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Since launching venture capital Backstage Capital in 2015, Arlan Hamilton has invested millions in more than 195 companies led by underrepresented founders, from an auto insurance duo to a team rethinking how we learn virtually. Despite the breadth of the business, Hamilton says he always gets two questions from his portfolio companies:
“Can you help us raise money? And, “Can you help us with the hiring?”
While Hamilton’s fund is a response to the former, his latest bet – built by Hamilton herself – is a startup that exploits the latter. Hall is a job marketplace that connects startups with operations people looking for part-time work. It seeks to combat some of the biggest tensions in building early-stage startups, like deciding when it’s time to hire your first head of talent or figuring out what to hire or what to build in-house when it comes to staffing. It is being released with an explicit focus on operations functions.
“There are so many places you can go if you want to learn to code or if you want to get a job on the more technical side of things,” says Hamilton. “But where do you go now if you want to be somebody’s right-hand man, the COO, etc. …it’s kind of an afterthought for most [companies].”
Conceptually, Runner is not the opposite. Upwork and Fiverr have built solid businesses at the top of the freelance economy. What is different about the startup, however, is who it targets – tech operations people – and how it employs them. Every “runner” or part-time professional who wants to get a new job is hired by the company under the W-2 rating. About 200 runners are on the platform today.
And Hamilton tells Ploonge that the approach attracted $1.5 million in pre-seed support weeks before Runner’s launch on the app store. For the whole story, including how a group of company investors is raising an interesting set of questions, read my story on Ploonge: Arlan Hamilton wants to redirect how startups hire.
For the rest of this newsletter, our hearts will flutter and then ride the wild wave of cryptocurrencies. We’ll also get into the latest SEC filings and notes from my calls over the past week. As always, you can support me by sharing this newsletter, following me on twitter or subscribing to my personal blog.
offer of the week
As a result of its latest funding event, Flutterwave is now the most valuable startup in Africa. The international payments platform has surpassed OPay and Chipper Cash with its savvy API approach.
See why it matters: Africa’s tech scene could see a lot of consolidation. As Tage Kene-Okafor reports, “Going forward, Flutterwave will look at acquisitions that will further cement its authority in the fintech space. And as the payments giant continues to deepen its influence in the SMB and consumer fintech space, we can speculate that smaller startups – including those it has supported such as CinetPay – could become takeover targets.”
Do you want your salary in cryptocurrencies?
In our latest Equity episode, we talked about the recent launch of Deel, which gives companies the option to run their payroll in cryptocurrencies. As reported by our own Mary Ann Azevedo: “Specifically, companies that hold their money in USDC can make a payment directly to Deel through their Coinbase account to cover payroll and payments for their global team. Once the company has paid the money on Deel, contractors can withdraw in over 150 currencies, including cryptocurrencies.”
See why it matters: This is yet another step in the mainstreaming – if that’s really a word – of cryptography. Also, India going back and forth in a matter of weeks is volatile for sure, but it’s also a sign that the asset is being taken seriously enough to have debate. Which is different from where it was just a few years ago.
When even a turbulent tide lifts all boats:
In the DMs
- Kapor Capital has secured a first close for its third fund at $97.5 million, targeting a total of $125 million, as reported by Ploonge last year.
- Edtech investors are telling their “tier 2 and tier 3” portfolio companies to consider delaying a next increase until they can improve metrics; suggesting that part of the buzz left the sector once highlighted.
- The Last Thing Every Tech CEO Is Having Nightmares.
- Hopin CMO resigned.
- No more of my ending this week, other than my article on the Hopin layoffs. I would love to work on a follow-up story, so if you are a current or former Hopin employee, or recently laid off at any tech company, please contact me via email. [email protected] or Signal, a secure encrypted messaging app, on 925 609 4188. You can also send me a direct message on Twitter @nmasc_.
throughout the week
Let’s go out in person! Coming soon! Techcrunch Early Stage 2022 is April 14, aka just around the corner, and it’s in San Francisco. Join us for a one-day Founders Gathering with Terri Burns from GV, Glen Evans from Greylock and Aydin Senkut from Felicis. The TC team is eager to get back in person, so don’t be surprised if the panels are a little spicier than usual.
Here’s the full schedule and get your launch tickets here.
Also, equity, the tech news podcast I co-host alongside Alex Wilhelm and Mary Ann Azevedo, goes live! Join us for a virtual live recording of our show this coming Thursday, February 24th – tickets are free, puns will come at the cost of our producers’ sanity. Our best capsule,
Found is also joining the live circuit, so listen to them non-stop to prepare.
InSeen on Ploonge
Meta Machados Global Community Development Chief After He Appears in Video in Underage Sexual Framing
AI acquires the power to manipulate fusion, but wait, it’s really good news
New York’s Thrive Capital closes its eighth fund with $3 billion
Still managing engineers remotely? Ok there’s a performance panel for that
When the founder becomes the story
Seen on Ploonge+
Have venture capitalists underestimated startups for decades?
How to find a job as a scout for a venture capital firm
Itai Damti, from Unit, explains how the company raises funds with culture and value
Dear Sophie: Should we pursue a K-1 visa or a marriage-based green card?
10 Fintech Investors Discuss What They’re Looking For And How To Present Them In Q1 2022
Until next time,