What to Do Better Next Time – Lessons from 3 Top Current CEOs (Video + Transcript)

We sat down with CEOs of high-growth SaaS startups across the world on what they would do better next time.

Featuring:
PJ Bouten – Co-Founder and CEO at Showpad
Hande Cilingir – Co-Founder and CEO at Insider
Frederic Plais – CEO at Platform.sh
Jason Lemkin – Founder at SaaStr
Joanne Chen – Partner at Foundation Capital

Also, if you didn’t join SaaStr Europa, we’re having it again in 2019. Check out ticket prices and keep your eye diversity and inclusion ticket updates. Seriously, who doesn’t want a good FREE reason to fly over to Paris?

Transcript

Joanne Chen: My name is Joanne. I’m a partner of Foundation Capital and I am super excited to be here. We’re at the best SaaS conference in the world. And, the most beautiful city in the world, look at this venue. So, I think we need to give Jason and his team a round of applause. I am incredibly impressed. Thanks Jason. So, our foundation, we’ve been investing in early stage startups for twenty-something years and we sit here and talk about our awesome founders who have started companies like Netflix and Lenin Clob and MobilAren and it’s really easy to sit here and talk about them but the reality is, it hasn’t been all fun and games. It’s been a long journey of mostly pain, hard work and a lot of mistakes. I’m excited to be here today to talk with these awesome founders about all their mistakes and what lessons they have learned. I’ll ask each one of them to introduce themselves, starting with Fred here. Maybe your company and how many employees’ you guys have right now.

Fredric Plais: Thank you very much. Super excited to be here as well, thank you for getting me on stage. So, my name is Fred Plais. I am from France. I run a company called Platform.sh. We got 80 people today, 30 in the US and 50 in Europe.

Joanne Chen: Awesome, thank you.

PJ Bouten: Hey, so, my name is PJ. Co-founder and CEO of Showpad. I born and raised and live in Ghent Belgium. Yes, Ghent represents. We have until last week we had 300 employees but we acquired a company with 50 so it’s 350 employees now. About 50/50 Europe, US and yeah, enjoying the ride.

Hande Cilingir: Hello, this is Hande. Paris is beautiful and I think this venue’s also beautiful. Thank you very much for welcoming us and hosting us. I’m one of the co-founders and CEO of Insider. Insider is a growth management platform. Headquarters in Singapore. We are currently in 16 different countries, with 260 people.

Jason Lemkin: I’m just here because I know some of the panel would interject and embarrassing stories I can come up with as we go through the questions.

Joanne Chen: So, we’re going to make this fun since this is one of the last events before happy hour. We’re going to play a little game, where I will ask our panelist what kind of mistakes they’ve made and if they made a mistake they will raise their realm thing very high and maybe share a story or two. Does that work for you guys?

Hande Cilingir: Sure.

Joanne Chen: Does that work for the audience? Yeah? Okay. Alright, we’re good. First question, one of the things that we tell our founders is, never let VPs learn of your dime. So, who has made a bad VP hire? Raise your hand. Alright, sounds like PJ has a story for us.

PJ Bouten: I mean, ultimately if you’re a startup that scales, I believe you will at a certain stage realize that you have made a bad hire but the fact is at the time you made the hire the chance is very high. It was actually the right hire at the right time. I believe Jason, you write about it a lot but you have several types of VPs and if you’re lucky and the early stage you hire a stretch VP; it’s somebody who can stay with you on the ride for quite some time. But then, ultimately there comes a point where the skills, the experience, maybe also sometime the mindset of that person or the ego might slow you down. That’s when you have to make, you know, sometimes you make then the conclusion, “Ah! I hired the wrong person.”

PJ Bouten: In reality, as you probably could not get the VP that you then need to go to the next stage, two or three years before that. Ultimately, the conclusion is most of the time, the hires you do, if you do it well, are the right hires. Sometimes, some people are not suited for the next stage and that’s when you have to … those are definitely the harder moments in startup life.

Joanne Chen: If you’d do this over again, how would you have done this differently?

PJ Bouten: I mean, on the VPs, for me I would always say for me the big focus to avoid mis hires is really, there’s a couple key things. So, when we move to the US, I believe the mistake we made is that we weren’t focused enough on really hiring that person that can really help us. Also, scale. Usually, you are looking functionally. “I need a good VP on marketing. I need a good VP of sales. I need somebody to run customer success.” But, you actually need somebody on your side as well who can take the company to the next level. For me, in hindsight, the first hire when you’re going abroad, that’s somebody exceptional and on VP hires, background reference checking. If you hire somebody exceptional, they can then help you hire VPs for you.

PJ Bouten: Because, usually, the first VP you hire … you never hired a person like that so, you can have your board members help out if you’re lucky and if you have good investors they will do that but still at the end of the day, it’s a combination of background checking, taking your time and then hiring through network or people that you know.

Fredric Plais: I would just like to double down on this. I think the issue is not so much the fact that when you’re recruiting a VP you’re doing like 10, 15 interviews and you’ve seen a lot of people. So, know you are going to likely, going to pick the right person in the first place and you’ve got these board members that can help you on actually making sure that you’re getting the right person so, that’s not the hard part, I would say. If it doesn’t work after three months it’s pretty easy to actually let the person go. There was no passion, it’s pretty easy because there was no history. The person hadn’t taken the job and so … it hasn’t worked, too bad, maybe next time and maybe shake hands and move on. Now, the issue is when you get a VP that has been successful in the past and is no longer successful. The hard decision is, “How do I let them go? And do I let him go or her go?” That’s when passion is involved, that’s when people are very disappointed because they’ve worked hard for you, they’ve worked hard for your company. They’ve been successful at some part and now they’re no longer the right person. That’s when as a founder, choices are hard, I would say.

Joanne Chen: I think one of the things that we offer as advice to our founders is, to make sure to get time series data when you’re referencing a potential VP. To make sure that person is learning and growing and has a growth mindset as the company evolves. The starters are full of critical decision making, right? If you ask, when I ask our CEOs who are running public companies, all of them have told me that they have made tons of critical or tons of mistakes when making critical decisions and a lot of it was around timing. So, how do you guys think about that? Have you guys made the mistake of making a mistake around a critical decision? Anybody has done that? Yes? Jason hasn’t.

Joanne Chen: Alight, Hande seems like she has a story.

Hande Cilingir: Well, also a little bit about VP thing, yes, it’s crucial to how your VP is after maybe some million dollars. We have a very different story truly. I told it to Jason, I think he doesn’t yet believe that much, that we have six co-founders and we are doing well in terms of not having a [convince 00:08:35] but we have kind of a challenge about this, of course, in the decision-making side. Sometimes, critical decisions cannot be made very fastly but you have six co-founders because the only way to motivate those six co-founders is to get them involved in the decision-making processes and when you are making critical decisions.

Hande Cilingir: By the way, if I have a chance I would have eight co-founders, I would have 10 co-founders definitely but the thing is there should be a balance. There should be a very crystal-clear decision-making processes. I remember when it’s entrepreneur, actually, I had to learn my lessons from my previous business but still at Insider we have two very important examples for the slow, critical decision-making process. One of them is our second round, Series B round. We have been funded by [Segway 00:09:26] came to almost six months ago but we were a little bit late. This is why maybe it has affected our growth. The other thing was about a very critical product, which is going to keep us very competitive.

Hande Cilingir: Again, because of the involvement of the different parties it was a little bit late decision but we have done, we have very clearly defied the decision-making processes whom we are going to get involved and who will not. It was very important for us and it was one of the mistakes that I learnt, hopefully, I learnt. We will see.

Joanne Chen: What do you think you would’ve done differently the second time?

Hande Cilingir: Well, everyone should have a chance and responsibility to make the decisions. If the other parties will not have their certain value added to this decision. This is why we have written down crystal-clear and this is the thing that I would do again.

Joanne Chen: Awesome. Okay, third question for you guys, I think building a startup is like building a religion. One of my favorite books, Savion’s talks about religions and myths and company building. I recommend this book if you guys haven’t read it and I think it’s so important to build a good culture, which is the startup’s religion. A part of that is making sure that your employees are happy and are bought into this culture. Have you guys faced bumps around employee happiness? Wow! Okay, Hande has a story.

Hande Cilingir: We have offices in 16 different countries and where you are in 16 different countries, if some of the countries has relatively less people, they might become disconnected. They might feel that they are disengaged. They might think that you don’t care about them and this leads to unhappiness in their sites. So, I think aligns is very important. We have learnt how to align the team, still learning. For example, we have four practices. I have [assenting 00:11:25] sessions every two weeks, they can ask me any questions via strategy meetings once in a month. Even, we announce the [materialization 00:11:34] rates. [Driven realizations 00:11:34] to whole team and they can hear the whole strategy. What’s going on? What’s going well? What’s not going well? And, he third thing is we have retreats every year. It’s costly still for a start-up but we are bringing whole insiders to our HQ and having retreats in order to shade the whole-year strategy.

Joanne Chen: Got it. One of the things that we’ve experimented with is to ask all of our companies to do 360 reviews from day one even when they’re very, very small. Have you guys tried that and has that been effective at all?

Fredric Plais: Yeah, we’re monitoring employee morale every six months. We are getting surveys and we’re getting some really good feedback from the from the team. What they like, what they dislike. Anecdotally, we also have a random channel and a complaints channel on site [00:12:24] where, actually people do pass a lot of things, the complaints channel. We also have a commendation channel so people can also say when they like things but they’re pretty boorish. It’s one of the most used channel and people actually tell things when they really face issues and people reply and that actually helps quite a bit. But, in general I think start-ups are roller coasters. Roller coasters for the founders, roller coasters for the employees. When there’s ups, it’s high ups. Everybody is super excited and the company is very lively. When it’s downs, you know, we’re working into a place where you sometimes get incidents, it’s horrible. We feel the pressure in our flesh when that happens, every employee does. I think it’s a great adventure, it’s very, very exciting. It can be very harsh at times as well. So, I think its part of the job, it’s part of start-ups. We’re all to see ups and downs and live with it and try to mitigate the problems but you need to live with it and accept that it’s part of the job, right?

Joanne Chen: It’s especially hard because you guys run international start-ups with many different offices and employees of different backgrounds and cultures. Have any of you faced any issues expanding into the U.S. or into other geographies? Okay. P.J.

PJ Bouten: Yeah, so, first two years, we founded the company in Belgium. First two years, everybody was in Ghent, we raised our first round of funding. My co-founder moved to San Francisco and actually at a very early stage, already, we started building a company in two continents and then it really resonated what Hande was referring to in terms of; the moment you start having two offices Showpad now has actually seven offices, it becomes challenging on the culture-side. Because, people are always wondering, where is the headquarters? Who makes which decisions? And so, I think going to the U.S. for, I guess there’s a lot of European start-ups here, founders here and so going to the U.S. is one of the hardest things and it can cost you a lot of money. It can destroy your company culture if you’re not careful, it can generate [foundry 00:14:42] conflict. It triggers a lot of things and … sorry, go ahead.

Jason Lemkin: One thing I learned observing Showpad from the early days, now I’ve seen this happen again and again, as you come to the U.S. and you split it. You have the co-founders and you split up but the U.S. is so expensive. And, it’s not just that it costs twice as much but you already have this European revenue. So, those extra dollars consume all your capital because you have a brand, you might have a brand in Europe and once you have a brand your cost you acquire customers for shrinks and then you go to the U.S. and “Oh my God!” It’s like a dollar to get 50 cents of revenue or a dollar and it … I think that caused some stress at Showpad. How do you load balance the investment and would you spend more in the US earlier again? Would you spend less? Would you learn for next time?

PJ Bouten: I would spend more aggressively in the U.S. I think earlier, we were too cheap even. Too cheap on hiring talent. So, I would spend more aggressively but then you need to have the right investors backing your company. Also, obviously, you need to have a solid plan. Keep track of the metrics, have an eye on the [or 00:15:49] especially, I think, on the sales and marketing side that’s where you can derail pretty quickly if you don’t pay attention. But, definitely be a bit more aggressive, be careful where you open up your first office in terms of; cultural fit, access to talent. I think that’s all things you have to really take into account, like the access to talent. When Showpad came to the U.S. we had no brands, nobody knew us. It’s hard to attract the right people. Lucky that we met Jason to help us do that. But, it’s hard and so it costs more money, it costs more time, it takes more time to ramp up your sales team your CSM team because if the product gets built and the engineering and product and everything happens in Europe it also takes more time for people to understand the product to go to market. So, be patient as well.

Joanne Chen: Patience is a virtue. Honda you have six cofounders. Has that been helpful with expansion, hurtful? How do you how do you manage that?

Hande Cilingir: Yeah definitely because one of them is our [IEP 00:16:54] of growth. He’s going into a new market, just establishing the team and trained them, get the first clients and then he goes for another country. It helps a lot. The others has different responsibilities and for all the growth and expansion it helped a lot but regarding going in the US, we still don’t have US because we are planning to do it by the beginning of 2019 but we are currently in Japan, we are currently in Korea, we are in UK, we are in Poland and those cultures are very diverse cultures and for us in Japan, everything was different than the very difficult because you have to first learn the culture. You have the first how to do sales in Japan.

Hande Cilingir: So, our practices are growing into another new country didn’t work in Japan. It was a struggle for us. It is also expansive country. If you will spend more, you will be more successful? No. But, it takes definitely more time to crack those markets because you can only correct them after you understand the culture and the way of doing business. For example, we do direct sales. And we go to the field and we do have client meetings and we have a very option sales engine which haven’t worked in Japan because the things are working in Japan with agencies and also in the dinners. The things are very changing a lot in the dinners, in the business dinners. It was a challenge for us to have a exist in Japan but I think we did it.

Fredric Plais: I think in terms of geographic expansions, I think there’s not one strategy that works really. It’s as many strategies as I can think of. But, I still want to point out that the US market like for an industry like ours, the US market is such an attractive country on the platform as a service market which we belong to. It’s 10 billion in the US and 2 billion in in Europe, [although 00:18:46], every country. So, it’s a 1 to 5 report. For us succeeding as a company means succeeding in the US. It’s a pretty as simple as that. My take away fact, I’ve been to the US for two years as a CEO, if I had been there four years we been even better state I’m sure so I think you for our industry you never go fast enough, in fact. That’s my take away.

Joanne Chen: Many of you guys have talked about not spending money fast enough. Do any of you guys feel like you spend money too fast? Has that been a concern?

PJ Bouten: I mean usually that happens on the sales and marketing side so if I talk about being more aggressive in the US it means for me like, paying higher salaries and attracting those first, two, three, four. Don’t be cheap on those first hires because they’re critical but it can quickly derail on the marketing side or on the … We’ve had an instance where we’ve had a VP on marketing build out the team quite a big spend. Metrics were really bad. We made a decision to actually relocate. We found another better marketer in another city. We decided to completely restart the team and at a certain point we actually stopped so we had to let go of like half of the marketing team. Our marketing spends was halved.

PJ Bouten: Actually, it didn’t hurt the … It didn’t hurt inbound or performance or outbound and then you’re like, “Oh my God!” We spent, all those months, so much money and actually it didn’t matter. There was like two or three months we almost didn’t have a marketing team. We weren’t spending money and still like leads were flowing in quite nicely and we were still performing on the revenue side and then that makes you more critical of really making sure that on your marketing spend and on your sales spend, I think that that’s super important.

Hande Cilingir: I totally, I agree that and I have one more addition. I have an interesting challenge I believe. We are coming as a six co-founders. We are coming from very, let’s say, humble backgrounds, very normal or average living standards. So, to me still, when I look at different countries, there are different rates for salaries. If you are going to either country, for example, I tell to myself, how come I be paid this money to those people but it’s very normal? And, we need to overcome this but I think now we have to, we know that we had to pay it in order to get the best people on board.

Joanne Chen: What is the advice that you would give founders here who are thinking of expansion to the US in terms of hiring?

Hande Cilingir: The thing is you can’t do that without these people. At the end of the day, it’s all about people. When you have your privatization unit you shouldn’t forget that it starts with people, to me. To all for in sighted and then product and non-profit and then the company gross. When the revenues are growing fast. You need to delegates, I’m also trying to learn how to delegates and when this time comes, without these people, you cannot grow.

Joanne Chen: So, it’s all about people and people are start-ups’ biggest assets. Have you guys ever lost a VP that you wish you kept? Being honest.

Fredric Plais: I think you know to come back on the recruitment and advice the US, really, I think the … take people that have done it before. It’s like you said, don’t go too cheap. I totally agree with that. I think, it’s such a big market, such a competitive market that you really want to get the people that can show you the way and rely on them because you as a founder, especially for us coming from Europe, you don’t know that market. You don’t know the way to operate, you don’t know the way of selling. Looks like the same people, it’s not the same people, it’s not the same culture at all, it’s very different. And so, if you want to learn it by yourself, you’re going to spend years and not necessarily be successful, where, if you find the right people then things will go fast and that’s actually one of the things I think I’ve done right, which is, going after people that were already in the industry, in the spot, working and actually selling similar products in the same ecosystem system. They came in, they knew who to talk to, how is the sales process working? And, it went well.

PJ Bouten: I mean, for a show that we’ve done last year what I would call a transformational hire, so, we were looking for a president CEO in the US. Louis, myself, for European founders, Louis lived in San Francisco but the team was getting bigger and bigger and at a certain stage we both realized, if Showpad wants to be a billion-dollar company, wants to be a massive success, we need to hire somebody local who knows, or market, who knows how to attract talent and who also knows how to … who’s an operator and can run the company. It took us, we hired a recruiter, it took us a year to land that person.

PJ Bouten: Actually, in hindsight we almost hired somebody and then at the last moment our gut feel said, “Okay. We’re not going to do it.” The board actually also kind of agreed like, “Yes. Start looking harder.” At the end of the year suddenly this candidate comes on my radar, Jason Holmes, former CEO of Marchetto. Has been at Marchetto for seven years, joined at 20 million air are or -ish and then left the company at three hundred million, post IPO, post-take private. And then, we run a very thorough process, a ton of interviews but for me, the moment I knew it was the right candidate and it’s a great story, I had a dinner with him in Ghent. He flew to Belgium and we were supposed to go to dinner to this fancy restaurant.

PJ Bouten: My wife was abroad for her work, I was actually alone with the kids. My babysitter cancels on me and I’m like, “Oh shit! I have this dinner.” I invite him to my place and actually, the first two hours, we spend babysitting my kids. Seeing him interact with my kids and then the conversations we had, I was like, “That’s the guy.”

Joanne Chen: So, your kids helped you close a seal mark [crosstalk 00:25:27].

PJ Bouten: He told me it’s helped in the closing, it’s true.

Joanne Chen: Speaking of closing candidates, I think that’s one of the toughest things to do as a early stage start-up founder. Any advice on that dimension since you’re talking about the CEO of Marchetto?

PJ Bouten: No, I mean, pitching a company is what we do every single day, every single hour, every single minute and it goes first with people. The same way you want to sell your customers, you want to sell people on joining board and coming to your super exciting company that does so many things to change the world. You really want to pitch them the same way as you would pitch anybody and just take all the VC and the same game, right? Just to come back on the retention, there’s one thing I’ve learned and I want to share that tip because we didn’t lose a VP but we could have lost a VP at the time. I think, if I was to do it again I would do very differently. I hired somebody in HR, after 40 people.

PJ Bouten: We were already here 40 people. And I should have done it at 10 people and we should have paid very much attention on the onboarding process. Very, very early on because one of the best VP I’ve got right now we actually got him an offer in July. July is, the next month is August. In French, August is pretty low as a month and the guy came in October 1st and yet, nobody around. Basically, all team was off, PTO and the guy was actually completely stressed. He was saying, “Well, what sort of company is this? What I’m doing here?” We gave him a few things to read but you know he was done in two days and he spent ten days thinking, “Why did I did I quit my job? I was successful, I’m getting to this company and this is how I’m getting treated.”

PJ Bouten: That resonate, the next day we actually set it up, set up an onboarding process. Now, we pay a lot of attention on the onboarding process. We get [different 00:27:30] teams so people work from home but we have a full process for six weeks. It’s very intense, it’s very well-organized. We get people that are dedicated to this and I think, this is the first moments of you and that new employee coming in and you don’t want to screw up. You really want to make sure that you’re doing the right thing so start is good then the next will probably follow.

Hande Cilingir: About recruitment, I would add that from the very first day I think you should create a very good recruitment machine. We are now 14, we have 14 people in our terms acquisition team and this team is also very crucial for the onboarding of the people. It is very important because it might be a evil nature, a reason for churn if you cannot onboard the people well. The most important lesson I learned about recruitment is, yes, those guys, your recruitment or your terms acquisition team, can bring in candidates but at the end of the day it’s your job to recruit your VPs because you are the person who can attract them, who can bring them to the company, who can impress them and I always see that it’s really important to find someone who has this hunger and passion. Regarding the pitching, by the way, pitching is very important because I believe that you should always treat different pitch-tech ready.

Hande Cilingir: What is your culture deck? What is your employer [rake 00:28:53]? Employment [back 00:28:53] and the third one is your, of course, investment [bank 00:28:56].

PJ Bouten: It really resonates with me in like, obviously, you’re always pitching and I think there’s different messages that resonate. I think as well as a founder CEO, you should always … hiring. So, definitely VPs and even director-level [showboats 00:29:12] around 350 people. 50% of my time goes to-

Hande Cilingir: 50%?

PJ Bouten: … maybe even more but like 50, five, zero, goes to recruiting or helping my managers recruit or improving the … I think those are like the leavers you have to pull to be successful if you want to scale beyond the 10 million and even in the early stages, obviously, it’s even more critical to be involved in every single hire, obviously.

Joanne Chen: Absolutely. So, we have time for one last question I’ll ask the three of you, show of hands. There was a list of 10 mistakes that Jason that tweeted out earlier. How many of you guys have made or ten mistakes? How about 9? Okay, come on, 8?

PJ Bouten: Jason, what were the mistakes? Summarize it.

Jason Lemkin: I don’t remember. So, I don’t know, I don’t remember.

Joanne Chen: So, I think you were … hiring culture, RVCs, all that.

PJ Bouten: I’m pretty certain, look the reason why we’re here is ultimately I think everybody, all the time you’re making mistakes and we’ve probably made, we’ve got like a list of like 15 questions and I think everybody here said, “We’ve made most of those mistakes.” For me, it’s a matter of … and there’s a way how you internally deal with mistakes and that’s like … In the beginning when I was an entrepreneur and probably every entrepreneur, CEO, founder, has an ego. But, as your company grows and scales I felt like your ego goes down a bit and you have to do that because you’re making a ton of mistakes but you also have to recognize that torture team, torture investors, the more open you communicate about it and the quicker you get into a mindset of just like moving on but also solving what’s wrong. I think that’s ultimately how you make keep making progress.

Jason Lemkin: Can I add one more? I know we’re over but after this we’re going to take a break and then we’re going to break out to these VC sessions and we’ll have like eight. So, take a break, have a cocktail. I think the bar is going to start soon and then, here, eight sessions that we’ve done. But, one thing I know are over but since it’s CEO confidential, one thing on my list was dilution. So, we asked PJ, “What would you do next?” I came to America, everything’s expensive, I don’t want to pay more than 50 grand for a VP sales. I would have spent more but that cost of capital in the early days is so high, six cofounders. I’ve got to be honest, I think about dilution of just what my six cofounders have. My first start-up, I raised money in 2004. This was the worst time in the history of our lifetimes array’s. I had to sell 80% of my company and my seat in [Around 00:31:50]. That’s the way the world worked in two thousand … So, I have a little scar tissue and I went the other way. So, there’s so much capital today. All of you guys have crossed, how much of platform finally have you just raised? How much have you raised?

Fredric Plais: 34 million.

Jason Lemkin: 34 million after a gap, right? And, Showpads raised how much now?

PJ Bouten: 120 million.

Jason Lemkin: 120 million. And, you’ve just raised some got 250 employees so now it’s more dilution than access to capital, right? So, would you take less dilution, more dilution, raise more? How do you think about, or do you ignore dilution? Do you think about it every night before you go to bed? Because, it’s the flip side of like the unicorn age, isn’t it?

Hande Cilingir: I think we are going to dive this more because we have a shareholder ship program. We have currently 44 shareholders in the company. Due to methodology, I think, in our last round, we have also some secondaries. So, [Secoya 00:32:41] on me hasn’t, didn’t get the shares from us. Also, from the angel investors.

Jason Lemkin: That helps a little bit.

Hande Cilingir: A lots because I have already get a promise from our Cs … [A Rons 00:32:52] yes investors, if there’ll be a next round then they will be able also do some secondaries. So, I’m trying to keep the balance says this because I would like to increase the number of shareholders even up to 100 or 150 in time, hopefully. Let’s see. And, the second thing is for the dilution, of course, maybe everyone knows. What I want to repeat it one more time if it helps, you shouldn’t get more money, you shouldn’t get money, more than you need. In the last round, it’s supposed to be around $420,000,000 for us. But you only need, for the upcoming two years, $8,000,000 to $10,000,000. So, if you get it. I know that sometimes you might feel that, okay, it’s kind of a protection. He sort of just two years, you should think about three, years four years, no. Because, it will also in time your valuation will increase, definitely and you will have better valuations with less dilution. So, I think we should all get the money in the amount that we need.

Fredric Plais: Yeah and Jason, the way I’m thinking about it [crosstalk 00:33:54]. Yeah buffer is good. The way I’m thinking about it is, we are in the all-time up right now. The market is crazy. It’s the biggest valuations ever and I think you want to take the money now. So, that’s my first thinking and the second thinking is all about having the means to be relevant in three years before thinking about dilution. I want to make sure that I can successfully grow the company and get it in the next stage and that’s really more important than dilution in my mind.

PJ Bouten: For me I’m not … I’m thinking about dilution but I’m also thinking it in a way like you want to be a combination of capital efficient but then also like weighing your options and Showpad, now actually we’ve raised in the last two years almost $100,000,000 with basically in some, we chopped it up but we knew it was available with every … the money we raised could always get us at least 12 to 18 months further but I also always had a plan and if it was 24 months or 36 I had a plan ready and if the numbers were good and the metrics are good I knew that my current investors were happy to put in additional dollars. But, then I would still make sure I get term sheets from other people to make sure … keep them honest. I think that’s how I’ve minimized dilution.

Joanne Chen: So, key takeaway; the market is hot, goals are to raise a lot of money and if you’re a founder facing challenges just remember that you’re not alone. Everyone goes through a lot of things before they can claim fame. Remember that Saastr is an awesome community where you have all sorts of founders that you can contact or reach out to and share in your joys and pains. Thank you, everybody.

 

Published on September 13, 2018

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