Fresh Insights

Analyses, Musings & Observations

Net vs gross dollar retention stats

Dollar retention is the most important measure in SaaS.  There are two ways to measure it: gross dollar retention and net dollar retention.  Gross dollar retention looks at how much of the customer base you’ve kept year over year without including upgrades.  Formulaicly, it’s ARR – downgrades – churn all divided by beginning ARR and…
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The early exit of Zcruit

We had the chance to speak to Ben Weiss, founder and CEO of Zcruit.  Zcruit was acquired by Reigning Champs in November 2017.  Ben shared his story with us and lessons from his journey are below.   What is Zcruit? Zcruit helps colleges sports teams access information on recruits.  Ben started working for the Northwestern football…
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Venture capital trends – the data

We just received Dow Jones VC Edge report for Q1 2019.  The data is excellent and shows the data behind trends in venture capital.  What are the trends? i) the market has never been more awash with venture capital; but ii) the number of deals being done isn’t growing at the same rate.  As a…
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net dollar retention needs to be 109%+

One SaaS metric we monitor closely is net dollar retention.  It measures what percent of revenue you retained from the prior year after accounting for upgrades, downgrades, and churn.  Formulaically it’s beginning of period revenue + upgrades – downgrades – churn all divided by beginning of period revenue.   If that formula yields a number greater…
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Learnings from the acqui-hire of a travel startup

We had the chance to speak with Eric Shepard, formerly of Trill Travel.  Trill had a successful acqui-hire exit to Lonely Planet.  Eric shared his story with us; lessons from his experience are below.   What was TRILL? TRILL is an artificial intelligence-driven travel marketplace that turns Instagram posts into bookable experiences. TRILL’s dual-sided marketplace gives content creators…
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The aftermath of raising too much cash

At the link below is one of the best startup post-mortems I’ve ever read.  It’s by a founder of a company called Moz.  The business had fantastic growth out of the gate, took on major VC money, tried to scale too quickly letting hiring and costs got ahead of growth, and ultimately they had to…
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Lessons from an SMB focused software exit

We caught up with Sasha Poljak, the Executive Chairman of Ximble, about Ximble’s successful exit to Paycor.  Ximble is a staff scheduling and time tracking platform used by SMB’s to organize their workforce.  Learnings from Sasha’s story are below.   Ximble was born from an observed problem.  The founder’s sister in laws was a nurse.  He…
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Actual founder paydays at exit

When a startup founder shepherds a company to a successful exit (IPO), what are the paydays like? We dove into the major tech IPO’s of 2018 and 2019 to find out.  Note that paydays aren’t necessarily what the founders took home at the IPO (shares are usually subject to a 6 month lockup), rather they’re…
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Median Founder Ownership at Exit

Snapchat cofounders Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy owned a combined 44% of Snapchat before it went public.  Mark Zuckerberg owned 31% of Facebook, Sergey Brin and Larry Page owned 31% of Google, the founders of Eventbrite owned 35%, and Reed Hastings owned 24% of NetFlix.  These are remarkable levels of CEO ownership upon going public/exit,…
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What big funds look for in a CEO

Recently, we got a hold of an investor letter from one of New York’s finest late stage venture funds.  The letter shared insights into what the fund looks for in a management team, which resonated with us.  Below we share these points, verbatim.   We like CEOs that are patient with us and believe that…
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