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Inside Founders (Aug 20th, 2019)

1. Startup accelerator Y Combinator kicked off yesterday with 84 founders pitching at the first Demo Day. Those founders' companies include cloud-computing startup Mighty, launched by Suhail Doshi, founder and former CEO of Mixpanel. Other tech startups include Metacode, which allows for keyword searches in Swift, TypeScript and Javascript. Startups geared toward collegiate undertakings include Hype and Vice, which makes fashionable college apparel; recruiting-event platform Flo Recruit, which helps "companies scale their college recruiting efforts"; and ScholarMe, an app that consolidates financial aid forms. A few more: Gaiascope uses an algorithm to predict electricity trading prices; Lumineye helps first-responders identify people through walls. YC's summer cohort includes 197 startups in total; the second Demo Day is today. — TECHCRUNCH

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2. Opportunity zones are drawing co-working spaces and, with them, startups. The zones—more than 8,700 nationwide—were designated as such in December 2017, under a federal tax revamp and allow investors in such areas to defer capital gains taxes. Co-working spaces such as the 72,000 square feet one planned by Electric Works for Fort Wayne, Ind., are drawing entrepreneurs to such areas. Two-year-old startup Kindly's co-founder and Chief Executive Brandon Litman, who has an office in an opportunity zone in Newark, says “When you’re in an opportunity zone, you feel a bit of ownership for the success of that region.” SampleChain founder and Chief Executive Vignesh Krishnan says the opportunity zone in New Orleans allows for networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs. — THE NEW YORK TIMES

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3. By the Numbers: Venture Capital in 2019

Valuations are starting to slow down for the first time in a decade, according to new Pitchbook data evaluating venture capital valuations for the first half of 2019. Nonetheless, median early-stage valuations have been rising for the last three years. Other notable findings:

• Angel and seed valuations are slowing: those valuations gained 7.1 percent in the first half of 2019 compared with close to 13 percent annual gains in 2017 and 2018.

• The top quartile for early-stage VC has risen slightly to $14.9 million so far this year, up from $14.5 million last year.

• Late stage VC's growth trajectory has only increased by 15.7 percent in the median and 7.8 percent in the 75th percentile so far this year, compared with 2018 figures of 37.8 percent and 37.4 percent, respectively.

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4. Founders often find it difficult to assuage their loneliness. Making friends, for example, might not come easily because “being a founder in itself is lonely, because you’re competing against so many other people," says First Round Capital’s Alex Marshall. Such loneliness led Reflect co-founder Jonathan TranPham to join the weekly support group Founder Meditation when his co-founder quit his company, and spurred Catalyte Chief of Staff Lolita Taub and Swyfft Vice President of Product Josh Taub, a couple, to choose a "lifestyle apartment building" when they moved to Baltimore. Founders' loneliness is the first focus of this three-part series on how loneliness impacts the startup world. — CRUNCHBASE

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5. San Francisco's top 10 growing companies primarily are, as expected, tech-related—AlgoliaGroove and Carta among them—but also include event-planning company Anna Marie Events, general contractor Buhler Commercial Construction and eco-friendly subscription box company Grove Collaborative. — INC.

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6. More than 2,500 startups are based in Dublin, Ireland, a city that features both government incentives and low corporate taxes, as well as the European headquarters for Google, Dropbox, Microsoft and other U.S. tech behemoths. — UK WIRED

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7. Recycling startups are finding what they need in New York city: plenty of garbage, along with ample recycling facilities; two recycling technology startups recently won the NYC Curb-to-Market Challenge. — CRAIN'S NEW YORK

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8. Online mortgage company Better.com, launched in 2016 by CEO and founder Vishal Garg to address problems with the home-buying process after he and his wife lost out on their "dream house," yesterday announced a $160 million funding round. — FORBES

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9. Starship, an autonomous robot delivery startup, announced a $40 million Series A funding round today, and will be providing food delivery services at the University of Pittsburgh and Purdue University in Indiana this fall; the company plans to expand to 100 campuses in the next two years. — THE SPOON

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10. Sisters Caroline and Isabel Bercaw started making their own bath bombs when they were in middle school; today, they are 17 and 18 years old, respectively, and their company, Da Bomb Bath, has $20 million in annual revenue. — ENTREPRENEUR

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Julia Goldberg is a journalist and author living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She writes regularly about the intersection of technology and culture, and is the executive director of MIX Santa Fe, a networking organization for entrepreneurs. She writes the Inside Founders newsletter and can be found on Twitter @votergirl.

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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