Everybody Hates Carta

Carta CEO under fire as Linear CEO calls for "the end of Carta"

Everybody is super pissed at Carta for spamming private investor emails. Meanwhile, Stripe is eyeing the IPO window and Thrive Capital may ride the recent AI momentum into a fresh fundraise. I hope you took some time last week to shake off the holidays because 2024 is very much underway. To mark the occasion, this newsletter is bringing you a new (much better) format on a new (more regular) cadence. Thank you for your patience through the transition. Let’s have a great year!

Carta, the cap table management outfit, is accused of unethical tactics by a prominent startup

“As a founder it feels kind shitty that Carta, who I trust to manage our cap table, is now doing cold outreach to our angel investors about selling Linear shares to their non disclosed buyers.” - Linear CEO Karri Saarinen

Henry Ward says it was a rogue employee who broke internal rules. Outsiders say this has been happening for a long time across multiple companies. Carta crisis communications have been lack luster so far and there seems to be some momentum around switching to other providers.

Reddit, Shein, and Stripe may lead a revived IPO market in 2024

“We are anticipating a significant rebound in the U.S. IPO market,” - Renaissance analyst, Angelo Bochanis.

Market conditions over the last two years have only allowed for a handful of companies to test the waters. Given the strong finish to 2023, and a friendly rate cutting cycle, investors are confident IPOs will make a comeback in 2024. Top candidates include popular names such as Reddit, Stripe, and Plaid.

Thrive Capital plots new fundraising as it doubles down on tech

“The fundraising will be “a very interesting litmus test” for other investors in a market in which fundraising has slowed dramatically, said one investor in Thrive.”

With the market being cautious to tech throughout 2023, this will be a true test for the 2024 investors appetite. If all goes well, it may incline other firms to think about new fundraises themselves.

Honorable Mention Links

Sandhill is leaning into Live for 2024! Stay tuned (get it?)

Demo Days Are Back!

Tune in on January 25th at 3pm EST to watch 5 exciting founders present what they’re building to a great group of panelists and a live virtual audience.

Want to present? Apply here! (fundraising not required)

A Lot More Live Coming Your Way!

We believe Live content is our edge. It’s fun. It’s unique. It’s engaging.

We’re going to do a lot more of it in 2024. Demo Days are a start, but here’s a look at some of the other events you’ll see pop up in this section:

The State Of Secondaries: Data and Expert Discussion

What does AI mean for B2B SaaS: Expert Interview

Consumer Checkin: Special Host and Guests

Breaking Into Venture: Special Host and Guests

Do you have a show idea you’d like to see? Reach out to let me know!

This is my WFH setup. Light cashmere turtleneck included.

Letters From The Editor

I won’t always write this section, but when I do you’ll know that I had just the right amount of coffee that morning.

House Keeping

I’m excited to be back in the saddle after the holidays (my wife got me cowboy boots for Christmas so that’s a phrase I use now). There has been a lot of transitional work to do at Sandhill, but I continue to be extremely excited about the opportunity. Starting with this newsletter.

From now on, this newsletter will publish a consistent format on a increasingly consistent cadence. You saw that format above, but to summarize - here’s what you can expect going forward from top to bottom:

  • A clickable subject line and quick subtitle.

  • A few fun lines to warm us up.

  • Original meme (pure alpha).

  • Curated headlines w/ quote, quick takeaway, and link to article.

  • Honorable mention links.

  • Sandhill TV Guide: Event descriptions and RSVP links.

  • Letters From The Editor.

In the Letter From The Editor section I’ll share housekeeping notes as well as my personal opinion about whatever’s going on. You got some housekeeping above. Now for some personal opinion below (which makes this whole newsletter longer than it will usually be).


I think the Carta thing was overblown and then horribly handled by Carta. The reality of the situation is that Carta has been openly pursuing/operating a secondary marketplace for a long time. When people sign up for Carta it’s actually something they promote. Then everyone is surprised when they leverage their cap-table data for the secondaries? That has been their whole pitch to VCs (when they raised) for years.

The part that’s overblown is how detrimental this is for companies. I saw one tweet with way too many impressions say that this creates “hostile takeover risk” for founders… That's just not true. Is it a breach of trust? 100%. Is it a spammy thing to do? For sure. Is it going to materially effect the equity ownership of your business? Very unlikely if not completely impossible.

Where things got worse here is when Henry Ward (Carta founder/ceo and generally great guy from what I’ve heard) sent a half-hearted apology out. He wrote a quick blog post and seems to be waiting for it to blow over. Meanwhile, the internet has him in its sights and wants tears of remorse.

I do not think Carta will back down from their secondary trading plans. I do think apologetic employees from Carta will help rebuild trust online. I’m not sure if Henry will bend the knee .

Talk soon,

PS - If you read this far, please please please click the link below to share it with a friend or colleague or social media. I’m revving the growth engine back up and every click counts. Plus I’m going to figure out some fun rewards at some point.