Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced look at this week’s startup news and trends by Senior Reporter and co-host of Equity Natasha Mascarenhas. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.
We’ve been through a lot of tech history over the past two years, but the brutal layoffs on Twitter feel especially sad, complex, and exhausting for anyone following the industry. We knew it was coming, then we were told it wasn’t, then it sure was, then it happened. According to reports, half of Twitter’s 7,500 team will lose their jobs.
I don’t have a hot take, or a Musk-related joke about this moment. I just have empathy for the people who have lost or could lose their jobs after investing the time, energy and care in building Twitter. Twitter employees turn to the hashtag #LoveWhereYouWorked, a riff on the internal hashtag #LoveWhereYouWork, to thank each other, say goodbye and share the personal news. As one former employee put it, the new hashtag is a “bittersweet phrase — not because I’m gone, but because he’s gone.”
I’ve covered dozens and dozens of layoffs over the past year, all with a different shade of the same statement: “The macroeconomic environment has caused us to adjust expectations, impacting one percent of our workforce.” One thing that strikes me about the layoffs at Twitter is that the way they were executed was devoid of emotion and acknowledgment. Even Better.com, which carried out one of the worst layoffs of the year, fared better. See below:
On Thursday evening, all Twitter employees received an email stating that they would be notified of their employment status at 9 a.m. PDT on Friday. Each email had to be sent with the subject line “Your role at Twitter.” If an employee keeps their job, they would be notified through their corporate email – if they are fired, they would be notified at a personal address.
“To ensure the security of every employee, Twitter systems and customer data, our offices will be temporarily closed and all access to badges will be suspended,” the email read on Thursday. “If you are in the office or on your way to an office, please go home.”
The email was impersonally signed: ‘Twitter’.
londonbusinessblog.com put together a Twitter thread for former Tweeps looking for next jobs, which will continue to be updated. While I joked that some senior members might join Andreessen Horowitz next time, I’m genuinely curious how we see the alumni network going about their next job. Will it be in startups? Or doing business? Or will they seek refuge in roles that feel less risky than technical roles? Or maybe start a career completely outside the tech industry?
I can only imagine that this experience is nothing like whiplash; instead, it may feel like an unbearably warm spotlight that finally ends, only to find that you look around and don’t quite recognize the audience and stage you once put in charge of entertaining.
I’m as lost as the rest of us when it comes to predicting what’s next, but it’s clear that today is a turning point in engineering history. What Twitter and its alumni will think of the moment is another question. As someone who likes nerds about networking and how they start and stop people, my dms are open.
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about Gen Z revenue, fintech trends and Twitter again. As always you can follow me on Twitter for my thoughts every day of the week.
Gen Z VC
Meagan Loysta announced this week that she is leaving venture firm Lerer Hippeau to work full-time on a community she has been building for years: Generation Z VC. In a Twitter thread announcing the news, Loyst said she’s teaching a VC 101 course, starting a newsletter, working on content creation, and partnering with companies to demystify the Gen Z generation.
The news comes about a month after GV’s Terri Burns announced she would be leaving the company where she became the youngest and first black female person to earn the partner title. As Burns shared with londonbusinessblog.com in 2020, her investment thesis is simple: Gen Z.
Here’s why it’s important: While we don’t yet know what Burns will do next, her and Loyst’s departure from institutional companies during a volatile moment in technology is a good reminder of how cyclical companies can be. We recently recorded an Equity podcast about the work of a venture capitalist and how it expands and rewrites over time: Investors are either ghosting, silent stopping or rewriting their entire playbook.
Another section on layoffs
Stripe and Chime announced layoffs this week, in a back-to-back reminder that fintech is still experiencing volatility despite its ability to attract venture dollars.
- We also learned from sources that the stock trading service Public.com has let 13 people go, or about 7% of its team. Co-CEO Leif Abraham said in a statement to londonbusinessblog.com that “these decisions were made to ensure that we optimize our most strategic goals and develop our talent allocation accordingly.” While Public’s workforce reduction is on a smaller scale than Chime and Stripe, it’s telling that the workforce has scaled back in the same week it pushed for international expansion. Credit: Anita Ramaswamy and Mary Ann Azevedo for the push to confirm this news.
Here’s why it’s important: Companies don’t just cut staff when they have to. In a memo announcing the layoff, Stripe CEO Patrick Collision snapped that the company “signed a remarkable 75% more new customers in the third quarter of 2022 than in the third quarter of 2021” and that they recently set a record. for the total daily transaction volume processed on the platform. Brex, which cut 11% of its workforce last month, announced a new partnership this week. So it feels a little confusing that the same startups that are growing are the same startups that are cutting staff. All I can say for now is that the weeks leading up to the holidays could bring more austerity measures (and I’m sorry for cursing this).
Twitter’s OnlyFans moment
My brilliant colleague Amanda Silberling appeared this week in her column on Twitter’s OnlyFans capability. She reminds us that Twitter has a lot of work to do before it can help adult content creators monetize the platform safely and securely — but at the same time, it may be Musk’s best bet to try his $44 billion purchase. to do. feeling.
Here’s an excerpt:
Twitter is the only major social media site where users can post porn. So for online sex workers, Twitter has functioned as an advertising tool for their OnlyFans accounts in the past. But what if those creators could just make money on the platform and get around the friction of sending fans elsewhere?
“Sex sells” is a cliché for a reason, and OnlyFans’ financial records prove it. In 2021, the company made $433 million in pre-tax profits, up from $61 million in 2020. The company makes its money by cutting 20% on all payments to creators — since 2016, the company has paid out $8 billion to creators, of which $4 billion was paid out in 2021 alone.
The market for online sex work is large enough to offset the impact of advertisers.
Read the whole piece here and tell me what you think!
A few notes
- If you missed last week’s newsletter, it annoyed a few people enough, so come hang out: “Venture capital will soon be haunted.”
- londonbusinessblog.com is heading to Miami in a few weeks to hold, you guessed it, a crypto conference. Some of my absolute favorite people will be there, including our star crypto team, so be sure to hit me up and feel free to DM me for a sweet sweet discount code. Buy tickets and view our line-up here.
- I’m away for my friend’s wedding next week (pictures to come!) So Kyle Wiggers takes over the newsletter. Follow him early and be nice, okay?
Seen on londonbusinessblog.com
Over 70 VC Companies Join VCs for Repro Coalition to Support Reproductive Rights
Forget the metaverse: Meta should make a new Twitter
Google ends Google Hangouts once and for all
Rewind wants to renew how you remember, with millions of a16z
Most unicorns are not
Seen on londonbusinessblog.com+
I’m not really in the mood to fund your vanity project
How to attract investors who fund groundbreaking companies?
Investor advice during a recession: don’t panic
Unicorns have 5-1 odds as they wait for public markets to warm up
I have reviewed 1000+ pitch decks. These are the most common mistakes
If you like this newsletter, will you do me a quick favor? Forward it to a friend, share it on Twitter and follow my personal blog for more content. Chatting soon!