Category: CoLab

A Discussion on ML and AI Opportunities and Gaps at CoLab Day 2021

This post is by Georgian Team from Georgian

At our recent CoLab Day event, Parinaz Sobhani, Georgian’s Head of Applied Research, hosted a session with special guest Zahi Karam, Vice President of Data Science, Bluecore and two Georgian Applied Research Scientists — Azin Asgarian and Akshay Budhkar — to share their insights to help CoLab companies with their machine learning and artificial intelligence challenges and identify new opportunities.

Where to Start Your AI or ML Journey

We began the session by asking where a company should start their AI or ML journeys.

My advice is don’t start with data science.

For companies that aren’t AI-first, but want to incorporate AI and ML to improve their customer experience and use it for differentiation, one lesson from Bluecore is to not start with data science. In many cases, companies are able to build extreme value with just heuristics (rule-based technique) — no machine learning required. So once the business is ready to start building out a data science team, they have already created the data foundation and are able to build on top of that. 

In the beginning, the main priority is the data pipeline and capturing as much data as possible. Focus more on how you structure the data and how you collect it because you don’t yet know what data is going to be most useful. 

When you start building your first model, start with the simplest thing that you can package in a proof-of-concept with one or two clients before you invest in building out the full (Read more...)

CoLab Day 2021: Build Networks Early and Invest in Good Tech for a Strong DIBE Hiring Strategy

This post is by Georgian Team from Georgian

One of the most important tenets of building your startup is hiring the best talent — and, to get the best, it’s important to reach people of all races, genders, abilities, sexual orientations and backgrounds. So how do you ensure that you’re building a pipeline of diverse candidates? 

That’s the question tackled during a panel on diversity, belonging, equity and inclusion at CoLab Day, a half-day event that covered a wide gamut of startup-growth-related questions, such as go-to-market, fundraising and AI opportunities. 

Moderated by Kathryn Christie, Georgian’s Head of People, CoLab Day’s DIBE panel featured Derrick Raphael, Director at Antler and CEO at ICON Talent Partners; Deanna Swanson, VP of People Operations at Total Expert; and Dean Delpeache, Director of Talent & Diversity at Fiix Software, Professor of Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging & Equity at George Brown College and Director at Strasity.

The panel covered three main pillars throughout the hiring process: sourcing and raising awareness among candidates, ensuring the screening and selection process is free of bias and creating a fair decision-making process. Read on for some key takeaways. 

Be Intentional at the Top of the Hiring Funnel

Before beginning the hiring process, be intentional about the fact that you want to have a diverse pipeline in the first place, and let your recruiting team know this is the goal. It’s easy to go to your network as a first source, says one speaker, but these sources can often be homogenous. 

To overcome this, (Read more...)

The Secrets to Scaling Go-to-Market Strategies – From Two CoLab CEOs

This post is by Georgian Team from Georgian

One of the most common questions we hear from CEOs and their Revenue leaders is how to scale a repeatable revenue engine. At our recent CoLab Day event, three experienced startup leaders shared their insights to help other CoLab companies with their go-to-market challenges and identify new opportunities.

Peter Szary, Georgian’s Head of Customer Success, moderated the session. He was joined by Aadil Kazmi, Co-Founder and CEO of Swyft and Bryn Jones, Co-Founder and CEO of PartnerStack. 

Peter structured the session around Georgian’s CRO Growth Framework, which you can find in the How An Experienced CRO Builds a Revenue Engine post.

Where Do You Play?

The first layer of the framework addresses go-to-market focus. Peter asked the panelists: what helped them decide where to play, how did they initially go about it, and where are they at today?

Many early-stage companies try to be everything to everyone and at first, Aadil said, it was tough for Swyft to zero in on what their go-to-market motion should be. In the end, there were three questions that helped them decide where they play.

  1. The first was around market opportunity and how that married to their product strategy. They asked themselves: 
    • Who could we service today? 
    • Who can we service six months from today? 
    • Who can we service 24 months from today?
  2. The second was asking what can the product do? When will it be able to do more things? And what is the market size in each of these segments? 
  3. (Read more...)

VCs Share Their Thoughts For Growth Stage Entrepreneurs During CoLab Day 2021

This post is by Georgian Team from Georgian

For our CoLab Day session on fundraising, we had speakers from venture capital and private equity discuss how the industry has changed and how founders can benefit from the current climate.

The Current State of Venture Capital

The panel began the session with a discussion on the current state of the fundraising market and how it’s changed in the past 18 months. 

The consensus was that the time it takes to make decisions has massively compressed. 

Today’s market is more founder-friendly and companies that feel confident enough to go out to market should take advantage of this, as it’s not known how long this will last. Once interest rates start to rise, they will affect the robustness of private markets. 

More funds are crossing over now — later-stage investors are coming down-market and early-stage investors are moving up to make the most of their pool of capital. But there are also sophisticated public market investors moving into private markets for the first time and bringing with them the same level of diligence and analysis from the private markets to public markets. 

Founders have even more power now and should be running their raise like a structured process. It’s to their advantage to control the process and they have much more leeway to control assets now, unlike many years ago. 

In the past, striking a deal without meeting a company would have been crazy! However, that’s become more and more common now. Both sides are more comfortable with limited contact pre-deal (Read more...)

CoLab Connect: Overcoming common fundraising challenges as an early-stage startup

This post is by Ashley Basco from Georgian

Fundraising is an important part of fueling your company’s growth, but the process isn’t easy — especially for early-stage companies that may be working towards a Series A for the first time. However, preparation is key to securing the capital needed to accelerate your growth.

For our most recent CoLab Connect event, we partnered with Enjoy The Work, a San Francisco-based company that advises founders through the entrepreneurship journey, including leadership development, hiring talent and customer acquisition. Partners Jonathan Lowenhar and Lesley Ross walked us through the challenges of raising and how to overcome them. 

Fundraising doesn’t have to feel impossible

During the event, Jonathan and Lesley explained some helpful tactics for founders that are having trouble managing the fundraising process.

1. Look at your business from an investor’s perspective.

Stage determines what investors care about. At the seed stage, investors want to know the business is real and the market is massive. At Series A, they want to know that the business is repeatable — or, that everything works. At Series B and later, they want to know your startup is scalable and that the only impediment to growth is lack of capital. 

“What we’re trying to be able to convince investors for a Series A pitch is that we’re on the path to $100 million in revenue,” says Lesley. “The Series A is where the math starts to matter more, whereas seed rounds are far more based upon the quality of story.”

At Georgian, we use the (Read more...)

CoLab’s Hybrid Workplaces Event Emphasizes Importance of Employee Choices, Engagement

This post is by Jessica Galang from Georgian

Balancing the productivity lessons learned during COVID-19 lockdowns, and being intentional about culture, will be critical to an environment that combines in-person and remote work.

Those are just a few insights from Georgian’s recent CoLab Connect event on building high-performing teams in a hybrid environment. Hosted by Georgian’s Head of People, Kathryn Christie, the conversation featured Jennifer Cristobal, VP of People and Culture at RiskIQ, Sue DiPoce, Chief People Officer at FreshBooks, and David Hassell, CEO of 15Five. 

We rounded up some things we learned from the event from the panellists. 

The changing role of offices

For Jennifer, adopting a hybrid work environment means keeping the best of the virtual setting— like the digital tools that have helped the company remain productive during the pandemic—while re-evaluating what an office space means.

Employees have been effective doing tasks at home, so Jennifer says RiskIQ has changed its mindset to think about office spaces as a resource for collaboration and casual interaction. 

“That has helped us think about how we can use that to our advantage rather than an expectation,” says Jennifer. “We want to make sure that we’re setting up our offices that are catered around that space and interaction with folks, and we’re really guiding our managers and helping them think through how they can use that office space for that kind of work.”

Sue echoes this sentiment in situations where companies have offices across the world. FreshBooks, which is headquartered in Toronto and has offices in five countries, says (Read more...)

ClickUp’s Product-Led Growth Playbook

This post is by Conor Ross from Georgian

Georgian recently held an event on go-to-market models as part of our CoLab Connect Series. At this event, Tommy Wang, Head of Global Revenue at ClickUp, opened up the playbook for their product-led growth (PLG) model.

ClickUp is a productivity platform that replaces all other workplace tools and enables all teams across an organization to work together in one place. Tommy heads up ClickUp’s sales engine that focuses on product-led growth. From the first release in 2017, Tommy and his team have grown the business to over 300,000 teams and more than 3 million users around the world; this rapid expansion is due to a largely organic, product-led growth.

1. Show your product’s true value to convert to paid 

The goal of a product-led model is to get more people using the product and then paying for that use once they have experienced the product’s value. This relies on a self-serve model where users can get a taste of the product without paying.

The go-to-market team at ClickUp focuses on two key metrics to achieve this:

  1. Onboarding activation: Using trials to encourage users to sign-up for the product
  2. Monetization activation: Encouraging people to pay more for their use of the product

If those are your objectives, then why hide features that would make your customers willing to pay behind the paywall? ClickUp doesn’t lock features up-front to determine the shift to a paid account, and allows users to stay free forever within certain usage limits. Usage-based limits are in place (Read more...)