The Valuable Startup Equity That’s Not Captured in Your Cap Table

I met a founder a few days ago who captured the idea of building brand equity really well. He said something along the lines of, “Every time we provide a magical experience to a customer, we invest in our brand equity. Each time we do something that disappoints them or overtly extracts value from our users, we expend brand equity.” This founder prided himself on continuously investing in and increasing his business’s brand equity over long periods of time.

Benchmarking MobileIron’s S-1 – How 7 Key SaaS Metrics Stack Up

This post is part of a continuing series evaluating the S-1s of publicly traded SaaS companies in order to better understand the core business and build a library of benchmarks that might be useful to founders. Founded in 2007, MobileIron is a leader in the Mobile Device Management sector. MDM provides enterprises software to manage the mobile phones and tablets of their employees. MobileIron provides three different products: a server product called Core to define and deploy security policies, a client product named Client that enforces these policies on each device and a gateway called Sentry that secures traffic from the device to the enterprise’s servers.

How Much Cash Should Your Startup Burn?

Bill Gurley and Fred Wilson have focused on burn rates as an important topic for startups. The immediate question that follows this commentary is: How much does the typical startup burn throughout its life? And what is a “risky” burn rate for a company? I use a rule of thumb to evaluate the burn rate of a Series A startup. I multiply the number of employees by about $10-12k, depending on the location of the company.

Startup Best Practices 9 – Structuring One on Ones to Maximize Your Team’s Success

The startups that build and retain the best teams develop a huge competitive advantage. It’s no surprise that managers are the most important influencers of team development and retention. The most frequent and consequently most powerful tool for managers to coach, develop and lead their teams are one-on-ones, weekly meetings between a manager and his or her individual reports. Most one-on-ones are ad-hoc, loosely structured 15-30 minute meetings. While extemporaneous meetings can work, leaders who manage their teams this way forgo an important opportunity to further their team’s success.

Conducting an effective sales discovery call

Sales discovery call is an important event in the sales process. Assessing and gaining an in-depth understanding of the prospect’s real need will have a big bearing on how (if at all) you close the deal. While everybody involved in the sales process knows the importance of the discovery call, how it gets conducted leaves a lot to be desired. Having said that, everybody is busy and they will only give you one (maybe two) sittings to discuss the needs. So it is important that you do a thorough job of discovery so you don’t miss out on the opportunity. The key goal of a discovery call should be to understand their current state and what they don’t like about it and the future state and what they would like to see a product do to help.

NOTE: As much as it is a discovery call for you to gauge the prospects interest

Ditch the Pitch
Continue reading "Conducting an effective sales discovery call"

The Three Frameworks You Need to Create Powerful Presentations and Tell Compelling Stories

I remember many the great TED talks I’ve watched. Sir Ken Robinson’s ,“How Schools Kill Creativity” and the story of a little girl whose genius was unrecognized in school until she was allow do dance, and ultimately became a prima-ballerina, is simply unforgettable. In most of my meetings, I remember Amy Cuddy’s “Body Language” talk for a split-second. Commanding her body language changed her career. And who can forget Steve Jobs announcement of the iPhone?

Benchmarking Tableau’s S-1 – How 7 Key SaaS Metrics Stack Up

This post is part of a continuing series evaluating the S-1s of publicly traded SaaS companies in order to better understand the core business and build a library of benchmarks that might be useful to founders. All of the businesses we’ve looked at in the past have been purely SaaS businesses. Today, we’ll examine Tableau, the market leader for data visualization software. Tableau sells software the old-fashioned way, with perpetual licenses not subscriptions.

The Concur Acquisition in Context: A SaaS MegaExit

Yesterday, SAP announced it would acquire Concur for $8.3B, the single largest SaaS acquisition in history in dollar terms. To put this acquisition in context, I looked at six other public-to-public acquisitions, where one publicly traded company acquired another. Because the acquired target is public, much of their financial information is readily available. As the chart above shows, the Enterprise Value/Trailing 12 Month Revenue (EV/TTM Rev) multiple SAP paid for Concur is tied for the highest among any public-to-public SaaS acquisitions.

What You’re Making Is In A Perpetual State Of Almost Right Up Until The End

Jason Fried, co-founder of 37Signals and Basecamp, published a blog post today called Faith in Eventually that captures the emotional tensions of building a product: During the development of most any product, there are always times when things aren’t quite right. Times when you feel like you may be going backwards a bit. Times where it’s almost there, but you can’t yet figure out why it isn’t. Times when you hate the thing today that you loved yesterday.

Startup Best Practices 8 -Getting the Most from Your Team By Preventing Burnout

Startups are intense experiences. Driven by a burning passion to change some aspect of the world, startup teams push, push, push to grow as fast as possible. Without the right balance, though, teams burn out - a terrible outcome. One of the most important responsibilities of every startup’s management team is to shepherd their teams to maximize their performance and prevent burnout. But how? Tony Schwartz founded The Energy Project, a consultancy that focuses on educating managers on how to manage their team’s energy, to maximize long-term team performance and well-being.