Silicon Valley Investors Give Startups Survival Advice for Downturn

After years of funneling cash into startups’ grand ambitions, Silicon Valley’s investors are engaging in the grim ritual of delivering survival advice to their portfolio companies. From a report: In recent online slide presentations, blog posts and social-media threads, venture-capital doyens including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Craft Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Y Combinator are telling the founders that they need to take emergency action for what could be the sharpest turn in more than a decade. Their advice includes cutting costs, preserving cash and jettisoning hopes that hedge funds or other investors will swoop in with big checks.

“The boom times of the last decade are unambiguously over,” Lightspeed, which has backed companies including social network Snap and crypto exchange FTX, wrote in a dispatch for startup executives that was posted on Medium, a publishing platform, this month. The investors’ admonitions are a departure from the growth-above-all mantra for startups in recent years, and come as the venture market is showing signs of sputtering. Funding for global startups — at around $58 billion in commitments midway through the second quarter — is on pace to drop by about one-fifth in the period compared with the previous quarter, according to analytics firm CB Insights. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index is down about 25% from its all-time high in November, and SoftBank Group, which has poured more than $100 billion into investments, this month reported a $26.2 billion loss in the first quarter as valuations plummeted in its portfolio of tech companies.

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