roundup: Venture debt VC survey, PLG incentive tactics, bootstrapping to $40M ARR

How many paying customers do you have and how long are they stuck?

Annual recurring revenue (ARR) has always been an important metric, but with valuations across the board and new money too tight to list, it’s now a lodestar — especially for self-funded startups.

Mohannad Ali, CEO of Hotjar, wrote an article for TC+ outlining four principles from his bootstrapped company’s product-driven growth strategy that helped them “move fast and pivot regularly.”

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Early-stage startups often feel the need to go big or go home when it comes to marketing, but “you’re going to have to create your own demand to get the ball rolling,” says Ali, describing several tactics which they used to address “scarcity and demand” while engaging early adopters:

  • Don’t start beta testing with a finished product
  • Don’t set the prices too low
  • Keep launch marketing costs as close to zero as possible
  • Early adopters are members of your product team

“Ultimately, building a successful startup through bootstrapped efforts isn’t easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding if you get it right,” Ali writes.

Thank you for reading,

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager,
@your protagonist

5 ways SaaS companies can accelerate their product-driven growth

Five Toggle Switches On Orange Background

Image Credits: Javier Zayas Photography (Opens in a new window) /Getty Images

Have you ever driven someone else’s car, felt unsafe and the grab handle jammed above the passenger seat?

For startups still looking for product-market fit, marketing can be a handle. Similarly, spending precious cycles developing new features for specific customers is another form of superstitious behavior.

A study that examined more than 30,000 SaaS companies found five key drivers for optimizing a product-driven growth strategy. Your first assignment?

Fix the leaks in your funnel, advises Christian Owens, Paddle’s executive chairman and co-founder.

“This can account for 20-40% of your total customer churn and is usually related to failed payments, which means improving your billing processes should be a top priority.”

Ask Sophie: Which visas are best for US startup accelerators?

lone figure at the entrance of a maze hedge with an American flag in the middle

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/

Dear Sophie,

I co-founded a startup last year and my co-founder and I just got accepted into an accelerator program in the United States!

What kind of visa can we get to come to the US that will allow us to stay there so we can grow our startup after the accelerator ends?

— Jazzed up in Johannesburg

The new venture capital rules are already in the works

venture capital, startups

In the current environment, raising venture capital will look different than it used to. Image Credits: Getty Images

Initially, venture capital was a way for new businesses to purchase essential hardware before they had enough income to write checks for desks, chairs, and photocopiers.

Today, early-stage startups use it to raise liquidity, borrow against their next round of funding or future earnings, but after the failures of First Republic and Silicon Valley Bank, Rebecca Szkutak interviewed several investors who all “agreed it would get more expensive in the future.” future.”

5 investors discuss what risk capital awaits after the bankruptcy of the SVB

venture capital, investors, Silicon Valley Bank

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/

Rebecca Szkutak surveyed five investors from “different fund sizes, stages and focus areas” to learn more about how they advise founders on venture capital and “what types of startups are best suited for this form of funding:”

  • Sophie Bakalar, partner, Collab Fund
  • Ali Hamed, Managing Partner, Crossbeam Venture Partners
  • Simon Wu, partner, Cathay Innovation
  • Peter Hébert, co-founder and managing partner, Lux Capital
  • Melody Koh, partner, NextView

Without black representation in climate tech ‘the planet will burn’


Image Credits: Atlas Studio / Venimo [composite] / Getty Images / Getty Images

African Americans are underrepresented in every tech sector, but an analysis by Dominic-Madori Davis and Tim De Chant found that “U.S.-based Black Climate Tech founders will receive just 1% of all capital invested in climate tech startups by 2022 “.

“That’s $214 million of $21.5 billion,” which is in line with general funding levels for Black founders. Either way, “the lack of funding and dearth of DEI data suggests that the large entrepreneurial community is overlooking a huge amount of untapped potential.”

Emerging managers should not rush an initial close, even in this market

fundraising, emerging managers

Image Credits: Getty Images

Faster is not always better, especially when it comes to raising venture capital.

In this climate, it’s easy to understand why emerging managers “want to hold an initial close as soon as LP capital comes in,” writes Rebecca Szkutak. “But that may not be the best long-term strategy.”

While an initial close starts the clock for collecting management fees, it’s better to have some deals in the pipeline first and a detailed strategy for future fundraising.

“If you set a date, you miss it,” says Kari Harris, a partner at law firm Mintz. “You withdraw and have to go back to the market, and it will look like you failed.”

Pitch Deck Teardown: Ageras’ $36 Million Private Equity Deck

Image Credits: Ageras Group

For a change, Haje Jan Kamps analyzed a winning pitch deck for a late-stage startup: Copenhagen-based Ageras, a fintech platform serving small businesses.

The partially redacted 31-slide deck reflects the complexity of “a company of more than 300 people and a global footprint,” writes Haje:

  1. Cover slide
  2. Slogan dia
  3. Overview slide
  4. Products overview slide part 1
  5. Product overview slide part 2
  6. Traction slide
  7. Slide customer growth
  8. Products interstitial dia
  9. Product defect slide
  10. Product: Marketplace overview slide
  11. Product: Marketplace “how it works” slide
  12. Product: Introduction slide for accounting and administration software
  13. Product: Banking introduction slide
  14. Product: Financing introduction slide
  15. Target customer slide
  16. Market size slide
  17. Problem slide (“SMEs struggle to get financing”)
  18. Solution slide
  19. Go-to-market slide
  20. Mission slide
  21. Strategic Area of ​​Interest slide (redacted)
  22. Product roadmap slide (redacted)
  23. Scroll acquisitions

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