TechCrunch+ roundup: AI + travel, fusion investor survey, why you’ll never get funding

Most founders won’t realize that they’re on the wrong track until it’s too late.

That’s because failure is something many entrepreneurs can only perceive in hindsight: the day-to-day work of building a startup requires a high degree of confidence — and for some, denial.

Quoting the movie “Grosse Pointe Blank,” perhaps this column by Haje Jan Kamps will be “a swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever.”

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In his experience, there are three reasons why some startups will never get a thumbs-up from a investor:

  • the market is too small;
  • the team is not good enough;
  • the plan doesn’t make sense.

These are all major problems, but here’s the good news: these are only existential issues for ego-driven founders. People who can accept they don’t have all the answers are able to pivot to success.

On the other hand, those who look in the mirror and see Captain America smiling back tend to make poor CEOs.

Have a fantastic weekend — go touch some grass.

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+

With $10T on the line, 6 fusion investors explain why they’re all in

Illustration of a nuclear fusion reactor

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

Until December 2022, no one had achieved fusion ignition, the point at which the reaction produces more energy than is required to produce it.

“There’s still a long way to go, but net-positive controlled fusion is no longer just theoretical,” writes Tim De Chant.

To get an investor’s perspective on this nascent technology with a multi-trillion-dollar TAM, he spoke to:

  • Katie Rae, CEO and managing partner, The Engine
  • Phil Larochelle, partner, Breakthrough Energy Ventures
  • Joshua Posamentier, managing partner, Congruent Ventures
  • Alice Brooks, principal, Khosla Ventures
  • Wal Van Lierop, founding partner, Chrysalix Venture Capital, and board member, General Fusion
  • Thai Nguyen, partner, MCJ Collective

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Upgrading AI-powered travel products to first class

Male and female robot with floating tires swimming in pool in front of city skyline, 3D rendering

Image Credits: Westend61 (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

When it comes to integrating AI with travel, “even a small lead matters right now,” according to Eric Crowley and Adam Segall of global investment bank GP Bullhound.

Today’s consumers can create their own itineraries, but it still requires guesswork:

Can I walk to the beach from my hotel with a surfboard? Which restaurants near this conference center have vegan options?

In this TC+ post, Crowley and Segall share advice for founders working on AI-powered travel products: “At this early stage, our firm and other investors in the space we work with don’t have an expectation of perfection.”

Why Europe and Israel’s unicorns are producing the next generation of tech founders

Tree colorful unicorn in a row on pink magic background wallpaper raster. Minimalist style place for text retro design

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

According to a report from global venture firm Accel, a “flywheel of inter-generational talent spawning from unicorns” is helping Europe and Israel maintain momentum even as deal flow and funding have slowed globally.

“Our data reveals that 221 of the region’s 353 VC-backed unicorns have fueled 1171 new tech-enabled startups through their alumni,” writes Harry Nelis, a partner with the London-based company.

Warming public markets are boosting the secondary market for startup shares

CVC, corporate venture capital,

Image Credits: skodonnell / Getty Images

Follow-on investment may be harder to obtain, but Alex Wilhelm reports that “the combination of seller pessimism and modest buyer optimism” is driving an “uptick in secondary market activity.”

Interpreting data from Caplight, Forge, Other Information and PitchBook, he concluded that the increase may signal a potential rise in startup valuations.

“It’s becoming clearer how much pain startups will need to endure to raise more capital, but it’s anybody’s guess if they’re willing to accept that fact.”

Ask Sophie: Do I need 2 visas to work at 2 different startups?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

I’m in the U.S. on an H-1B visa, but I want to leave my current job and pursue a couple of startup ideas: One with a few friends, and the other on my own.

Do I need to get two separate visas to work at both companies at the same time? Can I transfer my H-1B to one or both companies?

— Energetic Entrepreneur

There’s a growing desire in the UK for more Black specialty venture funds

Row of white pencils and one black pencil, lying on a white background

Row of white pencils and one black pencil, lying on a white background

Black founders based in the United Kingdom have an even harder time than their U.S.-based counterparts when it comes to accessing venture capital, reports Dominic-Madori Davis.

“Between 2009 and 2019 in the U.K., just 30 Black people received VC funding, equating to less than 0.4% of all funds allocated to founders.”

She interviewed multiple investors who are working to expand this community, including Karl Lokko, co-founder of venture firm Black Seed, which recently announced its £5M inaugural fund.

“The wheels are starting to turn, but we’ve got a long road ahead,” he said.

TechCrunch+ roundup: AI + travel, fusion investor survey, why you’ll never get funding by Walter Thompson originally published on TechCrunch


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