1. SaaS METRIC OF THE WEEK: This week, you get to watch a video that should be mandatory for onboarding every person in a SaaS company and required watching annually. It's from David Skok (a legend in the SaaS world) and covers hardcore B2B SaaS metrics such as Rule of 40, Repeatability, Net new ARR, Bookings, LTV:CAC, churn, etc., etc. - it's a metric-packed 20 minutes.
2. AI LAYOFFS: According to Dropbox, AI-based Layoffs are here, same with Insider - not caused by AI but because they need more of it. Overall layoffs in tech remain strong (even though Google's AI is not happy about it), so the sound advice for those who are laid off seems to be to get into AI NOW! (from the former CEO of Reddit)
3. AI VENTURE: A few months back, I noted that Pitchbook had launched an AI platform called VC Exit Predictor. But I totally missed a complimentary report from them on recent VC investment into AI. VCs have steadily increased their positions in generative AI: $408 M in 2018, $4.8 billion in 2021, and $4.5 billion in 2022. So far, in 2023, we're at $1.7 Billion (announced).
4. VENTURE (Private Markets): According to Carta's State of Private Markets for Q1 2023, the total amount of capital raised by startups dropped 80% in the last 12 months (Q1 '22 to Q1 '23). Deal count fell 45% over the same span (an obvious indicator of smaller deal sizes), and 20% of all venture investments in Q1 '23 were down rounds.
5. INVESTOR UPDATES: The team at NFX has read a lot of investor updates and has published a guide where they share common mistakes and how you can avoid them (and also deliver hard news)
6. TALENT: 2023 has flipped from a candidate's to an employer's market, so even though things have changed, what talent is necessary at what stage? Openview has a 2023 Talent report for you and provides excellent insight into the mix of teams at different stages. Early-stage teams are product and engineering-heavy (56%). Past product-market fit, it's all about the go-to-market teams, and sales and marketing h overtake product and engineering.
7. PRODUCT-MARKET FIT: A long-running general rule (called a Growthism) in the Startup world is that getting to $1m of ARR is a strong sign of Product Market Fit (PMF). Kaitlyn Henry from Openview runs contrary to this Growthism, stating that there's no specific revenue indicator that defines PMF. Still, she continues to write about concrete signals of PMF available beyond a $$ amount and gut feel. Read more about all those signals here. This sits well with Brian Balfour's work, who wrote a fantastic article on the subject that is now almost 10 years old and still incredibly relevant for figuring out what stage(s) you may be at.
8. MISTAKES: I saw this original presentation from Anand Sanwal of CB Insights way back at SaaStr back in 2017 - but it's memorable because of its Silicon Valley-like (the TV Show) accuracy of things not to do. 100 things NOT to do when building a SaaS company.
9. ANNUAL PRICING: I'm sure you see this all the time, options to pay monthly or annually on a SaaS pricing page. Great for all you non-consumption-based folks out there. It's a great cash flow choice - but is it the right option for your business? Jason Lemkin has the low-down.
10. CASE STUDY: Ok - looking at #7 above - what could Product Market Fit look like experientially? Asking the PMF question, IMO is always the more noble focus (instead of being focused on answering the question). But sometimes - you gotta know, and here is a case study on how Superhuman did it.
POD OF THE WEEK: Carilu Dietrich of Miro, Segment, Atlassian, and 1Password discusses how to achieve hyper-growth via Lenny's Podcast