This week in technical acronyms: FRB and GPT

Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced look at this week’s startup news and trends by Senior Reporter and Equity co-host Natasha Mascarenhas. Subscribe to receive it in your inbox here.

It’s been a big week for technical acronyms. I woke up Monday to news that First Republic Bank has been shut down by regulators – and JP Morgan will buy $330 billion worth of assets. The news then turned into another question for startups: How does it feel to lose another banking partner in this environment in a matter of weeks?

As I learned along with my colleagues Mary Ann Azevedo and Christine Hall, entrepreneurs feel fatigue. It’s true: When First Republic Bank was in its final moments, Silicon Valley didn’t flinch or froth itself in a social media tizzy. Instead, there was a general malaise – and awareness of the chasm that lay ahead.

Read the rest of our piece on TC+: “As Another Startup Banking Partner Collapses, Tech Feels The Divide.”

As for the other acronym, you don’t have to look far to find a GPT angle these days. Alex Wilhelm and I wrote a piece about ChatGPT’s impact on edtech, inspired by Chegg’s admission that generative AI has indeed hurt new user growth. As our interviews tell us, OpenAI is clearly changing things for edtech entrepreneurs, and in general, by asking them to ask much more difficult questions, ironically.

Read our piece on TC+: “OpenAI’s ChatGPT is shaking up the edtech markets.”

With that, let’s get into the perfect pitch deck and the outsider advantage. follow me up Twitter, Blue sky or Instagram to continue the conversation. If you feel like supporting me extra, please subscribe my free Substack.

The perfect pitch deck

The inimitable Haje Jan Kamps has done 47 pitch decks in his Pitch Deck Teardown series. Now he asks: How can we do better? With the help of Trulytell (with assistance from their designer, Jake Muller), Kamps tried to improve a startup’s deck until it became the perfect pitch deck. The results are certainly interesting.

Here’s what you need to know: It’s hard. Take this snippet from the teardown, if that helps:

I’m sorry, but you have to feel your numbers. It is absolutely impossible for Supliful’s total addressable market to fall within 10% of the planet’s total healthcare spending. This slide feels so insane, ridiculously wrong, I wondered where this calculation came from.

Come for the window to perfection, stay for the reality checks.

Image Credits: Suppliful/

The external benefit that your investor may be interested in

On Equity, I spoke this week with Sam Chaudhary, CEO and co-founder of ClassDojo, and Chris Farmer, CEO of SignalFire, a venture firm that recently announced a $900 million fund to support tech startups. This interview is structured a little differently, as it’s actually recorded as a Live session, our weekly show that focuses on helping people start better enterprise-backed businesses.

Here’s what you need to know: The best part of the interview was about the outsider advantage in an industry like edtech and how to balance with insider awareness about the intricacies of the space. Listen if you want a snapshot of the thinking behind a slow monetization company on how it has provided investors with patience, vision and early mapping.

Cloud in a box

Image Credits: PM images (Opens in a new window) /Getty Images

etc. etc.

  • Programming note: If you’re reading this in a browser, get this in your inbox too! Subscribe here and share it with your friends.
  • Naturally: It’s already Disrupt season. As a reminder, there’s a ticket for every budget and role.
  • And finally I have a shameless plug: Bubbles make me! If you hear about a venture firm or startup that wins, raises, fails or, oh I don’t know, launches an executive because of internal events, tell me. I like to see early pitch decks and term sheets too. Happy to speaking of anonymity and explain more of my process and what I’m looking for. You can tell me things on Signal at +1 925 271 0912. No pitches, please.

Seen on

How Shopify messed up its latest layoffs and made employees feel like NPCs

RapidAPI workforce down 82% due to new layoffs less than two weeks after 50% of staff were laid off

Think of the monetized kids and other TC news

With DeepFloyd, generative AI art gets a text upgrade

Crypto, influencers targeted in Kenya’s new tax bid

Seen on

The ice-breaking IPO we’ve been waiting for may not come from the US after all

AI is just someone else’s computer

Ask Sophie: Can I enter the US if my passport expires in 5 months?

Take care of yourself,


Download your fix IRL. Join Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco this September to expose yourself to all things startup. From headline interviews to intimate roundtables and a jam-packed startup expo, there’s something for everyone at Disrupt. Save up to $800 when you buy your pass now through May 15, plus save 15% on top with promo code STARTUPS. Learn more.