Losing the horn: VCs think majority of unicorns aren’t worth $1 billion anymore

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By Walter Thompson

Friday, January 20, 2023

Welcome to TechCrunch+ Friday

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Due to a phenomenon called semantic satiation, if you repeat a word or phrase too frequently, it can sometimes lose all meaning.

That’s what happened to “unicorn:” We wore it out like a pair of sneakers that leak in the rain but are too comfortable to part with.

In fact, most of the startups in CB Insights’ unicorn index are on the bubble and “are actually hovering right at the $1 billion mark,” reports Rebecca Szkutak.

“How many of these will stay unicorns through this calendar year?” Out of 35 investors she surveyed, “the vast majority felt the herd has likely already been winnowed,” she found.

“It's not just about whether they'll still command 'unicorn status,' but rather whether or not they will be fundable, at any value, period,” said Harley Miller, founder and managing partner at Left Lane Capital.

By all accounts, the IPO window is nailed shut. Any startups that hope to weather this downturn must raise additional funds.

I’m sure the hunt is already on for another mythical animal that best represents startup attainment in a down market, like 'ARRmadillo.' You can have that one for free.

My greater hope: investors and founders will use this era of austerity as an opportunity to create value, and not just wealth.

Thanks very much for reading,

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

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Teach yourself growth marketing: How to boot up an email marketing campaign

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Image Credits: Jasmin Merdan / Getty Images

In the third article of a five-part series, growth marketing expert Jonathan Martinez (formerly of Uber, Postmates and Chime) explains how to create and optimize email campaigns that will “push consumers through your funnel and drive conversions.”

Martinez shares fundamentals for segmenting customers and anticipating where leaks will occur along the funnel you’re developing. Startups that recapture these users can eke out higher ARR, and every little bit counts.

“It is crucial to distill user segments as much as possible because we must ensure that we're sending the right messaging to the right consumers.”

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Putting numbers on the global venture slowdown

Putting numbers on the global venture slowdown image

Image Credits: Nigel Sussman/TechCrunch

According to CB Insights’ State of Venture report, VC funding fell 35% in 2022. Although estimated deal count didn’t drop proportionately, “global venture funding was down by 19% quarter over quarter in Q4 2022,” reports Anna Heim.

“How long things will take to improve is anyone's guess, so we will be looking forward to more data as the year progresses,” she writes.

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Dear Sophie: What are some fast options for hiring someone on an expiring grace period?

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Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

I'm a co-founder of a very early-stage startup. My co-founder and I are considering bringing on a third co-founder, who was recently laid off. She is currently in the United States on an H-1B with a grace period that will expire soon.

What are the fastest, least risky immigration options that we should consider? What's going on with potential increases to USCIS filing fees?

— Careful Co-founder

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Pitch Deck Teardown: Scrintal's $1M seed deck

Pitch Deck Teardown: Scrintal's $1M seed deck image

Image Credits: Scrintal

Visual collaboration tool Scrintal says it has more than 40,000 people on its waitlist, but that didn’t stop its founders from raising €1 million.

Co-founders Ece Kural and Furkan Bayraktar shared their pitch deck with TC+ — click through to learn why their value proposition, vision and product plans connected with investors:

  • Cover slide
  • Problem slide part 1
  • Problem slide part 2
  • Solution slide part 1
  • Solution slide part 2
  • Value proposition slide
  • User testimonials slide
  • Traction slide
  • Revenue slide
  • Retention slide
  • User profile slide
  • Growth projection slide
  • Vision slide
  • The ask slide
  • Contact slide
  • Appendices cover slide
  • Appendix 1: Why now?
  • Appendix 2: Competitive landscape
  • Appendix 3: Product and growth model

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