scorecardA startup fever is sweeping Silicon Valley
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A startup fever is sweeping Silicon Valley

Alexei Oreskovic   

A startup fever is sweeping Silicon Valley
Tech4 min read
Samantha Lee/Insider

Hello, and welcome to this week's edition of the Insider Tech newsletter, where we break down the biggest news in tech, including:

I'm your host Alexei Oreskovic. Hit me up with your thoughts, tips, rants and raves at

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Soundtrack: This week's newsletter has been specially designed to be consumed while listening to Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd's "Samba Triste"

This week: Startup fever in Silicon Valley

Spring is here, arms are getting jabbed across the country, and in Silicon Valley the mood is feverish.

Every day brings news of big-ticket startup funding deals, eye-popping valuations, and fresh stock listings. It's not as if Silicon Valley was struggling to attract capital before. But with the tech business having proven surprisingly impervious to the pandemic, an emboldened industry now seems convinced that the re-opening will bring only more good times.

A bad case of FOMO has gripped investors, super-charging the pace and value of dealmaking.

  • As Becky Peterson reports: "When a startup raises a smaller round at a lower valuation, whether it's out of necessity or just a strategic choice, fast moving investors can interpret that decision as a sign of weakness."
  • MindPortal, a startup working on a brain computing interface, received reach-outs from more than 100 VCs and angel investors during the week of Y Combinator's Demo Day; six wanted to wire cash after 30 minute conversations.
  • Due diligence - the process by which VCs vet the companies they're considering investing in -is not always very diligent in this overheated of environment.

And SPACs are blooming. The proliferation of blank-check companies have opened up a new pathway for startups to reach the public markets.

And because the funding frenzy means such a big range in the quality of startups and investors, Insider has embarked on a big project to separate the wheat from the chaff. The result is the Seed 100, in which Insider's VC/startups team worked with Tribe Capital to analyze data on 1,000 seed-stage investors to identify the 100 VCs who have mastered the art of early stage investing.

Read the full story here:

The Seed 100: The best early-stage investors

From the curious file...

The Putin bundle: Russian smartphone users will now have the privilege of using software produced by their comrades. A new law stipulates that phones, TVs and laptops sold in the country must come pre-installed with a selection of Russian-made apps alongside foreign apps. Some locals have apparently taken to calling it the "law against Apple."

Elon's Space Junk: Stargazers in Seattle and Portland recently were entertained with what seemed like a surprise meteor shower. It turns out the bright lights streaking across the sky were debris falling off of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched earlier in March.

Hold the confetti: Stock trading app Robinhood has been criticized for the animated on-screen confetti explosions that occur after users make a trade, with critics saying it turns investing into a gambling-like game. Robinhood strenuously disagrees, but says it will indulge the critics by replacing the confetti with "new, dynamic visual experiences that cheer on customers through the milestones in their financial journeys.

Snapshot: Buckle up for Suborbital flight

Virgin Galactic unveiled a shiny new spacecraft on Tuesday. The VSS Imagine is the latest version of a spacecraft that will eventually carry tourists into suborbital space. Virgin Galactic said it will begin ground testing and glide flights this summer.

Hundreds of people have already paid Virgin Galactic between $200,000 and $250,000 for tickets to suborbital space, though the company recently pushed back the expected departure date for these trips to "early 2022." Virgin's first spacecraft, the VSS Enterprise, was destroyed in a fatal crash in 2014.

Recommended Readings:

Developers say that the firestorm over controversial developer Richard Stallman is a moment of reckoning for the open source industry

Amazon's new cloud CEO is in the perfect position to strengthen AWS's friendship with Salesforce, his former employer

Deliveroo goes 'from hero to zero' after tanking 30% at its London IPO as investors get tough on gig-worker rights

VC Keith Rabois has a new side hustle in Miami as a Barry's Bootcamp instructor

After gaining millions of followers for videos poking fun at Silicon Valley culture, this woman quit her tech job to be a comedian full-time

Not necessarily in tech:

Famed lawyer Tom Girardi and 'Housewives' star Erika Jayne flaunted their life of excess. Now, with accusations of a Ponzi scheme, they may lose it all.

Thanks for reading, and if you like this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.

- Alexei