Software is a company’s third-largest expense, but because it’s spread across multiple departments, it’s the CFO’s responsibility to find places to cut.
In a TC+ column that includes spending benchmarks (based on employee size), CloudEagle founder and CEO Nidhi Jain shares her “cost-optimization playbook” for SaaS startups.
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“The primary objective for CFOs should be to identify where they’re spending, recognize departments with the highest costs, and identify instances of low utilization and application redundancies,” she says.
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What’s the best way to run a startup in a world full of advice?
Last week at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, Dominic-Madori Davis interviewed three founders to get their insights on fundraising, hiring, and other challenges facing early-stage tech entrepreneurs:
- Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, co-founder and CEO, Promise
- Ruben Harris, CEO, Career Karma
- Ritu Narayan, founder and CEO, Zūm
“You don’t want to hire someone who asks you who’s going to build their desk,” said Ellis-Lamkins.
“All of the things that imply you’re used to some infrastructure; people who ask for a clear job description, I always feel like they shouldn’t come work with us.”
The current labor market is a gold mine of talent for startups
According to layoffs.fyi, tech companies have cut 236,835 jobs so far in 2023.
On a personal level, these involuntary separations create economic and psychological uncertainty, “but the current labor market puts founders in a much better position,” writes Rebecca Szkutak.
Layoffs have brought salaries down to earth, but Samara Hernandez (founding partner, Chingona Ventures), Tribe AI co-founder Noah Gale and Hunt Club co-founder and CEO Nick Cromydas still said founders can save with fractional hires and contractors.
“There are many folks who have left incredible companies like Tesla, Meta and DeepMind, and they no longer want to be in the grind,” said Gale.
“So they’re looking for a new path, and some of them just want to be doing amazing work for 20 hours a week, and then spend a lot more time with their kids.”
FedNow’s legal terms contain a game changer for digital wallets and payment apps
Chime and PayPal have dug deep moats, but thanks to the U.S. government’s FedNow instant payments system, small operators can now let customers transmit funds “to a bank account or to a wallet . . . cheaply and within seconds,” writes Jess Cheng, a partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC.
As long as a fintech startup meets the government’s requirements, “a new payments app could launch with readily available reach to a vast network of payors and payees.”
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Building an equitable cap table puts more tools in a startup’s toolbox
Building a cap table with diversity in mind creates collateral benefits down the road, according to two investors and a founder who Rebecca Szkutak interviewed at Disrupt:
- Ashley Mayer, co-founder and GP, Coalition Operators
- Robby Robson, partner, Cowboy Ventures
- Richie Serna, co-founder and CEO, Finix
Besides looking for angel investors from underrepresented and nontraditional backgrounds, the group said tech professionals and other founders can be a great resource.
“If you’re a founder, and you’re building, you’ve probably built a community of founders around you,” said Mayer.
Pitch Deck Teardown: Transcend’s $20M Series B deck
In August, infrastructure design startup Transcend raised a $20 million Series B to grow its customer base, which uses its service to automate the design of critical infrastructure like power transmission and wastewater systems.
The company’s founders shared their partially redacted winning deck with TC+:
- Problem and Solution
- Virtual demo (video)
- Company/product history
- Customer segment
- Value proposition per customer segment
- Market opportunity
- Product roadmap [redacted]
- Customer case study
- Use of funds