TechCrunch+ roundup: Fighting fundraising fears, XaaS CS strategy, the VC 'collapse' - TechCrunch

Have you ever traveled on a cruise ship?

Before COVID, most voyages began with a shipboard safety drill where passengers assembled, donned life jackets and learned what to do in an emergency.

The ocean has an average depth of 2.3 miles, but these rehearsals were always a relaxed affair. You start a vacation; what can possibly get it wrong?


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Likewise, there’s no reason to fear fundraising, but like carefree full-sail cruisers, founders should have a good respect for a process that’s out of their control.

“Any change is an opportunity to create leverage, and a downturn is no exception,” writes Masha Bucher, founder and general partner of early-stage venture capital firm Day One Ventures.

In this TC+ post, she discusses the current economic environment and shares “actionable tips for closing preseeds to Series B rounds.”

We’re posting on a reduced schedule over Labor Day weekend, so I’ll be back next Friday with another roundup. Thanks so much for reading!

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

Creating a XaaS Customer Success Strategy that drives growth

a pickup truck carrying a giant tomato

Image Credits: TEPALMER (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Providing better service to users than they expect can literally save a software startup. In one study, companies that spent 10% of their annual revenue on customer success achieved peak net recurring revenue.

“Companies most often apply two or more customer success archetypes,” according to Rachel Parrinello and John Stamos of The Alexander Group. “Typically, these vary by customer segment, business vs. technical focus, and sales movement focus: adoption, renewal, bidding and cross-selling.”

If you’re interested in optimizing revenue through customer success, read the rest for a full overview of the customer success job design methodology because “companies shouldn’t design their customer success roles in a vacuum.”

We need to get rid of the lessons of the 2021 fundraising bubble

a hand throwing old books into the bin;  don't learn the lessons of the 2021 fundraising boom

Image Credits: kulkann (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Does your startup have a data room? Do you calculate ROI for each new hire before extending an offer letter?

At the risk of invoking the “do you even lift?” meme: Every process in your organization can be improved, and founders should win whenever possible, writes Imad Akhund, co-founder and CEO of Mercury.

“Use this tougher market to prepare and ensure your business is scalable and will do better in fundraising.”

Dear Sophie, What are the fastest visa options to attract international talent?

a lone figure at the hedge entrance to the maze, which has an American flag in the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

Our startup is hiring engineers. Most of our team works remotely, but some of our potential employees would like to work in the office. They are international students graduating in December, as well as some individuals who have worked with us remotely as contractors.

What are the fastest visa options we should look at? Can their supervisor work remotely? Anything else we should keep in mind?

“A strict recruiter.”

Stop sensationalizing the VC ‘collapse’: Look at the data

House of cards against blue sky

Image Credits: perigerendei (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

For many founders looking to raise money, this is a terrible time. Fundraising is taking much longer than it used to be, and valuations are much lower than they were a few months ago.

For investors, however, the reverse is true, says Brian Walsh of WIND Ventures.

“The reality is that there was an unprecedented advertising cycle in 2021 and what we have seen since the start of 2022 is objectively a ‘reversion to the mean’ in line with long-term trends.”

To reach the next level of fintech, infrastructure providers must address these pain points

Fifty dollar bill with adhesive tapes on it, top view, close-up

Image Credits: Geoffrey Coolidge (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Can infrastructure companies like Stripe, Plaid and Klarna help struggling fintech startups cope with shrinking valuations and weak deal flow?

Perhaps, but “to do that, they’ll need to take a closer look at the problems these customers face on a daily basis,” wrote Laura Spiekerman, Alloy’s co-founder and chief revenue officer.

Finding better ways to prevent fraud and align products with interest rates more quickly could unlock more potential in the sector, Spykerman says.

“Infrastructure providers need to re-prioritize and find a way to expand their capabilities for their current customers rather than just signing new ones.”

An Action Plan for Founder Fundraising in the Turbulent Fintech Waters

The bow of the ship plowed through heavy seas and splashed into the open ocean.

Image Credits: Jason Edwards (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Fundraising for startups is a sprint to the top in times of abundance, but in times of decline it is absolutely difficult.

“It’s not you; it’s the market,” advises Ryan Falvey, co-founder and managing partner of Financial Venture Studio.

“The best founders recognize that the goal is to close a circle, not to maximize price or minimize dilution,” meaning you should talk to as many investors as possible and take their money if the terms are reasonable .

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