May 9, 2020
Image: Roberto Júnior
Hello, and welcome to Protocol Pipeline! I'm Biz Carson, Protocol's venture capital and startup reporter, and this is my new weekly newsletter about that community. Thank you to everyone who signed up to get my first newsletter last week or tuned in to my Virtual Meetup on Thursday. If you were forwarded this email, be sure to sign up here.
Anyway, on with business. This week: The ultrawealthy's new obsession, is Blitzscaling over, and the important asterisk that comes with declaring the IPO market entirely dead.
When 2020 started out, it looked like another banner year for unicorn IPOs. Airbnb was supposed to finally take the leap, and DoorDash and Asana had already confidentially filed to go public. GitLab had even specifically targeted Nov. 18 (publishing the date being part of its culture of radical transparency.)
All those plans may have to be put on hold.
But his statement should come with an asterisk, as some investors think the window isn't shut to everyone.
Even if the IPO window is (debatably) closed, the window to start a company is wide open — and Lee expects to be busier than ever this year and into 2021.
For more on the kinds of problems VCs want solved by founders, catch our full conversation here.
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What was your first check?
Hired.Com. At that time it was called DeveloperAuction. My third, fourth and eighth checks were in HashiCorp, Instacart and DoorDash. I got so lucky when I started.
What's your pitching pet peeve?
There are so many. One is people who complain that raising a seed round is so hard. It's literally been the easiest thing ever in the last 10 years. Raising a fund is hard. The other is people who haven't done extraordinary in their life before and expect to raise money having not done something extraordinary.
What's one of the worst predictions you've made?
I tweeted [in 2014] the companies I thought would be unstoppable: Airbnb, Uber, Coinbase, AngelList. I still don't think they will be stopped, but I didn't think there would be a global pandemic.
What's one problem you wish an entrepreneur would solve?
Office, home and life paperwork.
What's something you learned about yourself in the last three months that you didn't know before?
I look better on Zoom than in person — I think?
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Correction: A previous version of this newsletter misspelled the name of Tyler Shultz. Corrected May 9, 2020.