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This happens every couple of years in tech. I've personally witnessed 3 downturns now. One was real and two were arguably the best time to start companies. Raising money might be harder, but generally only for bad companies.



Three? 2001-2002 was basically nuclear winter in my experience. 2008-2009 wasn't actually that bad except outside tech (although, I was in Iraq and Afghanistan during all of it). Before that, you'd have to go to early-1990s, when I was...12, and some HN readers weren't born.

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I was thinking of 2001-2002 (genuine downturn) and then separately 2003-7 (great time to invest - e.g when I invested in Skype). Obviously 2008-ish (RIP good times) was the 3rd. Maybe I shouldn't have called them "downturns" but instead "depressed VC periods".

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I was working in banking 2007-20010, and wasn't so wired into the startup scene then. What was good for startups and tech during that time? (Disclaimer - expecting a repeat of it in the next few years, want to be prepared).

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I would think QE 1 + 2, where the abundant institutional capital eventually flowed to VCs since the private markets in the tech sector was the only thing that was really performing post early 2009.

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Why would they be good times to start companies? Less clutter for investors to sort through and more available talent?

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Mostly: Less competition for users (e.g. there are 600K iOS apps now - too many), and easier to hire (main alternative right now is to get funding and start a company).

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Also, fewer marginal companies over-funded and thus competing with you (maybe by selling at below long term cost).

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