When Your Startup’s Core Mission Must Be Canceled

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Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh look at this week’s startup news and trends. To receive this in your mailbox, subscribe here.

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Hey Jane, a digital health startup expanding access to abortion pills, makes sense. This is a direct-to-consumer pharmacy that is committed to meeting consumers where they are, which is especially important as the pandemic continues.

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Hey Jane’s core product requires significant red tape. Its flagship product, abortion pills, is banned or restricted in several states. Add the fact that Rowe vs. Wade should be cancelled, and the future of the world may collide with the startup’s mission to expand healthcare. Hey Jane heavily highlights the potential — and promise — of telemedicine startups. But he also operates at the heart of an overly politicized issue.

Earlier this month, I wrote about how Digital health startups are gearing up for the post-Roe world. Hey Jane co-founder Kiki Friedman then said opting out of mail-in abortion services “is now likely to be the most viable form of access for most of the country.” An obstacle, in her opinion, will be the lack of consumer awareness about medical abortion. Most abortions in the US are done with medication, except that she says a minority of people are aware of the nuances of medical abortion. “It is imperative that we continue to educate people about this safe, effective and common abortion option,” she wrote in a statement.

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But now I want to do a continuation of these reactions the next day. I plan to interview Friedman next week for the TechCrunch Equity podcast and ask her about how to build a company when our government may irreversibly challenge the mission; we’ll talk about the origin story and how they plan to develop in the future. I want her to tell me that the world is wrong about telemedicine’s ability to answer the biggest health questions right now, and where startups can fit into the solution in the future. Plus, they actually raise growth round? For answers, be sure to tune in to an episode of Equity wherever you get podcasts, and gosh, why not start now?

In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about another round of startup layoffs, why your MVP isn’t an MVP, and a fintech company betting that even your local credit card can take a little time on Netflix and Chill. As always, you can support me by forwarding this newsletter to a friend or follow me on twitter or My blog.

More layoffs in startupland

unfortunately more than last week. Tech workers have endured another tough week of layoffs and layoffs coming from startups like Section4, Latch and DataRobot. We have collected some of the known workforce cuts in one position.

Here’s why it’s important: The impact has been felt across all industries, from education to security, and from the start-up post-Series A to the business that recently moved to SPAC. To me, this is indicative of how massive this pullback really is, no matter what stage your company may be in. It’s not just wealthy tech unicorns who are laying off staff; these are also early-stage startups.

Laptop on fire

Image credits: personal images (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Your MVP is neither minimal nor viable nor a product

I was thinking about this headline from Haye Jan Kamps last week because it challenges one of those startup preconceived notions that everyone else happily embraces without much resistance. Aka, my favorite place (and my weakness). In this article, Kamps explains why MVP is “such a deeply misnomer” and what to focus on instead.

Here’s why it’s important: The new Kamps structure and the series of questions you should be asking your first product should make the complexities of MVP a little more accessible. And I’ll end it with a kicker:

“I don’t have a suggestion for a better name for an MVP, just don’t fall into the trap of thinking of it as a product, viable or necessarily small, simple or light. Some MVPs are difficult. The idea, however, is to spend as little of your precious resources as possible in order to get your questions answered.”

Image of a large hand controlling a small puppet

A large hand controls a small toy figure or puppet.

Queen Jay-Z A

For a deal of the week that may have passed your radar, I choose Altro! Founded by Michael Broughton and Ayush Jain, this fintech startup believes that access to credit should be free, so it has found an atypical way to help people get credit.

Here’s why it’s important: Altros, which this week grossed an $18 million Series A., helps people earn credit through regular forms of payment such as digital subscriptions to Netflix, Spotify and Hulu. It stands out as many banks targeting low-income, historically disenfranchised people want to bypass credit ratings entirely, while Altros wants to customize access to the installed system. I highly recommend reading Mary Ann’s story about the company’s origins, fundraising path and spotlight – and by subscribing to its newsletter, Interchange.

Keys on a dark patterned background

Image credits: Getty Images

In a week

Seen on TechCrunch

Seen on TechCrunch+

See you later,


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