TechCrunch+ roundup: The Kindbody TC-1, Glossier’s mistakes, calculating startup runway

Historically, people who have difficulty conceiving children have been stigmatized.

A 2020 UCLA study found that approximately 15% of couples will have trouble getting pregnant, but Kindbody, which has spun up a network of fertility clinics since its founding in 2018, has taken a holistic approach to the issue.

With a focus on education that addresses the fragmentation associated with infertility care, Kindbody is growing at a remarkable pace, but it’s also helping many patients feel seen and heard for the first time.

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Use discount code TCPLUSROUNDUP to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription

In a three-part series, reporter Rae Witte explores Kindbody’s origins, its business, and how it is changing the face of fertility treatments through interviews with its founding team, who have set out to transform and improve the experience of trying to have a child.

With 12 outlets in 10 U.S. cities and unicorn status, Kindbody is poised for growth, having raised more than $154 million.

“We believe very much in the consumerism of healthcare, and what that means is you have to build healthcare around the consumer,” says founder and chairwoman Gina Bartasi.

  • Part 1: How compassion and inclusivity are helping Kindbody change the fertility industry
  • Part 2: Why focusing on holistic care helped Kindbody triple its revenue in 2021
  • Part 3: Chipping away at the problems of reproductive healthcare, one patient at a time

Thanks for reading and have a good week!

Ram Iyer
Editor, TechCrunch+

Does your startup have enough runway? 5 factors to consider

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Image Credits: Jasmin Merdan (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Myriad factors, like fuel load, ambient temperature and sea level, determine how much runway a 747 requires to reach takeoff speed.

Startups are similar: If the landlord hikes your office rent, a very comfortable 18-month runway could easily shorten to a year. Would that still leave you enough time to get off the ground?

In her latest TC+ post, angel investor Marjorie Radlo-Zandi shares five factors early-stage founders should bear in mind when managing resources, including her simple burn-rate calculator.

“Having 12-18 months of runway between funding rounds gives you time to implement your plans,” she says. “It’s a careful balance of keeping burn rate at a minimum while investing in key areas.”

Mayfield’s Arvind Gupta discusses startup fundraising during a downturn

a rubber duck sits in a lonely puddle

Image Credits: diephosi (opens in a new window) / Getty Images (Image has been modified)

Arvind Gupta, an investor at Mayfield Fund and founder of accelerator IndieBio, reviews several hundred pitch decks each year.

“In 10 days, I can do the primary research and work with the founders to come to a conclusion there. For a larger Series A check. It could take a little bit longer than that, but not that much.”

In a TechCrunch+ Twitter Space last week with Senior Editor Walter Thompson, Gupta talked about how the downturn is affecting seed- and early-stage funding, what he’s looking for, and candid advice for first-time founders trying to raise during a correction.

“You can still finance hopes and dreams, but just with smaller dollars, and you’re generally going to give up a little bit more of your company in terms of dilution during an economic downturn,” said Gupta.

“I expect that to start happening as well in the next year.”

What Glossier got wrong

Technology startup valuations are robust, so it’s only natural that entrepreneurs and investors would want to position firms as a straight tech play, regardless of the underlying business they’re in.

Once public, however, the markets will value you according to the sector in which you actually operate, writes Evan J. Zimmerman, the founder and CEO of Drift.

“The fundamental disconnect is that software-enabled businesses don’t necessarily monetize the same way that software-based businesses do,” Zimmerman says.

And that, he says, is what beauty brand Glossier got wrong, which led to it laying off about 80 staffers, most of whom were from its engineering team.

“That is ultimately the problem that hit Glossier: it forgot what business it’s in.”

Unpacking SailPoint’s $6.9B sale to private equity firm Thoma Bravo

Enterprise security products maker SailPoint’s agreement to be acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo lent a sliver of hope to tech startups looking for positive signs in a down market.

But the fact that its valuation sits at roughly 15x ARR could be mixed news for startups looking for an exit, wrote Alex Wilhelm in The Exchange.

“Yes, it is a piece of good news for unicorns worth less than $10 billion because they can benchmark against a recent sale — one that could help them defend double-digit multiples of their ARR. But also no, because companies sell for a premium when they exit to private equity.”

Crypto is altering the investing landscape for even the most disciplined VCs

Image of abstract data visualization on purple background.

Image Credits: Andriy Onufriyenko (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

With more than $32 billion invested last year, and over $11.3 billion so far in 2022, fundraising at crypto startups is showing no signs of slowing, market downturn be damned.

But behind all the fervor, there is a fundamental difference in how investors write checks for startups in the space and what they get in return, reported Jacquelyn Melinek and Natasha Mascarenhas.

“In traditional equity investing, you want to have a Series A or seed-stage investor have 20% to 30% ownership of the company. But having 20% to 30% ownership of a token or of a network is very bad and frowned upon by the community. And web3 is all about the community,” Yida Gao, general partner at Shima Capital, said.

Boston Globe will consider people’s requests to have articles about them anonymized

The Boston Globe is starting a new program by which people who feel an article at the newspaper is harmful to their reputation can ask that it be updated or anonymized. It’s reminiscent of the E.U.’s “right to be forgotten,” though potentially less controversial, since it concerns only one editorial outlet and not a content-agnostic search engine.

The “Fresh Start” initiative isn’t for removing bad restaurant reviews or coverage of serious crimes, but rather for more commonplace crime desk reporting: a hundred words saying so-and-so was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, perhaps with a mugshot.

Such stories do serve a purpose, of course, in informing readers of crime in their area. But as the Globe’s editor, Brian McGrory points out:

It was never our intent to have a short and relatively inconsequential Globe story affect the futures of the ordinary people who might be the subjects. Our sense, given the criminal justice system, is that this has had a disproportionate impact on people of color. The idea behind the program is to start addressing it.

Evidence of bias in policing, which is turned into inherited bias in reporting, is a serious problem and one the country has been grappling with for decades. But it is exacerbated by the nature of the digital record.

An employer looking at an application has only to search for the name or a few other details to find any standout information, such as a crime sheet entry with a mugshot. And while outlets often cover low-level arrests, they rarely cover low-level acquittals or dropped charges. No one clicks on those, after all. So for many the result is incomplete and therefore potentially damaging information.

The attempt in Europe to fix this at the search engine level has been met with opposition and difficulty, since search engines are not in charge of the information they index and felt they should not be put in the position of deciding what should or shouldn’t be removed. Furthermore the task may be complex, as a single article may be replicated or referenced dozens or thousands of times, or backed up on a site like the Internet Archive. What then?

At the same time, it’s certainly less of a threat to free speech to ask a search engine to limit discoverability than to ask a publication to remove or change its content. The debate is ongoing.

The Globe’s approach is nowhere near as comprehensive as making Google “forget” a person’s record, but it is considerably simpler and less open to opposition. The paper exerts editorial control over itself, of course, and the question is not one of putting a piece of information down the memory hole, but revisiting whether it was newsworthy to begin with.

“It’s changing how we look at our coverage,” said managing editor for digital Jason Tuohey in the Globe announcement of its new endeavor. “If we change a story like this with the Fresh Start committee, why would we assign one like it next week?”

The newspaper has established a 10-person committee to examine petitions from people asking to have articles updated — never removed, it’s important to add. While an earlier effort like this at the Cleveland Plain Dealer required people to show a court record expungement order, there is no legal bar to meet here.

The team admits off the bat that this will be complicated. Automated or fraudulent requests will surely pour in, public figures will take a shot, there will be conflicting opinions on what evidence, if any, is required to confirm an event or identity, and so on. And at the end, all that will be accomplished is one article, perhaps even just one line, will be altered — long after it has been replicated across the web and archival infrastructure. But it’s a start.

One paper doing this may not have a large effect, but if the program is successful other outlets may take notice. And as Tuohey noted, the wisdom of publishing the information in the first place starts to look shaky when one learns how ramshackle the justice system really is. Perhaps it’s only fair that people have a shot at applying that newfound skepticism to events of years past.

Anyone who thinks they could benefit from Fresh Start can apply here.

Newlab and The Boston Globe team up to launch AI tools startup applied XLabs

Applied XLabs is a new startup building tools that can automate data-gathering for journalists — and eventually, for knowledge workers in other industries.

The company is emerging from Brooklyn-based Newlab, with The Boston Globe as its launch partner. It will be led by Francesco Marconi (pictured above), who was previously R&D chief at The Wall Street Journal and head of AI strategy at the Associated Press.

Marconi told me that there’s a tremendous amount of data out there that could be useful to journalists, whether that’s inside public company filings or academic climate change research. But data-driven journalism remains a sliver of the industry, because “only a handful of organizations have the internal resources to create these types of tools, these types of analyses.”

The plan is for Applied XLabs to develop products to help newsrooms, starting with The Globe, automatically pull data and generate insights.

Vinay Mehra, president of The Boston Globe, said the hope is to use AI to improve the information that Globe journalists provide to different communities.

For example, Mehra said that The Globe has been expanding its coverage in Rhode Island, partly in response to the disappearance of local newspapers and the resulting “news deserts.” When the team started talking to the community about what kind of coverage they wanted to see, they came up with a long list of ideas like restaurant openings and closings. (That’s something news startup Hoodline, co-founded by Extra Crunch Managing Editor Eric Eldon, has also tried to tackle with data and automation.)

But providing comprehensive coverage in these areas is tough with a small newsroom, Mehra said: “We can’t keep throwing journalists at this.” So the idea is to “mine that data” and make existing journalists more effective.

At the same time, he emphasized that he doesn’t see AI as a way to replace journalists or justify newsroom cuts, and he noted that The Globe continues to hire.

“We can’t sit back and ignore these technologies that are coming out every day,” Mehra said. “The opportunity here is to redefine what is possible with AI, to expand our own thinking and horizons around how we do journalism today and how we serve these communities.”

Marconi added that ultimately, these tools could also be sold to knowledge workers in a variety of industries.


“The same way that you have Salesforce for managing the sales process, we are building the platform for knowledge workers,” he said. “The reason why it’s so important to start with news and why we’re working with journalists [is] the threshold is really, really high. If you are able to build products and seeds of information that editors can use and sign off on, then you can quickly expand into other industries.”

Applied XLabs is also the first startup to emerge Newlab’s venture studio program. When we first visited Newlab back in 2016, it described itself as a workspace for companies in robotics, AI and other fields. Now it’s created a studio model where it aims to bring together “diverse stakeholders” to create new companies in frontier tech.

“There is a substantial investment from Newlab, and in addition to capital, Newlab is providing all of the back office services,” Marconi said. “I get the stability of an established company with the freedom, flexibility and creativity of a new venture.”

Dear Hollywood: Here are five female founders to showcase instead of Elizabeth Holmes

There’s a seemingly insatiable demand for Theranos content. John Carrerou’s best-selling book, Bad Blood has already inspired an HBO documentary, The Inventor, an ABC podcast called The Dropout, a prestige limited series starring SNL’s Kate McKinnon was just announced, and Jennifer Lawrence is reportedly going to star in the feature film version of this tawdry “true crime meets tech” tale. That’s before getting started on the various and sundry cover stories and think pieces about her fraud.

I think it’s fair to say the Theranos story has been sufficiently well-documented and I’m worried that this negative perception may be reinforced now that UBiome founder Jessica Richman has been placed on administrative leave. While it’s hard to pass on a chance to stoke startup schadenfreude, perhaps we could focus less on these rare, unrepresentative, and dispiriting examples? Instead, Hollywood could put the spotlight on women who pioneered the bleeding edge of tech and actually produced billion-dollar successes. Here are a few candidates ready for their close-ups:

Judith Faulkner, founder and chief executive officer, Epic Systems

Judith Faulkner – Founder/CEO, Epic Systems

In the late 1970s, the picture of a working woman in Wisconsin was likely Laverne or Shirley. Little did anyone know that in the basement of a Victorian manse in Madison, the future of healthcare was being coded by Judith Faulkner, the founder and CEO of what would become Epic Systems. Epic is arguably the most impactful startup in the history of health software, and Faulkner was building medical scheduling software before most people could even picture a PC. Her efforts established the Electronic Medical Records market as we know it and today, her company manages records for over 200 million people, employs nearly 10,000, and generates around $2.7B per year in revenue — not bad for a math graduate who never raised any venture capital.

One might argue that the origins of medical software are too tepid to make for exciting TV, but something tells me the kind of CEO who hires Disney alums to design her corporate campus and dresses up like a wizard to address her employees might make for a compelling subject.

SANTA BARBARA, CA – FEBRUARY 09: Lynda Weinman speaks onstage (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for SBIFF)

Lynda Weinman – Founder/CEO,

Lynda Weinman might have the most esoteric path to becoming a billion-dollar entrepreneur in history. After getting a humanities degree from Evergreen College, where she was classmates with Simpsons creator Matt Groenig, Lynda opened up a pair of punk rock fashion boutiques on LA’s Sunset Strip.

After those folded in the early 1980s, she taught herself enough computer graphics to become a freelance animator on movies like Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which in turn led to her becoming a teacher at the prestigious Art Center College of Design. Her academic pedigree provided the launching pad to write an influential textbook, that in turn gave her the star power to strike out on her own as one of the first web celebrities.

Keep in mind; this dramatic arc only covers the time before she started the eponymous, and bootstrapped it to a $1.5B exit in EdTech — an industry most VCs and entrepreneurs fear to tread. In terms of material for a memoir, Hannah Horvath has nothing on Lynda Weinman.


FRAMINGHAM, MA – MAY 30: Shira Goodman, former chief executive at Staples, poses for a portrait in Framingham, MA on May 30, 2017. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Shira Goodman – CEO,

Shira Goodman has arguably done more for online shopping in the US than anyone not named Bezos. She didn’t found Staples, but she did start and scale its “delivery business,” as she humbly calls it, to the point where it became the 4th largest ecommerce company in the US.

At a time when more nimble startups were disrupting big-box retailers, Shira did what few of her contemporaries could do — rapidly shifted a multi-billion dollar legacy company in an ancient industry into the future, and eventually became CEO of the entire enterprise. She did this while also raising three children and supporting her husband when he decided to change careers and go to Rabbinical school. Sitcoms have been premised on less, and since two versions of The Office have captivated audiences, perhaps it’s time to provide the perspective from the CEO of Dunder-Mifflin HQ?

Helen Greiner, co-founder, iRobot

Helen Greiner – Co-founder, iRobot

From C. A. Rotwang in Metropolis to Tony Stark in the Marvel movies, there have been plenty of cinematic explorations of robot builders, but the story of iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner might be more interesting than anything yet committed to celluloid. As a recent grad from MIT, Greiner spent a substantial chunk of the 1990s applying her mechanical genius to everything from a mechatronic dinosaur for Disney to a store cleaning robot with the potential for mass destruction for SC Johnson.

Far from an ivory tower academic, Grenier helped the government deploy search and rescue efforts at Ground Zero after 9/11, cave-clearing ‘bots in Afghanistan, and the bomb-disposing Packbot she developed has saved the lives of thousands of service members. Grenier, at age 38, took her company public and made the Jetson’s vision of a robot housekeeper a reality in the form of the Roomba.

CAMBRIDGE, MA – MARCH 15: Kelsey Wirth, who has a grassroots organization called Mothers Out Front: Mobilizing For A Livable Climate (Photo by Essdras M Suarez/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Kelsey Wirth – Co-founder, Align Technologies

While the original startup bros were inflating the tech bubble in the late 1990s, Kelsey Wirth was pioneering 3-D printing, which at the time was as fantastical as anything Theranos promised. Wirth’s story as the co-founder of Align Technology is especially compelling in the way it shares some surface similarities with Holmes’ narrative. Prominent skeptics of Invisalign cast doubts on the company in its early days, noting that the startup’s PR had outstripped its clinical validation. Wirth had to solve seemingly intractable technical challenges including scanning misaligned incisors, developing algorithms to overcome underbites, pioneering new manufacturing process, convincing the FDA to clear the product, and then selling it across the country — armed only with an English lit degree and an MBA. Despite the long odds of curing crossbites with software, Wirth started what has become a publicly-traded business that is currently worth over 20 billion dollars.

Most of these founders faced setbacks, including external obstacles and those of their own making. There were layoffs, bad deals, and few of these stories had perfectly happy endings. Still, while a contemporary startup can earn plaudits for simply repackaging CBD and pushing it on Facebook, these entrepreneurs demonstrated a level of ambition rarely seen among modern upstarts.

The sensational focus on Elizabeth Holmes’ misdeeds steal focus from a group of landmark female entrepreneurs and waste a tremendous opportunity to inspire the next generation with heroic tales instead of fables of fabrication. None of these accounts have the black and white morality of the Theranos debacle, but these founders cleared hurdles both scientific and social. They flipped the script and made history, surely Hollywood can find some drama in that.

Thanks to Parul Singh, Elizabeth Condon, and Alyssa Rosenzweig for reviewing drafts of this post.