Welcome to Startup Weekly, a fresh human-first presentation on this week’s startup news and trends. To get it delivered to your inbox, subscribe here.
I’m doing a brief newsletter this week because I want to spend most of my energy raising brave journalists to report on the grassroots about this scary time. As many have said – more eloquent than me The invasion of Ukraine is a story that affects all of us, whether we are there on the ground or not. And it’s hard to celebrate a funding round when it’s scary times.
My talented colleagues have put together a story about how the tech industry is responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; I urge you to read it. While the situation is still ongoing, it is clear that this is already a technical story. And startups like Grammarly, Ajax, People AI and Preply, backed by some of the world’s biggest VCs, are scrambling to support employees and operations amid the onslaught.
What I am hearing from sources is that startup founders are mainly giving financial aid to employees who are in Ukraine or neighboring countries. Cash is supposed to help them flee the country. WhatsApp groups are also being created among the founders to see what the best course of action is; Expect asylum or resource information centers far and wide.
Then, there are startups that can really break into the way consumers find or share information in the midst of a new war. One response of note came from Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, who said that the company had “removed all Cloudflare customer cryptographic content from servers in Ukraine” as a response to the new war. The move is an effort to protect customer data when its data center opened in Kiev in 2016 is compromised.
Michael Seibel, President of Y Combinator, asked a question On everyone’s mind: “Honest question, if US tech companies just worked together – what could they do to stop Putin’s invasion?” As you can tell from the responses, there is no right answer.
As my colleague Jack Whitaker said, our mission at TechCrunch has remained the same. “We are still a tech news pub with a focus on business, finance, and startups. We still do that day in and day out, and the invasion is going to affect a lot of things. So, as you would any other biggie. With the event, we adjust our tone and we best serve our audience by telling them what they need to know.”
Reminder: You can always take a break, close this tab, and give yourself grace. And, as always, you can support me by sharing this newsletter, following me on twitter Or subscribe to my personal blog.
deal of the week
Gloria Lin, the brains behind ApplePay, has a new startup: Sightline. Senior reporter Mary Ann Azevedo, who is launching a fintech newsletter, gave readers a first look at the company that wants to combine manufacturing with fintech.
Here’s why it’s important: The old-fashioned industry that is catching the fintech bug is anything but a new phenomenon, but it’s always a sign when someone with a successful track record raises the baton. The question is, can Lin bring his understanding of consumer fintech habits to an industry that no company has yet been able to crack?
Digitally generated image of split net/turbulence structure of an artificial intelligence brain on a purple surface.
image credit: Andrey Onufrienko (opens in a new window) / Getty Images
great feeling within great resignation
This week on Equity, Alex and I talked about the ripple effects of great resignations, with a particular focus on the employee. We talked about what startups are facing today in terms of the labor market, how it has changed and how they might be able to compete with the big dollars of Big Tech. After all, will any company be able to beat the meta on comp? Maybe not.
Here’s why it’s important: It appears that the forces driving more venture capital in early-stage companies are not far behind the causes of labor shortages. Everyone is looking for a return, either on his labour, or on his capital. And that means a tighter hiring market, and picky workers.
Bring on the Portable Advantages:
image credit: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch
We go out for a walk in person! Quick! TechCrunch Preliminary Stage 2022 is April 14th, aka right around the corner, and it’s in San Francisco. Join us for a one-day Founders Summit featuring GV’s Terry Burns, Greylock’s Glenn Evans and Felicis’ Aydin Sencutt. The TC team is struggling to come back in person, so don’t be surprised if the panels are a bit pricy than usual.
Here’s the full agenda, and get your launch tickets here.
Also, my dear colleague and first work best friend Chris Gates is turning to other opportunities. I had my eyes bloated all week because there’s nothing like the relationship between a co-host and a producer. Thanks for editing um and the likes, and for making me feel like I have something important to say. For those who want to follow Chris’s next step, follow him on twitter And stay tuned for an episode next week in which we walk through his journey (and celebrate a huge Equity milestone).
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until next time,