Tech startups are impacted by the shaky economy. But some are feeling it more than others.
That was the takeaway from our conversations Tuesday evening at a BBQ in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood hosted by the Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence.
We asked startup leaders the same question: On a scale from 1-10, how impacted is your business by the ongoing economic uncertainty — 1 being no impact at all, and 10 being the most severe impact.
Their answers ranged from -1 to 8, and were largely dependent on industry and stage of company. Some startups are cutting staff to help trim expenses while others see the uncertainty as an opportunity to grow. Even still, two long time Seattle area investors who attended the party — both of whom weathered past downturns — described the current environment for startups as “really, really bad.”
Here’s what the entrepreneurs had to say:
Number: 1 or -1
Reason: “People have quit their jobs and they want to be independent and entrepreneurs. Being a creator seems like a great opportunity. Being a coach or a teacher seems like an awesome opportunity. That drives our licensing. Every user pays us a certain amount to make and edit videos.”
Reason: “The biggest impact for us right now is runway. It’s been dramatic. But our business, it still has strong fundamentals. We are in an industry that does well in economic [uncertainty].”
Reason: “I’m in biotech. Biotech has generally done pretty well [in downturns]. We are a little unique. We’re supported by sales and grants; we’re not supported by VC money. We’ve been all right.”
Reason: “There’s a positive side and a negative side. The positive is that we’re in affordable housing. Affordability is the biggest issue. We’re seeing huge demand. But from the macro-perspective, there’s housing costs, the housing market, cost of capital.”
Reason: “It’s a bad environment to be raising funding. But we’re self-funded. We are hiring. We’re just building our product for now. We just need people to be shopping and buying stuff.”