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: A blockchain analytics firm co-founder declares crypto is a better long-term investment than real estate, women founders tweet in support of Spring Health CEO April Koh, Andrew Yang takes a firm stand on Dave Chappelle after controversy over the comedian’s Netflix special, and more “traditional” Silicon Valley investors start taking an interest in DAOs.
Is real estate a dead end for investors?
Alex Svanevik, co-founder and CEO of blockchain analytics platform Nansen, made a bold prediction on Thanksgiving Day. He kicked off a Twitter thread by declaring that real estate “will have been a poor investment 20+ years from now.”
The reasons he gave included growing competition from stocks, crypto and metaverse assets. Rising inequality with more people renting rather than owning will also lead to “pro-tenant policies” that will “make it less attractive to own property,” he continued. Falling population growth and the option of being able to collateralize crypto will also factor into the investment landscape in future decades, he added. He added that “coming generations will move around more, which means owning a home is less appealing (except for rental income).”
The thread prompted a wide range of interesting comments, including some praising his logic and raising counterpoints. (Svanevik made sure to include a disclaimer that he is not an investment professional, pointing out that he has “no credentials except my profile pic is a penguin.”)
One account going by the name Farmer D Brown retweeted the comments, adding: “Some good points here. Interest rates have also been in a general down trend for the last 30 years and that can’t continue. There will be booms and busts and opportunities [in] property though. It is a better asset than fiat.”
Women founders rally around April Koh
The youngest woman founder and CEO of a unicorn startup, April Koh, was the subject of a much-discussed profile in Business Insider this week, in which the 29-year-old was described as leading “by fear” and driving dozens of employees to quit. Ironically, her company is a mental health wellness provider for major employers, helping them to reduce burnout.
Spring Health grew rapidly during the pandemic and is now worth $2 billion, with backers that include Tiger Global. Pressure was apparently intense at the startup and work demands were high.
Women founders, however, took more issue with the tone and angle of the article than they did with the claims of Koh being a hard-driving CEO. Male CEOs and founders are routinely lauded for similar tactics, they noted. Some founders commented that the article was an example of how women face a double standard in corporate leadership positions.
“Want to know one of the reasons there are fewer female founders? Because we know we are signing ourselves up to get publicly flamed for the same shit male founders get patted on the back for,” tweeted Celine Halioua, founder and CEO of canine anti-aging drug startup Loyal. “I know tweeting this puts a target on my back, too but JFC it’s infuriating.”
Andrew Yang stands by Dave Chappelle
It’s been a month since Netflix employees staged a walkout over the streaming service carrying Dave Chappelle’s comedy special The Closer, but controversy over the program is still stirring. The special, in which Chappelle speaks frankly about his relationship with the trans community, prompted widespread outcry from activists who denounced his remarks as “anti-trans.”
On a recent visit to his former high school, Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C., Chappelle faced some hostile questions from students echoing those sentiments, and a flurry of news articles about the appearance renewed outrage over the special.
Former Democratic presidential candidate and New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang waded into the fray on Twitter this week, lending his support to the comedian. Yang, a 46-year-old entrepreneur-turned-politician, recently declared himself an independent and founded the Forward Party as an alternative to the Democratic and Republican tickets.
“I was endorsed by a number of celebrities,” Yang tweeted, referring to his 2020 presidential run. “Dave Chappelle is the only one who came to Iowa and South Carolina to perform on my behalf - with proceeds going to the campaign - and even made phone calls and hung out with staff. He did it because he wants to help people. Great guy.”
Referencing press coverage of Chappelle’s school visit, Yang continued: “The press hit job on his visiting his high school is awful. Successful alum who fundraises for school returns, speaks to students and gives everyone a free meal for Thanksgiving. But of course in 2021 an obvious positive gesture is framed negatively in the media.”
“Old money” starts creeping into DAOs
The Business of Business published an analysis this week of major DAOs — or decentralized autonomous organizations, aka crypto’s answer to venture funds. The blockchain-based collectives drew significant attention recently when one called ConstitutionDAO, formed as a joke, suddenly amassed more than 17,000 members and raised more than $40 million in an attempt to buy a rare copy of the U.S. Constitution.
Through our research, we determined lead backers of 50 DAOs, and also uncovered a creeping influence of more traditional investors getting into the space: people like venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, Peter Thiel, Chamath Palihapitiya, and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban.
Crypto enthusiasts are not necessarily thrilled with the encroaching presence of these elite investors. One recently described the trend in a tweet as “VC-gentrification.” Another called the famous investors “old money.”
Whether or not they might ruffle a few cryptorati feathers, Silicon Valley investors undoubtedly sense an opportunity in DAOs. Jason Calacanis, an internet entrepreneur and early investor in Uber, Thumbtack, Robinhood among other well-known apps, tweeted on Tuesday that he was interested in helping start a DAO.
“I’m looking for founder(s) to build a DAO platform,” he tweeted. “If you can pull together a deal memo with a credible team (i.e. a 2-6 page document explaining your plan), I would incubate it.”