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The bets are no longer just on Wall Street — they’re in your group chats, book clubs, and that awkward shuffle that happens when everyone tries to get out the door at the same time at the end of class.
Community investment clubs are nothing new, but a renewed interest in decentralization and the glittering – albeit now hangover – allure of getting on the ground floor of a rocket venture has sparked a new wave of group investment efforts.
Individualism is out. Collectivism is in vogue. And this week brought a slew of examples to prove that exact point.
Let’s start with Stanford. Three years ago, a group of Stanford students began working with law firm Fenwick & West to find a legal structure that met their needs: no accreditation requirement or hard limit on the number of individuals involved. The effort eventually morphed into Stanford 2020, an investment club that raised $1.5 million for its debut fund. Fast-forward to today, that club’s leader, Steph Mui, is attempting to replicate that playbook in the form of an enterprise-backed startup. PIN, which stands for ‘power in numbers’, recently raised a $5.6 million seed funding round led by Initialized Capital, with investments from GSR, NEA, Industry and Canaan.
Mui cited the growing mindshare around crypto-native DAOs as part of the reason investment clubs are more interesting these days. “We started before DAOs got really cool,” Mui said. “When we started out, the kind of DAO-like structure we put in place around voting was more of a necessity from a regulatory standpoint… now it’s actually a huge bonus.”
Going from helping Stanford students invest in their peers to trying to help everyone in a community do the same is a big bet on the future of investment. As Mui pointed out, when Stanford 2020 first launched, some responded that it was an unsurprising move for a privileged group of people to participate in a privileged asset class. It made the startup almost non-existent.
“What changed that gap for me was talking to literally over 100 groups… and realizing that’s not the case at all,” she said. “Now that I’m a founder, I realize that all startups have very different needs… all those groups benefit from having all kinds of community clubs on their table because of the expertise they need.”
While the interest is certainly cemented, hurdles exist, both when it comes to getting diverse beta users (and getting startups wanting a club’s money in the first place).
For my full opinion — and to really knock this headline — read my latest londonbusinessblog.com+ piece, written alongside my work bestie Anita Ramaswamy, “Investment clubs are cool again, and maybe the community is too.” And to say thank you for being a Startups Weekly subscriber, here’s a little TC+ discount for you: Enter “STARTUPS” at checkout for 15% off your subscription.
In the rest of this newsletter we will be covering Sequoia’s latest wave of betting, a layoff update and as always you can support me by forwarding this newsletter to a friend or follow me on twitter. I appreciate you!
Despite the regional slowdown, Sequoia Capital India and Southeast Asia have announced the latest cohort of companies in their accelerator. The full list of companies is in the story, but know that the majority build for global markets, nearly half have a presence in the US and European markets, and unsurprisingly, one-click checkout.
Here’s why it’s important: The Surge program is becoming a force to be reckoned with, building a roster that may already have a useful stamp of approval for follow-up rounds. Alumni have raised more than $1.7 billion in follow-up funding and 60% of companies in the first cohorts were able to increase their Series A and beyond. Past participants include Doubtnut, Khatabook, Bijak, Juno and Apna Club.
The venture-backed are beaten
Enjoying the good news? Great, because we’re going to take a hard pivot and get into another layoff update.
- This week, Reali, a real estate tech startup, shut down after raising $100 million just a year ago, while other homebuyer-focused startups struggled.
- If it’s not inflation, it’s the supply chain, as TC’s Kyle Wiggers teaches us in his latest scoop. Fourkites, which helps manage freight shipments by road, rail, sea, air and parcel, has laid people off — and weeks later, it raised $30 million, according to SEC filings.
- I published a scoop on Friday about layoffs at Argyle, a fintech that aims to be the ‘Plaid for Employment Records’. The company has laid off 20 people, or 6.5% of its workforce, but it’s unclear how many contractors have been laid off, if any, and what the layoff details look like, if any.
- More layoffs are also coming at Better.com, which, according to Mary Ann Azevedo of TC, would be the mortgage lender’s fourth layoff in nine months.
Read it here: A return and an impeachment.” We’ve also included an accompanying podcast, if you prefer a newsletter to your ears: “The Black Girls Code development story offers a complicated look at many different things.”
- THE TECHCRUNCH DISRUPT 2022 IS OUT. Wait for it. See it? Yes, I’m excited too.
- Listen to londonbusinessblog.com’s other podcasts, including our crypto-focused show from Chain Reaction and the founder-focused show from Found. The londonbusinessblog.com Podcast continues to entertain me too, so watch all the good shows they put out.
- Remember that londonbusinessblog.com Live is on a brand new platform and we’ve made it easier to sign up for pitch practice. Investors (and my inbox) can attest to the importance of brevity, cleverness, and clarity in pitches, so it’s great to see. Startups can now sign up for Pitch Practice by . any day, any time fill in this form.
- Look for opportunities at TC Sessions: Crypto, in Miami this November. Yes, you heard right, we’re going to Miami.
- Finally, londonbusinessblog.com Live is coming to Minneapolis. Come hang out with the londonbusinessblog.com crew on September 7 as we interview the best and brightest in town. Minneapolis is one of the best cities in the Midwest to start a business – and soon you’ll find out why!
Seen on londonbusinessblog.com
DoorDash hit by data breach linked to Twilio hackers
Meet Amazon’s ex-satellite engineers looking to disrupt hardware workflow
$10 Billion Crypto Developer Platform Alchemy Acquires Encryption Bootcamp in First-Ever Acquisition
Carbon Direct limits $60 million round to coach companies on reducing emissions
Seen on londonbusinessblog.com+
3 views: Thoughts on Flow
Manchin’s ultimatum could turn the US into a battery powerhouse
Email stays with us until the universe dies, so these startups are working to make it better
Unicorn fundraising returns to a (very elevated) baseline
Okay, that’s all mine. Drink some water, take care of yourself and remember that the email can wait until Monday,