arena, but it’s still a viable strategy, especially in archaic companies. As I mentioned on the last Equity, TrueNorth gives me designer economy vibes (and is positioning itself to expand into many other, hopefully lucrative verticals).

Honorable mentions:

TechCrunch 2021 Gift Guide

TechCrunch 2021 Gift Guide

Image credits: TechCrunch

All week long

Seen on TechCrunch

Better.com CEO Vishal Garg Apologizes to Current Employees for Mass Layoff ‘Blunder’; PSPC delayed

Electric vehicle automaker Lucid Group under SEC investigation

How a founder bridges customer knowledge gap in the cannabis industry

MrBeast’s ‘Real Life Squid Game’ and Viral Stunts Prize

Why the era of the founders needs a “VP of Nothing”

Seen on TechCrunch +

Silicon Valley’s share of U.S. venture capital funding drops to lowest level in more than a decade

How Credit Karma, acquired amid COVID chaos, fared in its first year on Intuit

Samsara could become a decacorn in upcoming IoT-themed IPO

Dear Sophie: 2 questions about resuming consular appointments

First we SPAC, then we eliminate AWS

It’s officially been a year since I took over Startups Weekly. Thanks to the tens of thousands of people who signed up recently as this community is one of my favorite parts of the job. As one of my favorite thinkers always says, “Thank you so much for giving me your attention. Hope it was worth it, otherwise… unsubscribing won’t hurt me and give you back time that you literally can’t get back.

NOT