Lean Startups vs. VC Money

Dated Dec 18, 2020; last modified on Sat, 05 Feb 2022

20 years later, JetBrains is valued at $7b without taking VC money. HN users praise JetBrains for being user-focused, and the prevailing argument is that VC money comes with growth-hacking attached.

Is the Lean Startup Dead?

Katzenberg (Paramount, Disney Studios & DreamWorks) has raised $1.75b for NewTV, a startup banking on consumers wanting a subscription for 10-minute programs on mobile.

They renamed to quibi.com/ . At least that makes them more searchable on Google. “NewTV” searches lead to newtv.org , a community media center for the residents of Newton, Massachusetts.

VCs don’t have to wait till IPO - they can sell part of their investment when they raise the next round.

When capital for startups is readily available at scale, it makes more sense to go big, fast and make mistakes than it does to search for product/market fit. But not all startups have access to big money. Lean is essential for them.

FWIW, Quibi shut down after two years after exhausting all of its options


  1. Czech Startup Founders Turn Billionaires Without VC Help. Ilya Khrennikov. www.bloomberg.com . news.ycombinator.com . Dec 17, 2020.
  2. Is the Lean Startup Dead? Steve Blank. steveblank.com . Sep 5, 2018.
  3. An open letter to the employees, investors, and partners who believed in Quibi and made this business possible. Jeffrey Katzenberg; Meg Whitman. quibi-hq.medium.com . Oct 21, 2020.