Apparently the last year has been an “annus horribilus” for startups. Kate Clarke writes in The Information.
If 2022 was a year of shock and denial for tech founders and investors as stocks collapsed, 2023 was a year of acceptance of their harsh new reality.Kate Clarke “Startups’ Annus Horribilis—and What Comes Next”
Maybe I never got over my skis, but I don’t feel like I went through shock or denial as capital markets tightened. I remember a world before interest rates were low. I remember bad times. I have memories of bankruptcies and struggles to raise capital.
I was a teenager watching my father when tech crashed the first time. I was living in San Francisco working for a venture backed company that had acquired my startup when Sequoia said RIP good times and the global financial crisis unfolded.
Maybe the elder millennial timing of my life wasn’t as shitty as we thought. The constant crises were the norm. Unlike Gen Xers I never had a fear of selling out. I was much more interested in finding a way to survive. And I was disappointed to learn that the institutions didn’t really offer that anymore.
When I had good luck I didn’t think my accomplishments were my own. I mostly thought of them as accidents of survival. Praying for exits was less of a joke and more of a bitter reality. And when they did come it was a surprise.
I have made my peace with the risk of resetting the chess board. My optimism has always been tempered by expectations of crisis and chaos. I might even believe it’s for the best.