“What does your Platform Team do?” That’s the top question I hear when I speak with founders and other investors when introducing Companyon Ventures. We thought the best way to explain what my partner, Parthib, and the rest of our team does for startups would be to showcase a few examples of what they’ve actually been working on over the past month or two.
Our platform team has the mission of supporting startups in four fundamental ways that are critical to our own (as well as any seed-stage) investment strategy:
- Provide coaching and tools that accelerate growth and improve efficiencies to maximize valuation during a startup’s limited cash runway.
- Increase founder bandwidth and free up internal company resources so founders can focus time and attention on their customers, team, and product.
- Make better, data-driven decisions through sophisticated research and modeling.
- Reduce costs and extend runway by delivering cost-effective fractional executives and experts.
Here are a few interesting ways that our team has helped our own portfolio companies as well as non-portfolio startup clients.
Financial and Operational Modeling for M&A
Company Profile: A seed-funded start-up that has inbound M&A and VC interest and is transitioning from product-market fit to early scaling.
What Was the Project? The CEO and the board wanted to see some growth and fundraising scenarios that modeled a “big-vision” growth plan that doubled-down on the product, sales, and marketing strategies and channels that were delivering predictable growth. The company had the slideware to articulate the vision, but not the operational plan to put the numbers and headcount to make it happen. Parthib had a white-board session with the CEO and a board member to understand the sales and marketing metrics, hiring plan, product roadmap, and proposed use of marketing and sales dollars. Parthib builds dozens of these types of models every year, so within a week, the CEO had a very sophisticated operational and financial model in Excel that he could use with both VCs and potential acquirers to show how various amounts of capital investment or resources from a strategic acquirer would change the company’s growth trajectory.
Within a week, the CEO had a very sophisticated operational and financial model in Excel that he could use with both VCs and potential acquirers
Financial Model & Forecast to Help Close a Seed Round
Company Profile: A pre-seed SaaS company with some early traction with pilot customers.
What Was the Project? The CEO needed a robust financial model to help the company understand cash needs, cash runway, and to give potential investors confidence that the company had a firm grasp of its finances and had gone through the exercise of a detailed model of various growth and cash burn scenarios. Parthib delivered the model within a week and the company closed a $1.5M seed round about a month later.
GTM Exercise to Accelerate Revenue Growth for VC-backed SaaS Startup
Company Profile: A seed-stage venture-funded SaaS startup selling to small to medium enterprises preparing for a Series A raise.
What Was the Project? Like many seed stage startups, this company reached ~ $1M in ARR with a founder-driven sales process, various marketing experiments, and a fragmented customer base that represented many different customer personas. The company wanted to perform a data-driven GTM analysis to see if one particular customer segment as worth focusing on over the others, but the team wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it. Parthib collected and analyzed several years of sales data (CAC, LTV, time-to-close, churn, and market segment sizing) and conducted some market research to inform the company of the most profitable and fastest growing customer segments to focus on going forward. The project just concluded but the sales and marketing team has already begun to focus their efforts on the customer segments that his research and modeling indicates will yield the most favorable competitive differentiation, fastest close times, and lowest churn.
Unsticking a Bottleneck by Providing a Dedicated Temp Resource
Company Profile: Series A funded SaaS startup that is hiring but has temporary resource gaps in sales, customer success and on-boarding.
What Was the Project? The company was experiencing a resource shortage resulting in a backlog of sales and customer success deliverables. Within days of us becoming aware of the issue, we sent a member of our platform team to work for the company at their location as a part-time resource until permanent candidates could be hired. Our team member helped their sales and customer success teams mine and analyze data and create customer deliverables important to the company’s revenue goals. Our team member was up and running in a matter of hours and is contributing until full-time time resources can be hired.
Our team member was up and running in a matter of hours and is contributing until full-time time resources can be hired.
Complimentary Fundraising Power Hour Workshops
We just launched this program as a way to support early stage founders raising their first capital. The Fundraising Power Hour is a complimentary one-hour session designed to give founders written candid feedback on their business, pitch, and investor materials. We give founders an inside view of what investors are thinking but are too polite to tell you.
For Whom: The program is built for early-stage founders who are preparing to raise pre-seed or seed capital from accelerator programs, angel investors, and seed VCs.
Why us? The basis of this program comes from leveraging data captured from the 100+ startup pitches we see each quarter. We use this data to understand which companies are getting funding and why. Our goal is to accelerate fundraising for promising founders who could benefit from structured, independent feedback and a library of free, helpful resources from our team.
Founders can learn more by visiting Fundraising Power Hour
Why Are We Doing This? Our Fundraising Power Hour Sessions are one way that we are giving back to the startup community and building relationships with promising founders who may be a bit early for our fund, which focuses on late seed and pre-Series A companies.
Fractional CFO and Executive Roles
Company Profiles: Several seed-funded startups that received Seed and Series A venture funding are using our CFO services.
You may not have known that Companyon has fractional CFO resources. Our CFOs are all former venture-funded startup and public company executives who provide cost-effective fractional financial and operational support to founders so they can focus on their customers, product, and building their team. In addition to financial management and forecasting, the Seed/Series A CFO role includes: CEO coaching on ops, board management, and investor targeting (if needed), helping to build board and investor reporting packages, creating operational and sales metrics, guidance on team building such as benefits, stock option grants, employee on-boarding, and more.
Why us? Board members and founders wanted to free up founder-bandwidth and get cost-effective, professional operations and finance leadership with executive experience. The fact that our team has run finance and operations in VC-backed and public companies is attractive for some investors who want more than just accounting firm experience.
Did you know that our Platform team works with select startups outside of our portfolio whenever the team is available? If you’re interested in seeing how our team can help your startup or a portfolio company of yours, please reach out to Parthib at [email protected].