Dry powder’s slow fuse, landing page basics, generative AI hype • TechCrunch

It is impossible to plan for everything that can go wrong while building a startup.

A definitive guide for founders would have to include chapters like “So you’ve hired the wrong person” or “Five ways to tell if an investor is lying to you.”

A definitive guide would have to include chapters like “So you’ve hired the wrong person” or “Five ways to tell if an investor is lying to you.”

Mentors and advisors are helpful, but startups move at breakneck speed. Investors say they want to add value, but for founders under pressure, it’s hard to know exactly when to ask for help.

Before Tracy Young was co-founder and CEO of TigerEye, she held the same roles at construction productivity software startup PlanGrid.

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Although he led the company to $100 million in ARR before Autodesk acquired it, he has had “years to analyze the mistakes I made with my first startup,” he writes on TC+.

Young looks back “five key points of failure” that are common bumps in every founder’s road and shares tactical tips for dealing with internal conflicts, product-market mismatch, and other pitfalls.

“If these reflections help a single founder make one less mistake, I would consider this effort worthwhile.”

On Thursday, January 19 at 10am PST/1pm EST, Tracy Young will join me in a Twitter space to talk about how she’s dealt with these and other common founder challenges. Bring your questions and join the chat!

One last note: the TC+ roundup is TechCrunch’s fastest growing newsletter! Thank you very much for reading and subscribing!

walter thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+

3 Questions Founders Should Ask Investors in Q1 2023

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Money is power, and venture capitalists know it.

It’s one reason so many founders do inadequate due diligence on their investors, says Talia Rafaeli, a partner at early-stage European venture capital fund Kompas.

Instead of going to a pitch meeting hoping for favorable terms, Rafaeli advises entrepreneurs to grill investors with direct questions about liquidity, exit expectations and how they intend to add value over time.

“A difficult economic climate doesn’t mean that power dynamics automatically tilt in favor of those with the money,” he says.

“The best working relationships are those built on an equitable foundation with honesty and clarity.”

Will record levels of dry powder trigger a delayed blowout of the initial investment?

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Image Credits: Tim Robberts/Getty Images

There’s a subtext to the waves of layoffs and Craigslist ads for discount office furniture: Tech investors have racked up roughly $290 billion in dry powder.

“Despite the recession, strong cash supply and tailwinds for digital spending are leading some market participants to believe we are in for a strong investment cycle,” according to Raphael Mukomilow and Pierre Bourdon of Picus Capital.

After tracking uninvested capital by year since 2006, the pair found that “a crisis in the investment landscape has often been followed by years of systematic outperformance of returns, and history has a way of repeating itself.”

Oh! Is generative AI already becoming a bubble?

Generative AI, bubble

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Generative AI is making a splash with apps like Lensa AI, DALL-E, and ChatGPT, but does that make it a solid investment?

Several venture capitalists responding to a recent TechCrunch+ survey “said that the growth of technology has reminded them too much of cryptocurrency,” writes Rebecca Szkutak.

“Everyone is piling up faster than they should be.”

When will the IPOs come back? The past may hold some clues

Time is money concept with a hundred dollar bill and a clock face.

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Natalia Holgado Sánchez, Secfi’s director of capital markets, studied the impact of five recessions since 2002 to see how well private start-ups held up “and, more importantly, how long it took for the IPO market to reopen.”

For each period, Sánchez analyzed the inciting events, the similarities and differences between this recession and past crises, and how new companies were affected.

“Based on historical data, the IPO market has opened after 18 to 24 months, on average,” he found. “Given that we are now about nine months into our window closing, we could see movement by June 2023.”

Dear Sophie, How can I transfer my H-1B to my new company in 2023?

lone figure at the entrance to the hedge maze that has an American flag in the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

I am RESOLVED: This is the year I finally live my dream and create my startup! I currently have an H-1B for my full time engineering position at another company.

How can I transfer my visa to my startup? How do we structure the startup for immigration success?

— Restless and Determined

Learn growth marketing: how to set up a landing page

Orange funnel on bright background

Image Credits: light star59 (Opens in a new window) / Fake Images

In the first article in a five-part series on growth marketing fundamentals, Jonathan Martinez explains how to create an essential part of every business’s sales funnel: a landing page.

This overview includes basic steps for writing a clear headline, providing visitors with social proof that builds credibility, and creating calls-to-action that drive results.

Next week, Martinez, who has helped scale startups like Uber, Postmates, and Chime, will share his tips for launching a paid acquisition channel.