Explore our new Generative AI Database, featuring 35+ companies leading the sector.Read more

Atoms co-founder and CEO Waqas Ali. Photo by Nad E Al. Art by Mike Sullivan
March 18, 2022 6:00 AM PDT

After a two-year tech boom, startups are bracing for a downturn.

For Waqas Ali, co-founder and CEO of online shoe seller Atoms, that has meant trimming costs and arranging a last-minute cash infusion. In February, he stopped advertising on Instagram and Facebook, a key way Atoms reaches customers, and reduced spending on Google search ads by 50% to save his company up to $500,000 per month. Then in early March, he pulled together bridge financing—a small check meant to tide over a startup until it can raise a larger round—from existing investors including Initialized Capital.

Atoms hasn’t cut any of its staff of around a dozen people. But Ali said Atoms’ co-founder—his wife, Sidra Qasim—has been saying, “I told you we should have raised money in 2021.”

Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Art by Clark Miller
The AI Age e-commerce ai
How to Grease a Chatbot: E-Commerce Companies Seek a Backdoor Into AI Responses
When Andy Wilson’s company received its first successful client referral through ChatGPT, he was shaken to his core.
Chris Britt, co-founder and CEO of Chime.
Exclusive startups Finance
Chime’s Slowdown Highlights Limits of Bank Disruptors
Chime found a way to offer zero-fee banking services without being a bank itself. But that approach is starting to show its limits.
Art by Clark Miller.
Exclusive startups crypto
MoonPay CEO, Other Executives Cashed Out Before Crypto Business Dropped
In November 2021, just as crypto prices were hitting all-time highs, MoonPay—a crypto payments startup that celebrities including Jimmy Fallon and Paris Hilton had praised for its non-fungible token “concierge” service— announced it had completed its first ever outside fundraising: an eye-popping $555 million round at a $3.4 billion valuation from investors including Tiger Global Management and Coatue Management.
Art by Clark Miller
The Big Read markets Finance
The Master of Destruction Rides Again
In the spring of 2022, the irascible Wall Street short seller Marc Cohodes was in a particularly foul mood.
Tim Cook. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive apple ar/vr
Apple’s Learning Curve: How Headset’s Design Caused Production Challenges
If Apple unveils its long-awaited mixed-reality headset next week as expected, it will represent the company’s riskiest gamble on a new product since the iPhone.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. Photo by Bloomberg
semiconductors ai
Why Nvidia Aids Cloud Rivals of AWS, Google and Microsoft
Nvidia’s business of selling chips for artificial intelligence is going gangbusters, but the company faces a looming problem.