Fintech Funding Crunch, Attracting Star Talent, Robots Rising, and Empowering Brands to Connect with Customers

Social Leverage Letter | Issue #87

Pete Weishaupt
3 min readApr 30, 2023


III. The Fintech Funding Crunch In 4 Charts

In 2021, the fintech sector received 20% of the $681 billion in global venture funding, and only a few companies successfully went public. Seed and early-stage fintech startups funded in 2021 face a massive funding shortfall over the next four to eight quarters. Around 900 seed fintechs globally that raised at least $1 million in funding have not raised funding since 2021, and about 65% of Series A through C funded companies that raised funding in 2021 have not raised since then.

II. Big Tech employees are so unnerved by mass layoffs that they’re now easier to poach, according to the CEO of software giant Intuit

According to the CEO of Intuit, Sasan Goodarzi, employment instability at major tech firms is making it easier to attract star AI talent; even when they still have jobs. Despite a rush of AI investment, Goodarzi believes it has become easier to find AI talent. Intuit has been investing heavily in AI since Goodarzi took the top job in 2019, and has not conducted large-scale layoffs like other tech firms.

I. Robotics industry snags $90B in past 5 years

According to F-Prime Capital’s State of Robotics report, $90 billion has been invested in robotics startups globally over the past five years, with 70% of investment coming from Western markets. The report covers three primary categories of robotics investments: Vertical Robotics, Autonomous Vehicles, and Enabling Systems. The emergence of autonomous vehicles has been a catalyst for a new generation of robotics companies. Asia is highlighted as an end-user market and early adopter of robotics.


II. Oana Manolache, Founder and CEO of, on Empowering Brands with Unique Live Experiences that Connect Customers

Oana Manolache joins Howard on Panic With Friends. Oana is the founder and CEO of, (Social Leverage Fund III) which allows organizations of all sizes to host live events and webinars right on their own website. It’s a no-code solution that lets marketers turn live video into leads by embedding events and content on their own digital real estate. Coming from a marketing background at HP, Oana launched shortly before the pandemic to solve her own marketing pain points. She is building a leader in the live-video category.

I. How I Built This — Goodreads: Otis and Elizabeth Chandler

Otis Chandler launched Goodreads, a book catalog and review site, in 2007. Despite initial skepticism, the site grew to become the world’s largest for readers with 125 million users. Goodreads was sold to Amazon in 2013 for an undisclosed sum.


I. How I Use AI to take perfect notes…without typing

Affiliate Disclosure: Social Leverage Group, LLC (“SLG”), Social Leverage Capital Fund I, LP (“SLC”), Social Leverage Capital Fund II, LP (“SLCII”), Social Leverage Capital Fund III, LP (“SLCIII”) and Social Leverage Capital Fund IV, LP (“SLCIV”) are all distinct entities from Social Leverage, LLC (“SL”). Social Leverage is not a registered investment advisor. SLC, SLCII, SLCIII, SLCIV, SLG and SL have used the logo and branding of Social Leverage with the permission of Social Leverage Group, LLC.