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Happy start to the NFL season to all those who celebrate! There’s something beautiful about knowing I’ve got plans for the next 23 Sundays in a row. (My wife might disagree.)
In today’s big story, a legendary event for early-stage startups has lost some of its juice, and that’s not a good thing.
What’s on deck:
But first, let’s do a quick demo.
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The big story
As you’re reading this, a startup founder is furiously preparing for the biggest pitch of their life.
At least, that’s how it used to be.
Y Combinator’s Demo Day, which will wrap up today, was long considered the event for early-stage startups.
Held twice a year, it was a grand, public unveiling of startups in the storied accelerator’s latest class and a chance to meet and cut deals with investors.
But the shine has come off YC’s Demo Day in recent years, as many of the top startups have already nabbed funding ahead of time from investors, writes Insider’s Madeline Renbarger.
Investors front-running Demo Day was previously considered a major faux pas. But all bets were off when the event went virtual amid the pandemic. Large funds starting to invest in young startups haven’t helped matters.
You might ask yourself: Who cares if startups line up investments before Demo Day? It’s just an arbitrary date. As long as they get funding, that’s all that matters.
But it’s not as simple as founders getting a check a few weeks early.
Pre-empting Demo Day could hurt startups not tied to Silicon Valley’s latest buzzword.
For all the innovation in the tech industry, it’s still a space plagued with groupthink. (Lest we forget Silicon Valley Bank.)
With that in mind, investors will likely gravitate toward meeting and investing with “buzzy” startups in trendy sectors ahead of Demo Days. That means less capital available on or after Demo Days for companies focusing on less glamorous areas that couldn’t attract early interest.
Those dynamics could have still played out had investors held off on cutting deals beforehand. But at least every startup would have a fighting chance to show their goods. Now, some investors are skipping Demo Day entirely, Madeline writes.
And companies that get investments before Demo Day might regret it in the long run. The mad rush from investors to get in early might lead a startup to an overvaluation, a story as old as time in Silicon Valley.
There’s also the risk of missing a key benefit of an accelerator — building and refining your startup — because you’re too busy negotiating a term sheet.
But I suppose that’s a good early lesson for young founders: Get the money first and worry about building something later.
Read the full story.
3 things in markets
- Owning a sports team is the new flex for the uber-wealthy. From Ryan Reynolds to LeBron James, rich people are getting into sports ownership. But they’re not alone. Private-equity firms have also tried to muscle their way into the space.
- The case for a September sell-off from a market vet. September has historically been a tough month for the stock market, and Ed Yardeni sees plenty of risks. He detailed seven causes for concern, including rising oil prices and China’s economy. Meanwhile, Jeremy Grantham had, you guessed it, a bearish market outlook in a recent interview.
- Brevan Howard loses a key executive. Peter Hornick, the head of business development at the $33 billion hedge fund, is leaving amid a wider corporate reorg. Hornick’s remit focused on luring top investment talent to the macro fund
3 things in tech
- Leaked doc: Microsoft’s new, secretive employee rating system. The new rating system for performance reviews determines pay — and managers were instructed to not share it with employees. Check out the full description for each rating.
- Google VP said “growth mindset” is the top trait she looks for while hiring. Sapna Chadha, the Google Asia Pacific vice president, revealed that she seeks out people “who want to exchange ideas, who want to innovate and are not happy with the status quo.”
- Leaked doc: Amazon’s six friendly “tenets” to woo Shopify into a partnership. The document sheds light on how Amazon goes around turning enemies into partners. It included phrases like “better together” and “delightful merchant and shopper experiences.”
3 things in business
- “My miserable, euphoric, muddy escape from Burning Man.” Heavy rains in the Nevada high deserts turned the weeklong event into a muddy quagmire. A first-time attendee came away from it with memories, mud on their face, and a question: At what point does the experience stop being worth the cost?
- The Yes In My Backyard — or YIMBY — movement. YIMBYism isn’t a new idea. But it’s gaining a lot of momentum. At the crux of this movement is the belief that building more homes is the key to improving access and ensuring an affordable cost of living.
- Tesla’s Cybertruck looks like it’ll be delayed yet again. The highly anticipated vehicle was supposed to come out this month after years of delays — truck sightings even became more frequent in the past few months. But Elon Musk is still making adjustments to the vehicle, and an official launch date hasn’t been set yet.
In other news
What’s happening today
- Touchdown! The NFL season kicks off today. The Kansas City Chiefs — who won the 2023 Super Bowl — play at home against the Detroit Lions.
- Peloton’s annual music festival All for One starts today. The virtual three-day music festival features workouts and activities based on music artists. This year’s artists include Katy Perry, Hozier, and Pusha T.
- The 48th Toronto International Film Festival begins today. It’ll open with Hayao Miyazaki’s first film in 10 years “The Boy and the Heron.”
- Earnings today: DocuSign, Zumiez, and other companies.
For your bookmarks
Longevity scientist reveals four things you can do to live a longer, healthier life. Dr. Heidi Tissenbaum’s recommendations included eating less added sugar
The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York.