Saturday, November 2, 2013

Growing the Startup

Growing the Startup

Moderator: Dave Balter, Global Head of Investments, dunhumby & CEO, Smarterer

Phil Beauregard, Founder & CEO, Objective Logistics
Florian Meissner, Founder & CEO, EyeEm
Jason Jacobs, Founder & CEO, Runkeeper 
Alex White, Founder & CEO, Next Big Sound
Pat Kinsel, Founder & CEO, Spindle

Dave: What are the key metrics, internal and external, to gauge growth?

Depending on the company you are in, these could be a million downloads a month, the no. of searchable photos created daily, registered vs. active users, tracking activity, etc. The internal metrics are more revenue and growth focused, and the external are more broad base and measured in terms of activity, users, etc.

Key metrics are very different depending on which company you're in (B2B, B2C..). The dashboard changes with each iteration of the product and measurement of ROI, revenue per client, etc. For search companies like Spindle, what is most important is the search query volume as this brings in search syndication deals. 

The most important thing to do is to always keep goals and measurement metrics in mind. Key metrics change over time. Growth becomes more important over time but is not crucial at the beginning.

"Do you have enough cash in the bank to achieve your goals?" - Flo

Metamorphosis: Moving to Managers
How do you become a CEO over time and move out of functional areas and more into holistic strategy. The key is the hand-off as you hire more people, decision making, and how do you balance friendships with being the boss. 

"All the world's a stage" - Phil. It's constant evolution; your language changes, you wear a suit for meetings.

"Anything is better than insolvency" - Pat

There is pressure, some hard alternatives to face and you can't be too idealistic any more. There are employees and their families to consider.

"There is no such thing as product market fit; the market is always changing and you are constantly chasing a moving target" - Phil

Internal transition - what do you do? With too much delegation, you might find yourselves out of things to do. You reshape yourself to find things only you can do and then you create a culture where there is transparency and your employees are honest with you.

What keeps you up at night? 
The cash out date (how many days till we run out of money), are the metrics moving in the right direction, are you building the product, and are your employees upset, and if yes, what can you do to remove obstacles so they can do their job. And excitement!

"Work life balance as a father and a workaholic!" - Jason

Key Takeaway

"It's a roller coaster!" - Alex White
"You have to take a lot of punches and refuse to go down" - Phil

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