“Doubling Down” is a new series where we hear from top B2B SaaS investors on their most recent activities and takes on the current market. We had a great one last week with Erica Brescia, Managing Director at Redpoint Ventures. Check that out here.
This week we’re focusing on Mark Roberge, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Stage 2 Capital!
#1. What’s your most recent disclosed investment? Why did you do the deal?
We co-led a $5.2M seed round for Prequel, a data syncing tool that allows a company to push/pull data to their customer’s data warehouses (Snowflake, Redshift, BigQuery, etc…).
Because company data now lives in a constellation of cloud applications, this data is not readily accessible for data scientists or analysts, nor is it easily presentable in critical business applications used for decision-making. Prequel is solving this problem, allowing vendors to offer export functionality into a customer’s database, or customers can request import functionality from a vendor’s data.
We’re seeing large companies like Stripe, Heap, and Snowflake investing in building out this functionality themselves to accommodate requests from customers, and believe this is a great signal for the opportunity ahead for a product like Prequel — very few organizations have the capability or appetite to take this on themselves, but we expect that more and more will hear this request from customers in the years ahead.
#2. What’s your sweet spot for investing — check size, stage, type of deal? And how big is your current fund?
Stage 2 Capital invests $4M to $6M in first checks into B2B software companies that are around $1M ARR. These investments typically occur between the seed and the A round. We often start speaking with a startup when they have GTM questions rather than seeking capital which then leads to an investment opportunity over time.
Our current fund, Fund III, is $150M.
#3. What’s the #1 bit of advice you’d give to SaaS founders today?
We have had arguably the most macro disruptions to the startup ecosystem in the last 5 years than any other time in at least my lifetime. Between the initial COVID economic shutdown to the tech V-shape recovery to the rise and fall of the public and private valuation landscape with inflation and interest rates to now the advent of a massive technology breakthrough with AI, these are crazy, fast-moving, and exciting times. The advice we give, especially for entrepreneurs who have been working on their startups for a few years is, imagine if you could start over today, knowing what you know about customer sentiment, the macro conditions, the technical capabilities, etc., what would you do with a clean start? That reflection could lead to some important breakthroughs around the optimal vision for your path forward.
#4. What’s your pulse check on the venture markets right now, today?
We will see the beginning of the inflection point of the AI hype curve, with down rounds and maybe a bankruptcy or two from some of the early entrants, including one of the major LLMs. Web 1.0 was dominated by AOL, Netscape, and AltaVista. They eventually gave way to, at the time, no-name brands like Google, Amazon, and Salesforce.com. The big winners in AI have likely not been started yet.
#5. What’s different about your fund / how you invest and support founders?
Our mission at Stage 2 Capital is to support the next generation of entrepreneurs and their startups with go-to-market expertise and capital. As such, we are run and backed by 500+ limited partners that are the CROs/CMOs/CCOs of the most successful tech companies in the world from Snowflake to Atlassian to Zoom to Salesforce.com to GitHub. From sourcing opportunities to hiring talent to coaching founders to implementing sales methodologies, we leverage the Stage 2 Capital LP base in every stage of the investing and portfolio support process.
Mark Roberge is a Co-Founder and Managing Director at Stage 2 Capital and a Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School.
Prior to these roles, Mark was the founding CRO at HubSpot, where he scaled annualized revenue from $0 to $100 million and expanded his team from 1 to 450 employees. Mark was ranked #19 in Forbes’ Top 30 Social Sellers in the World. He was also awarded the 2010 Salesperson of the Year at the MIT Sales Conference. Mark is active with a number of startups as a board of director’s member, advisory board member, and investor.
Mark received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a B.A. in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Inc. Magazine, Boston Globe, TechCrunch, Harvard Business Review, and other major publications for his entrepreneurial ventures. Mark is the author of the bestselling book The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million.
On a personal note, Mark is an avid runner, yogi, and golfer and Deacon at Old North Church. His favorite responsibility is raising his two teenage sons.