Is this the year we get our dream channel pad back? – Tech Crunch

Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh, human take on this week’s startup news and trends. To receive this in your inbox, subscribe here.

Of the many entrepreneur slogans, the one that annoys me the most is, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” The phrase may be meant to remind people with impostor syndrome of the importance of a simple cold email, but it often comes across as a renowned way of reminding people that exclusive networks rule the world.

Which is why I hope this is the year that a back channeling social media platform really takes off. At its best, back channeling can help someone without a Stanford stamp of approval vouch, and subsequently bet. The process can also help prevent predatory investors from winning trades. The impact of the process is clear, but the incentives for all parties to participate are slightly off. Some investors still scoff at the idea that their portfolio companies can be asked to review what it’s like to work with them; similarly, the founders are surprised when stories, not Cultureamp surveys, are where honest feedback really lives. Why? In a world where due diligence evolves to become somewhat flippant at first, the reverse channel simultaneously shifts from an in-depth conversation about strengths and weaknesses to a thumbs-up or thumbs-down affair.

Moreover, beyond the surface-level jokes, some of the most powerful people in tech today have their eggs in many, many baskets – which means those who want or could talk critically about they may be financially (or emotionally) limited by saying this. .

My argument? We finally get a reliable platform in which back channeling can happen in an accessible and fair way. An anonymous, private subreddit for founders already exists in so many different forms, but I’d like to see an app that expands access so anyone can review a value proposition.

For more, check out this TechCrunch+ column I did with my Equity co-hosts Alex Wilhelm and Mary Ann Azevedo: 3 views on how due diligence will change in 2022. We’ve also recorded a podcast if you prefer the newsletter for your ears instead.

In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about Wordle, future revenue as a business model, and why I think Y Combinator is reading my text messages. As always, you can follow my thoughts on Twitter @nmasc_.

A word about Wordle

The creator behind the app on everyone’s mind, not anyone’s app store, spoke to TechCrunch about the rise of Wordle. The game, in which users guess a five-letter word in six tries, grew from less than 1,000 players to 2 million players in a matter of weeks.

Here’s what you need to know: As Owen Williams explains, Wordle’s nostalgic feel isn’t enjoyed by everyone. The game is in progress punished by app stores for choosing open web. Here’s how he puts it in his latest column for TechCrunch:

Wordle faces a threat we haven’t seen yet: the game developer is essentially being punished by app stores for choosing to build using open web technologies, rather than a native app. Not only is this kind of behavior allowed by Apple’s App Store, but there’s little recourse, because as far as Apple is concerned, Wordle doesn’t exist, given that it wasn’t built in as a native application.

There is no way for a developer of a fully functional and capable web application like Wordle to claim their name in the App Store, or list their website to bring users to the right place and defend against copycats . Google actually allows developers to upload certain types of Progressive Web Apps to the Play Store, although at the time of writing Wardle does not appear to have chosen to do so. If he wanted to defend his game on the Play Store when a clone appears there, he would at least have the choice to do so.

Consumer love, a fickle thing:

Picture credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

And the startup of the week is…

Bow! SaaS-enabled fintech platform sneaked out this week with $150 million in debt funding and $11 million in seed funding with a Stripe partnership. As our own Mary Ann reports, “Arc is building what it describes as ‘a high-end ISV community’ that gives SaaS startups a way to borrow, save, and spend it all on a single technology platform.”

Here’s what you need to know: As we discussed in Equity this week, Arc is one of those startups — similar to Brex — that couldn’t have existed 20 or even 10 years ago. The company is entirely betting its own earnings on the supposed future earnings of other startups, which is a statement of the maturation of this once disjointed SaaS scene.

Honorable mentions:

Bar graph of Plastic Pipes Maximum Value on purple background directly above view.

Does Y Combinator read my texts?

Last week, I wrote a newsletter about how accelerators need a refresh on what they consider a “value-added service.” Then, a few days later, Y Combinator announced that he increases the size of his check and his participation, in its accelerator ventures. My argument then, and now, is that accelerators will have to offer more than ever in the past to stay competitive; and YC’s new check shows they want to get more aggressive in the same move.

Here’s what you need to know: Despite the somewhat expected change, it was controversial among seed-stage investors – who saw the move as more competitive than complementary to the broader startup ecosystem. In Equity we discussed both sides and why it may be more difficult for international founders to accept the new agreement.

The new, new:

Picture credits: Getty Images

About TechCrunch

If you’re like me, you discuss the future of finance at least twice a day. Even for the nerdiest of us, however, the decentralization of regulation, money, and culture is hard to keep up with – which makes our next event all the more exciting. On March 30, 2022, TechCrunch is hosting DeFi & The Future of Programmable Money alongside Sommelier Finance. It covers everything from basics to moonshots, so register for this virtual event soon.

All week long

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Until next time,

NOT