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Venture Capital Startups

The ‘Philosophical Recession’ Hanging Over Tech Startups

When Howie Liu first came to Silicon Valley a decade ago, the assumption was that if a tech startup could make money, it was a social good in itself—a sort of altruistic, pure capitalism. But Mr. Liu believes that view isn’t widespread anymore.

“Rightfully so, we’re seeing a state where that’s being scrutinized and challenged,” said Mr. Liu, the CEO of cloud collaboration company Airtable, speaking on a panel of three startup founders at The Information’s Subscriber Summit in San Francisco on Thursday. “It feels like we’re in a philosophical recession. There’s a real scrutiny placed on these companies, that even if you’re financially successful, are you creating good for the world?”

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