The Full Ratchet (TFR): Venture Capital and Startup Investing Demystified

Michael Cardamone of Acceleprise joins Nick to discuss SaaS Acceleration, Sales Savvy Founders & the Rise of Tech-Enabled Services. In this episode, we cover:

  • What is Aaron Levie like to work for?
  • Backstory and path to Acceleprise
  • When you started Acceleprise a lot of folks told you not to -- the world doesn't need another accelerator. Why did you proceed?
  • Why an Accelerator and not a traditional VC fund?
  • Check size then and now?
  • The biggest criticism of accelerators that I'm hearing from investors is that accelerators admit companies that need a lot of help and can't figure things out on their own -- and those are not the companies that one wants to invest in. What's your response to these folks?
  • You've mentioned your interest in working w/ founders that have a "willingness to sell." How specifically do you develop the sell-skills of founders that are willing but green w/regards to sales.
    What are some the best demand-gen techniques that you use?
  • Talk to us about how you think through pricing models and strategies at early-stage SaaS businesses.
  • ACV initial vs. expansion rev opportunity
  • Lemkin.. TAM... initial traction in SOM/Beachhead niche market is most important. Any company that gets traction here can find a $1B market. Agree, disagree?
  • We talk a lot, on this show, about either why SF is the best place to build a company or why any place but SF is the best place to build a company. You've done both -- Objectively, can you break down the biggest advantages to building in the valley vs. the advantages to building outside?
  • Let's talk a bit about pedigree -- most investors have simple heuristics here. If the founder didn't study at a Stanford/Ivy level institution... pass. If the founder didn't work for a FAANG tech company or fast-growing private tech company... pass. At New Stack, we like to say we're in the business of exceptions (deals that have all the right ingredients for success -- except these optics of provenance). Michael, where do you stand on pedigree and how do you define it?
  • What percentage of the companies in the cohort to you invest in at completion?
  • In terms of measuring success -- what key metric do you measure that you're most proud of?
  • Over the past few years, what trends or major changes have you seen with regards to SaaS that founders and investors should be aware of?
  • Tech-enabled services - a real trend or not? Venture fundable?
  • There has been some recent issues in the Tech space with employee options -- what have you witnessed and what would you like to see change?


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