Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh take on this week’s startup news and trends. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.
Oper8r, built by Winter Mead and Welly Sculley, aims to help newbies to the VC world. The accelerator was launched last year as the Y Combinator for Emerging Fund Managers, designed to help solo capitalists and people setting up rolling funds grow up.
The idea was that a well-connected, intelligent person might be able to raise their first $ 10 million in a debut fund of connections, but when it comes down to it, head for a $ 50 or $ 200 million fund To scale, managers need a sophisticated understanding of how the LP world works.
Now, Mead claims that all 18 graduates of his first cohort, which includes Stellation Capital, Maple VC, Interlace Ventures, and Supply Change Capital, have successfully closed funds. The second cohort is still in the fundraising process, but over $ 500 million has been closed in both cohorts. Oper8r is launching its third cohort next week and will shortly announce the launch of Cr8r, an early stage program designed to help talented angel investors increase their investment frequency.
The expansion of Oper8r comes with the increasing rate of first-time venture capital raising. Yuliya Chernova of the Wall Street Journal wrote an article this week that the rate of first-time venture capital raising in the United States is “on the way to reversing” after years of decline. The story, based on analysis by consultancy Different Funds, says that “in the second quarter of this year, about 40% of the announcements of venture funds, including funds that are in the process of raising capital, were made by debut funds while they were representing it” between about 20% and 30% of fund announcements in each quarter over the past two years. “
This data screams that the rise of a solo GP or an ambitious rolling fund venture company is not an isolated incident, but an actual trend. This means venture firms have more pressure to go beyond a scout program when it comes to helping the next big investors – and there is more of a market for formal efforts to scale operations.
Mead, meanwhile, is working on adding Oper8r validation and signal. Many accelerators write checks to further validate their decisions, but also to take advantage of the access they get by helping aspiring entrepreneurs before high-level LPs and VCs notice them. He suggested that Oper8r could pursue a similar strategy as it seeks to be the go-to place for aspiring managers.
“I think capital speaks more than education programs,” he said. “When you invest money in the opportunities you get involved in, I think it sends a stronger signal than someone just going through the program.”
In the remainder of this newsletter, we discuss the Creator Economy’s newest dance, BNPL International Week, and why I’m putting Reid Hoffman on the hot seat. As always, you can find me on Twitter @nmasc_ and listen to my podcast Equity.
Edtech wants its creator economy moment, and it’s complicated
Edtech and the Creator Economy certainly differ in the problems they are trying to solve: Finding a VR solution to make online STEM courses more realistic is a different nutshell than all of a creator’s different monetization strategies on one platform bundle up. Nonetheless, the two sectors found common ground over the past year – as the rise of cohort-based class platforms shows.
Here’s what you should know: I’ve written about how the overlap between the two sectors creates some complications during the rise of cohort-based classes. Some fear that the transformation of creators into educators could bring with it an onslaught of unskilled teachers who have no understanding of real pedagogy, while others believe that the true democratization of education requires a change in the person who is considered a teacher .
This week on Equity, Mary Ann and I understood what felt like an international BNPL week: PayPal bought Japan’s Payy for $ 2.7 billion, Zip bought Africa’s Payflex, and Addi raised $ 75 million for the Prove the power of BNPL in Latin America.
Here’s what you should know: The global boom is partly a reaction to e-commerce trends, and partly to consumer demand for more flexibility in financing. The market is not a winner who goes along with everything. So expect more well-funded startups to shop in hypermarkets outside of their region.
Other news worth mentioning:
Reid Hoffman in the hot seat
For the past few days I’ve been reading Reid Hoffman’s Masters of Scale podcast, which became the new book. The whole time I felt like a well-connected mentor was giving me an encouraging talk, with name cases turned into generalist advice and a behind-the-scenes look at human choices.
Here’s what you should know: Although the book gave me the optimism I needed, I still had some criticisms. I felt that the book’s decision not to talk a lot about the ugly thing in startup country created some kind of imbalance. It would have benefited from talking directly about divisive dynamics, starting with the way WeWork’s Adam Neumann influenced the way we talk about visionary founders, Brian Armstrong’s Coinbase memo, and what it does for startup culture means or even the role of today’s tech press.
So I have an idea. Let’s balance the hilarity with the cynical, and do it live. I’m interviewing Hoffman this year at TechCrunch Disrupt, where I’m putting him in the hot seat and urging him to explain some of the choices he made in the book. Other people I look forward to seeing on the show include the CEO and Chief Content Officer of Peloton and Ryan Reynolds.
Buy your tickets for TechCrunch Disrupt via this link or use the promotional code “MASCARENHAS20” to receive a small discount from me.
All about TC
I’m honest, internally we only talk about one thing these days: disrupt, disrupt, disrupt. Here is the agenda for the Disrupt Stage, which includes three virtual days of non-stop conversation about disruptive innovations.
Over the week
Seen on TechCrunch
Seen at Extra Crunch
And that’s it! Didn’t feel like a short week at all, did it?
We talk about this later,