Zealy is an achievement system for web3 communities

Meet Zealy, a French startup that you may already know under the name Crew3. Zealy helps web3 (and web2) companies engage with their communities by giving them tasks that they can achieve in exchange for various rewards.

The company just changed its name to Zealy, which indicates a larger focus beyond web3 companies. Last year, the startup raised $3.5 million in a funding round led by Redalpine. Other investors included Connect Ventures, Aglaé Ventures, Kima Ventures, Purple, STATION F, Founders Future, Pareto Holdings and several business angels from The Sandbox, POAP, DFNS, Starton and Pianity.

“Zealy is an action layer on top of every application,” co-founder and CEO Mathis Grosjean told me. Companies use Zealy in combination with a Discord server, a subreddit or any kind of community home to create gamified tasks for the most enthusiastic community members. Tasks include creating user-generated content, boosting something on social networks or coding a web page.

They relay those tasks to their community so that they can complete them before, during or after a product launch for instance. Companies can use it for a new NFT drop, a physical event or a major product release.

The reason why a product like Zealy exists is that many companies are already implementing gamified tasks for their communities. But they use products like Google Forms and relay those tasks in a Discord channel. It’s a manual process, and Zealy wants to automate those use cases.

“We help companies onboard, educate, entertain and grow their communities without spending too much money, and in a scalable manner,” Grosjean said. Fredrika Lindh and Alexis Aftalion are the two other co-founders of the company.

But why would users want to complete those tasks? Zealy customers can grant rewards for certain tasks. For instance, users could get a special status on a Discord server, get digital assets, merch and more.

If these competitions work well, community members might want to complete as many tasks as possible to climb the leaderboards. Companies using Zealy can even leverage this data to identify the most engaged users in their communities.

Clients can create community sprints with a leaderboard that resets after a few weeks. In many ways, Zealy works a lot like video game achievements and online ladder ranking systems.

When it comes to bringing new users to the platform, Zealy clients mostly bring their own communities to the service. That’s why the startup already has quite a few users — its 700,000 monthly active users have completed 100 million tasks so far.

While Zealy originally focused on web3 projects, the startup realized that more traditional companies could use a community tool like Zealy to improve their community strategy. For instance, Renault and PMU have been using the service. Overall, 2,000 companies have tried the platform.

“In the current market, every company in the world will potentially try to become a community-led company,” Grosjean said. And the Zealy team hopes that their startup has a shot at becoming the operating system for community-led companies.

Zealy is an achievement system for web3 communities by Romain Dillet originally published on TechCrunch

Hampton is tech’s new membership community for chief executive officers

Sam Parr, founder of HubSpot-acquired newsletter and media brand The Hustle, doesn’t watch “Succession” because “it’s too real” (and because he prefers watching comedy compared to behemoth business billionaires fighting). But when he announced his new project, Hampton, an invite-only club for chief executive officers, the references started rolling.

It’s specifically one Succession quote that sticks, in which much beloved and eternally tortured character Kendall Roy describes his and his siblings’ new media venture as: “It’s like a private members club, but for everyone.” Jokes aside, Parr’s vision for Hampton isn’t too far from that tagline.

Hampton, built by Parr and media veteran Joe Speiser, wants to give high-growth executives a high-impact community to lean on, whether it’s through screen-sharing financials, or asking for advice because there’s only one month of runway left. And as SVB’s meltdown showed tech, a strong network can be a way of survival.

The company has been in the works for around nine months and has landed more than 300 members, including Morning Brew’s Austin Rief, CB Insights’ Anand Sanwal, Fresh Clean Tees’ Melissa Parvis and Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes. In order to join the community, Parr explains, members need to have succeeded in one of the following: built a company with $1 million in revenue, landed $3 million in funding or previously sold a business for at least $5 million. Then they are interviewed for culture fit and to confirm that they are building digital-first businesses. So far, half of the members are venture backed, half are bootstrapped.

Those who are accepted have to sign a confidentiality agreement. Then, they are welcomed to a custom platform that has a member director, where you can see profiles, request intros and see a map where other members are located. The portal also has a vetted vendor list and an event calendar. Hampton members additionally are put onto a Slack for daily chatting, which is used by 85% of members. Members are placed into an eight-person group that meets once a month with an “executive facilitator,” which Parr describes as business therapy.

Since leaving stealth yesterday, Hampton has landed over 3,000 new applications. “We’re not letting everyone in by the way, we’re very slowly and meticulously looking at who is a good fit,” Parr said. And for now, there’s only room for 400 more members before Hampton hits its cap.

The co-founder says he took notes from YPO, Young Presidents’ Organization, and Vistage, a global executive coaching organization, when building Hampton. “Those are awesome, but a lot of those people may be someone who owns a plumbing company, or someone who inherited like five apartment buildings in South Florida,” he said. “They need their people, but our people aren’t exactly that people,” adding “No inherited businesses — you have to have started it and you have to be fairly aggressive about growth and personal growth.”

If it sounds exclusive, it’s because it is (although Parr says that the name of the company is based on a street he lived near in Missouri, not the luxurious summer destination for the Upper East Side). Only 8% of applicants are accepted. Around 15% of members as of right now identify themselves as women, which is higher than some other community programs, but still shows a gap in diversity.

One of Hampton’s closest competitors, Chief, actually built a business valued at over $1 billion to solve that gap. Chief is a private membership club for women in leadership positions. It only accepts women who identify as a “C-level executive, accomplished VP or equivalent executive leadership role within your organization,” and have an “established career with 15+ years of experience.” And it recently expanded to the U.K. Like Hampton, Chief has a waitlist that is greater than its acceptees.

Parr thinks that Hampton is even more niche than Chief because instead of working with people across different leadership roles, it’s only working with chief executives and founders who have hit very specific growth milestones. Also unlike Chief, which has raised around $140 million in venture financing, Hampton isn’t raising a penny of outside capital.

Parr built one of the fastest growing email newsletters at The Hustle, before reportedly selling it for around $27 million. He and his co-founder have pledged to invest up to seven figures of their own capital in the business, and as a result, they don’t need to turn to investors for starter capital.

While he thinks Chief will work out, he expressed the stress that occurs when venture capital backs community startups. “Communities aren’t like a thing where you can just throw bodies at, you have to be very, very, very, very, careful,” Parr said. “I just didn’t want to have to grow like five times every year.”

After the boom of community-oriented businesses in 2021, and the resulting sputter of some, there’s fatigue in the market on if a membership will provide value. I have spent years covering the networks that people in tech take to land their first check, job, promotion or “yes.” I’ve also seen how most community-focused companies all leap at the chance to go bigger — whether its accelerators growing their check size or simply the number of programs for entrepreneurs to go through.

Around five months ago, I wrote that it feels like we’re at an inflection point for the community-focused startup: double down on what you know and focus on discipline though this downturn. If Hampton sticks to its early messaging, its incentives do seem different from other clubs (or Clubhouse, even) in that it’s not viewing success as scaling through people.

Parr is confident — they’ve only had to conduct two refunds for unhappy members — but he isn’t unaware of the market realities.

“I don’t want to ruin my reputation and worst of all, if someone gives us their money we have to provide 10 times the value,” Parr said. “I am scared of that. I think that it will work. But it literally keeps me up all night.”

Hampton is tech’s new membership community for chief executive officers by Natasha Mascarenhas originally published on TechCrunch

It’s not a DAO, it’s a Koop: 21-year-old founder raises $5M for NFT fan engagement

Natalia Murillo was an undergraduate at the University of Southern California when a professor taught her about the cryptographic technique of zero-knowledge proofs. She’s been immersed in web3 and blockchain tech ever since, dropping out of college and investing the ~$5,000 she had to her name in NFTs before starting a web3 company, Koop.

After two months in private beta, Koop, which 21-year-old CEO Murillo co-founded with CTO Conner Chyung, just launched to the public. At its core, Koop is a protocol that helps creators and communities launch NFT-based membership passes to raise funds for projects, Murillo told TechCrunch in an interview.

Koops, as they’re called, are owned by their members, who vote on how to spend the group’s treasury funds, Murillo said. Koops can be formed for anything from launching a venture fund to creating a new clothing brand, though its use cases seem to be mainly geared toward content creators looking to build communities of engaged fans.

The platform has seen $850 million in volume already from the treasuries of its 50 active communities buying and selling NFTs, according to Murillo, who noted that the company has a waitlist of 8,500 groups who want to form Koops. The company says sign-ups on its platform are growing 4x week-over-week. Current Koop users include include Mems NFT, The Heart Project, 1confirmation, musicians with creatorDAOs, and gaming guilds, it says.

The Koop founding team: Daniel Ho, Natalia Murillo, Ivy Tsang, and Conner Chyung

The Koop founding team: Daniel Ho, Natalia Murillo, Ivy Tsang, and Conner Chyung Image Credits: Koop

Koop also announced today that is coming out of stealth with $5 million in funding led by 1confirmation and web3 creator economy-focused Variant Fund, with participation from Palm Tree Crew, Day One Ventures, Ethereal Ventures, DeFi Alliance, Volt Capital,  PearVC, DCF God, 0xmons and angel investors including crypto influencer Cooper Turley, ex-Coinbase CTO and a16z investor Balaji Srinivasan and former Sequoia partner Liu Jiang.

Murillo describes a Koop as a “socioeconomic network,” contrasting it with traditional social networks. It’s similar in some ways to a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), a blockchain-based community governance structure that surged in popularity during last year’s crypto bull run. But Koops have some key differences from DAOs, Murillo said.

“The Koop is lighter-touch, it’s lighter-weight, and it’s focused more on the social experiences and less so on the nuances of, is every single member voting, or is it truly decentralized,” Murillo said. Creators using Koops, for example, can still choose to have single-handed control over their groups’ wallet and executing decisions, but might leverage the Koop community as a “temperature check” of sorts to help guide their decision-making.

DAOs also don’t have to be decentralized, but the ethos around them tends to be more focused on delegating voting rights equitably to each group member. Koops, in contrast, can be more centralized, tend to be smaller in size, and afford groups the option to organize around a short-term goal or cause and dissolve the Koop when it has been achieved, Murillo added.

“We participate in fictional worlds or digital communities with more fervence and passion than our local democracies, and so I felt like there was a big disconnect in terms of what communities were offering to the amount of time and investment I shared with them,” Murillo said of her motivations behind starting the company.

She shared the example of Youtuber and creator Logan Paul to explain the utility of a Koop. Murillo said she has been a subscriber to Paul’s “Impaulsive” podcasts for years, but she hadn’t felt engaged with the community around the product — “all I do is subscribe. I’m essentially paying taxes to comment and buy a piece of merch,” Murillo said.

A screenshot of Koop's community chat feature

A screenshot of Koop’s community chat feature Image Credits: Koop

Paul’s Koop, 99 Originals, affords community members rights they wouldn’t otherwise have as consumers of his content, she added.

“I get the ability to ask, should we make investments? If I have ideas, he’s backing them, the community is backing them. I’m an owner in the storytelling, the direction, the mission and any content that’s incubated out of it,” Murillo said of her membership in the 99 Originals Koop.
The NFT-based membership passes help each member feel unique, in contrast with a traditional social network, according to Murillo.
“Inside of Koop, you’re not replaceable. You’re actually a unique individual in the context of this larger ecosystem, and because you’re not only an investor but an owner, we actually bring your membership pass or your NFT to life by attaching your contributions, your work and your actions, all on-chain,” Murillo said.

Investment clubs are cool again, and maybe community is, too

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’s trying to get out of 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 hungover — allure of getting in at the ground level of a rocket-ship venture has created a new wave of efforts around group investing.

Individualism is out. Collectivism is in vogue.

The game (doesn’t) stop

The meme stock craze of 2021 highlighted a crucial trend — people want to invest with the conviction of a community behind them. It’s tough to assess exactly how many retail investors (aka regular people) started investing for the first time during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but one Schwab study estimates that 15% of investors who were participating in the market in 2021 got started for the first time in 2020.

Outperforming the market requires differentiated thinking, often a solitary pursuit. But humans are social creatures, and money and investing can be scary.

WhatsApp confirms some users have access to its new group discussions feature, WhatsApp Communities

WhatsApp Communities, the messaging app’s anticipated expansion aimed at supporting larger discussion groups, has now rolled out to additional users as it nears a public launch. The company declined to share specific details as to how many users or which countries were seeing the new feature as testing expands, but confirmed that more users have now been given early access.

First announced in April, WhatsApp Communities is a significant attempt to re-create the popularity of Facebook’s Groups within a messaging app environment. Created by the app’s end users, communities include features designed to add structure to larger group chats such as support for file sharing, 32-person group calls, emoji reactions, as well as admin tools and moderation controls, among other things.

In addition to capitalizing on WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption and users’ growing desire to network within private communities outside of larger social networks, WhatsApp Communities also present a challenge to other messaging apps that have grown in popularity, like Telegram. The feature could also appeal to clubs or organizations that today engage in group chats across private platforms and apps like Apple’s iMessage, GroupMe, Band, Remind and others.

What makes the feature appealing to larger groups is that not all the discussions take place in a single chat, which can get busy. Instead, only admins have the ability to share announcements to all Community members through the main announcement group, which can support thousands of users. Meanwhile, members can chat in smaller sub-groups that admins have created or approved.

Unlike Facebook Groups, WhatsApp Communities aren’t public or discoverable on the platform. Users have to be invited to a Community in order to join.

Image Credits: WhatsApp screenshot via WABetaInfo

According to reports by sites including Android Police and WABetaInfo, some WhatsApp beta testers were newly reporting they had gained the ability to create a community in the app. The reports noted that the ability to hide your phone number from other sub-group members wasn’t immediately supported — though it’s expected to be available when the feature publicly launches.

However, the reports claimed it was WhatsApp beta app users who were gaining access to this feature. This isn’t quite accurate, we understand. WhatsApp clarified to TechCrunch it’s the full feature that’s rolling out to a small number of users in a few countries at the moment.

The company declined to share which countries were among those with access but at least one report claims that Malaysia is among them.

The “D” in DAO doesn’t stand for democracy, says Upstream CEO Alexander Taub

Ever since a group of chronically-online crypto enthusiasts tried to buy a copy of the U.S. Constitution in a high-profile bidding war, DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) have been at the forefront of discussion in the web3 world. How are they different from companies, you ask? DAOs have been lauded for their ability to give everyone in a community a voice by involving them in decision-making and recording those decisions in a transparent, immutable manner on the blockchain. But the utopian vision some people have for DAOs seems far off from the reality today.

This week on Chain Reaction, the TechCrunch podcast about all things web3, we talked with Alexander Taub, CEO and co-founder of DAO tooling platform Upstream. Upstream started as an online community for professionals to connect with each other during the pandemic and pivoted to providing mechanisms to manage DAOs when the blockchain-based communities took off during crypto’s bull run in 2021.

You can listen to the full episode below:

While some see DAOs as a catch-all solution, Taub argues that there are a few use cases for the structure that make sense today while others aren’t as clear. Taub cited investment clubs, where people pool money to purchase a digital asset, and NFT projects looking to give back to their communities as some of the most intuitive use cases for DAOs.

“DAOs, blockchain — it’s programmable money. That’s really what it is. So you can program money to do what you want it to do. Not everything, not every community, requires money. If I want to share cute photos of my dog with other people who want to share cute photos with their dog, I don’t necessarily need any money there,” Taub said.

Taub attributed the DAO’s rise in popularity to the fact that many DAOs have enabled members to make money in new ways, a view that makes sense in light of his example of investment clubs. But as for democratizing decision-making, Taub said it is up to each individual DAO whether or not it will really operate that differently from a centralized corporate entity.

“I think a lot of people look at the word DAO, and they think the ‘D’ stands for democracy. And that’s just not [the case]. People aren’t sitting in a circle singing Kumbaya and being like, ‘oh, we’re all going to do this together.’ That can happen, and that does happen … But that’s just like saying there’s only one way to start a company or one way to launch a project or product,” Taub said.

DAOs, like companies, have unique shareholder voting structures, Taub said. Just because many DAOs strive to give their members an equal say doesn’t mean they are all effective in achieving that goal, particularly when many of them offer voting rights based on the number of tokens each member holds.

“If you want it to be a democracy, great. If you want it to be a dictatorship, people shouldn’t join your DAO if they are not okay with your dictatorship,” Taub said.

You can hear more of Taub’s interview by listening to our latest episode. Subscribe to Chain Reaction on AppleSpotify or your alternative podcast platform of choice to keep up with us every week.

Reddit is launching a new NFT avatar marketplace

Reddit is launching a new NFT-based avatar marketplace today that allows you to purchase blockchain-based profile pictures for a fixed rate. The company said that you need not have a crypto wallet to buy them, so your credit or debit card should be enough, and you can use Reddit’s own wallet product to store them.

The social network said it is releasing 90 different designs with the total amount of NFTs going for sale in this early-access phase being “tens of thousands.”

The company noted that if you purchase one of its limited-edition NFTs, you will have licensing rights to use it on and off Reddit as an avatar. These rights aren’t as extensive as owning an NFT from Yuga Labs’ Bored Ape Yacht Club collection, which allows you to make merchandise or TV Shows based on the bored ape you own. What’s more, you can mix and match your avatar’s look with merch available in the avatar builder, and the avatar will have a “glow-like effect” next to your comments in communities.

Image Credits: Reddit

This is not Reddit’s first rodeo with NFTs. Earlier this year, the company began testing a feature that would allow you to set any Ethereum-based NFT as your profile picture — weeks after Twitter released a similar function. Last year, Reddit released limited-edition NFTs based on its mascot Snoo called CryptoSnoos.

Reddit has partnered with Polygon, an Ethereum-compatible blockchain, to mint these avatars on-chain. You can use Reddit’s own blockchain wallet called Vault — which is available on the firm’s native app — to store and manage these NFTs. Currently, Vault is used to earn blockchain-based community points and spend them on special features like badges and animated emoji.

Today, NFT avatars will be available to members of the r/CollectibleAvatars invite-only subreddit for a first look. The community will have details about setting up a wallet, exclusive AMAs by artists, and behind-the-scene posts about the one-off profile pictures. Since there’s no auction, all NFTs have a fixed priced and can be bought through fiat currencies like U.S. dollars. Listing prices for these NFT avatars range are $9.99, $24.99, $49.99, $74.99, or $99.99. If you are not part of that community, the company noted that these collectible avatars will be available to buy on its avatar builder page for everyone in the coming weeks.

Image Credits: Reddit

The company has worked with artists — some from communities like r/Comics, r/ProCreate, and r/AdobeIllustrator — for the first collection. Reddit noted artists also receive royalties — with a 50/50 profile split with Reddit — from secondary sales of these NFTs on marketplaces like Opensea and Rarible.

Reddit says that while NFT profile pictures is an early-stage blockchain project, it wants to explore more features with the tech.

“In the future, we see blockchain as one way to bring more empowerment and independence to communities on RedditReddit has always been a model for what decentralization could look like online; our communities are self-built and run, and as part of our mission to better empower our communities, we are exploring tools to help them be even more self-sustaining and self-governed,” the company wrote in a statement.

Reddit has joined a long list of companies that are experimenting with NFTs. After launching NFT support on Instagram, Facebook recently ported some of those features to the blue app. After launching its own digital art collection in May, eBay acquired NFT marketplace KnownOrigin in June. In May, Spotify started testing a feature that allowed some artists to promote digital collectibles on their profiles, and link-in-bio startup Linktree rolled out new features for creators like unlockable links for specific NFT collection holders. Expect more of these tests in the near future.

Crypto’s emphasis on community could lead followers off a cliff

The idea of the “family” culture that so many businesses push for is seeping deeper into the crypto world as communities are formed on a sometimes toxic, cultish stance to unwaveringly back the projects they are invested in.

Don’t get me wrong, some parts of the crypto community are great — I’m a part of a few communities myself — but when it’s misused, it can lead to the blind leading the blind. Sometimes off a cliff.

Last month, Do Kwon, the founder of Terraform Labs (TFL) — the organization behind the now-dead algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD (UST) and cryptocurrency Terra (LUNA) — pushed for patience and support from his community of “LUNAtics” as the team rushed to create Terra 2.0.

Even when the Terra/LUNA situation was unfolding and imploding, the “LUNAtic” community surrounding the comatose project supported the cause, ignoring the risks other investors highlighted. Some LUNAtics are still supporting the relaunched LUNA 2.0, even after everything that happened to the original project.

Of course, that wasn’t the only time a crypto project pushed for the hands that supported their endeavors to prop them up once again.

Confirmation bias galore

Whenever you’re involved in a disruptive space, it can feel lonely when the mainstream world doesn’t understand or care about it, so people will often band together to support one another, Matt Hougan, chief investment officer at Bitwise Asset Management, told TechCrunch.

“There’s a tremendous amount of confirmation bias in this space,” Mike Alfred, a board member at Eaglebrook Advisors and Iris Energy, said. “That confirmation bias leads people to attack others who raise issues that would have saved them money, because they would rather continue to support the decisions they’ve already made rather than examine what people from outside [the community] say to be careful.”

While “community” is an open-ended concept that can be used to support a lot of things — from cryptocurrency to founders to a project — a significant amount of value is automatically placed on a project when it has a huge following.

Tiger’s stamp of approval is coming for the early stage

Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh human-first take on this week’s startup news and trends. To get this in your inbox early, subscribe here.

On Tuesday, AngelList Venture closed its first tranche of institutional funding since spinning out on its own in 2020. The $100 million round was led by Tiger Global and Accomplice, valuing the business at $4.1 billion.

It wasn’t necessarily expected. The round comes just weeks after the organization’s CEO, Avlok Kohli, told me that the company didn’t need venture money, a stance that AngelList, which was founded in 2010 and split into AngelList Venture and AngelList Talent in 2020 — each with their own CEOs and boards — has long embraced. 

Despite its business of helping other startups raise money, AngelList itself has largely resisted the siren call of venture capital and operated on what others might consider to be a shoestring budget. Indeed, prior to raising this massive new round, the larger company, pre-spin out, had raised $124 million across multiple rounds over the years — some previously unannounced. 

Likely, its views on venture funding stem in part from an earlier experience involving founder Naval Ravikant, who once felt so cheated by the sale of an earlier company he co-founded, Epinions, that he sued its powerful venture backer, Benchmark.

But also, as Kohli explained during our recent chat, AngelList’s philosophy has long been that companies that raise too much money can hamper their growth as hiring takes center stage, slowing down other aspects of the business. “If your entire focus is on shipping velocity and shipping great products, growing headcount is actually counter to that,” he said. So what changed, and inspired AngelList to pursue the Tiger stamp of approval? The hedge fund has been planting seeds in the early-stage market, making the investment all the more interesting. 

For my full take on this topic, check out my TechCrunch+ column, “AngelList Venture has a new look.” In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about an inclusive and disruptive LatAm startup, community beyond capitalism and why SPACs are in the news again. As always, you can support me by sharing this newsletter, following me on Twitter or subscribing to my personal blog.

Deal of the week

I want to give a shout-out to Mara, a startup out to “reinvent” the grocery shopping experience for the underserved in Latin America that raised $6 million this week. The startup offers supermarket items at a wholesale price, and lets folks order a basket via websites — instead of hard to access phone apps. It also has delivery points where customers can pick up and pay for their groceries.

Here’s why it’s important: Grocery delivery is a tough business, let alone one that is hoping to make it cheaper and more convenient for low-income families. That’s why I was interested in the fact that the company is avoiding the growth at all costs mindset. Mary Ann reports that Mara is adopting an approach where it focuses on one area at a time, making sure it is “gross margin break even” there before moving on to another area.

Honorable mentions:

Server-grade alternatives for CentOS 8

Image Credits: Jordan Lye (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Community beyond capitalism

No buzzword should ever go unchecked, which is why I decided to dig into the true impact of community — and how capitalism both complicates and changes its connotation within startups. Bringing people together to rally behind a product and idea isn’t a new phenomenon, after all.

Here’s why it’s important: After much attention, we’re starting to see which community efforts amount to actual impact. This week, Lolita Taub launched her own venture capital firm, powered by and from the community that she has aggregated over her past decade in startups. Ganas Ventures, her pre-seed and seed-stage firm, is even raising the rest of its debut fund from Taub’s followers.

Followers are friends, not food:

Image Credits: Lolita Taub

SPAC is a four-letter word (again)

On Equity Live this week, we came to the conclusion that SPAC is a four-letter word again. The route to going public is no longer in vogue, with companies such as Better.com and Kin tossing aside their plans (and Acorns raising lots more capital after pausing its interest in them).

Here’s why it’s important: The IPO window is pretty much closed at this point. While I’d expect to see startups staying private longer as a result, the late-stage market is softening. Uh oh. Late-stage companies that need more capital may not be able to access some if they don’t have rock-solid business models. Expect pivots to continue.

2022 feels different than 2020:

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

Across the week

We get to hang out in person! Soon! Techcrunch Early Stage 2022 is April 14, aka right around the corner, and it’s in San Francisco. Join us for a one-day founder summit featuring GV’s Terri Burns, Greylock’s Glen Evans and Felicis’ Aydin Senkut. The TC team has been fiending to get back in person, so don’t be surprised if panels are a little spicier than usual.

Here’s the full agenda, and grab your launch tickets here.

​​Also, follow our newest producer for Equity: Maggie Stamets!

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Until next time,