Dealing with shame after a failed venture; Breaking through the ceiling in product-led growth & How good managers talk about their teams

Where women in tech lead, shape and fund the future.

Hi, thank you for opening. I’m Sarah and this is the 179th edition of Femstreet, a weekly newsletter featuring must-read content by female CEOs, operators and investors. If you enjoy the content, please like it above and share it with friends.

This week, we held a Substack Q&A session on Product-led Growth with Sandhya Hegde, Partner at Unusual Ventures. Read her responses to our community’s questions and advice on topics such as: ‘hair-on-fire’ problems, building products that are easy to learn (vs easy to use), and investing in success before sales 👉 Read the takeaways.


The machine learning focused Seed fund Basis Set Ventures announced a new fund of $165m. BSV also stands our with its Persistence platform, which is designed to help women developers and founders network and nurture connections and foster ideas. What you want to know about The Honest Co.’s IPO. Darktrace shares soar 40% on £1.7B IPO debut - Congrats to Poppy Gustafsson. The latest All Raise report finds 2020 was a record year for VC funding, but not for capital to female founders. Kinsey Grant, formerly Morning Brew, launched Thinking is Cool to make you think harder about things that matter. Soona Amhaz's Volt Capital announces a $10M debut venture fund to invest in cryptocurrency companies. A CEO's turnaround playbook. A software engineer's guide to seniority. Why Basecamp's culture memo is so controversial. Quala raised $4M Seed from Underscore VC to make customer success better and faster - Congrats Sonciary Honnoll. How to become a product manager. Can a Google Sheet make tens of thousands of dollars?

This week’s newsletter is sponsored by…

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What founders, operators, and investors are talking about…

How to make a collaborative spreadsheet of investors

If you want to run a fundraising process well, you need to plan on meeting lots of investors. It's good to have a collaborative sheet so that many people can help you. Don’t just ask someone “Can you intro me to investors?" without any context on who you've already reached out to or need help with. Elizabeth Yin of Hustle Fund has a template and framework for you …Read more.

How to break through the ceiling in product-led growth

Product-led growth companies hit a ceiling if they don't design for buying as part of the user journey, and apply systems thinking to the problem. Companies can achieve greater success if they understand the limits of organic end-user self-service as an initial lead generation and community goodwill strategy, rather than a silver bullet. Sarah Guo of Greylock on how product-led companies can break through this ceiling, and drive scalable growth…Read more.

Talking Chinese cloud

Relative to the US, where most firms have digitalized, and cloud adoption is the logical next step. Chinese companies start with low levels of digitalization, cloud adoption often has to start at the foundations. China has a different industry mix than the US, which can lead to a divergence in the general structure of cloud adoption and tech stack configuration. Lillian Li on digitalization, cloud adoption and automation in Chinese tech…Read more.

Don’t let the shame of failure hold you back from doing what you love

“My startup failed six years ago. I’ve been hiding from my shame ever since”, says Lauren Kay who went through YC with her company in 2014. The spark didn’t last long for her. We mostly just talk about the success stories in shiny press releases but very little about how founders feel when companies fail…Read more.

“The horror that kids want to be influencers instead of astronauts seems misplaced when it’s adults who want the same.”

How hustle culture takes center stage on Clubhouse

The early days of Clubhouse were wonderful, felt fresh and surprising, and there are still great discussions if you sift through the noise. However, conversations are increasingly less about understanding and intimacy and more about amplification and influence. Fadeke Adegbuyi of Doist on why marketers, sellers and hucksters have a stronghold on Clubhouse…Read more.

Your team is not “them”

How we talk about our teams is crucial and the way that we refer to our teams sends signals: to stakeholders, to your peers, to the team itself, and even to ourselves. Sarah Drasner, formerly Netlify, on how good managers talk about their teams and why your team is “we and never ever “them” …Read more.

Want more influence? Give away credit

Everyone likes to get credit for a job well done, which means giving it away is a powerful thing. To gain influence, give away credit — make it rewarding to work with you and set aside a curiosity budget to nurture new interests, it’ll keep you sharp and unique. Linda Zhang says “Your team did more than you think, and you did less than you realize.” …Read more.

How to become a front end web developer in 2021

Do you want to start learning web development or coding? Perhaps you are too afraid to take this bold move, perhaps you think that coding is hard and not sure if you are the right fit? Shruti Kapoor of Paypal dives into a proposed plan of getting started, and a list of resources to help you learn to become a web developer…Read more.

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Product Partner @Connect Ventures (London)
Connect is a thesis-led, pan-European, seed-stage VC investing in product-led software companies. The team is recruiting a software product enthusiast, with relevant experience in designing, building, and scaling software products. Apply here.

Analyst @Founders Intelligence (London)
Founders Intelligence is an entrepreneur-powered consultancy helping the likes of Facebook, Unilever, and BP redefine their industries by delivering strategy, building new ventures, and investing in startups. As an analyst, you’ll advise corporates on emerging tech & business models, structure commercial deals, and evaluate partnership & investment opportunities. Apply here.

Head of People @GHCO (Remote)
GHCO is one of the fastest-growing liquidity providers specializing in exchange-traded funds. As their Head of People, you will be in a key strategic position in the company, helping to grow the business and shape a unique culture. Apply here.

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Comments, questions, tips or raising your Seed round? Send me a note

Written by Sarah Nöckel, Seed investor at Northzone. Born in Germany. Based in London. You can find me elsewhere on Twitter and Instagram.