Closing the gap in Canadian exits

Techvibes reposted some extensive research from the folks at MaRS on exit outcomes in Canada along with a long list of observations and recommendations for all of us building startups in Canada. There’s much I dislike about this research. For one thing, it’s all very backwards-looking. Also, seeking the insights of a fund that has long since run out of capital and stopped making investments (in Canada or anywhere) just because they have the historical high water mark in terms of number of US investments seems silly. Finally, the conclusion that we need to go move (in whole or in part) to the US is just downright annoying.

But lets park those concerns and focus on one issue: Exit sizes.

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Preparing for Stormy times



The current climate for fundraising and exits can only be described as great. Slack, the latest $1B unicorn just raised  $ 120M  in funding  at a $1.12B valuation. Pretty crazy for a company with annualized revenue of $12M! And corporate buyers continue to have a strong appetite for acquisitions. Yahoo! on the strength of Alibaba’s IPO has approx ~ $10B in cash and will likely to accelerate it’s pace of acquisitions. All good, right?

Thing is, capital markets go in cycles. Bull markets (when times are good) typically last 4.75 years. We are well into year 6 on this one. If you check out the NASDAQ composite index (which is heavily tech-weighted) over the past 5 years, it’s pretty much up and to the right. Read More

Your Kumbaya Factor

kamp-kumbaya1I was having breakfast recently with Andres, one of the founders of Fundera. If you don’t know them, Fundera run a great marketplace to help small businesses find loans. Anyway, we were chatting about our mutual focus on helping small business, when Andres told me about what he calls Fundera’s ‘Kumbaya factor’.

Every time Fundera helps a customer close a loan, the rep that helped them gathers all the team members around and tells them who they helped and what this funding will help the customer do. This goes way beyond just closing. In sharing these stories, Fundera’s team members are reinforcing their purpose. They’re reinforcing the impact that they’re having on small business.

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The High performance CFO

Here are the slides from my talk yesterday at Point Nine Capital‘s SaaS Founder Meetup.  Point Nine is a Berlin-based seed fund with investments across the Globe. Their partner Christoph Janz has a real focus on SaaS and as a result they have built a broad global SaaS portfolio. They were a seed investor in Zendesk and have invested in many other great SaaS companies. They co-invested in Unbounce with me a few year’s back. Yesterday’s event (still going on today) was full of amazing founders sharing vast amounts of knowledge. I’ll post some notes from it later this week.

In the meantime, here are my slides on the things you need to know about when to hire a CFO, what they do, etc. Plus some random topics to consider once you have a CFO in the building. I’ve been doing this for so long that I take it for granted. But what I learned from the founders and VCs at the event yesterday was that many (in fact, most) startups don’t get to the point where they need a real, full time CFO. And so, this whole subject was foreign territory.

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