CMV: tech entrepreneurship is no longer hot and everyone has already done multiple copies of your idea

I'm contemplating starting a startup with a coworker and a friend and wanted to get some thoughts out:

  • I remember 5-10 years ago, you always heard about these no-name programmers coding in their garage some mediocre, common-sense product (delivery for pets, stamps, online pizza delivery). They then score serious funding with big exits.

  • Lately, you don't hear those stories at all. If anything, AI, IoT, ML, data analytics, self-driving cars all require high barriers to entry (PHD-level technical skill) to create something viable in a competitive marketplace. The barrier to entry seems to have risen above normal, everyday coders.

  • The tech startup landscape seems extremely, extremely saturated. Every time I have had a new idea, I simply go on the app store and then see 5-10 copies of my idea. To hammer the point in, I once had a ridiculous idea about a dating app that caters to rich, handsome, successful men. Turns out, there's literally an app already for that (eye roll).

  • Thus, if you require high technical skills and high business acumen (to technically enter the market and then compete sales with copycats), then this makes tech entrepreneurship the same as entrepreneurship in any other industry (starting your own law firm, your own bank, etc.)

  • From what I've been able to google, app entrepreneurship nowadays has more to do with earning modest side income rather than viably turning it into a company. This could mean the opportunity has significantly shrunken to most modest goals.

So can anyone CMV on this? Am I being unfairly pessimistic? Has the consumer app market been oversaturated that its no longer worth it to quit your job and make a go for it?

I just can't name a casual startup with an approachable tech that has been successful in the past 2-4 years.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

The 5 things everyone should know about cloud AI, according to a Sequoia Capital partner – Business Insider

The 5 things everyone should know about cloud AI, according to a Sequoia Capital partner  Business Insider
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Equity Monday: Everyone is going public so what’s wrong with your startup?

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here and myself here — and be sure to check out our last main ep, in which Natasha coins a slogan for a16z that I both hate, and became the headline of the show!

But enough of all of that, we have a lot to get through this morning. Here’s what we talked about:

  • The Weekend: Coinbase at $ 100 billion? More on that to come. Toast is going public! Probably! Wait Toast the company that laid off staff last year? Yep that Toast! It’s not toast! And new rules on online lending in China.
  • This Morning: Oscar Health put together an IPO price range that is interesting, and Apex Clearing is going public via a SPAC.
  • Funding Rounds: Gophr raises money! Ageras Group raises money! Promise raises money! It was hard to pick just three, but each of those rounds has something notable about it. Enjoy!
  • Deeper Dive/Riff: If the public markets will float even the most leaden of startup via a SPAC-balloon, any late-stage startup that doesn’t take the ride out of the private markets must either be perfect or too heavy to lift. And if it’s the second, we can write it off? Maybe?

And, finally, this is precisely what I feel like this Monday morning. Chat soon and stay safe!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST and Thursday afternoon as fast as we can get it out, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

Startups – TechCrunch

Mate Fertility is aiming to create a franchise of fertility clinics open to everyone

Mate Fertility, the new Los Angeles startup launching today with $ 2.8 million in financing, has a mission to create a more inclusive network of family planning services for people struggling with the high cost and low availability of fertility clinics around the country.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Oliver Bogner and his brother Gabriel, Mate was born from both brothers’ struggles with trying to start a family. For Oliver, that was when he and his partner were looking at IVF as a way to screen for the BRCA1 gene from her embryos after she found out that she was a carrier. Meanwhile, Gabriel, an IVF baby who is a member of the LGBTQ community, felt that the services for family planning weren’t always accepting of the gay community.

“IVF and surrogacy were the only options for me to have kids,” the younger Bogner said. “And the queer community has been locked out of these services. It became my mission to democratize healthcare for my community.”

Once Oliver started doing research into the market and discovered that there were only 460 fertility clinics in the U.S. and that over 80% were concentrated in five major metropolitan areas, he knew there was an opportunity for a new business.

Mate Fertility co-founders Gabriel and Oliver Bogner. Image Credit: Mate Fertility

The Bogner brothers enlisted famed reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, who trained under the British doctors that pioneered In Vitro Fertilization, to come on board and together the three men launched Mate Fertility.

The co-founders have enlisted an impressive array of financiers to back their business, boasting an investor base that includes Andy Dunn, the founder of Bonobos; Peter Pham, the co-founder of the LA-based consumer-focused company incubator, Science; Patrick Schwarzenegger; Brian Schwartz; the investors behind Roman, Allbirds and Caspar, Rosecliff Ventures; Pure Imagination Brands; Mana Ventures; and Maschmeyer Group Ventures.

Mate is launching first in Oklahoma City, where two legacy providers are charging anywhere from 10% to 15% above the national average for family planning services. “We’re going in at anywhere from 50% to 60% lower costs than they are,” said Oliver Bogner.

The company said it would offer egg freezing services for as low as $ 5,000 and IVF for $ 9,400*, while the national average for IVF cycle costs ranges from $ 15,000 to $ 18,000, including medication.

“We’re still making healthy margins that allow us to operate the business. It’s not a matter of these procedures costing more. These 460 clinics are allowed to radically mark up the process,” said the elder Bogner. “One of these clinics is making approximately 1,000% profit margin on every procedure.”

Given the fact that the company estimates roughly 18% of the U.S. population will face some fertility issue, the need for more clinics — setting aside the lower costs — would be enormous.

We need 3,000 clinics to properly serve our population; today we have 460. There’s a huge gap in care,” said Bogner. 

The company is working with the architects behind Dry Bar, Heitler Houstoun, to design its clinics in an effort to popularize and destigmatize the services.

“We were really intrigued by Oliver and Gabe. In terms of what the biggest risks are… you’re not playing around. You’re not creating software, you’re creating life,” said Adam Struck, the founder of Mate Fertility’s lead investment firm, Struck Capital. “The ultimate KPI which is success rate for our patients is top tier. There’s a lot that Mate is doing to ensure that some of the best medical personnel in the world are part of the Mate mission.” 

Mate Fertility offers modern EHR platforms, an e-pharmacy, proven protocols, payment assistance and digital patient and provider portals for services that include IVF, genetic screening, egg freezing, surrogacy and LGBTQ family building treatments, the company said.

Its first locations will be clinics in Oklahoma City, Anchorage, Alaska; Bakersfield, California; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Austin, Texas; and Portland, Oregon.

*An earlier version of this story cited the company’s IVF price as $ 8,000.

Startups – TechCrunch

As a start up how do you handle maintaining company culture when everyone is working remotely?

Hey everyone, would love to know what everyone thinks, here are some more in depth questions regarding the main question as well. Thanks for taking the time to read this if you do!


  1. How do you handle maintaining company culture when everyone is working remotely? What has been the most difficult aspect?

  2. Are there any tools you use to aid you in maintaining company culture remotely?

  3. How do you measure company culture to make sure its at your standard?

  4. Are there blogs, resources or social channels you follow/subscribe to that give you insights on improving company culture whether in general or remotely?

  5. How important is it for you that the company culture is maintained especially with people working remotely now?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

In 2021 everyone gets 15 minutes of wealth

Trades in the infamous Reddit-basket of stocks and trades are taking a pounding today, with GameStop down 52.7%, AMC Entertainment off 42.7%, the silver-squeeze flopping and more. CNBC has a longer list if you want to feast your eyes on the carnage.

What a surprise that the thing that was always going to happen, has happened.

While it was quite honestly entertaining as hell to watch WallStreetBets go from cult-classic to internet hero overnight, tempting scads of new traders (check out how much Public has been growing while Robinhood raced to the top of app store charts) to try and take on the professional investing world, this was always going to be the result. Always.

Why? Because the companies that Reddit’s legion of traders decided to pump were ultimately not selected for anything other than price plasticity. GameStop was picked because traders thought they could punish shorts, remember, not because it was going to bring a revolution to video game distribution. Like what Steam did precisely 8 billion years ago.

Let’s make our point by way of comparison.

Tesla shares are up 3.7% today, as are the broader American stock markets. Tesla is up not because it is fairly valued, per se, but at least it’s a company that’s growing, makes money and has a good argument for what the future should look like. It’s hard to kill an idea based on something durable.

Compare the Tesla situation to GameStop. There’s little relation.

The brick-and-mortar game sales company has lots more room to fall. So does the movie theater chain suffering from the pandemic. But the original trader is still comfortably up. DeepFuckingValue, the Reddit trading icon, was still up 2,800% yesterday. That’s probably lower today, if he didn’t sell.

What worries me is all these dorks are getting torched today, after promising to stay in the trade yesterday when DeepFuckingValue updated the world on his epic trade:

Those folks probably weren’t up 2,800%.

Most of the people who are going to take a bath on the Reddit trades are regular folks: my friends, your siblings. Whereas professional money is probably making money on the way up and down.

This is how these things go. Gravity is real, and no matter how many times you shout stonks in the mirror, crying, while clutching your smartphone, it’s hard to keep a bag of shit in the air forever.

In 2021 maybe we don’t get 15 minutes of fame. There are so many different social platforms the very idea of 15 minutes of fame is outmoded; there are more slots than ever for everyone to build an audience. Perhaps instead the thing that the common person really wants is their 15 minutes of wealth. That feeling of safety and security and having made it that modern society so reserves for the wealthy few.

Which the stock market gave to a bunch of folks last week. And is taking away this week.

Andy Warhol is generally credited with the 15 minutes of fame concept. Today, however, our own Ron Miller came up with the variation, and was kind enough to let me use it for this post.

Startups – TechCrunch

Brussels-based Soda raises €11.5 million to bring everyone closer to data

Belgian startup Soda announced today that it has raised €11.5 million in a Series A round to accelerate the development of its data monitoring platform, which streamlines how teams find data worth fixing. The round was led by leading European venture investor, Singular, with returning participation from seed investors Point Nine Capital, Hummingbird Ventures, DCF…

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Since Google knows what almost everyone is searching, aren’t they in the best position to know the best startup ideas?

If I wanted to do a startup and started googling answers, wouldn't they know about it? And if 1000 other people also had the same idea and typed to check for competitors, wouldn't that tell Google that the idea is worth looking into?

If that's the case, isn't every startup doomed to just be copied? It might actually not be possible anymore to be the next digital tech giant.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

10 reasons why working for a startup isn’t for everyone

The startup scene has been positioning itself as one of the sectors with the most employment opportunities. As job vacancies in young tech companies gain prominence on job portals, it’s important to look into this particular working culture and what it means to work for a startup. Ping pong tournaments, flexible schedules, and young environments…

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