Founders’ Series

A New Model for Startup Success:
Navigating Funding Challenges in 2023

— Free In-Person Event —

Special thanks to Foley & Lardner for sponsoring this event
and allowing us to offer free admission

Registration Required

Limited seating

Following a similar pattern in past economic downturns, changing factors in the current economic environment — including inflationary pressures, market uncertainties, and risk aversion — have caused massive disruptions among startups and venture capitalists (VCs), and the ripple effects are extending across the entire community of founders and investors.

Showing a promising outlook into the future is no longer enough to get the funding that companies need to deliver on their ideas. Consequently, a potential nose-dive in available funding has shifted from a what-if scenario to become a harsh reality. Compared to the previous year, funding from VCs decreased by over 30% in 2022.

Despite the abundant negativity surrounding the current investment atmosphere for startups, there is a counterargument that now might be a good time to invest in startups and VC funds, for a variety of reasons:

  • Lower current valuations of startups
  • Increased accessibility to top talent
  • Ability of VCs to “stretch” their money longer
  • Better discipline in the decision-making process

The net result is increased pressure on VC firms to improve the efficiency of their funds, enhance productivity, and reach their targets — all of which translates into higher returns for shareholders.

In this VLAB Founders’ Series event, André Thiollier (partner and business attorney at Foley & Lardner LLP) will moderate a “fireside chat” with SC Moatti (managing partner at Mighty Capital). During their conversation, these experts in their field will share their thoughts concerning the current investment atmosphere and provide advice for startup founders about addressing challenges and opportunities:

  • How can founders adapt to the current macro-economic environment?
  • What are the do’s and don’ts when pitching your idea and raising capital?
  • How should startups modify their company strategy — i.e., short-term vs. long-term?

In addition to fireside chat, a few select founders will have the opportunity to get in the “hot seat” and receive some individual counseling about their unique situations.

Join us on April 18 for this exciting and thought-provoking event.

Register Below



SC Moatti, managing partner, Mighty Capital

SC Moatti is the founding managing partner of Mighty Capital®; the founding CEO of Products That Count, the most influential product acceleration platform; and a lecturer at Stanford and Columbia Universities. Previously, SC built products at Facebook and Nokia that billions of people use. Andrew Chen, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, called SC “a genius at making products people love.” SC serves on the boards of public and private companies, earned a master’s in electrical engineering and a Stanford MBA, and is a Kauffman Fellow.


André Thiollier, partner and business attorney, Foley & Lardner LLP

André is a partner with Foley & Lardner LLP, based in the firm’s Silicon Valley office, where he is a member of the firm’s transactions practice.

André’s practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, emerging growth, and venture financings, and general corporate and business counseling. He represents a variety of clients ranging from late-stage private companies and strategic buyers to venture capital and private equity funds across various industries, including life sciences, technology, financial services, healthcare, and outsourcing.

André’s extensive experience in multiple jurisdictions combined with fluency in different languages allows André to better advise clients in cross border transactions, particularly in Latin America, including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico.

Prior to joining Foley, André worked as an associate at the Silicon Valley office of a global law firm. With over 15 years of experience in transnational transactions, André has practiced law in top law firms in São Paulo, New York, and Madrid.



In-Person Event
San Francisco, CA
(Location details will be sent to registered attendees.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Fireside Chat: 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm
“Hot Seat” Startups: 6:30 pm – 6:50 pm *
Q&A: 6:50 – 7:00 pm

* 3-4 selected founders from audience will be featured on the virtual stage.

About the VLAB Founders’ Series

Founders’ Series events provide a unique opportunity for startups and technologists to take part in an interactive session. Come prepared with your burning questions!

If you would like to have the rare opportunity to take the “Hot Seat” on stage to receive feedback from the speakers, please be sure to enter your question in the field on the assessment form. Startup founders selected for the “Hot Seat” will be notified in advance.

For all other questions, please contact





SRI International



Johanson & Yau


Paul Hastings




Umunhum Brewing