gm. Yes, today is 4/20. No we aren't going to make a joke about it. To put it bluntly, weed jokes just aren't funny and it's high time someone recognized that.
Looking at three funds that recently topped up their coffers.
The earliest accelerator gets the worm
Being early is the holy grail in the venture game, and a16z just set its alarm for 4 am. Yesterday, it officially announced its extremely early-stage accelerator program called a16z START. Its website reads “even if you don’t yet have a fully formed idea and haven’t yet quit your day job—we want to hear from you.” That's early.
a16z START will write checks of up to $1 million using capital pulled from a $400 million seed fund closed last year. Pretty standard. But where it gets less Y Combinator-y and more Shark Tank-y is the terms offered to each founder. Namely, there are no set terms.
- While YC locks you in at 7% for $250,000 (or, more recently, $500,000) across the board, START doesn’t offer the same blanket deal, instead negotiating with each founder given their respective needs.
On the application landing page, the fund lists six sectors—American dynamism, consumer, enterprise, fintech, games, and other—that it is looking for founders in. Notably absent from that group is “crypto,” which could represent a conscious attempt to diversify its earliest stage investing away from the sector it already has a chonky $2.2 billion fund devoted towards.
Are things awk with YC now?
Probably not. For years, a16z has used YC as a place to source deal flow, often jumping into the rounds of the hottest companies that come out of each batch. A16z’s new program could muddy that relationship a bit now that they are competing with each other for the same early stage founders. But lots of other firms, from Sequoia to Accel, have similar programs, so it's unlikely to affect the relationship.
Bottom line: The benefits of launching an early stage accelerator program for a16z are manifold and obvious: less competition, easier to diversify across sectors, more upside, less risk...you get the point. So the real question is, why the heck did it take them so long?
Since Elon launched his campaign to take Twitter private, other suitors have begin to emerge as possible buyers of the cursed bird app. To help make sense of the chaos, here’s a roundup of the biggest players elbowing their way into the fight for the platform:
Apollo Global Management, one of the biggest names in PE, is considering participating in a bid for Twitter by providing Elon or another interested party with the financing to pull it off. Apollo owns Yahoo, so rumors are swirling about how Twitter might be integrated with everyone’s grandparents’ favorite tech company.
Activist investor Elliott Management and PE firm Silver Lake are also standing at the ready should Elon’s bid fail. Elliot actually tried to take over Twitter back in 2020, but Silver Lake stepped in to broker a peace deal in an agreement that netted it a seat on Twitter’s board. Since Silver Lake has stood by Twitter’s management in the wake of 2020, the board could be eager to get a deal done with the friendly firm. Or Elliot could also try to leverage its stake in the company to finish what it started two years ago.
Elon Musk’s bid has been in limbo ever since Twitter’s poison pill, but it looks like he isn’t going anywhere. His tweet on Saturday that read “🎶 Love Me Tender 🎶” hints at a hostile bid to take over the company—a move that’s also referred to as a tender offer. This strategy wouldn’t overturn the poison pill, but it could pressure the board to back down if Elon’s bid is popular among shareholders.
Stat: Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in Q1, the first time in over ten years that the streamer finished a quarter with fewer subscribers than it began with. However, that number is a little misleading as Netflix’s decision to suspend its service in Russia led to an unexpected loss of 700,000 subs. It’s the next quarter guidance that truly spooked investors: the streamer said it expects to lose another 2 million paying subscribers in Q2. Gonna be tough to “romantic game show” its way outta numbers like that.
TLDR: It’s been awhile since an NFT project mooned quite like Moonbirds did this past week. With $290 million sold in four days and a 2.5 ETH floor, Kevin Rose’s brainchild might just have some staying power. (More here)
Rabbit hole: Why the past 10 years of American History have been uniquely stupid. (The Atlantic)
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON
- Uber and Lyft stopped requiring masks for both drivers and passengers in the US.
- Jason Momoa will star in the upcoming Minecraft movie. Wut.
- Spotify shuttered its Greenroom creator fund, though it’s unclear whether the fund ever actually went towards compensating creators.
- Delta Airlines confirmed that it’s been testing out SpaceX’s Starlink as a way to provide in-flight WiFi.
THREE LIES AND A HEADLINE
Can you spot the lone real headline among three fake ones?
- "NFL satisfies outraged fans with new overtime rule that both teams win"
- "Goldman Sachs raises daily dinner allowance by $5 after bankers complain"
- "Total time saver: Bumble will automatically delete your account if there’s no one out there for you"
- "Company referral program offers bonuses for recommending potential employees to fire"
NEWS FROM THE HOUSE
Ready, set, sprint
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- Write threads that go viral
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The best resources we came across that will help you become a better founder, builder, or investor.
📊 A cool visual from the NYT that shows the tech bubble has never really burst.
🤖 Learn how Open AI’s DALL-E 2 actually works.
💻 A great Hacker News thread on tracking and testing software requirements.
THREE HEADLINES ANSWER
The Goldman Sachs headline is actually real. Who said management doesn’t care about employees?