Welcome to another edition of Business Twitter, where we collect the best tweets to come out of Silicon Valley so you don’t have to. This article is part of a newsletter — if you want a weekly Business Twitter roundup sent to your inbox every Friday, subscribe here.
This week: VC Li Jin sparks a Twitter debate on whether venture capitalists should be inspired by socialist thinkers like Karl Marx, an explainer on how to buy and trade NFTs, and a VC explains why some startup pitches get rejected.
1. A Marx-inspired VC
Perhaps the biggest debate on Twitter involved Li Jin, former VC at Andreessen Horowitz and founder of Atelier Ventures. In a recent profile by Taylor Lorenz for The New York Times, Jin was described as being “inspired by the ideas of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx.”
The article continues: “Ms. Jin is also aggressively pro-worker. She has made it clear in podcasts and her Substack newsletter that creators should get the same rights as other workers.”
Some other venture capitalists weren’t happy to see someone in their field embracing socialist thinkers, including Mike Solana, vice president of Founders Fund (a firm co-founded by noted conservative Peter Thiel).
“When a tiktok teen or journalist or whatever says they're into communism it's just like okay, you're mistaken, what do you even mean by that?” Solana wrote. “Let's talk about this. when a VENTURE CAPITALIST takes a break from her greek vacation to say she's "inspired by marx"??? Folks I REFUSE.”
Delian Asparouhov, another Founders Fund VC, wrote, “It's in the name, we are venture CAPITALISTS. How are you inspired by KARL MARX, a SOCIALIST.”
Will Manidis, founder of healthcare startup ScienceIO, wrote, “Imagine a vc telling you she's into marx and then asking for 10% of your company for no labor lmao.”
2. How to buy your first NFT
NFTs aren’t going anywhere. In fact, sales volumes recorded on OpenSea, the largest NFT trading platform, hit $1.9 billion in August alone.
For those of you looking to buy or trade your first NFT, Color Capital VC Chris Cantino wrote a useful thread on how to get started. According to Cantino, “Buying NFTs is easier and less risky than it seems.”
“It’s OK to be skeptical,” Cantino continued. “Look at it like this. Potential downside: you “waste” a small amount of money. Potential upside: you make a life-changing amount of money. What’s guaranteed: NFT ownership, community access, and learning about this incredibly promising technology.”
Cantino’s guide explains how to navigate the OpenSea platform, how to set up a digital wallet app, how Ethereum works on Coinbase, why mints are the best NFTs to buy, and where to find out about upcoming mints.
3. Why good companies don’t get funded
Sajith Pai is a VC at Blume Ventures, which focuses on seed stage tech ventures. His firm gets over 3,000 startup pitches per year, though it can only fund 10-12 of them. Pai wrote a thread explaining why some startups just don’t make the cut.
In most cases, pitches are rejected because the startup is too late or early for Blume, the firm has already invested in one of its competitors, or otherwise doesn’t fit Blume’s investment criteria.
Even when a startup does everything right, the competitive nature of venture capital means that it still might not get funding.
“Sometimes we reject very good companies, which pass all of the above criteria because there is another company ahead of it in the mental stackrank, one which we believe is even better poised to be a bigger hyperscaled startup,” Pai wrote.
Ultimately, Pai concluded, it’s not just about stats, but a VC’s gut feeling. “Now, these stackranks are fundamentally subjective. There is no objective truth to why a startup is higher than another in the stackrank. It boils down ultimately to gut / intuition honed over years of experience and supported by high quality analysis.”