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On Tuesday, AngelList Venture closed its first tranche of institutional funding since going under its own steam in 2020. The $100 million round was led by Tiger Global and Accomplice, valuing the company at $4.1 billion.
It was not necessarily expected. The round comes just weeks after the organization’s CEO, Avlok Kohli, told me the company needed no venture capital, a position AngelList, which was founded in 2010 and split into AngelList Venture and AngelList Talent in 2020 — each with their own own CEOs and boards of directors – has long been embraced.
Despite his business of helping other startups raise money, AngelList itself has largely resisted the siren call of venture capital and worked with what others might consider to be a shoestring budget. Indeed, prior to raising this massive new round, the larger company, pre-spinout, had raised $124 million in multiple rounds over the years – some previously unannounced.
It is likely that his views on venture finance stem in part from a previous experience with founder Naval Ravikant, who once felt so cheated by the sale of a previous company he co-founded, Epinions, that he sued his powerful venture capital financier, Benchmark.
But also, as Kohli explained in our recent chat, AngelList’s philosophy has long been that companies that raise too much money can stunt their growth because recruiting is central, slowing down other aspects of the business. “If your full focus is on shipping speed and shipping great products, a growing workforce is actually against that,” he said. So what changed and inspired AngelList to pursue Tiger’s endorsement? The hedge fund has planted seeds in the early market, which makes 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, a community beyond capitalism, and why SPACs are in the news again. As always you can support me by sharing this newsletter, follow me on twitter or subscribe to my personal blog.
Offer of the week
My heart goes out to Mara, a startup that is “reinventing” the grocery shopping experience for the poor in Latin America, raising $6 million this week. The startup offers supermarket items at wholesale prices and lets people order a basket through 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 hopes to make it cheaper and more convenient for low-income families. That’s why I was interested in the fact that the company avoids the growth mindset at all costs. Mary Ann reports that Mara takes an approach of focusing on one area at a time, making sure it is “gross margin even” there before moving on to another area.
Community beyond capitalism
No buzzword should ever go unchecked, so I decided to delve into the true impact of community — and how capitalism both complicates and changes its connotation within startups. After all, bringing people together to support a product and idea is not a new phenomenon.
Here’s why it’s important: After a lot of attention, we’re starting to see what community efforts are actually making an impact. This week, Lolita Taub launched her own venture capital firm, powered by and from the community she has amassed in startups over the past decade. Ganas Ventures, her pre-seed and seed stage company, is even raising the rest of her debut fund from Taub’s followers.
Followers are friends, not food:
SPAC is a four letter word (again)
On Equity Live this week we came to the conclusion that SPAC is another four letter word. The IPO route is no longer in vogue, with companies like Better.com and Kin shelving their plans (and Acorns raising a lot more capital after suspending interest in them).
Here’s why it matters: The IPO window is pretty much closed at this point. While I expect startups to stay private longer as a result, the market is softening in the late phase. oh oh. Late-stage companies that need more capital may not be able to access it if they don’t have solid business models in place. Expect the pivots to continue.
2022 feels different from 2020:
during the week
We will meet in person! Soon! Techcrunch Early Stage 2022 is April 14, aka around the corner, and it’s in San Francisco. Join us for a one day founding stop with GV’s Terri Burns, Greylock’s Glen Evans and Felicis’ Aydin Senkut. The TC team has gone out of their way to come back in person, so don’t be surprised if the panels are a little spicier than usual.
Here is the full agenda and buy your launch tickets here.
Also follow our latest producer for Equity: Maggie Stamets!
Seen on TechCrunch
Uganda in the spotlight as the country’s startups captivate YC, Google
Stripe gets friendly with crypto again
Touch ID forever, Face ID never
Better.com employees heard of layoffs when layoff checks appeared in payroll app
Fintechs call for relief from student loan borrowers
Seen on TechCrunch+
6 Technologists Discuss How No Code Tools Are Changing Software Development
How to calculate your startup’s TAM, SAM and SOM
A rough sketch of the teetering startup landscape heading into Q2
As war escalates in Europe, it’s ‘fencing’ for the cybersecurity industry
Until next time,
This post Tiger’s stamp of approval is coming for early phase – TechCrunch was original published at “https://techcrunch.com/2022/03/12/tiger-global-early-stage/”