9 Key Milestones from Seed to Series A

Nine milestones seed-stage SaaS and Marketplace founders need to achieve to raise their Series A

So that it feels a little less like running (fast) in the dark

I was this week at Numa Berlin. I gave a second talk after the one I gave at HEC Seed Summit some weeks ago. Whilst the first talk was focused on best practices for SaaS entrepreneurs at different stages, I was asked to speak about best practices subsequent to the seed round. One of the reasons is that this is the stage where we have built the most knowledge collectively at Point Nine working with our portfolio companies.

Raising a seed round is an accomplishment in itself, but it’s also the very beginning of a long story of ups and down in a startup journey. As Mikkel Svanne, CEO of Zendesk, emphasized at P9 Founder SaaScamp last year, the playbook is entirely different from one step of the SaaS startup journey to the next one. The winning strategy from 0 to 10k MRR will likely not work from 10k to 1M of ARR, from 1M to 10M ARR and from 10M ARR to 100M ARR (video here). Kolja, who founded Delivery Hero, would probably say the same about Marketplace businesses.

The presentation below focuses on this second stage: from 10k to 100k MRR for SaaS , or from 100k GMV to 500k GMV for marketplaces.

It consists of 9 parts, each of which tackles a specific topic: planning, target metrics for Series A, team and culture building, marketing and sales strategies, tech scaling, investors relationship and… fundraising strategies at the Series A stage.

You can see this a summary of helpful content that we share when we start working with our portfolio companies. Hope it can be of help to many others!

Some of the points might not be self-explanatory. If you want to learn more, you can also scroll down to the next part and click on additional ressources.
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Resources

Most of the points mentioned in the slides above come from the knowledge we have built at Point Nine working with our portfolio companies and shared in Point Nine Capital ‘s Medium channel. Some others come from relevant VCs or experienced entrepreneurs in the field such as Mark Suster at Upfront Ventures, Ophelia Brown at Localglobe, Bryan Schreier at Sequoia Capitalor and Bill Aulet, at MIT Entrepreneurship Center.

I. Being Series A ready

  1. “From Seed to Series A, demystifying the process”, ophelia brown, Localglobe: https://medium.com/localglobe-notes/from-seed-to-series-a-demystifying-the-process-df17c27697a7
  2. “Get your finance plan right”, Rodrigo Martinez, Point Nine: https://medium.com/point-nine-news/from-launch-to-series-a-get-your-finance-plan-right-3-10-ba4927e274f8

II. 12-month Target

  1. “SaaS funding napkin”, Christoph Janz, Point Nine: https://medium.com/point-nine-news/saas-funding-napkin-the-2017-edition-c862b7b868d4
  2. “Marketplace funding napkin”, Pawel Chudzinski, Point Nine: http://pawel.posthaven.com/fundraising-framework-for-marketplace-startups-in-2016

III. Building the right team

  1. “How to configure your startup team”, Mark Suster, UpFront Ventures: https://bothsidesofthetable.com/how-to-configure-your-startup-team-3fb25f7281b0
  2. “The right teams and roles”, Rodrigo Martinez, Point Nine: https://medium.com/point-nine-news/the-right-team-roles-4-10-bf47196caba2

IV. Establish your culture

  1. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast, technology for lunch, and products for dinner”, Bill Aulet, MIT Professor for Entrepreneurship: https://techcrunch.com/2014/04/12/culture-eats-strategy-for-breakfast/

V. Marketing strategies

SaaS:

  1. “SaaS funding napkin”, Christoph Janz, Point Nine: https://medium.com/point-nine-news/saas-funding-napkin-the-2017-edition-c862b7b868d4
  2. “Why Misunderstanding Startup Metrics Can cost your Business”, Mark Suster, UpFront Ventures: https://bothsidesofthetable.com/why-misunderstanding-startup-metrics-can-cost-you-your-business-352923a53dcb

Marketplace:

  1. Marketplace funding Napkin, Pawel Chudzinski: http://pawel.posthaven.com/fundraising-framework-for-marketplace-startups-in-2016

VI. Sales

  1. “How to Track Customer Acquisition””, Myk Pono, Aptrinsic: https://medium.com/swlh/how-to-track-customer-acquisition-9d04b903535
  2. “A better way to visualise pipeline”, Christoph Janz, Point Nine: http://christophjanz.blogspot.com/2016/06/a-better-way-to-visualize-pipeline.html

VII. Tech

  1. “Having the right infrastructure & monitoring in place”, Rodrigo Martinez, Point Nine: https://medium.com/point-nine-news/from-launch-to-series-a-having-the-right-infrastructure-monitoring-in-place-2-10-4c1e9696c831

VIII. Managing investors

  1. “Preparing a board deck”, Bryan Schreier, Sequoia Capital: https://www.sequoiacap.com/article/preparing-a-board-deck/

IX. Series A roadshow

  1. When and how to approach investors, ophelia brown, Localglobe: https://medium.com/localglobe-notes/from-seed-to-series-a-demystifying-the-process-4cc7bdc07a55