Ever traveled on a cruise ship?
Pre-COVID, most journeys started with a shipwide safety drill where passengers assembled, donned life vests and learned what to do in an emergency.
The ocean has an average depth of 2.3 miles, yet these rehearsals were always a calm affair. You’re starting a vacation; what could possibly go wrong?
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Similarly, there’s no reason to be fearful about raising money, but like carefree cruisers at full sail, founders should have healthy respect for a process that’s not under their control.
“Any change is an opportunity to create leverage, and a downturn is no exception,” writes Masha Bucher, founder and general partner of early-stage VC firm, Day One Ventures.
In this TC+ post, she discusses the current economic environment and shares “actionable tips for closing pre-seed to Series B rounds.”
We’re publishing on a diminished schedule over Labor Day weekend, so I’ll be back next Friday with another roundup. Thanks very much for reading!
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+
Crafting an XaaS customer success strategy that drives growth
Giving users better service than they expect could literally save a software startup. In one study, companies that spent 10% of their yearly revenue on customer success attained peak net recurring revenue.
“Companies mostly deploy two or more customer success archetypes,” according to The Alexander Group’s Rachel Parrinello and John Stamos. “They usually vary by customer segment, business versus technical focus and sales motion focus: adopt, renew, upsell and cross-sell.”
If you’re interested in optimizing revenue through customer success, read the rest for a full overview of the customer success job design methodology, because “companies should not design their customer success roles in a vacuum.”
We need to unlearn the lessons of the 2021 fundraising bubble
Does your startup have a data room? Are you calculating the ROI for each new hire before you extend an offer letter?
At the risk of invoking the “do you even lift?” meme: every process inside your organization can be improved, and founders need to make gains wherever possible, writes Immad Akhund, co-founder and CEO of Mercury.
“Use this tighter market to prepare and ensure your business is scalable, and you’ll do better when fundraising.”
Dear Sophie: What are the quickest visa options for bringing in international talent?
Our startup is recruiting engineers. Most of our team works remotely, but some of our potential recruits would want to work in the office. They are international students graduating in December, as well as some individuals who have worked with us remotely as contractors.
What are the quickest visa options we should consider? Can their supervisor work remotely? Anything else we should keep in mind?
— Rigorous Recruiter
Stop sensationalizing the ‘collapse’ of VC: Look at the data
For many founders looking to raise money, this is a terrible time. Fundraising is taking much longer than it used to, and valuations are much lower than a few months ago.
For investors, however, things are settling back to earth, says Brian Walsh of WIND Ventures.
“The reality is that there was an unprecedented hype cycle in 2021, and what we have seen since the beginning of 2022, objectively, is a ‘reversion to the mean’ in line with long-term trends.”
To reach fintech’s next level, infrastructure providers must address these pain points
Can infrastructure companies like Stripe, Plaid and Klarna help struggling fintech startups cope with shrinking valuations and lackluster deal flow?
Perhaps, but “to do this, they’ll have to take a closer look at the problems those customers deal with on a daily basis,” writes Laura Spiekerman, co-founder and chief revenue officer of Alloy.
Moving faster to find better ways to prevent fraud and align products with interest rates can unlock greater potential in the sector, says Spiekerman.
“Infrastructure providers must reprioritize and find a way to grow their capabilities for their current customers instead of just signing new ones.”
An action plan for founders fundraising in fintech’s choppy waters
Startup fundraising is an uphill sprint in times of plenty, but during a downturn, it’s an absolute grind.
“It’s not you; it’s the market,” advises Ryan Falvey, co-founder and managing partner of Financial Venture Studio.
“The best founders recognize that the goal is to close a round, not to maximize the price or minimize dilution,” which means you should talk to as many investors as you can and take their money if terms are reasonable.