TechCrunch+ Roundup: SBF's trial opens, Series A tips, how to roll out AI features

Follow-on financing has become harder to raise, which leaves startups striving for a Series A in a real bind.

Pre-downturn, startups with strong growth could be more confident about finding additional funds. Today’s investors are looking for product-market fit and hard numbers that trend toward profitability.

If you’re fundraising and someone wants to advise you on “storytelling,” you have my permission to skip that meeting and work on your data room instead.

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At TechCrunch Disrupt, Tim De Chant interviewed three VCs to get their advice for founders who want to reach the next level:

  • Maren Bannon, co-founder and managing partner, January Ventures
  • James Currier, general partner, NFX
  • Loren Straub, general partner, Bowery Capital

Thanks for reading; have a great week!

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+

Adapting to a world with higher interest rates — a guide for startups

Cracked one hundred dollar bill

Image Credits: Mike Kemp (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

I once found myself driving a hybrid vehicle with a low battery and an empty tank in a rural area. I made it to a gas station by driving about 5 miles per hour.

The CFOs and VPs of finance out there are nodding right now: They know that trying to coast as far as you can with limited resources is stressful.

TC+ guest columnist Mohit Agarwal says scaling startups need to consider every savings option at hand, like negotiating with vendors or buying short-dated Treasuries.

“Some boards will prohibit the buying of any form of securities, but most will be on board. After all, why not when there is a riskless 5%+ rate of return to be had.”

How our new AI feature earned 5% adoption in its first week

Popcorn exploding out of the striped package. Clipping path included.

Image Credits: ktsimage (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Rolling out a new AI-enabled product feature is great — as long as it creates real value for customers.

In a post for TC+ that deconstructs the product development and engineering process they used, Gigasheet co-founder and CTO Garth Griffin explains why his company’s second AI feature “achieved a 10x better return on engineering effort.”

​​SBF’s trial promises to be just as riveting as the rest of the FTX drama

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried Attends Hearing To Determine Bail Revocation

Image Credits: Michael M. Santiago (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Under Sam Bankman-Fried’s leadership, crypto company FTX reached a $32 billion valuation before it collapsed and dragged the industry down with it.

Today, the former CEO is on trial in NYC, where he’s charged with fraud and conspiracy. If found guilty, the 31-year-old could be sentenced to more than 100 years behind bars.

“Still, there’s a lot of speculation about what the case could look like,” writes Jacquelyn Melinek. “So to get to the meat of the matter, we spoke to a handful of legal experts on what to expect.”

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VC Office Hours: How data can help improve social impact investing

a door to symbolize VC Plus Office Hours

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

Dominic-Madori Davis interviewed senior director of investment for Pivotal Ventures Erin Harkless Moore to learn more about how the “part-venture fund, part-philanthropic organization” operates:

In a world where so many investors prioritize vibes, why focus on data and analytics for social impact investing?

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. We see the value in tracking the ownership percentages of diversity in our demographic data across the organizations. Looking at that data will let us know if we’re making progress.

Startups may have trouble finding their enterprise footing

Image of a blue piggybank wearing a belt atop a pile of coins.

Image Credits: s-c-s (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

According to a new survey from Battery Ventures, people who buy enterprise software aren’t pinching pennies as hard as they used to.

“Contract approval timelines are no longer stretching longer, and focus on cutting SaaS spend more generally is fading,” write Anna Heim and Alex Wilhelm in The Exchange.

“The kicker is that if you are selling AI-related software tools or tooling, you are probably having a better year than your friends who are building non-AI products.”

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