When it comes to startup board participation, VCs and CEOs must do their jobs

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By Walter Thompson

Friday, September 23, 2022

Welcome to TechCrunch+ Friday

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Image Credits: Richard Drury / Getty Images

“You had one job” might be funny when a birthday cake decoration goes wrong, but if we’re talking about executives who don’t show up for board meetings, the stakes are much higher.

“Disengaged or dysfunctional boards aren’t just bad for CEOs and LPs; they’re bad for everyone,” writes Matt Blumberg, co-founder and CEO of Bolster, a realization that spurred him to revise meeting formats to include follow-up surveys and additional outreach.

“That is a lot of moving pieces to manage, but I find that doing so keeps the meeting fresh and well-paced.”

Many entrepreneurs view board meetings as hurdles to avoid or overcome, which is unfortunate. Well-run sessions are legitimate opportunities to discuss challenges and ask for help when needed.

Example: no one wants to read slides in a board meeting, so distribute material well in advance and ask your attendees to submit questions via email. A board meeting should be a working session, not a monologue.

To promote engagement and diversity, Blumberg recommends adding one independent director for each investor board seat and reserving a single spot for a founder or team member.

“There’s no question that running an effective board, or serving as an effective director, takes serious time, energy and diligence,” he says. “But that’s no reason not to try.”

Thanks very much for reading,

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

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Today: Q&A with Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn

Today: Q&A with Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn image

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn

I’m hosting a Twitter Space today at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET with immigration attorney and TC+ columnist Sophie Alcorn.

If you’re trying to navigate the byzantine U.S. immigration process — or if you know someone who is — please join the conversation and bring your questions.

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8 investors discuss what’s ahead for reproductive health startups in a post-Roe world

8 investors discuss what’s ahead for reproductive health startups in a post-Roe world image

Image Credits: Alexander Ryabintsev / Getty Images

Dominic-Madori Davis surveyed eight investors about the role venture capital might play in this new era where Americans no longer have the legal right to obtain an abortion.

The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision affected more than health care and personal privacy: Will capital and talent flee U.S. states that restrict reproductive rights? Will investors back more startups that expand healthcare?

Given “the tenuous relationship between venture money and ethics,” Dominic-Madori asked the group how they plan to exert influence — and how they prefer to be approached by entrepreneurs:

  • Hessie Jones, partner, MATR Ventures
  • Lisa Calhoun, Gary Peat and William Leonard, Valor Ventures
  • Mecca Tartt, executive director, Startup Runway
  • Ed Zimmerman, founding partner, First Close Partners
  • Theodora Lau, founder, Unconventional Ventures
  • McKeever Conwell, founder, RareBreed Ventures

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Pitch Deck Teardown: Party Round’s $7M, er, party round deck

Pitch Deck Teardown: Party Round’s $7M, er, party round deck image

Image Credits: Party Round

In November 2021, Party Round, a startup that aims to help automate seed-stage fundraising, used its own platform to raise $7 million.

Its founders recently shared its unredacted 10-slide pitch deck with us so TC+ members can see what worked:

  • Cover
  • Slogan
  • Solution
  • Value proposition
  • Product
  • Competitive advantages
  • “Why now?”
  • Mission
  • Team
  • Closing

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Dear Sophie: My EB-2 priority date will be delayed 2 years! What should I do?

Dear Sophie: My EB-2 priority date will be delayed 2 years! What should I do? image

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

In her latest column, Sophie Alcorn answered questions about green cards in the EB-1A category for extraordinary ability and multinational managers, EB-2 NIW and with PERM, as well as EB-3 for professionals:

Dear Sophie,

I was so close! My priority date for my EB-2 application to register permanent residence was just nine days from the date listed in the September 2022 Visa Bulletin, but now the date in the October 2022 Visa Bulletin has gone back more than two years!

I’m a software engineer and wanted to get my green card before I change jobs, but now I’m reconsidering my path. The only thing holding me back is I’ve heard that employees will be fined if they leave their employer before they actually get the green card.

What’s your advice?

— Bumped by the Bulletin

Dear Sophie,

I’m currently on an L-1B, and my employer sponsored me for an EB-3 green card. I only have a year left on my L-1B, so my employer entered me in the H-1B lottery, and I was selected!
Will I still retain my EB-3 priority date if I switch to the H-1B?

— Engaged Employee

Dear Sophie,

I am an author and a motivational speaker, and am 60 years young. Can I apply for an EB-1A green card?

— Successful Speaker

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In Latin America, founders and investors seek to balance caution and optimism

In Latin America, founders and investors seek to balance caution and optimism image

Image Credits: Thomas Jackson / Getty Images

If valuations are your yardstick, Latin America’s startup ecosystem reached maturity a short while ago.

“Marking a long-awaited inflection point,” the region’s first unicorns appeared in the last five years, according to Julio Vasconcellos, managing partner at VC firm Atlantico.

In his third yearly TC+ report, Vasconcellos compares LatAm’s recent gains in sectors like telemedicine, grocery delivery and fintech to the U.S., where “market darlings of the pandemic period… have been forced to reduce headcount as usage levels revert to the pre-pandemic historical trend line.”

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What the CHIPS and Science Act means for the future of the semiconductor industry

What the CHIPS and Science Act means for the future of the semiconductor industry image

Image Credits: Anna Blazhuk / Getty Images

For more than two years, the global semiconductor supply chain has been stretched to its limits.

There’s no single cause: extreme weather, COVID-19, a protracted trade war between the U.S. and China, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are just a few contributing factors, not to mention soaring demand for cryptocurrency mining.

The U.S. only accounts for 12% of global semiconductor production, but the recent passage of The CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 will free up $52.7 billion in subsidies for domestic workforce development, R&D, and manufacturing.

“The CHIPS Act seems like a green light for domestic manufacturing,” says Simon Butler of Perforce Software.

“However, a presidential executive order published earlier in the year may be a stumbling block for semiconductor design shops eager to serve national security projects.”

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