When will the paper unicorns fold?

Hello, and welcome back to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines.

This is our Wednesday show, where we niche down to a single person, think about their work and unpack the rest. Today on the podcast we have Jeff Richards, an investor from GGV who has perspective on the last venture boom and the resulting dénouement of that particular saga that we've been covering since the end of 2021.

Richards has been an investor since 2008, so he's seen a business cycle or two, which convinced us that he'd be the perfect person to discuss the diverging fates of late-stage startups. While some late-stage tech companies rode the last boom to great heights and later struggled to correct their operations to the new market reality, others were nearly ahead of the changing market and are now well-positioned to survive the correction (some examples here, but the list is longer than that post outlines).

Put another way: The idea that all unicorns are in trouble is wrong; some late-stage startups got it right. That means some eventual IPOs, and for those that didn't, likely some liquidations as well. We also talked about the existence of unifying characteristics at late-stage startups that are doing well, and how to note early signals that the venture climate is about to molt.

Jeff is a good chat, and I hope you enjoy this episode, as I had a lot of fun recording it.

As always, Equity will be back on Friday with your weekly news roundup, but until then, you can catch us on Twitter @EquityPod.

For episode transcripts and more, head to Equity’s Simplecast website.

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