How many metrics should a startup CEO share with Vista Equity Partners during the first meeting if their business development team wants to have an exploratory conversation?
Two things to think about when meeting with later stage investors (and Vista is the best of all of them in SaaS):
- They’ll meet with everyone in the space. So assume even if they don’t share anything with anyone else, they have everyone’s numbers in a database. And in the end, that will lead to some data leakage from VCs and PE firms. All late stage investors have the numbers on everyone they’ve met (and many they haven’t) sitting in their databases.
- Your numbers are not as confidential — or special — as you think. A Google search, some work on LinkedIn, etc. … you can pretty much guess how much revenue most SaaS companies have. So in general, I say you may as well disclose almost everything except the “secret sauce”.
So if you have zero interest in being acquired, take the meeting to learn. But don’t share much. If you have some interest, you may as well share most metrics. Just bear in mind, they’ll be meeting with everyone else, too.