Matt Preuss's posts

The Top Founder Forward Articles Shared in 2018

In 2018, we’ve sent nearly 50 Founders Forward Newsletter with over 425 third party articles. We include our favorite content for attracting and engaging investors, hiring great talent, company culture, startup finance, leadership and much more. This week, we share the top articles shared in the Founders Forward this year by category. Think you have content that our readers will enjoy? Shoot us a message with your content to Attracting & Engaging Investors How to Make the Perfect Pitch Deck Kolby McElvain of High Alpha draws the parallels between telling a great story and creating a pitch deck by laying out a pitch deck template in 12 “chapters.” The top 3 Things are Looking for in SaaS Startups Christoph Janz of Point Nine Capital explores the current climate of…

Matt Preuss - November 23, 2018


Series A Funding — What Investors Are Saying in 2018

2018 is shaping up to be a record-setting year for venture capital. Through the first 3 quarters there has been $84B of venture capital invested, and estimates suggest that number will surpass $100B by the end of the year.The new normal has turned into more capital going to fewer, larger deals. Seed stage investing has morphed into a “seed phase” with more early-stage companies raising their first round later in their life cycle changing what Series A funding means to both companies and investors. As Semil Shah puts it, with these new trends comes, “a new breed of Series A investor, most of whom arrived at this point by slowly scaling up from smaller, more modest seed funds.” This shift has investors  across the industry talking. We’ve laid out some…

Matt Preuss - November 1, 2018


The Investor Due Diligence Checklist: How to Treat New VCs Like Business Partners

You can look at adding an investor to your company in one of two ways; simply a source of capital, or a partner to help you grow your business. As Sangram Vajre, Founder of Terminus, puts it, “Finding a VC firm is almost like finding a co-founder. Any due diligence that you would do to add a co-founder you should do when adding a VC partner.” If you opt to find a VC that you can count on to add value outside of capital, it is your job as a founder to ensure you’re adding the proper partner. Due diligence is a part of the funding process that all founders are expected to complete. You can flip this process on its head by asking the same of your potential investors.…

Matt Preuss - October 25, 2018


How We Used Product Qualified Leads to Get Started with Product-Led Growth

Why Product-Led Growth? According to OpenView Labs, Product-Led Growth is “a go-to-market strategy where the product is central to how these companies acquire, convert, expand and retain users. This allows companies to forgo spending large sums on traditional marketing and sales activities. Instead, they rely on the products themselves to supply a pipeline of satisfied users to convert to paying customers.” Implementing a Product-Led Growth strategy offers companies unique financial and operating advantages that allow quick scalability, economic efficiency, and ultimately more efficient growth. Dropbox is a great example of a company that does this well. They generate double the revenue of their closest competitor, but spend a lower share of that revenue on sales and marketing. This can largely be attributed to their product-led growth strategy. At Visible, we’ve…

Matt Preuss - October 11, 2018


Ready to Embrace Transparency? Keep These 3 Things in Mind 

Much has been written about the benefits of organizational transparency, but some startup founders are still slow to adopt it in their businesses. It is awfully hard for an employee, investor, or advisor to add value to a business when they’re left in the dark. At the same time, however, it is vital to be thoughtful when deciding which information to share. Transparency can be a double-edged sword. Too much transparency can lead to confusion, whereas too little can lead to distrust and a failure to align your team and stakeholders. Outside of the value-add from your current stakeholders transparency can be a catalyst for building trust and attracting top capital, talent, and customers. Here are 3 things to keep in mind when embracing transparency at your company.   Sharing…

Matt Preuss - October 4, 2018

#Company Culture

A Flipped Approach to Fundraising

The Traditional “Fundraising Funnel” In the past, we’ve discussed how one can easily draw parallels between fundraising and a traditional sales & marketing funnel. Just as a sales & marketing funnel can take different forms, so can your fundraising funnel. Generally, we’ve laid out the “fundraising funnel” in 3 simple steps: Attracting and adding investors (leads) to your top of the funnel on a regular basis. Nurturing and moving those investors through the funnel with the goal of adding them as investors (customers) or engaging them for a future round. Building strong relations with your investors to convert them to promoters, evangelists, or future funders (customer success). Since “Account Based Marketing” has taken over marketing blogs, events, and discussions we’ve laid out how to apply ABM to your fundraising efforts.…

Matt Preuss - September 27, 2018


What We’ve Learned From Investors About Running a Board Meeting

With Q3 coming to an end, it is easy to lose focus on your board and become tangled up closing deals, hitting numbers, and pushing product updates. While you’re likely weeks away from your quarterly board meeting, it is never too early to have a game plan in place. Preparing for your board meeting now will take some stress off your shoulders as you make the final push to finish the quarter strong. If planned appropriately, board meetings can be a powerful resource for both you and your investors to discuss important topics and keep your business on track for a strong fourth quarter and beyond. We’ve scoured our own notes, blog posts, and other resources to compile our favorite quotes, lessons, and tips for running a successful board meeting:…

Matt Preuss - September 11, 2018


Onboarding New Investors? Think About These 3 Things.

You just raised a round. You have the check in hand. Hiring and product updates are moving along. Now what? While bringing on a new set of investors is exciting for your business, there are critical steps to “onboarding” new investors to ensure all parties are getting the most of the new partnership. Ideally, you selected your new investors strategically and did your own due diligence through the fundraising process. As Faisal Hoque puts it, “Funding can actually kill your venture, especially when there is a major disconnect between you and your investor”. Even if you’ve chosen the right funders, it is vital to your investor relations to establish a communication strategy, build a data distribution system, and set expectations and goals. Develop a roadmap & expectations Hopefully, expectations and…

Matt Preuss - September 4, 2018


You Should be Asking Your Investors for Help. Here’s How.

Investors are more than a source of capital. They have experience, advice, and networks you can leverage. It’s normal to feel intimidated by the people who just handed over a check, but it is vital for both parties that you tap into their knowledge to build a strong business. As soon as you take on capital, you are expected to work toward generating returns for your investors. On the flip side, an engaged investor can add value to your business in order to help generate those returns. That said, you are likely not their only investment, so you need to show them you value their time by only asking important, specific questions. When asked about the most important section of his investor updates, R.J. Talyor, Founder & CEO of Pattern89,…

Matt Preuss - August 30, 2018


3 Ways to Simplify Your Fundraising Funnel

In the words of AngelList Founder Naval Ravikant, “It’s never been easier to start a company. It’s never been harder to build one”. The competition for capital and talent is greater than ever. On top of building a great business, obtaining capital to grow your business is tough enough. From countless cold emails, meetings, and rejections fundraising is a long, often daunting, task. While most founders don’t have the fortune to 100% focus on fundraising, creating a simple and efficient process can be the difference between a successful or failed raise.  We’ve laid out 3 tips below to help simplify the fundraising process so you can stay focused on your day-to-day: Do Your Homework Before Reaching Out Before you send an email to a perspective investor make sure you’ve done your research. There is…

Matt Preuss - August 16, 2018