Tomasz Tunguz is partner at Redpoint
. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the
book, Winning with Data
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In January 2010, Andrew Parker wrote a post called the Spawn of Craigslist. Andrew identified companies that had built businesses by unbundling Craigslist. The vacation rentals link gave rise to AirBnB and HomeAway. Etsy dominated the arts and crafts for sale. This same unbundling is occurring to Excel.
In [Bias Against Creativity](http://www.tomtunguz.com/images/bias-against-creativity.pdf), a team of researchers at Cornell discuss the bias against creativity they revealed in their study. Originally published in 2010, the article resurfaced yesterday on Hacker News. It raises the question of how to evaluate creative ideas and how to engender internal incentives to support creativity.
As the number of SaaS applications has exploded, the SaaS ecosystem is responding to data fragmentation with middleware. This isn't the middleware of the early 2000s, which was focused on helping developers build software. This is middleware that is focused on helping end-users unify data from the vast numbers of data repositories now existent.
How much revenue do you want to book for your SaaS startup next quarter? And in 12 months? It is one thing to put a number down on the financial plan. It's another thing altogether to have the sales team staffed to close that amount of business.
In January, I wrote The Hardest Round to Raise which argued Series B rounds would be the most challenging early stage round in 2017. Irrespective of the annual vicissitudes of the fundraising market, Series Bs are always the most challenging rounds to raise because they are in-between rounds. The Series B is the pimpled and gangly adolescent phase of startup evolution.
When building a SaaS product for salespeople, a startup's price will inevitably be compared to Salesforce CRM's cost of about $150 per seat. How expensive is this new product compared to Salesforce? In diligence calls, I often hear buyers say one-half of Salesforce's price seems expensive; one-third might seem more reasonable. This is the price anchoring effect in the real world.
A founder emailed me last week to raise the question of whether performance pricing for SaaS companies is an effective technique. Performance pricing means explicitly pricing of product in terms of the customers' revenue gained or cost reduced from its use.
Five months into 2017 nine venture-backed technology companies have gone public compared to 14 in 2016. Four consumer companies and five enterprise companies have popped on average 29% since their IPO pricing. Only two, Carvana, an online used car dealer, and Netshoes, a Brazilian ecommerce company have traded down from their IPO pricing. The other seven have demonstrated the broad public investor demand for new offerings.
Earlier this week, a founder asked whether the fundraising market suffered from seasonality. Are there more prosperous months to raise than others? That's a simple question to answer - or so I thought. Ultimately, a dinosaur proved to me the answer is more nuanced.
Instead of raising an equity round, a startup might choose to borrow money- and for good reason. Venture debt dilutes founders much less than equity rounds. Low interest rates have increased the attractiveness of venture debt, because the cost to borrow is low. Millions of dollars for little dilution at little cost? Venture debt is an attractive financial product. No wonder it has grown in popularity by 16x in the in the last six years.