TechCrunch+ roundup: Why you should go to APE, H-1B lottery tips, how to check references - TechCrunch

If you want to break even, go to APE.

Cloud companies typically rely on performance metrics like CAC payout and LTV to CAC, but “they feel more like financial metrics than operational, and it’s hard for employees to get a handle on those concepts,” according to Neeraj Agrawal, Brandon Gleklen and Jack Mattei of Battery Ventures.

Using research data from Capital IQ and Battery, this post contains key benchmarks for public companies and private SaaS businessesalong with recommended targets for companies with different ARR ranges.

“APE is an extremely simple metric that we believe can serve as your north star as you navigate these volatile times.”


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This metric is not a panacea: APE varies by geographic region and other metrics, such as gross margin or a company’s projected growth rate.

“Achieving higher APE earlier in the maturation cycle is likely to be a net positive,” they wrote. “Overall, we believe the $200,000 target will serve most mid/late growth stage companies well.”

Note, this is not a one metric to rule them all part of thought leadership.

As Glecklen quipped on Twitter, “you should only write about a metric in a blog post if you’ve discussed it with multiple management teams and get consistent feedback that it’s valuable.”

Thanks so much for reading,

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

The secret to doing great reference checks on potential employees

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I’ve hired enough people to know that cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias are endemic when it’s time to check a candidate’s references.

Teams are predisposed to hire candidates who have gone through multiple interviews, but reference checking should not be a pro forma exercise.

Haje Jan Kamps shares six questions she asks during reference calls that will “make a good conversation,” along with some tips on what to listen for.

Learning from my failures: Lessons from a 2-time founder

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All gloating aside: learning from our own mistakes is useful, but learning from someone else’s mistakes is optimal.

Squadhelp CEO and founder Darpan Munjal has shut down his previous company, a fashion e-commerce venture, after four years of “solid growth.” In retrospect, he says the early-stage funding created a false sense of security.

“It wasn’t easy to close the shutters on a business I really believed in. But I knew I could start over if I was willing to learn from my mistakes and apply those lessons wisely.”

4 principles private equity firms must use to win the race for talent

The magnet attracts figures from the crowd.  Talent acquisition concept.

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My startup experience focused on operations, so the venture capital world is still a black box to me in many ways.

I was surprised to learn that private markets are so expansive: according to one estimate, alternative assets under management have a compound annual growth rate of 9.8%, much higher than inflation or GDP. By 2025, the AUM pool will contain more than $17 trillion.

It’s not easy to retain people in private equity: new contributors have to wait years before they can earn carried interest, and the notoriously opaque compensation system doesn’t encourage loyalty.

“Between salary, bonus, vesting, carried interest and ownership of a management company, it can be nearly impossible for employees to know where they stand financially,” says Richard Change, co-founder and managing partner of PFA Solutions.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Simba Chain’s $25M Series A Deck

While TechCrunch didn’t cover blockchain startup Simba Chain’s $25 million Series A round, the company did share its winning pitch with TC+.

“My disdain for blockchain technology will almost certainly come through in this teardown,” writes Hae Jan Kamps, who says the 19-slide deck “is incredibly impressive and covers a lot of ground.”

In a down market, good news is not enough to manage international teams

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Talent is spread across the globe, meaning startups that don’t respect cultural differences are setting themselves up for failure.

Now that many companies are in cost-cutting mode, it’s critical to follow local laws and social norms when it comes to laying off employees, according to John S. Kim, CEO of Sendbird.

After leaving two startups with international teams, he wrote a TC+ guest post to help founders communicate with workers during turbulent times.

“A company not only has a responsibility to inform employees about what’s going on, they have to do it in a way that will best resonate with their respective audiences.”

Dear Sophie: What do we need to know about the H-1B lottery before hiring a STEM OPT?

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Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

What do my founding team and I need to be aware of in our early stage startup so we can be on track for the next H-1B lottery for the STEM OPT applicants we hire?

“A strong strategist.”

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