TechCrunch+ roundup: Why your title matters, part-time CFOs, Sequoia's new model

·6 min read

Startup culture is informal, which is why some workers end up with job titles like "customer delight manager" or "product whisperer."

That might work inside mature companies, but early-stage founders who are presenting themselves to investors must be more specific.

In an interview with Natasha Mascarenhas, B2B stealth startup founder Akshaya Dinesh recounted the time her team was rejected by an accelerator because they hadn't yet picked a CEO.

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“We said something like, ‘We’re very early and we’re both technical so we’re kind of doing everything together,’ but if we had to choose it would be X," said Dinesh.

Making sure each contributor has a clearly defined title gives potential investors a better understanding of the team and its abilities — and it will also help avoid future legal disputes.

But like it or not, it also means some founders will receive a larger slice of the pie than others.

"As we’ve learned through loud legal disputes and quieter signs, titles matter," writes Natasha, who also interviewed several investors and legal experts. "Perhaps even more than the name of your startup does."

In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., we won't be publishing on Thursday, November 25 and Friday, November 26.

Thanks very much for reading!

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

5 must-have board slides for SaaS sales and revenue leaders

Hand putting wooden five stars on table
Hand putting wooden five stars on table

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

Before he became a partner at Battery Ventures, Bill Binch was chief revenue officer at Pendo, a product analytics app.

In his former role, he was responsible for providing his company’s board with quarterly updates on growth and revenue.

“As a wise mentor once told me, no one ever gets a promotion from a board meeting, but people sure do get fired afterward,” he writes in an article about the five slides sales and revenue teams must get right:

  • Headline reel.

  • Detailed, five-quarter view.

  • Segments, geographies and verticals.

  • Pipeline.

  • Sales team health.

Data collection isn’t the problem: It’s what companies are doing with it

Rear view of young man walking towards detour on red background
Rear view of young man walking towards detour on red background

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

Instead of raking in user data as a general practice, companies should aggregate information to optimize product development and create a superior customer experience, writes Maxim Kharchenko, director of fintech products at Rakuten Viber.

In a detailed TechCrunch+ post, Kharchenko uses examples to explain how companies can set up data fabrics, AI and decision intelligence frameworks to build a data-driven business without sacrificing user trust.

3 ways fractional CFOs can fast-track a startup’s success

red balloon with man helping people cross chasm
red balloon with man helping people cross chasm

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

Bringing a CFO aboard is not a high priority at most early-stage startups.

It isn't a critical role until the company reaches product-market fit, and the best ones are expensive to recruit and retain.

Hiring a part-time CFO may be a better option, particularly for companies that are shaping up their finances before seeking new funding, advises Ranga Bodla, head of industry marketing for Oracle NetSuite.

"With no sign that the flow of capital will ease in the near future, bringing in a fractional CFO could be a well-timed strategic move for startups with ambitious growth plans," he writes.

What happened to Paytm’s IPO valuation?

Image Credits: Nigel Sussman (opens in a new window)

In India, nearly every store has a placard with a Paytm QR code customers can use to pay for nearly anything.

Given its ubiquity, there was boundless optimism ahead of the fintech’s IPO last week. However, the stock tanked the next day and fell further this week.

It appears the public didn’t like the IPO price too much, Alex Wilhelm writes. Despite a growing merchant base and strong rise in GMV, it appears Paytm “is struggling to pull enough revenue from its work to cover the cost of doing business.”

In Amazon scuffle, Visa’s loss could be Affirm’s gain

Online shopping concept. Credit card and laptop computer on blue background 3D Rendering, 3D Illustration
Online shopping concept. Credit card and laptop computer on blue background 3D Rendering, 3D Illustration

Image Credits: Ilija Erceg (opens in a new window) / Getty Images (Image has been modified)

Interchange fees can be costly for e-commerce retailers in more than one way — costly payment methods like credit cards lead to customers making fewer transactions and abandoning shopping carts.

And Amazon’s recent decision to stop accepting Visa cards on its U.K. site is evidence of just how much those costs can matter, writes Ryan Lawler.

A host of e-commerce platforms are increasingly moving to alternatives like buy now, pay later as customers tend to buy more often when given no-interest or interest-free payment alternatives, and providers like Affirm and Afterpay are poised to reap the benefits of this shift, Ryan writes.

“We’re likely to see more BNPL partnerships and adoption as retailers seek to grow their top-line sales, reach new customers and move beyond credit cards as a primary payment method.”

What open source-based startups can learn from Confluent’s success story

3D illustration of many arrows changing way to converge toward objective on kraft paper. Confluence background.
3D illustration of many arrows changing way to converge toward objective on kraft paper. Confluence background.

Image Credits: Olivier Le Moal / Getty Images

Founders are often told to perfect one product and only shift focus after they’ve either succeeded or failed at it.

But Confluent simultaneously built a cloud product while still figuring out its on-premise service business, writes enterprise reporter Ron Miller.

"The challenge for us was that we had a software offering with very large customers with lots of demands, and we had to [build] a cloud offering across all the different clouds while still servicing that [existing] customer base," Confluent CEO and co-founder Jay Kreps told Ron.

"Growing the existing business and building something new are both pretty hard problems, so that was the big challenge for us."

Kreps and Ron also spoke about how the dual focus paid off to help Confluent become a $22-billion publicly listed company, its early days, and why founders should trust their instincts.

As Sequoia changes its model, other permanent-capital VCs weigh in

Image Credits: Nigel Sussman (opens in a new window)

Sequoia Capital announced in October that it would create a new structure that rolled up all of its investments into a single fund.

“Our industry is still beholden to a rigid 10-year fund cycle pioneered in the 1970s,” wrote partner Roelof Botha in a blog post.

The move to a more permanent, Registered Investment Adviser model is meant to counter that, several U.K.-based VC investors told Anna Heim and Alex Wilhelm.

"It takes a fund like Sequoia with the strength of their LP relationships to even consider this kind of option," Molten Ventures partner Vinoth Jayakumar said.

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