Sequoia resigns from Citizen's board, IPO window opens, chaos at Dapper Labs | E1691 | Summary and Q&A

March 6, 2023
This Week in Startups
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Sequoia resigns from Citizen's board, IPO window opens, chaos at Dapper Labs | E1691


Dapper Labs CEO faces criticism as anonymous employees speak out, Instacart prepares for an IPO with leaked revenue figures, and Sequoia leaves Citizen's board after declining to participate in a pay-to-play round.

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Key Insights

  • 😀 Dapper Labs is facing internal discontent as anonymous employees speak out against the CEO's spending habits and management style. This could impact the company's reputation and work culture.
  • 💪 Instacart's leaked revenue figures indicate that the company had a strong Q4 2022 despite overall sales decline. This may boost its IPO prospects and attract investor interest.
  • 🛝 Sequoia's departure from Citizen's board highlights the firm's concern about the company's financial health and inability to participate in a pay-to-play funding round.


all right everybody welcome it is Monday Jason's back from Japan he's mostly awake we think and put together a great show you got it together for a great show I don't know what time it is but uh I'm a little jet lagged I got back from Japan great trip and I saw this new story I didn't get to talk to Molly about it so I thought we should talk about ... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What are the main concerns raised by anonymous Dapper Labs employees about the CEO?

According to reports, anonymous employees have criticized the CEO for excessive spending on private jets, mansion rentals, and luxury hotels. There are also allegations of micromanagement and a bullying culture within the company.

Q: How has the leak of revenue figures affected Instacart's IPO plans?

The leaked revenue figures, which showed a 50% increase in revenue in Q4 2022, have likely bolstered Instacart's IPO plans. Despite a decline in sales, the company's strong revenue growth indicates that it may be well-positioned for a successful public offering.

Q: Why did Sequoia leave the board of Citizen?

Sequoia chose not to participate in a pay-to-play funding round for Citizen, which resulted in the firm leaving the board. The decision to not invest in the round likely signaled concerns about the company's financial health and potential lack of profitability.

Q: How has Dapper Labs performed financially?

Dapper Labs, known for NBA Top Shot, experienced significant success, with the Top Shot collection generating $224 million in sales in February 2021. However, trading volumes declined in 2022, prompting financial challenges for the company.


In this video, Jason and Molly discuss a news story about Sequoia leaving the board of Citizen after choosing not to participate in a pay-to-play round. They also explore the possibility of the IPO window opening back up in 2023, with Instacart and SoftBank-owned Arm preparing to go public. Additionally, they touch on Dapper Labs' legal issues and some anonymous complaints about the CEO's lavish spending.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the story about Sequoia leaving Citizen's board?

Sequoia decided not to participate in a pay-to-play round, which led to them leaving the board of Citizen. This decision has caused tension and speculation about the state of the company and Sequoia's reasons for their actions.

Q: What is a pay-to-play round?

A pay-to-play round is a funding round where existing investors have to contribute more capital or risk losing a significant portion of their equity. It is a way for struggling companies to attract new investments and recapitalize, but it can create negative feelings and conflicts among investors.

Q: Why did Sequoia choose not to participate in the pay-to-play round?

While there is no official statement from Sequoia, it is possible that they made a dispassionate decision based on the best interests of their limited partners (LPs). If they felt that the company was not being run well or did not have a path to profitability, they may have chosen to step away from further investment.

Q: What are the implications of Sequoia's decision for Citizen?

Sequoia's decision signals that there may have been issues with the company's operations or financials. It also raises questions about the future prospects of Citizen and their ability to secure additional funding. The departure of such a prominent investor can impact a company's reputation and ability to attract new investors.

Q: Is the IPO window opening back up in 2023?

It is possible that the IPO window is opening back up, as both Instacart and SoftBank-owned Arm are reportedly preparing to go public. This indicates a renewed interest in IPOs after a quiet 2022. However, it remains to be seen if other companies will follow suit and if the IPO market will continue to be favorable.

Q: What are the financial indicators for Instacart?

According to leaked information, Instacart saw its revenues increase by over 50% and its gross profit by more than 80% in Q4 2022. For the full year, their revenue grew 39% to $2.5 billion. These positive financial results could make Instacart an appealing IPO candidate, especially with a valuation of $10 billion.

Q: What challenges does Instacart face in the market?

Instacart faces competition from companies like Amazon and Uber, as well as other grocery delivery services. They also have to address issues related to accuracy and quality control, as customers have reported receiving incorrect or substituted items in their orders. However, their move into advertising within the app could provide a new revenue stream and a unique value proposition for advertisers.

Q: What is Arm's business model?

Arm is a chip design company that licenses its chip architecture and technology to other companies. They do not actually manufacture their own chips but earn revenue through royalties on products that use their technology. This model allows Arm to be less capital intensive while still benefiting from the widespread use of their chip designs.

Q: Why would Arm choose to go public?

Going public would provide Arm with additional funds and opportunities to expand its business. It would also increase its visibility and allow for potential acquisitions or partnerships. As a major player in the chip design industry, an IPO could be a strategic move for Arm to solidify its position and fuel further growth.

Q: What challenges might Arm face as a publicly traded company?

As a publicly traded company, Arm will have to meet the expectations of shareholders and navigate the complexities of a transparent and regulated market. They will also face increased scrutiny and competition, requiring them to continue innovating and delivering strong financial results. Additionally, they may experience more pressure to focus on short-term gains rather than long-term strategic decisions.

Q: What other topics are discussed in the video?

The video briefly mentions Dapper Labs' legal issues regarding the selling of NFTs and complaints from anonymous current and former employees about the CEO's lavish spending. These topics are not explored in detail, but they serve as additional examples of the challenges and controversies that can arise in the startup and tech ecosystem.


The departure of Sequoia from Citizen's board highlights the importance of sound operations and financial management for startups. Founders should be mindful of their company's financial health and consider long-term sustainability when raising funds. The potential IPOs of Instacart and Arm indicate a renewed interest in the public markets, but they also present challenges and expectations that come with being publicly traded. As the startup ecosystem evolves, founders and investors must navigate complex dynamics while maintaining positive relationships and reputations.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Dapper Labs, the company behind NBA Top Shot, is facing backlash as anonymous employees express dissatisfaction with the CEO's lavish spending and alleged micromanagement. The company raised $250 million in March 2022 and is valued at $7.6 billion.

  • Instacart, the grocery delivery service, is reportedly gearing up to go public after a challenging period in which sales declined. However, leaked revenue figures show that the company's revenue increased by more than 50% in Q4 2022.

  • Sequoia, a prominent venture capital firm, has left the board of Citizen, a portfolio company, after choosing not to participate in a pay-to-play funding round. This decision has raised questions about the dynamics and future of the company.

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