Matt Preuss's posts

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


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

#Software & Tools

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

#Metrics & Data

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…

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

#Investor Engagement