May 10 • 48M

We Saw This Movie. Everybody Died at the End (w/Rick Heitzmann)

Is this 2008 or the dot-com crash?

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A podcast about Silicon Valley, hosted by newsletter writer Eric Newcomer and Tom Dotan, with Katie Benner as a regular special guest.
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Firstmark Capital’s Rick Heitzmann is someone I turn to when I want to understand what public market activity means for private startups. Heitzmann’s got an ear to Wall Street from his offices in New York City, but he invests in private technology startups.

So I invited Heitzmann on Dead Cat with Tom Dotan and Katie Benner. We tried to make sense of this sudden downturn. Everyone has seen it coming for years. We just never knew when the party would end.

Building on my story “The Endgame” from last week, we talk about how rising interest rates — not a global pandemic — seem to be finally bringing the boom times to an end.

“We’ve entered into a new normal,” Heitzmann told us. “We’ve entered into a new period where capital is not free, where it’s going to be more and more expensive.”

Heitzmann reminded us why startup investors kept deploying money even as things seemed frothy. “In the last 18 months of a 10-year bull market, most of the money is made. That’s why people are always afraid to get off the treadmill,” Heitzmann said.

We all marveled at just how long this bull market has run, and we speculated about which companies might come to represent the excess when the dust has settled and the retrospectives are written.

“These quick delivery guys — that are all over the streets of New York, the Jokr’s, the Getir’s,” Heitzmann observed, “We saw Kosmo. We saw it didn’t work and then we just did the same thing with another $10 billion.”

“We saw this movie. Everybody died at the end,” Heitzmann said. “Now we’re wondering why in the sequel we think there is going to be a happy ending.”

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