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Yet it’s a calmer, more realistic truth that has caught my attention lately: For various founders, slowing down is nothing new. Some investors, largely those focused on backing historically overlooked founders, argue that the crackdown on tech companies doesn’t hit diverse founders as hard as their homogeneous counterparts who are overfunded due to pre-existing biases.
Mandela SH Dixon, CEO of All Raise, who joined the Equity podcast fresh off its annual summit, told TechCrunch that women and investors, founders and operators of diverse races don’t have the “catastrophic mentality because we’re so used to doing more with less.”
“We’re so used to not having access to this influx of capital that we’ve already adjusted and built muscle and an ability to weather many storms than more privileged founders who have like this endless flow of capital and l “Access to advice and insider information” didn’t have to deal with, she said. “We as women and as women of color have a long history of weathering the storms, so this is not new to us.”
Dixon’s belief — that minority founders may be better prepared for withdrawal because they were already experiencing one — seems both fair and nuanced. Yes, diverse founders still receive disproportionately less venture capital funding than their homogeneous counterparts, which makes them smarter with their money. We have tons of studies spanning years that show women and diverse teams can be more capital efficient.
At the same time, if even the small dollars that come in are at risk, won’t the industry slide further and further away from a fairer place?
For the rest of my thoughts on this topic, check out my TechCrunch+ column: “For various founders, a downturn is nothing new.” In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about the boss nickname myth, a nuance about all those layoffs, and a deal that may have flown under your radar this week. As always, you can support me by forwarding this newsletter to a friend or follow me on twitter or subscribe to my blog.
Offer of the week
On Equity this week, we talked about a venture-backed startup that attracted even more capital to bring cards to the mainstream. Felt, co-founded by Sam Hashemi and Can Duruk, allows users to create a map with integrated datasets and work with each other to show impact in a less static way than your average Google Maps query. .
Here’s why it’s important: The co-founders cited proven business models of Figma and Notion, both valued at billions, as a reason to believe in their work. The aforementioned companies have both successfully rolled out to users for personal use and then pivoted to enterprise, a playbook that Felt wants to follow (and whose language VCs can certainly speak).
“That kind of business model and market access is – I don’t mean immune, but is a bit removed from the kind of market swings we see,” Hashemi said in an interview. “It’s really not about consumer spending, it’s not about an advertising business, it’s just day-to-day work that businesses rely on.”
How the “girlboss” myth is hurting emerging women in tech
If there’s a story you’re reading this weekend, make it this one. My colleagues Anita Ramaswamy and Amanda Silberling wrote about the girlboss myth and its impact on women in tech. They explore how “once a vaguely ambitious term of praise reserved only for affluent white women, the moniker now reflects the infuriating contradiction of workplace feminism: we know it’s not enough to just be a woman in power, and that what we do with it matters much more than just wielding it.
Here’s why it’s important: The story puts into words much of the irony, emotion and impact of why this term has frustrated so many. Here are two excerpts that stand out:
There’s a disconnect between the evolution of feminism in the outside world, juxtaposed with the frustrating slowness with which Silicon Valley is realizing that a female CEO shouldn’t be a novelty. Outside of work, women are fighting for an intersectional feminism that is trans-inclusive, uplifts people of color, and advocates for the rights of people with disabilities. But in startup culture, just being a woman per se is seen as subversive.
And, this, from Sruti Bharat, who recently worked as interim CEO at All Raise.
“Just because a woman has been oppressed, or been marginalized, or treated differently, doesn’t mean she also knows how to fix it, or how to talk about it, or that she doesn’t perpetuate it herself. We always advocate for women to be icons…but the reality is that it takes real advocacy work and building movements and policies,” Bharat said.
About all these layoffs
I know I know. There has been a lot of layoff news in the past month and June is starting out no differently. This week we wrote about the redundancies at the IRL, SWVLPolicyGenius, LoomGemini and Carbon Health.
Here’s why it’s important: At this point, it still seems newsworthy to report on layoffs from venture capital-backed startups, whether they affect 10% or 50% of staff. I don’t want to get into the game of deciding how many people need to lose their jobs for this to be relevant, but I also realize that it will be difficult to cover every downsizing.
A nuance that I want to remind everyone, but especially myself, is that there are the layoffs that occur due to market uncertainty, and there are the layoffs that occur in because of the ability to invoke market uncertainty. Questions and reasoning matter a lot, and the “no comment” says it all.
All week long
Seen on TechCrunch
Seen on TechCrunch+
Until next time,