Month: May 2021

On 2021 startup valuations

This post is by Jason Calacanis from Jason Calacanis

Some folks in our angel investing club ( have asked me for my thoughts on the surge in early-stage valuations.

The market is scorching hot, with startups across all growth stages getting funded faster and at higher valuations. 

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The dollar amounts raised are often staggering, but so are the exits — which are driving this.

When there is a large number of meaningful exits — from Uber to Airbnb to Coinbase — investors get enthusiastic about investing in the next wave of unicorns.

This causes valuations to quickly double and triple, with investors reporting, “the valuation doesn’t matter if this becomes the next unicorn!”

Of course, it does matter since most companies go to zero, and you can invest in three startups at a $10m valuation for the same price you would pay for one at $30m. 

Three swings at bat dramatically increases your chances of hitting an outlier.

Now, if you could invest in Uber or Airbnb’s angel round, Series A, or Series B, you would certainly do it, but there is no way to know which startup is the next Uber or Airbnb (at least not with certainty). 

Our firm and investment club are adjusting to this moment to focus on four things:

  1. We are investing in high-quality startups at reasonable prices, as we have always done. 
  2. We are investing in select, very high-quality startups at these higher valuations. 
  3. We are helping existing portfolio companies raise (Read more...)

Visualizing the Snowball of Government Debt

This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist

Visualizing the Snowball of Government Debt in 2021

Visualizing the Snowball of Government Debt in 2021

As we approach the second half of 2021, many countries around the world are beginning to relax their COVID-19 restrictions.

And while this signals a return to normalcy for much of the global economy, there’s one subject that’s likely to remain controversial: government debt.

To see how each country is faring in the aftermath of an unprecedented global borrowing spree, this graphic from visualizes debt-to-GDP ratios using April 2021 data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ranking the Top 10 in Government Debt

Government debt is often analyzed through the debt-to-GDP metric because it contextualizes an otherwise massive number.

Take for example the U.S. national debt, which currently sits at over $27 trillion. In isolation this figure sounds daunting, but when expressed as a % of U.S. GDP, it works out to a more relatable 133%. This format also allows us to make a better comparison between countries, especially when their economies differ in size.

With that being said, here are the top 10 countries in terms of debt-to-GDP. For further context, we’ve included their 2019 and 2020 values as well.

Rank (2021)CountryDebt-to-GDP (2019)Debt-to-GDP (2020)Debt-to-GDP (April 2021)
#1?? Japan235%256%257%
#2?? Sudan200%262%212%
#3?? Greece185%213%210%
#4?? Eritrea189%185%176%
#5?? Suriname93%166%157%
#6?? Italy135%156%157%
#7?? Barbados127%149%143%
#8?? Maldives78%143%140%
#9?? Cape Verde125%139%138%
(Read more...)

Mallmann, Oh Man!

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

Francis Mallaman, sharing his signature fish baked in salt.

For over a decade, long before Netflix’s Chef Table made him even more popular, Argentinian chef, dandy and raconteur, Francis Mallmann had been on my bucket list of people to meet before I kick the mortal coil. It was not for any particular reason other than just meeting, chatting, and simply enjoying their magnificence.

Earlier this year, I got a chance to interview Nitin Sawhney, whose music has been the soundtrack to my life as an immigrant. And this memorial day weekend, I got to meet Mallmann in a private ceremony. There he was — in chef’s whites, trying hard to hide a colorful check shirt. Wearing Gucci slides, a Montblanc pen in his pocket, vintage sunglasses covering his mischievous eyes, and his blue linen hat, he looked youthful. I didn’t get to chat much, though we did share a moment about Paul Simon’s music and the divinity of fire. We discussed my newsboy hat. I might have remarked about the joys of writing with a fountain pen.

There was some talk about cooking in the pits (and tandoors,) but mostly, it was Mallmann doing what he does — cooking on an open fire and turning the simplest of foods into the theater, a spectacle, and an evening to remember. I don’t eat red meat or the sweet stuff, but I did enjoy the fish, warm after being taken out after baking in salt on an open fire. And I (Read more...)

Some Changes

This post is by Om Malik from On my Om

green and white typewriter on brown wooden table

A few weeks ago, I wandered and wondered among the redwoods, hoping that their magnificence and their silence would allow me space to think about some things that have been on my mind. One of these has been my newsletter — specifically, its ambiguous nature and what I should do about it. 

I have struggled with completing my writing on a preset schedule, shoehorning it into a preset format, and delivering it via email at a regular time. I have never been very good at thinking and writing with too many guardrails. Sometimes, words happen. Ideas form. And dots connect. And I start writing. But sometimes they don’t, and I don’t care to force it. 

I have often lamented that the “why” of blogging got overtaken by the “what” and the “how,” with the tools and format becoming the primary focus. Ironically I made the same mistake with my newsletter. I don’t work for a publication, so I don’t have a deadline. I no longer have anything to sell. In short, I write, because I am. My walk among the trees reminded me that writing is how I process my thoughts about the past and the future in the current moment. 

A newsletter is just a way to get some of that writing from those moments when the dots connect from my computer to your inbox in order to spare you the trouble of coming to my website, subscribe to my RSS feed, or checking out my Twitter account. And (Read more...)

June makes product analytics more accessible

Meet June, a new startup that wants to make it easier to create analytics dashboards and generate reports even if you’re not a product analytics expert. June is built on top of your Segment data. Like many no-code startups, it uses templates and a graphical interface so that non-technical profiles can start using it.

“What we do today is instant analytics and that’s why we’re building it on top of Segment,” co-founder and CEO Enzo Avigo told me. “It lets you access data much more quickly.”

Segment acts as the data collection and data repository for your analytics. After that, you can start playing with your data in June. Eventually, June plans to diversify its data sources.

“Our long-term vision is to become the Airtable of analytics,” Avigo said.

If you’re familiar with Airtable, June may look familiar. The company has built a template library to help you get started. For instance, June helps you track user retention, active users, your acquisition funnel, engagement, feature usage, etc.

Image Credits: June

Once you pick a template, you can start building a report by matching data sources with templates. June automatically generates charts, sorts your user base into cohorts and shows you important metrics. You can create goals so that you receive alerts in Slack whenever something good or bad is happening.

Advanced users can also use June so that everyone in the team is using the same tool. They can create custom SQL queries and build a template based (Read more...)

Maine 2021

This post is by Jo Tango from

It’s hard to explain how big, wild, and treacherous Maine fly-fishing can be. With slick boulders, fast water, and no cell coverage, it’s an area that demands physical and mental stamina. Some of my fellow writers at a fly-fishing blog and I rented a house on a river to take a shot at some large-and-wild

The post Maine 2021 appeared first on

Rachel’s First Manhattan Apartment

This post is by Howard Lindzon from Howard Lindzon

The markets are closed today so I will share ‘Momentum Monday’ tomorrow AM on the blog and this afternoon on the streams.


It is Memorial day weekend so New York City was quiet and as I mentioned yesterday, the weather was cold and rainy which kept the streets empty.

I shared yesterday that SOHO made me sad and New Yorkers were quick to point out I was wrong and how busy the streets and restaurants seem to them. I have no doubt that by the fall New York will be a bit closer to its pre COVID self, and nobody is rooting for it more than me, but the city is not remotely close today.

The streets seem dominated by CVS and Walgreens and ‘Space For Lease’.

With the rain and quiet streets, it was a perfect day to move Rachel into her first apartment.

My friend Jorge (a Manhattan real estate agent and a reader of my blog) hit me up on Twitter because he knew we were looking for Rachel. Jorge did a great job picking a place for Rachel without her physically seeing the apartment.

Obviously a lot of trust was in Jorge, but between text, Facetime (video) and a few phone calls, Rachel had her first NYC lease.

Yesterday we decided to move Rachel in as best we could for a holiday Sunday.

First we hit my favorite Sunday brunch spot in SOHO – 12 Chairs – which not only survived but thrived with the (Read more...)

Thoughts on the complexity of trade

 This is Joseph.

Matt Yglesias talks about the free speech implications of the U.S.-Chinese economic integration:

That being said, it seems really clear at this point that the original premise of U.S.-Chinese economic integration got one important point backward. Rather than trade and development allowing for some spread of American liberal norms into China, it is doing the reverse, and western multinationals’ commercial interests in China are inducing them to impose Chinese speech norms on the West. And we ought to try to do something about it

I think that this is an inevitable part of trade and integration -- if you create this type of tight connection then you end up dealing with the good and bad of your trading partner. 

But the part that I also think we need to consider is how the gains from this trade arrangement have been distributed in the United States. It is definitely true that both sides are better off after a trade deal. But the distribution of gains may vary. Not only did we create legitimacy for a totalitarian regime, but we shifted resources to groups like silicon valley (the same groups Matt Yglesias is worried are vulnerable to trade pressure) by allowing for inexpensive manufacturing. If we had taxed and invested these gains in the rust belt, then we'd probably have fewer billionaires and more social cohesion.

The short version of this thoughtlet is that trade is complicated and very simple mental models of how complicated transactions will work out (Read more...)