Matt Preuss's posts

Tips from YC: Using Asks, Metrics, and a Recap to Power Your Investor Updates

Y Combinator has funded over 1900 startups since their inception in 2005. In the process of funding those startups, YC receives thousands of investor updates on an annual basis. As Aaron Harris, Partner at YC, puts it, “At YC, we get lots of updates from our alums. There seems to be a correlation between quality and frequency of updates and the goodness of the company and founders.” Over the past year, we’ve had thousands of founders share Updates with their investors and other stakeholders. While investor updates come in all different shapes and sizes, we’ve found that most, if not all, include some form of the following: a quick recap of the last month, metrics and KPIs, and specific asks for your investors. To this point, Aaron Harris of YC…

The 100th Edition of the Founders Forward: We’re here for you.

100 editions ago, we created the Founders Forward to give founders an advantage as they do the difficult work of growing their companies. We set out to be a go-to resource, collecting the best startup advice on the web in one place, week after week. Our aim has remained the same—helping entrepreneurs and startups succeed. 100 editions later, and we’re going stronger than ever. We’ve shared 878 articles, written by 572 different writers to over 10,000 startup leaders just like you. Below we share our 5 most popular original articles and 5 most popular shared articles from our first 100 editions. Thanks you so much for reading. Here’s to many more. Think you have content that will help founders move forward? Shoot us a message with an example to…

The Pro Rata Conversation Can Be Tough (But It Doesn’t Have to Be)

Ask a seasoned venture capitalist about pro rata and they’ll likely give you a response reminiscent of someone talking about air travel: “It’s not what is used to be.” Put simply, pro rata investment rights give investors the ability to re-invest in a company’s future rounds in order to maintain their ownership %. Just as the early-stage venture capital landscape has changed over the years, so have the terms and relationships. With the explosion of early-stage investors and the increasing ease of starting a company, pro rata rights have become a point of contention and confusion for founders and investors alike.   Pro rata as an investor Pro rata rights are often seen as a main advantage for early stage venture firms and investors. The ability to follow on and…

What’s the Split? How to Fairly Split Startup Equity with Founders and Early Team Members.

Note: When determining your startup equity structure, we recommend consulting with your lawyer. One of the major ways a startup can attract top talent is by offering company equity. From the perspective of a founder, startup equity can be a powerful tool for recruiting and retaining talent, especially when competing against large corporations that can often offer higher wages and additional benefits. There is no “one size fits all” strategy for distributing startup equity. Determining how to split equity among investors and later employees is fairly straightforward, but determining the equity split among founders and the earliest employees can be tricky. You can learn more about dilution and distributing equity with investors here. Even the most experienced leaders struggle with the issue of fairly dividing startup equity. To help alleviate the…

Matt Preuss - March 21, 2019

#Hiring & Talent

Navigating Your Series A Term Sheet

You’ve just gotten through an exhausting fundraise, congratulations are in order, and now you have an unsigned Series A term sheet in your hand. What’s next? It’s often assumed that you will know what you’re looking at when handed a Series A term sheet, but if you’re a first-time founder, that usually isn’t the case. To help you navigate your Series A term sheet we’ve briefly summarized common fields and terms and what you should be looking for under each one. The fields below are largely based off of Y-Combinators post and Series A Term Sheet template, “A Standard and Clean Series A Term Sheet.” As a note, this is not legal advise and we suggest consulting with your lawyer while reviewing your term sheet.  Liquidation Preferences Liquidation preference is simply…

Matt Preuss - March 14, 2019


Thinking About Pitching Point Nine Capital? Check Out These Tips.

Point Nine Capital is one of the most—if not the most—sought-after early stage SaaS venture firm in Europe. With a portfolio that includes the likes of  Zendesk, Front, and Algolia, the Point Nine team receives countless decks and pitches every day. Part of the reason they receive so many pitches is Point Nine Capital hosts a contact form on their website that allows visitors to begin the pitch process. We’ve scoured their blog to gather what we believe are best practices when filling out the Point Nine Capital pitch form. The Basics This is a pretty straightforward section with a few questions about the founder and firmographics. A couple of key questions: Which category/categories does your startup fall into?  Point Nine is mostly known for investing in SaaS. However, they’re also…

Matt Preuss - February 25, 2019

#Investor Engagement

Reactions, Update Template Library, and More

This month we’ve brought you product improvements that are all about making your Updates better. Check out what’s new from the last month below.   Reactions to Updates We all like to know that the work we put into updates is appreciated. Reactions make it easy to know when your stakeholders have engaged with your update. With reactions, recipients can simply give your Update a thumbs-up. Reactions are currently in beta, if you’re interested in having Reactions enabled for your account, send us an email to  Update Template Library Not sure what to include in your next Update? We’ve got your back with our new Update Template Library. We are in early stages of building out our Update Template Library. Add any template to your account with the click of a button. Check out the library here. Have…

Matt Preuss - February 18, 2019

#Product Updates

Total Addressable Market: Lessons from Uber’s Initial Estimates

Rewind to 2009, when a small company called UberCab is pitching the idea of a “next generation black cab service” to seed investors. Operating in just 2 markets (NYC & SF), offering an SMS system to hail a ride, and estimating a $4B market size, UberCab envisioned themselves as the black car leader for professionals in American cities. Fast forward to 2019, Uber operates in over 60 countries, has expanded into food delivery, added coverage outside urban area, become a rental car alternative, and their total addressable market is rapidly approaching $300B (with some estimates surpassing $1T). Investors go back and forth about the importance of TAM, as it is often inaccurate and is constantly changing. David Skok sums it up like this: “TAM’s role in a pitch deck is…

Matt Preuss - February 14, 2019


11 VC Thought Leaders We Keep Coming Back To

For the past 3 years, we’ve been hard at work scouring the internet for content for our weekly newsletter: The Founders Forward. Over the course of building the Founders Forward, we’ve shared 1000s of articles and have gotten to know different VC thought leaders and influencers. Below, we’ve shared 11 of the VC thought leaders we learn from again and again. Do you follow anyone that we don’t have on our list? Shoot us an email to or send us a tweet. We’d love to build out the list even more! Jason Lemkin Twitter Handle: @jasonlk Tweets About: All things SaaS with a focus on sales, investor relations, and scaling your business to $100M in Revenue. Follow if: You are a SaaS founder or operator with an interest in learning from someone who…

Matt Preuss - January 24, 2019


Ready to Make the Jump from Seed to Series A? Think About These 3 Things.

Raising a Seed round is an incredible accomplishment. For many startups, it’s also the start of a long journey. As more companies get funded at the Seed stage, the competition for Series A capital is growing. In fact, if you are lucky enough to raise a Seed round, your chance of raising a second round is roughly 48%. Outside of the essentials, like finding product-market fit, scaling revenue, and building a repeatable customer acquisition process, there are plenty of other important things to consider as you get ready to raise a Series A. We’ve laid out 3 of them below.   Tracking Metrics & Financial Planning David Cummings, investor and company founder, has found that most Seed stage founders don’t track enough metrics on a weekly basis. Having a grasp…

Matt Preuss - January 10, 2019