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For longtime Startups Weekly readers, you will remember that education technology was the best I had. Like, day one won. Most of my coverage focused on The rise of edtech in the early roles epidemic, unicorn madness rush Even some subscriptions. Duolingo is still the company I know the most about, mostly due to Thousands of words have been written about the clever owl and the wild founding story.
As I focus more on fintech these days, I was curious if edtech is still a huge problem or if the sector – like most during the downturn – is facing a reset. This week, I interviewed seven leading venture capitalists focused on educational technology in order to better understand how the sector is performing during an economic downturn.
Big takeaway? Edtech faces a real test with discipline. Investors explained that the entire startup ecosystem is slower this year; edtech is no different. If anything, in the words of USV’s Rebecca Kadden, “The boom in this category in the past two years has meant that most of our education-focused portfolio has been well funded.” [ … ] Tours will be opportunistic rather than out of need, and most focus on building their business over the next two years.”
As Kaden describes, it’s time to focus and fortunately education technology has the capital to do so. It makes me think a little bit about the advice my boyfriend often gives to our group of friends: We’re not special, and that’s a good thing. It is meant in the finest way, and the lesson is that feelings of change, stress, or anxiety are not as deep as we think when we first feel them. What we’re seeing is being shared by other people in their mid-20s, or, well, other sectors in the startup territory right now. All that matters is if you’ve invested in yourself long enough before the lights come on when the lights go out, you’re still there. Just calmer and maybe focus a little more behind the scenes.
Anyway, for the full survey, read my TechCrunch+ article: 7 investors discuss why edtech startups must go back to basics to survive. You can also check out my accompanying analysis, “Edtech isn’t that special anymore, and that’s a good thing.”
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll walk into one closed door of Haus, the SoftBank execution fund, and knock down an ad platform you don’t want to miss. As always, you can support me by forwarding this newsletter to a friend or Follow me on Twitter
Bring Haus down
I wrote about Haus, an appetizing company backed by VC For sale in view of the collapsed A series. Helena Price Humbrecht, CEO and co-founder, spoke to TechCrunch about what happened between the company and its potential lead investor, the reasons behind the collapsed deal and what’s next.
Here’s what’s important: I’ve never seen an entrepreneur so transparent about the challenges and unfortunate outcomes that occur within startups. This is an excerpt from my interview with her.
“It’s always a risk that liquidity is low. We’ve got there, which is unfortunate, but I know there are many companies in this position at the moment,” says Humbrecht. “I’ve been sharing my work online for over 20 years now. It’s definitely something in my DNA. If sharing this process is helpful to another founder in a difficult situation and considering their options, it will make all of this even more valuable.”
As for what’s next for the Silicon Valley branding veteran, there are no immediate plans to jump into a new startup.
“My goal now, is to be as helpful as possible to make this ABC process achieve the best possible outcome. After that, I’m going to take some time to process the last four years; it’s been so extraordinary, brutal and traumatic; I’m going to rest and process that.”
So when will SoftBank III’s execution fund go down?
This week at Equity, your favorite trio digs into the numbers and nuances behind the headlines. It meant SoftBank, Coinbase, and deals from ByteDance, Haus, and Axios.
Here’s why it’s important: Part of the conversation revolved around SoftBank’s take on losses, which was really the highlight of the show. Are we seeing a recovery arc forming for one of the biggest and busiest investors in the last few years? And what do you think Tiger Global? Lots of questions, and it’s always fun to get Mary Ann and Alex’s opinion.
Pitch Deck Teardown: Five Flute’s $1.2 Million Platform Before Seed
Haji Jean Camps is back from TC with another tearing of the catwalk, this time with a look The group that helped Five Flute raise $1.2 million from their pre-seed tour.
Here’s why it’s important: If you haven’t followed this series, you are – and I mean this gently – missing out. Pilgrim goes slide by slide, and in this case, he taught me a lot about why more matters in terms of surface length and why “block of words” is a huge mistake the founders make. Read the story here And the Put a need for the series if you dare.
If you missed our newsletter last week
Read it here: “Venture Investors for Founders: A Refusal for What?” We also have an accompanying podcast, which you can listen to here: “Founders, Whales, and Seas Changing Entrepreneurial Energy.”
Seen on TechCrunch
Viewed on TechCrunch +
Same time, same place, next week? talk soon,