🕶️ VCs under fire

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The last day of April has arrived (yay?) 📅

A recent survey reveals a growing tension between startup founders and their venture capitalists (VCs). Hint: founders don’t feel very supported 😢

Climate-tech startups struggle to scale, VCs are adding a clause for more flexibility and OpenAI has some news! 💥

Right at the end don’t miss our new video: Why do people love these AI Influencers? 🤖

Enjoy the read! 

Six bullets of updates

  1. Climate-tech startups struggle to scale due to a funding gap known as the "commercial valley of death."

  2. 📄 VCs are adding "portfolio sale clauses" to funding docs for more flexibility in selling startup stakes, says Latham & Watkins.

  3. 📇 OpenAI and the Financial Times cozy up over a content licensing deal, taking strides in AI news integration.

  4. 📱 Startup founders in the creator economy are undisturbed by the TikTok ban becoming law, highlighting platform diversification as crucial for survival.

  5. 🫰 Y Combinator's Tom Blomfield highlights fundraising essentials: leverage, market size, and investor diligence.

  6. 🚙 California's wrestling match over robotaxi control intensifies, as bills could give cities more power to enforce AV rules.

VCs under fire: startup founders criticize lack of support and empathy

A recent Sifted survey reveals a growing tension between startup founders and their venture capitalists (VCs). 71% claim their relationships with investors have deteriorated. Investor pressure for profitability and cost-cutting measures, including layoffs, has strained bonds and contributed to founder stress. VCs are falling short in the support department: 44% of founders found them unhelpful in business strategies, and 64% rejected them regarding personal issue support.

When it comes to mental health in the startup realm, 87% of founders have never discussed the topic in board meetings, despite 76% suffering an impact on their mental health due to investor pressures.

If there's any good news, 29% of founders reported improving their relationships with their investors. The secret? Choosing investors with whom they can share lousy news without making things worse. Read the rest of the data on this survey. 

Startup Events and Deadlines

  1. 🚨 Special Benefit for Startup Club Subscribers | SaaStock: USA | Conference | May 13-15 | Austin, TX

  2. How to close a Funding Round (it’s not just the pitch deck) | May 7 | Webinar

  3. Beloved Tech Brands: San Francisco | May 15 | San Francisco

  4. Crash Course in Financial Modeling | May 13 | Webinar

  5. Propel24 | May 21 | Conference

  6. Financial Modeling Course | May 20 - 24 | Bootcamp

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These companies just raised money

  1. 🦄 Ex-Microsoft dev's AI-powered code platform, Augment, steps out of stealth with a whopping $252M funding at near unicorn valuation.

  2. 💂 London-based Isomer Capital is raising $107M for its first dedicated secondaries fund, with 20% already secured.

  3. 🏢 Flipping made easy! Startup Backflip rakes in $15M Series A to simplify securing short-term loans for real estate investment.

  4. 💻 OpenAI Startup Fund secures $15M from two unnamed investors, marking its second capital raise via an SPV this year.

  5. 🕹️ Carv nets a $10M Series A, led by Tribe Capital and IOSG Ventures, to help gaming and AI firms monetize data. 

  6. 🇧🇷 AI-powered marketing platform Data4Sales bags $2.3M seed funding to tap into the Brazilian market after a 900% revenue surge.

What if an AI company's economic incentives and society's interests are misaligned?

If we want to talk about the potential risks of artificial intelligence, one can be summarized in the juxtaposition between companies' pursuit of profit and the logic of AI based on societal interests. Some precedents for this include Amazon and Facebook exploiting users' trust to maximize their profits, which wouldn't be surprising to happen with AI.

The reminder for users is to understand that they can choose the AI tools they are using better, considering who has the best technology and what they are incentivizing. Technological risks can also come with misaligned and risky economic incentives for society.

The algorithms of AI models can be decisive in influencing our decision-making or our way of thinking, which can also pose risks for an entire generation. Centralization of the power of AI in the hands of a few profit-driven entities likely to face future economic incentives for bad behavior is undoubtedly a bad idea. Keep reading!

Why do people love these AI Influencers? 

We dive deep into how these virtual personas blur reality and simulation, and they’re making a lot of money out of it 😎 Subscribe for more!