VC Corner Q&A: Philippe Von Klitzing of JOIN Capital


This post is by The Startup Grind Team from Startup Grind - Medium

Philippe Von Klitzing is an Investment Analyst at JOIN Capital, an early stage investment firm based in Berlin. Prior to his engagement at JOIN Capital, Philippe worked as a strategy consultant at CEPTON Strategies, a Paris-based strategy consulting firm specialised in operational strategies and due diligence on investment targets in the healthcare sector.

Read on to learn more about JOIN and Philippe’s investing philosophy!

— What is JOIN’s mission?

Our mission at Join is to fund European software companies between Seed and Series A within a broad sector we call the Neue Industry. It’s an enterprise-centric logic centered on deep-tech enablers (think cloud, machine learning, AI, autonomous robotics) who allow for substantial efficiency gains delivered by autonomous technologies and data analytics.

Startups that master this new industrial world offer unprecedented ROI possibilities to their customers in all industrial sectors from manufacturing to real-estate and automotive to chemicals. We have both a strong expertise and an incredibly valuable network of industry corporations, from which we’ve derived a skill-building program series that equips founders with targeted strategic performance foundations to address common roadblocks.

— What was your very first investment? And what struck you about them?

My first investment at Join Capital was into Valispace back in March of this year. Both founders, Marco and Louise, were previously working as satellite engineers on Europe’s largest satellite project. They were fed up with the status quo of how hardware engineers work and collaborate. They spent more time on non-engineering tasks and nothing really had changed in the past 20 years!

I was struck by their tremendous expertise and vision about how the future of smart & data-driven engineering should be less complex. Their industry agnostic solution proved to be perfect in COVID times as companies switch to remote engineering collaboration solutions.

— What is one thing you’re excited about right now?

As 2020 comes to an end, I’m excited to see if all the prophecies about the economy and the internet that were made at the beginning of the COVID crisis are going to come true. There was a huge social media trend from March to May around making predictions, but we’ve now realized that we’re merely sailing at sight.

The promising first trial results of Pfizer & Biontech’s vaccine have turned the tech stocks market world upside down in a couple of days and re-launched the debate on a return to normality, whereas 6 months ago it was argued that the world would never return to its pre-COVID state. Let’s see how this plays out!

— Who is one founder we should watch?

Jamie Potter, from Flexciton, who’s very charismatic, incredibly smart, focused, and is building wit this team the most advanced scheduling solution for the semiconductor industry — backbone of any electronic device or hardware out there!

— What are the 3 top qualities of every great leader?

  • Inspire others with their vision
  • Being able to show resilience in bad times
  • Decision-making capabilities

— What is one question you ask yourself before investing in a company?

Is this solution able to generate substantial, quantifiable efficiency gains for its users & customers?

— What is one thing every founder should ask themselves before walking into a meeting with a potential investor?

“How can this investor help me on my journey with more than just money?”

— What do you think should be in a CEO’s top 3 company priorities?

  • Recruit top talent with a good company fit
  • Aligning that talent with company strategy
  • Showing flexibility and constantly innovate

— Favorite business book, blog or podcast?

That’s a tricky question as I do have more than just one, but if I had to pin one down it would be “Let My People Go Surfing” by Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard, in which he outlines the difference between changing methods of conducting business and constant culture and philosophy. I listen to three podcasts usually (one in German, one in English and one in French actually!). Gabor Steingart’s “Morning Briefing” is a nice and crisp overview of daily political and economic topics, Azeem Azhar’s “Exponential View” outlines the impact of tech on business and society, and last but not least RMC’s “After Foot” covers French and European football (because let’s face it, business and politics are not everything!).

— Who is one leader you admire?

Bernard Arnault, long-time CEO of LVHM, the world leader in luxury. Behind its appearance of coldness and rigour, passion dominates. His success can be explained by its ability to finely balance innovation and marketing management. He is also an outstanding pianist and a great lover of art.

— What is one interesting thing most people won’t know about you?

When I was at UCL in London, I co-hosted a two-hour radio show on the local radio station “Rare FM” every Thursday night, during which a friend (Hi Arnoud!) and I would DJ. We recorded the sessions on Mixcloud, so if you’re interested in electronic music and deep house, search for “East Meets West” on Mixcloud!

— What is one piece of advice you’d give every founder?

To first time founders, hire the right people. Hiring smart and amazing talent is the most difficult thing a founder will do but also the most transformative step for their business.

Ready to make a pitch? Startups looking for an opportunity to pitch JOIN or other great funds can apply here!


VC Corner Q&A: Philippe Von Klitzing of JOIN Capital was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

VC Corner Q&A: Madison McIlwain of Defy VC


This post is by The Startup Grind Team from Startup Grind - Medium

Madison McIlwain is an Associate at Defy, where she works alongside her team to source, invest in, and help amazing companies grow. She’s passionate about retail innovation, supply chain, and consumer technology.

Formerly a product manager at Gap Inc, Madison managed a team of over forty engineers to modernize Gap’s order management system and customer communication channels. There, she drove numerous technology initiatives, such as enabling SMS communication for customers and launching the first website-wide chatbot. Before Gap, Madison worked at Rent the Runway and an AI start-up working to create a shoppable virtual closet.

Read on to learn more about Defy’s mission and the most important question Madison asks herself before committing to an investment!

— What is Defy’s mission?

Being an entrepreneur means questioning everything. It means pushing back on all the smart, well-meaning people who tell you you’re wrong. At Defy, our mission is to help entrepreneurs Defy convention and expectation. We’re an early stage venture firm focused across consumer, enterprise/saas, and deep tech. We love people who are positioned to uniquely disrupt the industry they’ve grown up in. We hope to back and empower the next generation of startup leaders who defy all odds and build impactful, enduring companies.

— What was your very first investment? And what struck you about them?

The first investment I sourced for Defy was Thrilling. Thrilling is bringing vintage retailers online and enabling consumers to shop vintage from the comfort of their home — all while enabling more sustainable shopping and the circular economy. Honestly, I was drawn to the founder, Shilla, and her magnetic energy and passion for the problem. Shilla herself is an avid vintage shopper who wanted a better experience finding vintage treasures online. She’s built a marketplace that supports small businesses and reduces waste on our planet by leveraging technology to digitize thousands of single SKU items. From my time at Gap and Rent the Runway, I knew SKU management for resale was very challenging and believe Shilla will be the one to turn these challenges into scalable solutions.

— What is one thing you’re excited about right now?

I am really excited about the circular economy and how technology is enabling a more sustainable supply chain. I explored this in detail recently here. When I was at Gap, return rates were better than the average but still sad. What most customers don’t realize about returns is that they are unprofitable and unsustainable for retailers in a myriad of ways. Retailers lose on shipping items back and forth. They also lose on the restocking labor. Worst of all, retailers usually have to mark down inventory once it’s returned to them because it’s often no longer in season. Returns are a side effect of a burgeoning ecommerce ecosystem. With innovation in reverse return logistics and end of clothing life management, we have an opportunity to disrupt the returns status quo.

— Who is one founder we should watch?

Kimberly Shenk! I want to be Kimberly when I grow up! Not only is she a kick butt founder as CEO of Novi Connect, but she is also a thoughtful, compassionate and kind person. With Novi, she is powering ingredient and supply chain transparency. Consumers are increasingly demanding transparency around what’s going into all of the products they touch, eat, wear, etc and the many companies that make/sell all of these products are struggling to deliver. Novi’s software solves this problem through a SAAS-enabled network. I’ve learned a lot from her by the way she breaks down big problems into small manageable pieces and works her way back to a solution.

— What are the 3 top qualities of every great leader?

  • Tenacity
  • Humility
  • Kindness

— What is one question you ask yourself before investing in a company?

The question I always ask myself is “would I invest my own savings into this business?” If the answer is no, it’s a signal to me I don’t have enough conviction on the product, market, or team.

— What is one thing every founder should ask themselves before walking into a meeting with a potential investor?

What is one key objective I’m hoping to get out of this meeting? It might be funding. But more often than not a first meeting is a stepping stone to establishing a relationship with that investor and firm. Capital may come, but this person might be helpful in other avenues as well; customer introductions, hiring, or connections to a more suited firm.

— What do you think should be in a CEO’s top 3 company priorities?

  • Building product and culture
  • Hiring great leaders
  • Retention both of customers and employees

— Favorite business book, blog or podcast?

Is it cheating if I say my podcast? The Room is a podcast with your favorite founders and founders where we discuss what it was like to be in The Room where it happens. Our target audience is first-time founders and young funders. My co-host, Claudia Laurie and I are both curious digital natives navigating our careers in the Valley asking the same questions as our listeners. We felt there was an opportunity to bring to life the conversations and the creation stories which historically happen behind doors closed to groups across age, gender and race. If you like How I Built This, our podcast is for you!

— Who is one leader you admire?

Sally Gilligan. Sally is the CIO of Gap Inc. Sally gave me my first job as a product manager in Gap’s supply chain. At our company all-hands and during our one on ones, she taught me both how to command a room and make an individual feel worth listening too. She continues to lead Gap Inc. through a compelling digital transformation with her keen insights for where the future of retail aided by technology is heading.

— What is one interesting thing most people won’t know about you?

Most people wonder how I have so much “energy”! I think it baffles people because it’s pretty relentless and honestly sometimes I exhaust myself. I think my energy comes from being an extreme extrovert. I genuinely derive the most energy when I’m around others. Thankfully, in venture, my job is to talk to people which consistently fuels me, hence the energy.

— What is one piece of advice you’d give every founder?

Lean into curiosity and stay determined to build a better experience for your customers.

Ready to make a pitch? Startups looking for an opportunity to pitch Defy or other great funds can apply here!


VC Corner Q&A: Madison McIlwain of Defy VC was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The VC “Strips off” – Silicon Roundabout Ventures VC Fund Deck Reviewed Live by Draper Esprit LP


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by Francesco Perticarari. The original is [linked here]

After decades of secrecy in VC, we’re sharing an actual LP investor reviewing a VC fund deck. Our VC deck. Live!

The post The VC “Strips off” – Silicon Roundabout Ventures VC Fund Deck Reviewed Live by Draper Esprit LP appeared first on Silicon Roundabout.

You Know Nothing, Jon Snow


This post is by M.G. Siegler from 500ish - Medium

And certainly most VCs don’t either — myself included…

From time to time I’ll get asked why I don’t write more about the topic of investing. I’ve long held that I only wanted to write about a topic that I felt comfortable enough in my knowledge to write about. And I was still in learning mode for VC. But as I approach a decade in, that mentality has sort of shifted. If I’m being honest, it’s more that I find that type of content vapid.

And it’s actually worse than that. It’s often meaningless or actually detrimental. Sure, if you’ve been an investor long enough, you’ll have certain earned wisdom on deal structures and the like. And there’s undoubtedly pattern recognition for certain types of things. But in technology in particular, things change and shift so quickly that a lot of knowledge is much less useful than you might think. And again, it can often be counter-productive to share.

Talking to entrepreneurs, I find it best to acknowledge that you’re perhaps on a journey together and you have no idea how it’s going to play out. So much of it is luck, but even more of it is timing. Hard work is a prerequisite, of course. But mainly to ensure that your company is in the right position to capitalize on the luck of timing, should it come.

I prefer to be a sounding board. To talk about new ideas, even if tangential to the business at hand. To pull stuff out by way of provoking thought.

And that’s why I write about seemingly random things — okay, and Apple — more often than I write about VC or investing or the like. I write to clarify my own thoughts and to stimulate my own brain. It’s not some guidebook from someone who has it all figured out. Those types of posts read ridiculous because they are ridiculous. There are exceptions, of course.¹ But mainly in that they spur thought and tangents. They’re never going to be some letter of some law.²

That’s because the questions are always changing, so how can the answers be the same? It’s best to admit you know this side of nothing and instead talk through how you can actually get smart on a topic. And you’re probably not going to write a blog post about that because it would be incredibly boring to almost everyone who would read it. And more to the point, it would probably be out of date by the time it was published.

¹And if you’re reading this, yours is definitely the exception!

² Nevermind the fact that anyone with such profound insight is unlikely to be sharing it in a blog post…


You Know Nothing, Jon Snow was originally published in 500ish on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

You Know Nothing, Jon Snow


This post is by M.G. Siegler from 500ish - Medium

And certainly most VCs don’t either — myself included…

From time to time I’ll get asked why I don’t write more about the topic of investing. I’ve long held that I only wanted to write about a topic that I felt comfortable enough in my knowledge to write about. And I was still in learning mode for VC. But as I approach a decade in, that mentality has sort of shifted. If I’m being honest, it’s more that I find that type of content vapid.

And it’s actually worse than that. It’s often meaningless or actually detrimental. Sure, if you’ve been an investor long enough, you’ll have certain earned wisdom on deal structures and the like. And there’s undoubtedly pattern recognition for certain types of things. But in technology in particular, things change and shift so quickly that a lot of knowledge is much less useful than you might think. And again, it can often be counter-productive to share.

Talking to entrepreneurs, I find it best to acknowledge that you’re perhaps on a journey together and you have no idea how it’s going to play out. So much of it is luck, but even more of it is timing. Hard work is a prerequisite, of course. But mainly to ensure that your company is in the right position to capitalize on the luck of timing, should it come.

I prefer to be a sounding board. To talk about new ideas, even if tangential to the business at hand. To pull stuff out by way of provoking thought.

And that’s why I write about seemingly random things — okay, and Apple — more often than I write about VC or investing or the like. I write to clarify my own thoughts and to stimulate my own brain. It’s not some guidebook from someone who has it all figured out. Those types of posts read ridiculous because they are ridiculous. There are exceptions, of course.¹ But mainly in that they spur thought and tangents. They’re never going to be some letter of some law.²

That’s because the questions are always changing, so how can the answers be the same? It’s best to admit you know this side of nothing and instead talk through how you can actually get smart on a topic. And you’re probably not going to write a blog post about that because it would be incredibly boring to almost everyone who would read it. And more to the point, it would probably be out of date by the time it was published.

¹And if you’re reading this, yours is definitely the exception!

² Nevermind the fact that anyone with such profound insight is unlikely to be sharing it in a blog post…


You Know Nothing, Jon Snow was originally published in 500ish on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

What’s New on VC+in November 2020?


This post is by Louise Stoddart from Visual Capitalist

If you’re a regular visitor to Visual Capitalist, you know that we’re your home base for data-driven, visual storytelling that helps explain a complex world.

But did you know there’s a way to get even more out of Visual Capitalist, all while helping support the work we do?

New to VC+ in November 2020

VC+ is our members program that gives you exclusive access to extra visual content and insightful special features. It also gets you access to The Trendline, our new members-only graphic newsletter.

So, what is getting sent to VC+ members in the coming weeks?


Overhead Insights: Decoding the Earth’s Surface”

SPECIAL DISPATCH: Identifying Patterns From Space, and How They Impact our World

From space, human influence on our planet is unmistakable.

In this new VC+ series, we’ll use satellite imagery to decode the mysteries of the Earth’s surface, and explain how patterns visible from space tie back to our society and the economy.

Publishing date: November 12 (Get VC+ to access)


“VC+ Signals Webinar”

SPECIAL EVENT: A Unique Opportunity to Hear About our Next Book

We will be officially publishing our second ever book, “Signals” this month. While the book was being made, VC+ members got behind the scenes access to the creation process, including a first look at some of the content, as it was completed.

Now it’s time to explore the finished product. In this exclusive webinar, members will hear from Founder, Editor in Chief and Author of “Signals”, Jeff Desjardins, as well as Managing Editor, Nick Routley, as they unpack and discuss the key themes in the book and answer any questions.

All attendees will receive a free digital copy of “Signals” ahead of the event, to digest all 27 signals beforehand.

Can’t join us live? We’ll be sending the webinar recording to all VC+ members, along with details on how to access a free digital copy of the book.

Still want to order a hard copy of “Signals”? Then you can do that here.

Event date: November 16 (Get VC+ to access)


“The Sketchbook”

SPECIAL DISPATCH: Exploring New Concepts and Thought Exercises in a Visual Format

In this month’s Sketchbook feature, we’ll be taking a specific example of misleading information – one that was shared widely over social media platforms – and visually breaking it down in an effort to separate truth from fiction.

Publishing date: November 19 (Get VC+ to access)


Round-up: The Best of Special Dispatches

SPECIAL DISPATCH: We Look Back at Our Most Interesting VC+ Features This Year

The Best of the Special Dispatch

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve kept our readers informed through unbiased, data-driven visuals. VC+ members have had the chance to dive even deeper, as we’ve dissected some of the world’s most popular COVID-19 visualizations, with our series VC 360. 

In this VC+ feature, we’ve pulled together some of our best performing special dispatches – some are related to the pandemic, and others examine different topics altogether.

Publishing date: November 26 (Get VC+ to access)


The Trendline

PREMIUM NEWSLETTER: Our Weekly Newsletter for VC+ Members
The Trendline

Every week, VC+ members also get our premium graphic newsletter, The Trendline.

With The Trendline, we’ll send you the best visual content, datasets, and insightful reports relating to business that our editors find each week.

Publishing Date: Every Sunday (Get VC+ to access)


More Visuals. More Insight. More Understanding.

Get access to these upcoming features by becoming a VC+ member.

For a limited time, get 25% off, which makes your VC+ membership the same price as a coffee each month:

Get 25% Off VC+ Today

PS – We look forward to sending you even more great visuals and data!

The post What’s New on VC+in November 2020? appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

WTF is share of wallet and HTF do you measure it?


This post is by Julia Morrongiello from Point Nine Land - Medium

When we talk about building and scaling a marketplace, the main topic of focus is usually how to crack the chicken and egg problem i.e. building initial liquidity (I wrote about this in my previous post WTF is marketplace liquidity?). What is less often discussed is how to go from initial liquidity to a high share of wallet on both the demand and supply side (also known as the share of earnings on the supply side). In other words, how does a marketplace go from being one of many options for a buyer looking to purchase a specific type of good or service to becoming their main option? On the flip side, how do marketplaces go from being one of several revenue streams for a supplier to becoming their most significant revenue stream?

The aim of the following post is to define what we mean by share of wallet (SOW), why it matters, and to dive into a couple of strategies for how to measure it. I hope that it will be a useful tool for marketplace entrepreneurs and operators who are trying to better understand and measure some of the dynamics of their platform. 🤓

WTF is share of wallet and why does it matter?

Let’s start by defining the share of wallet as the percentage of a buyer’s spending (or a supplier’s earnings) within a given category that is captured by a marketplace as opposed to alternative channels. For the purpose of this post, I will use share of wallet as a catch-all term for both buyer spending and supplier earnings.

Share of wallet is a reflection of how important your platform is to your buyers or suppliers. The higher the share of wallet, the more dependent your suppliers are on your marketplace for their income and the more reliant your buyers are on your marketplace when it comes to sourcing a specific good or service. Optimising for a high share of wallet can be one of the most important growth levers for marketplaces. Not only, does it give marketplaces more leverage when it comes to pricing (since users become dependent on the platform), but it is also the key to unlocking SaaS style retention. In a further post, I’ll dive into strategies to increase SoW but for the time being, let’s understand how we can measure it.

So, HTF do we measure share of wallet?

Despite the importance of share of wallet, most early-stage startups (and many later-stage startups) don’t know how to measure it. To be honest, neither did I, until a couple of conversations with our portfolio companies prompted me to look deeper into the topic.

The key to figuring out your marketplace’s share of wallet is to be able to answer the following questions:

  • For buyers: what proportion of their total spend on x goes to your marketplace?
  • For sellers: what proportion of their total revenue comes from your marketplace?

With x being the type of goods or services that your marketplace offers.

Sound easy? Let’s dive into it:

1. Start by defining your average buyer (or supplier) profile 🙋🏻‍♀️

  • For buyers: How much does an average buyer usually spend on buying x?
  • For suppliers: How much revenue does an average supplier make selling x?

You can get this data in a number of ways:

  1. For a high-level view: industry reports and statistics
  2. For new customers: ask the above questions systematically during your sales or onboarding process
  3. For existing customers: send out surveys
  4. For more qualitative data: spend a day or two with your buyers or suppliers to get a granular view of their workflow (quite a few our B2B marketplaces have done this)
  5. For the pros: extract the data from your existing toolset. Some marketplace (eg. Farfetch) have built inventory management tools into their platform, this gives them an overview of supplier transactions that are happening both on and off-platform. Once you have this, measuring the share of wallet is easy.

2. Compare the total amount spent (or earned) to the amount spent (or earned) on your platform to get the share of wallet 💰

Level 1: do it on a case by case basis

At an early stage, when you only have a handful of buyers or sellers on your platform, you can measure the share of wallet on a per buyer or per seller basis using the following formula.

Share of Wallet = amount that buyer earns on your platform ÷ amount that a buyer spends in total on your category x 100

Share of Earnings = amount that supplier earns on your platform ÷ amount that supplier earns in total from your category x 100

Ideally, you should track this number on a monthly basis to get a sense of whether or not share of wallet is increasing.

cargo.one*, a marketplace for air freight which connects airlines (sellers) with freight forwarders (buyers) looks at this on an individual supplier (airline) basis as shown in the graph below.

Level 2: do it on an aggregate level

As the number of buyers and suppliers on your platform increases it’s worth looking at the share of wallet on an aggregate level. A scrappy way of doing this for the demand side of your platform is to divide the average monthly spend on your marketplace by the total buyer spend.

Average share of wallet = Average spend per buyer on your platform ÷ average total spend per buyer x 100

The same goes for the supplier side of things:

Average share of earnings = Average amount earned per supplier on your platform ÷ average total earnings per supplier x 100

Level 3: look at things on a cohort level

The problem with Level 2 is that it can easily be skewed by users that are not properly onboarded or users that have churned. To avoid this problem and to get a more accurate view of the share of wallet, I recommend looking at it on a cohort by cohort basis (for a quick refresher on cohorts, check out my colleague Christoph’s post). At the seed stage, this is not super necessary, but once you start to have more data, I highly recommend it. 🙂

To begin with, take a look at your number of retained users on a monthly basis as well as the GMV per cohort per month as shown in the two tables below:

Once you have these two tables ready, calculate the share of wallet for cohorts overtime after a specific amount of months that they’ve been using the platform. The assumption here is that as buyers get more comfortable with using the platform, they will order more from it. As a result, the share of wallet should increase over time.

In this example, let’s look at each cohort 4 months after onboarding. For the cohort that started in February 2020, this will be May 2020, for the one that started in March, this will be June 2020, and so on.

To find the share of wallet for the February supplier cohort, we would take the May 2020 GMV and divide it by the number of customers active in that month to get an average revenue/earnings of $1,067. We can then divide that by the average total earned by a supplier (which in this example is $3,000) to get a share of wallet of 35.6%. To look at the calculations in more detail, feel free to play around with this sheet.

You can then do the same exercise across different cohorts i.e. compare the share of wallet of the cohorts that started in January vs the cohorts that started in May to get a view of how the share of wallet is changing over time (left image). Likewise, you can measure the share of wallet across a specific cohort over time (right image). In an ideal world, both of these should increase as your product improves and the liquidity on your platform increases.

Level 4: segment your users

For both level 2 and level 3, there is always a risk that average spend could be heavily concentrated amongst a subset of sellers on the platform and, as a result, may not be indicative of share of wallet across your entire user base. To overcome this issue, I recommend segmenting your buyer and supplier base and only calculating the share of wallet for those users that really matter to your platform. For instance, you could focus on the suppliers that earn over $1,000 per month or buyers that spend over $500 per month. The logic here is that in many marketplaces, you tend to have users that are not very active and don’t really add value to your platform. The key is to really focus on the ones that do.

3. Focus on measuring the side of the market that is constrained 👑

Whilst its good practice to always think about both sides of the marketplace, when it comes to increasing the share of wallet, the key is to focus on the side that is constrained. In other words, focus on the side which acts as the biggest constraint to driving additional transactions.

Uber and Airbnb, for instance, are examples of marketplaces that are supply-constrained. It is significantly harder for them to acquire drivers or houses than it is to acquire users. On the flip side, marketplaces such as Convoy or DemandStar, whose buyers include Fortune 500 companies and governments tend to be demand-constrained. It’s much harder for them to acquire these large buyers compared to their suppliers which tend to be smaller and more fragmented.

A large majority of marketplaces are supply-constrained as opposed to demand-constrained (more on this here). This suggests that most marketplaces should focus on measuring and improving the share of wallet on the supplier side (aka. share of earnings) as opposed to the share of wallet on the demand side. Why? Because optimising for happiness and stickiness on the side that is constrained is the key to ensuring liquidity. If you have the best, most reliable suppliers on your platform (in a supply-constrained market), you should be able to easily rake in the demand.

4. Focus on the serviceable available SOW, but don’t forget the total available SOW 🌍

Most marketplaces, particularly in the early days, are limited in their scope both in terms of products/services and geographical coverage. Airbnb, for instance, was only available in certain geographies, to begin with, whilst Metalshub* only had certain types of metal listed on its platform. When measuring the share of wallet, it’s important to take this into account and to focus on measuring the total buyer spend and supplier earnings that are relevant for the category of goods or services on your marketplace and the geographies that you cover. This is your serviceable available SOW. Focusing on too large of a total wallet (e.g. large buyers that are purchasing on a global level) might lead you to undervalue the stickiness of your customers.

On the flip side, it’s worth keeping the total available share of wallet at the back of your mind. Once you start getting to a high service available share of wallet, it might be an indication that it’s time to start expanding either in terms of geography or types of products or services you offer so as to tap into a broader share of wallet. The best businesses are not only able to unlock buyer demand and find other buckets of spend to go after, but are also able to expand the buyer’s spend by offering more inventory and making the discovery/transaction process more seamless. For example, Material Bank, a materials marketplace in the architecture and design industry started by sampling interior design materials and tackling sampling spend, they’ve since expanded their share of wallet by going after marketing spend and fulfilment spend, amongst other things.

5. Additional indicators 🛍

Aside from digging into your cohorts, there are a couple of other metrics which can act as good proxies for your share of wallet.

1. Unique buyer/supplier pairings

This is a great proxy for SOW on both the buyer and seller side of things. For instance, if a supplier is only transacting with three buyers in month one and ten buyers in month five, this is likely a good indicator that the platform is accounting for a greater SOW (unless the buyer spends less with 10 suppliers than he did with 3 before, which is very unlikely).

2. Number of orders per buyer/supplier

This is best measured on a cohort basis and is a pretty good reflection of how SOW is changing over time. As the number of orders per supplier increases, so does SOW of the platform.

3. Net revenue retention

As a reminder, net revenue retention is the percentage of recurring revenue retained from existing buyers in a given time period, usually 12 months. It captures the lost revenue from churned customers, but also the positive impact of an increase in usage. For marketplaces, it can be calculated as follows:

a) Monthly GMV from a specific cohort 12 months ago

b) The current GMV from that same cohort today

Annual net revenue retention = a ÷ b

Net revenue retention is a reflection of how much customers need and love your product. The higher the net revenue retention, the higher the spend of your cohorts. This is an indication that the share of wallet for that cohort is increasing (unless their total spend is growing as well, in which case SOW wouldn’t necessarily increase).

For what it’s worth, we’ve seen B2B marketplaces with net revenue retention ranging from 160% to 900% after 12 months, which is another reason to be VERY bullish on B2B marketplaces. They get addictive!

4. Utilization rate

On the supply side, the utilization rate is a good proxy for share of wallet (I talked about this a little in my post WTF is marketplace liquidity?). For instance, if we were looking at Uber, we could try and measure what proportion of drivers are making more than $1,000 per month (i.e. working for Uber as a full-time job). Preply*, a marketplace for language tutors, looks at this by benchmarking the average revenue a tutor makes on Preply versus the country household income per capita in a specific country as shown below.

What classifies as a good share of wallet? 💸

What classifies as a good share of wallet is highly dependent on the type of buyers and sellers you are going after and tends to be specific to each marketplace. If your sellers/buyers are SMBs with limited purchasing power (eg. restaurants in the case of Rekki*) it’s feasible to aim for 80–100% share of wallet. If on the flip side, your buyers/sellers are large multinational companies (e.g. airlines in the case of cargo.one) then even getting to 5–10% share of wallet could be good enough. The key in these cases is to look at the share of wallet on a per department, subcategory or specific buyer/seller basis within that company.

One way to figure out what classifies as “good” is to find out what is the minimum share of wallet required to keep the side that is constrained sufficiently happy so that they continuously transact on the platform (e.g. at least once per week). Once you’ve achieved minimum viable happiness, you can start pushing on acquisition and growth. Pushing for growth before you’ve achieved that point risks resulting in a leaky bucket (ie. high churn). cargo.one*, for instance, decided to hold back on growth till they were able to get their supply-side interacting a certain amount of times per week and, as a result, increase their share of wallet to a certain point. Once they’d reached that inflection point they were able to push on growth.

One thing worth noting is that unlike marketplace liquidity, the share of wallet is not the be-all and end-all for marketplaces. In certain cases, it may be worth optimising for other metrics e.g. growth or NPS as opposed to solely chasing after a high share of wallet. Over indexing for a high share of wallet (particularly in cases where there are a high number of SKUs) could end up slowing you down and lead founders to focus on pleasing and retaining a small niche at the expense of optimising for growth.

These are just a couple of my thoughts on share of wallet, but as most of you out there, I’m still learning and would love to hear any other examples of how you’ve gone about doing this 🤗 Please feel free to reach out or comment in the section below if you have any ideas. I’m always open to speaking to marketplace founders (especially B2B ones), so don’t hesitate to get in touch! My Twitter DM is always open.

Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll dive into a couple of strategies for how to go about increasing your marketplaces’ share of wallet.

Big thanks to my colleague Louis Coppey for helping me think through this post. Thanks to all my marketplace brainstorm buddies for giving me great feedback on it: Hunter from Nosara Capital, Theresa from Avenir Capital, Dhruv from Bessemer Venture Partners, Angela from Version One and Arne from FJ Labs and Merritt from Bain Capital Ventures amongst many others.

*P9 Portfolio company


WTF is share of wallet and HTF do you measure it? was originally published in Point Nine Land on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

WTF is share of wallet and HTF do you measure it?


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by Julia Morrongiello. The original is [linked here]

When we talk about building and scaling a marketplace, the main topic of focus is usually how to crack the chicken and egg problem i.e. building initial liquidity (I wrote about this in my previous post WTF is marketplace liquidity?). What is less often discussed is how to go from initial liquidity to a high share of wallet on both the demand and supply side (also known as the share of earnings on the supply side). In other words, how does a marketplace go from being one of many options for a buyer looking to purchase a specific type of good or service to becoming their main option? On the flip side, how do marketplaces go from being one of several revenue streams for a supplier to becoming their most significant revenue stream?

The aim of the following post is to define what we mean by share of wallet (SOW), why it matters, and to dive into a couple of strategies for how to measure it. I hope that it will be a useful tool for marketplace entrepreneurs and operators who are trying to better understand and measure some of the dynamics of their platform. 🤓

WTF is share of wallet and why does it matter?

Let’s start by defining the share of wallet as the percentage of a buyer’s spending (or a supplier’s earnings) within a given category that is captured by a marketplace as opposed to alternative channels. For the purpose of this post, I will use share of wallet as a catch-all term for both buyer spending and supplier earnings.

Share of wallet is a reflection of how important your platform is to your buyers or suppliers. The higher the share of wallet, the more dependent your suppliers are on your marketplace for their income and the more reliant your buyers are on your marketplace when it comes to sourcing a specific good or service. Optimising for a high share of wallet can be one of the most important growth levers for marketplaces. Not only, does it give marketplaces more leverage when it comes to pricing (since users become dependent on the platform), but it is also the key to unlocking SaaS style retention. In a further post, I’ll dive into strategies to increase SoW but for the time being, let’s understand how we can measure it.

So, HTF do we measure share of wallet?

Despite the importance of share of wallet, most early-stage startups (and many later-stage startups) don’t know how to measure it. To be honest, neither did I, until a couple of conversations with our portfolio companies prompted me to look deeper into the topic.

The key to figuring out your marketplace’s share of wallet is to be able to answer the following questions:

  • For buyers: what proportion of their total spend on x goes to your marketplace?
  • For sellers: what proportion of their total revenue comes from your marketplace?

With x being the type of goods or services that your marketplace offers.

Sound easy? Let’s dive into it:

1. Start by defining your average buyer (or supplier) profile 🙋🏻‍♀️

  • For buyers: How much does an average buyer usually spend on buying x?
  • For suppliers: How much revenue does an average supplier make selling x?

You can get this data in a number of ways:

  1. For a high-level view: industry reports and statistics
  2. For new customers: ask the above questions systematically during your sales or onboarding process
  3. For existing customers: send out surveys
  4. For more qualitative data: spend a day or two with your buyers or suppliers to get a granular view of their workflow (quite a few our B2B marketplaces have done this)
  5. For the pros: extract the data from your existing toolset. Some marketplace (eg. Farfetch) have built inventory management tools into their platform, this gives them an overview of supplier transactions that are happening both on and off-platform. Once you have this, measuring the share of wallet is easy.

2. Compare the total amount spent (or earned) to the amount spent (or earned) on your platform to get the share of wallet 💰

Level 1: do it on a case by case basis

At an early stage, when you only have a handful of buyers or sellers on your platform, you can measure the share of wallet on a per buyer or per seller basis using the following formula.

Share of Wallet = amount that buyer earns on your platform ÷ amount that a buyer spends in total on your category x 100

Share of Earnings = amount that supplier earns on your platform ÷ amount that supplier earns in total from your category x 100

Ideally, you should track this number on a monthly basis to get a sense of whether or not share of wallet is increasing.

cargo.one*, a marketplace for air freight which connects airlines (sellers) with freight forwarders (buyers) looks at this on an individual supplier (airline) basis as shown in the graph below.

Level 2: do it on an aggregate level

As the number of buyers and suppliers on your platform increases it’s worth looking at the share of wallet on an aggregate level. A scrappy way of doing this for the demand side of your platform is to divide the average monthly spend on your marketplace by the total buyer spend.

Average share of wallet = Average spend per buyer on your platform ÷ average total spend per buyer x 100

The same goes for the supplier side of things:

Average share of earnings = Average amount earned per supplier on your platform ÷ average total earnings per supplier x 100

Level 3: look at things on a cohort level

The problem with Level 2 is that it can easily be skewed by users that are not properly onboarded or users that have churned. To avoid this problem and to get a more accurate view of the share of wallet, I recommend looking at it on a cohort by cohort basis (for a quick refresher on cohorts, check out my colleague Christoph’s post). At the seed stage, this is not super necessary, but once you start to have more data, I highly recommend it. 🙂

To begin with, take a look at your number of retained users on a monthly basis as well as the GMV per cohort per month as shown in the two tables below:

Once you have these two tables ready, calculate the share of wallet for cohorts overtime after a specific amount of months that they’ve been using the platform. The assumption here is that as buyers get more comfortable with using the platform, they will order more from it. As a result, the share of wallet should increase over time.

In this example, let’s look at each cohort 4 months after onboarding. For the cohort that started in February 2020, this will be May 2020, for the one that started in March, this will be June 2020, and so on.

To find the share of wallet for the February supplier cohort, we would take the May 2020 GMV and divide it by the number of customers active in that month to get an average revenue/earnings of $1,067. We can then divide that by the average total earned by a supplier (which in this example is $3,000) to get a share of wallet of 35.6%. To look at the calculations in more detail, feel free to play around with this sheet.

You can then do the same exercise across different cohorts i.e. compare the share of wallet of the cohorts that started in January vs the cohorts that started in May to get a view of how the share of wallet is changing over time (left image). Likewise, you can measure the share of wallet across a specific cohort over time (right image). In an ideal world, both of these should increase as your product improves and the liquidity on your platform increases.

Level 4: segment your users

For both level 2 and level 3, there is always a risk that average spend could be heavily concentrated amongst a subset of sellers on the platform and, as a result, may not be indicative of share of wallet across your entire user base. To overcome this issue, I recommend segmenting your buyer and supplier base and only calculating the share of wallet for those users that really matter to your platform. For instance, you could focus on the suppliers that earn over $1,000 per month or buyers that spend over $500 per month. The logic here is that in many marketplaces, you tend to have users that are not very active and don’t really add value to your platform. The key is to really focus on the ones that do.

3. Focus on measuring the side of the market that is constrained 👑

Whilst its good practice to always think about both sides of the marketplace, when it comes to increasing the share of wallet, the key is to focus on the side that is constrained. In other words, focus on the side which acts as the biggest constraint to driving additional transactions.

Uber and Airbnb, for instance, are examples of marketplaces that are supply-constrained. It is significantly harder for them to acquire drivers or houses than it is to acquire users. On the flip side, marketplaces such as Convoy or DemandStar, whose buyers include Fortune 500 companies and governments tend to be demand-constrained. It’s much harder for them to acquire these large buyers compared to their suppliers which tend to be smaller and more fragmented.

A large majority of marketplaces are supply-constrained as opposed to demand-constrained (more on this here). This suggests that most marketplaces should focus on measuring and improving the share of wallet on the supplier side (aka. share of earnings) as opposed to the share of wallet on the demand side. Why? Because optimising for happiness and stickiness on the side that is constrained is the key to ensuring liquidity. If you have the best, most reliable suppliers on your platform (in a supply-constrained market), you should be able to easily rake in the demand.

4. Focus on the serviceable available SOW, but don’t forget the total available SOW 🌍

Most marketplaces, particularly in the early days, are limited in their scope both in terms of products/services and geographical coverage. Airbnb, for instance, was only available in certain geographies, to begin with, whilst Metalshub* only had certain types of metal listed on its platform. When measuring the share of wallet, it’s important to take this into account and to focus on measuring the total buyer spend and supplier earnings that are relevant for the category of goods or services on your marketplace and the geographies that you cover. This is your serviceable available SOW. Focusing on too large of a total wallet (e.g. large buyers that are purchasing on a global level) might lead you to undervalue the stickiness of your customers.

On the flip side, it’s worth keeping the total available share of wallet at the back of your mind. Once you start getting to a high service available share of wallet, it might be an indication that it’s time to start expanding either in terms of geography or types of products or services you offer so as to tap into a broader share of wallet. The best businesses are not only able to unlock buyer demand and find other buckets of spend to go after, but are also able to expand the buyer’s spend by offering more inventory and making the discovery/transaction process more seamless. For example, Material Bank, a materials marketplace in the architecture and design industry started by sampling interior design materials and tackling sampling spend, they’ve since expanded their share of wallet by going after marketing spend and fulfilment spend, amongst other things.

5. Additional indicators 🛍

Aside from digging into your cohorts, there are a couple of other metrics which can act as good proxies for your share of wallet.

1. Unique buyer/supplier pairings

This is a great proxy for SOW on both the buyer and seller side of things. For instance, if a supplier is only transacting with three buyers in month one and ten buyers in month five, this is likely a good indicator that the platform is accounting for a greater SOW (unless the buyer spends less with 10 suppliers than he did with 3 before, which is very unlikely).

2. Number of orders per buyer/supplier

This is best measured on a cohort basis and is a pretty good reflection of how SOW is changing over time. As the number of orders per supplier increases, so does SOW of the platform.

3. Net revenue retention

As a reminder, net revenue retention is the percentage of recurring revenue retained from existing buyers in a given time period, usually 12 months. It captures the lost revenue from churned customers, but also the positive impact of an increase in usage. For marketplaces, it can be calculated as follows:

a) Monthly GMV from a specific cohort 12 months ago

b) The current GMV from that same cohort today

Annual net revenue retention = a ÷ b

Net revenue retention is a reflection of how much customers need and love your product. The higher the net revenue retention, the higher the spend of your cohorts. This is an indication that the share of wallet for that cohort is increasing (unless their total spend is growing as well, in which case SOW wouldn’t necessarily increase).

For what it’s worth, we’ve seen B2B marketplaces with net revenue retention ranging from 160% to 900% after 12 months, which is another reason to be VERY bullish on B2B marketplaces. They get addictive!

4. Utilization rate

On the supply side, the utilization rate is a good proxy for share of wallet (I talked about this a little in my post WTF is marketplace liquidity?). For instance, if we were looking at Uber, we could try and measure what proportion of drivers are making more than $1,000 per month (i.e. working for Uber as a full-time job). Preply*, a marketplace for language tutors, looks at this by benchmarking the average revenue a tutor makes on Preply versus the country household income per capita in a specific country as shown below.

What classifies as a good share of wallet? 💸

What classifies as a good share of wallet is highly dependent on the type of buyers and sellers you are going after and tends to be specific to each marketplace. If your sellers/buyers are SMBs with limited purchasing power (eg. restaurants in the case of Rekki*) it’s feasible to aim for 80–100% share of wallet. If on the flip side, your buyers/sellers are large multinational companies (e.g. airlines in the case of cargo.one) then even getting to 5–10% share of wallet could be good enough. The key in these cases is to look at the share of wallet on a per department, subcategory or specific buyer/seller basis within that company.

One way to figure out what classifies as “good” is to find out what is the minimum share of wallet required to keep the side that is constrained sufficiently happy so that they continuously transact on the platform (e.g. at least once per week). Once you’ve achieved minimum viable happiness, you can start pushing on acquisition and growth. Pushing for growth before you’ve achieved that point risks resulting in a leaky bucket (ie. high churn). cargo.one*, for instance, decided to hold back on growth till they were able to get their supply-side interacting a certain amount of times per week and, as a result, increase their share of wallet to a certain point. Once they’d reached that inflection point they were able to push on growth.

One thing worth noting is that unlike marketplace liquidity, the share of wallet is not the be-all and end-all for marketplaces. In certain cases, it may be worth optimising for other metrics e.g. growth or NPS as opposed to solely chasing after a high share of wallet. Over indexing for a high share of wallet (particularly in cases where there are a high number of SKUs) could end up slowing you down and lead founders to focus on pleasing and retaining a small niche at the expense of optimising for growth.

These are just a couple of my thoughts on share of wallet, but as most of you out there, I’m still learning and would love to hear any other examples of how you’ve gone about doing this 🤗 Please feel free to reach out or comment in the section below if you have any ideas. I’m always open to speaking to marketplace founders (especially B2B ones), so don’t hesitate to get in touch! My Twitter DM is always open.

Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll dive into a couple of strategies for how to go about increasing your marketplaces’ share of wallet.

Big thanks to my colleague Louis Coppey for helping me think through this post. Thanks to all my marketplace brainstorm buddies for giving me great feedback on it: Hunter from Nosara Capital, Theresa from Avenir Capital, Dhruv from Bessemer Venture Partners, Angela from Version One and Arne from FJ Labs and Merritt from Bain Capital Ventures amongst many others.

*P9 Portfolio company


WTF is share of wallet and HTF do you measure it? was originally published in Point Nine Land on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

VC Corner Q&A: Max Mayer of Global Founders Capital


This post is by The Startup Grind Team from Startup Grind - Medium

Max Mayer started his career in banking before founding a click & collect marketplace in London after his MBA studies at QueensU in Canada & HHL Leipzig. After scaling it to 20k monthly active users & 400 supply partners, he sold the company to a multi-billion dollar retail & hospitality operation.

Max is now investing with Global Founders Capital out of Berlin, covering both DACH & San Francisco. Over the last 18 months he’s invested in 5 companies together with firms like General Catalyst, Foundation Capital, and Storm Ventures.

Let’s hear more from Max on what it takes for founders to secure funding and how to make a good impression on VCs!

— What is Global Founders Capital’s mission?

We are a global seed investor that empowers gifted entrepreneurs across all stages and throughout the lifecycle. We back founders who start category-defining ventures with operations in all geographies to support them at scale. All people who write checks at GFC have been building ventures themselves, so we know what it means to be in their shoes and have designed our processes accordingly — lightning-fast & simple.

— What was your very first investment/when? And what struck you about them?

One of my first investments at GFC was in nuffsaid founded by Chris Hicken. After scaling its operations to about 500 people as the President & COO, Chris had just left UserTesting. He had launched very successful customer success & sales teams there and now wanted to build software to make these teams more effective. The team was very complimentary and it was evident to me that with such strong domain expertise and a very clear & ambitious vision for the company, they were onto something big — and I wanted to be a part of that.

— What is one thing you’re thinking a lot about right now?

My own usage of social media/my phone and the impact media/information has on each of us. I think we can all agree that the impact of these large scale platforms is tremendous — not sure if it’s positive though, in fact I believe they are very dangerous. Amazon is selling e-commerce products, Bumble is selling the chance of finding a partner, but what tik-tok, instagram etc. are selling is our own time. I recently limited mine. In that regard, it’s going to be interesting (and maybe scary) to see what role these platforms will have played in hindsight at the upcoming US election.

— Who is one founder we should watch?

There are many people who should and could be on this list. Right now I would say Petar Tsankov from Latticeflow. He’s creating a very powerful AI company. We will definitely hear from him in the future.

— What is one question you ask yourself before investing in a company?

How will the founder act if the company is not scaling according to plan and how will he/she react if the board is criticizing and/or suggesting a different route? Basically, what happens if ‘shit hits the fan.’ Because let’s face it — most things don’t go according to plan. 🙂

— What is one thing every founder should ask themselves before walking into a meeting with a potential investor?

“Do I have a strong vision for my company that I can clearly articulate and execute on?”

— What do you think should be in a CEO’s top 3 company priorities?

  1. Lead by example
  2. Build an organization for performance or in other words ‘Amp it up’
  3. Be humble & fair

— Favorite business book, blog or podcast?

I’m listening to ‘Steingarts Morning Briefing’ and the ‘Race to the White House’ on my bike commute right now. One of my favorite VC podcasts is ‘Village Global’s Venture Stories.’

My favorite book is by Ben Horowitz ‘What You Do is Who You Are.’ It’s about how to create superior culture and accordingly performance in an organization.

The Bessemer Memos are really fun to read, too. They talk about their thesis/reasons for investing in companies like Pinterest, Shopify or Yelp — BUT they also talk about their anti-portfolio , a reminder to anyone out there that everything is possible, even if the best in our game think your idea sucks!

— Who is one leader you admire?

Angela Merkel, especially in very difficult times like now.

— What is one interesting thing most people won’t know about you?

I grew up and lived 13 years in a beautiful but incredibly small town in south Germany that has about 1,500 inhabitants (growing c. 1% yoy). That’s 0,04% of Berlin’s population where I live now 🙂

— What is one piece of advice you’d give every founder?

Before you start a company, make sure to analyse competition in your market in-depth (because that’s what we do as well), think about the timing of your idea and what differentiates your product.

Ready to make a pitch? Startups looking for an opportunity to pitch Global Founders Capital can apply here!


VC Corner Q&A: Max Mayer of Global Founders Capital was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Mum, why the f*** did I launch a B2B marketplace?


This post is by Julia Morrongiello from Point Nine Land - Medium

Those of you who have been following me for a while now, along with my mum, know that I’ve become o̶b̶s̶e̶s̶s̶e̶d̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ fascinated by B2B marketplaces. Why? Because with all of the innovation we’ve seen in the B2C space, not much has yet to filter down into B2B. There are many challenges which B2B marketplaces need to overcome, I’ve ranted about this while in lockdown with my mum, and also written about it in a previous post.

So what are the key things B2B marketplaces need to do to succeed? We partnered up with our friends at Hokodo, who interviewed over 20 different B2B marketplaces and got to the following 3 components. For the full deep dive, check out this link. For a TLDR, read on:

  1. Change the behaviour of a professional buyer
  2. Overcome the complexities of the B2B trade
  3. Mitigating platform bypass

Let’s dive into it:

  1. Changing the behaviour of a professional buyer 🛒

When it comes to B2B transactions, much of the purchasing behaviour tends to be old school and based on established relationships. There is a huge trust component involved and most buyers are reluctant to try out a new platform/work with suppliers they don’t know. Getting buyers to change their behaviour can be a huge challenge.

So how do we get around that? Here are a couple of quick hacks:

  • Instead of trying to disintermediate existing commercial relationships, try and facilitate them. Faire, a wholesale marketplace is a great example of this, they incentivised buyers to bring their existing suppliers onto the platform and waived the transaction fee on those transactions. Buyer referrals are now their strongest supplier acquisition channel.
  • Start by providing access to “surplus” supply or excess demand. Graindex, a marketplace for grains, for instance, started by capturing farmers’ marginal sales whilst the core still went to established buyers. From there, they were able to gradually upsell and capture a larger share of wallet.
  • Changing buyers behaviour is easier in certain industries than in others. This is especially the case in industries where there is an existing broker/middleman that is already intermediating transactions and making a big cut out of it or in industries where buyers are systematically taken advantage of by large suppliers or vice versa. For instance, in the metals or chemicals industry, suppliers sell on a daily basis and have a deep understanding of market prices and arbitrage opportunities. Buyers, by contrast, interact on a less frequent basis, have limited overview on what prices should be and often end up getting ripped off. If you’re thinking about building a B2B marketplace, it’s worth taking these dynamics into account.
  • There are loads more, but I’ll save that for another blog 😉

2. Overcoming the complexities of the B2B trade 🤯

Since most B2B transactions tend to involve higher average order values, the transactions themselves tend to be much more complex. They might involve different payment terms, have a heavy logistics and aftersales component, intricate workflows and so on.

Here are the hacks:

  • Make sure you spend time with your buyers and suppliers to understand their workflow before you start building. Sounds obvious, but trust me a lot of people don’t do it 😉
  • Build something (usually SaaS) which makes it 10x easier for them to transact. Rekki, a marketplace connecting restaurants to their suppliers, built a super easy to use, Whatsapp-style interface which made it significantly easier for restaurants to communicate with their suppliers. cargo.one transformed a complicated, multi-step booking process for air cargo into easy, couple of clicks transaction (scroll down here for a view on how they’ve done it).
  • Take on a managed marketplace approach e.g. do some of the logistics or vetting of the supply base to reduce some of the administrative burden usually involved with a trade.

3. Mitigating platform bypass 🛍

This is something which happens in all marketplaces but is especially prevalent in B2B since buyers have a tendency to fall back on their established supplier base. On top of that, since the average order values are so high there is a reluctance to pay high take rates, increasing the likelihood that they will move off-platform.

Most of the solutions I’ve mentioned above (e.g. building SaaS, offering services, facilitating existing relationships) are a great way to avoid leakage, but here are a couple of others:

  • Monetisation: if there is an existing broker you are disintermediating, charge a lower take rate than they do (undercut the middleman). If there is no existing broker, think about charging a SaaS or a combination of both. Make it economically advantageous for users to interact on your platform as opposed to off-platform.
  • Offer additional services, whether that’s insurance (check out Hokodo), faster payments, data or logistics amongst others.

To get the whole down low, check out the fully-fledged blog @Hokodo. Big up to the Hokodo team for leading the bulk of this research. Stay tuned for more to come!

We are excited to have backed cargo.one, OnTruck, Merxu, Metalshub, Laserhub and an undisclosed company who are digitizing B2B transactions and helping us learn as we go. Here’s a little pic of some of us brainstorming on the future of B2B marketplaces. If you’re building one and keen to join us, Louis Coppey, Ricardo Sequerra Amram and I are all ears.

And if your mum is also sick of hearing you rant about B2B Marketplaces, we’re here for her! help@b2bmarketplacemums.com


Mum, why the f*** did I launch a B2B marketplace? was originally published in Point Nine Land on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Designing a Fundraise: Lessons Learned from Flatfile’s Successful Investment Rounds


This post is by Eric Crane from Startup Grind - Medium

While 2020 will go down in history as memorable (we’ll leave it as “memorable”), Flatfile had reason to celebrate this year with a $7.6 Million seed round that we officially closed in April, just a few months after our pre-seed in July of last year.

Given the sizable seed round, I’m often asked questions about our fundraising and specifically, how we accomplished pulling together a seed round in such a short timeframe (about a month), right at the onset of the current global health crisis.

Below I’ve outlined a few of my lessons learned from Flatfile’s first two investment rounds.

Find creative solutions in the early days

At Flatfile, we created a new category: data onboarding. Any company that has ever had to import customer data understands the struggle of getting usable data into their system. When David (my co-founder) and I worked together at Envoy, we were frustrated by the data import experience, and further, that we had to build yet another bespoke solution to a problem we had solved before. So we started simple with the first version of Flatfile Portal: a drop-in data importer for your web app.

We were encouraged by the dozens of signups we saw after the first couple of months of 2018, but we also weren’t 100% certain if what we had was a standalone product that we could build a business around or simply a feature. We needed to develop our idea further and get help.

Find creative solutions in the early days

The biggest expense for any startup is hiring brilliant operators. We wanted talented people to help us launch, but we simply didn’t have the cash. So David came up with the idea of issuing SAFE notes: not to investors, but employees. We asked them to invest their time to get us up and running and that, in return, gave them a future equity stake in our business. Typically early capital from investors means you can then build your team; we circumnavigated that step.

We didn’t have capital but wanted to move the business forward between our founding and a pre-seed round. This creative solution required zero dollars, and earned us the most valuable resource of all: time.

Fundraising as part of a go-to-market motion

Speaking of time, when is it time to raise money? Just search on YouTube and you’ll find hundreds of videos, each with a slightly different point of view. My point is: it should always depend on your business.

For us, it meant proving two core theses of the business: that the market need for data onboarding was broad and that we could solve that need with our software. So we simply included fundraising as a part of our go-to-market strategy. We spent late 2018 focused on product development and user research. January was focused on positioning and customer acquisition. In February we publicly launched. And by March of 2019, we knew we were onto something: 25 paying customers, about as many unique use cases within that group, and a strong core team.

We kept our pitch deck simple and easy to iterate on. This slide is from the first of about 50 iterations.

But we didn’t go slinging decks across VCs’ inboxes. Cash is a means to an end, so we defined our end result first. We had proof of a broad market opportunity, willingness to pay, and a repeatable customer acquisition motion. What we were lacking was the ability to bring on a full-time team and fuel for our customer acquisition tanks.

That ruled out the accelerator route, as it’s largely designed to prove things we already had. Simply raising from angels by issuing notes over a broader period of time meant less market signaling and not enough cash to bring the team on all at once. Our ACVs at the time were too small to rely on customer dollars to achieve those objectives.

With this information, we knew that institutional VC was the best route for us. Those investors would be engaged with how we built our customer acquisition model, provide more capital at once, and take a more meaningful stake in the business.

Designing our first raise

By April 2019, we were ready to start pitching, but neither David or myself had any experience raising institutional capital. Given our product backgrounds, we approached fundraising with a product-oriented approach. Our planning broke down the steps as if we were creating or planning a product.

Right before pitching a “lead user” in San Francisco.

We found lead users — investors outside of our target list — to provide feedback on our MVP — the first iterations of our pitch deck. Growth funds and Series A/B specialists were excited about taking low-expectations meetings with us, and their feedback was invaluable.

Our growth engine for the fundraise was network driven, but highly intentional. We built a CRM in Airtable, where we took notes, advanced stages, and noted key value points for each fund and partner. We designed “forward emails”, making it easy for mutual connections to introduce Flatfile to investors without an obligation to take a meeting. And we also iterated constantly; after every comment, pitch, or dinner we took feedback and adjusted our messaging.

When we had a short list of institutional investors who were interested in Flatfile, we took a formulaic approach to deciding our partner. We leveraged our product experience again during this stage, prioritizing investors based on the business case each one made for us. I created a simple weighted average ranking model in Google Sheets, listing key attributes by how much they mattered to us. Geography, fund size, partner engagement, and brand recognition were amongst the factors. Message me if you’d like a copy.

Fundraising can be an emotional and stressful endeavor. The more you can create a logical, steadfast approach, the more you can outsource small decisions. Build your intuition into the process and the process will reach the right conclusion for you. We closed our $2.1M pre-seed in 6 weeks of pitching, then got back to building the business.

Don’t obsess about timing — it’s not everything

We dedicated our pre-seed funding to prove out product-market fit as well as scalability of customer acquisition. So we planned our spend not around a “standard” 18–24 month runway, but rather around optimally deploying cash to prove out those value points.

By September of 2019, we got our first validation point. In one month we bumped our paid acquisition by 10x. We spent nearly 5% of our total cash on hand just on a single month’s worth of campaigns! But that doesn’t matter, we got to see results of that spend: 20x more signups that month than we had ever seen.

And by January of 2019, our second point was proven. After gathering feedback from all those signups, including the prospects that never activated, we adjusted our product commensurately. In 3 weeks, we bumped our ACV nearly 6x. And further, we realized what we were missing, which ultimately became our new Concierge product.

Our first pre-emptive offer came during the SG Global conference in February.

The process of proving both of these points naturally led up to another fundraising round. In this case, the round was pre-emptive. All those later-stage funds we had pitched the first time around were still close, and after a handful of meetings to share the results of our proof points from the last round, we had our first offer by mid-February.

To take back control of the fundraise, we designed the process, albeit much more quickly than before. We listed our needs, defined clear criteria for ideal investment partners, and pitched forward to refine our messaging. As a result, we built a $7.6M seed round in less than four weeks. Our last in-person meeting was on March 3; by the time we closed the round at the end of the month, the world was very different. But COVID was never a significant concern during the round: we had identified the right partners with our process, and they helped us pull even more capital into the round than we had planned.

If you build (your business), they will come

The lesson here is to focus less on standard timelines and more on building evidence that you’re operating your business successfully. We made the key evidence of success well known amongst current and prospective investors and let the performance of the business make our pitch for us.

We’re a bit obsessed with first principles here at Flatfile, and that has served us as well during fundraising as it has during product development. I would urge you to do the same for your business, and don’t be afraid to eschew standards if they aren’t the right fit.

Learn even more about Flatfile’s experience in a recent interview with Startup Grind. Check out the full video below. 👇


Designing a Fundraise: Lessons Learned from Flatfile’s Successful Investment Rounds was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The Dreaded Pivot


This post is by Frederic Filloux from Monday Note - Medium

THE DONE SAGA, EP. 07

Feedback from users and investors has been unambiguous. In the Done app, there is only one killer feature, the calendar system. Over the last two months, we pivoted the company around it — and learned a lot.

by Gilles Raymond and Frederic Filloux

Photo by Ondrej Trnak on Unsplash

This series recounts the creation of the startup Done, from the first idea to the final product, with its best and worst moments (past and coming). No bullshit. Promised.

Episode 1, “The Two Foundations” After a near-death experience, the sale of News Republic to a giant Chinese tech company.
Episode 2, “Three Chinese lessons” What it really means to work for a Chinese company. The need to rethink how we interact digitally.
Episode 3, “Strategic Branding” How Done drew inspiration from the hospitality industry.
Episode 4, “The Design Sprint” A product in five days, from the idea to testing.
Episode 5, “The Hard Thing About Funding” Nine months of toil and rejection.
Episode 6, “Tribe Selling” The mechanism of a product’s mass adoption

I detected the signs early on in the life of the company. Every pitch I made to potential investors brought the same conclusion: “…Your key differentiator is your clever system to quickly arrange meetings, the rest could be found anywhere”.

Done was meant to be “The only app you need for work” thanks to the integration of a chat system, a task manager, a file-sharing feature, and a calendar. That one was the true gem of the application, at least according to the VCs I probed. In short, we had devised a super fast way to set up meetings with a single swipe, where our competitors required multiple interactions, and sometimes even cryptic instructions that looked like a line of code.

Then came the market confirmation with good and not so good returns. On the plus side, we went from 2,000 “real” users in June to 10,000 in September, a natural growth achieved without a shred of marketing expenses. Our core users still spend about 20 minutes each day on the app, not bad for a service that had yet to achieve a network effect. But the churn was worse than our competitors. And COVID didn’t help either: our product was designed to be primarily for mobile usage, with an interface based on quick taps and swipes. But with the pandemic and the explosion of remote working, people went back to the desktop with its multiple tabs often displayed on a large screen.

Time to Pivot

Create, experiment, learn, and adapt are the key components of tech culture. It entails a much higher tolerance for failure. This trait is the biggest impediment to the tech revolution in Europe, where I came from. There, a business failure is prohibitive and the culprit behind one can be barred from rebuilding anything for years.

Being prepared to pivot is part of managing a startup. It is a frequent twist of the tech narrative: Slack was originally an internal communication tool used at Tiny Speck, a gaming startup. YouTube was a video dating site. Twitter a podcast downloading platform. Instagram was originally a FourSquare-like service.

Pivoting rarely involves joy and exhilaration. For the team, it is always a traumatic experience with months of toiling going down the drain. Sometimes it comes along with finger-pointing or criticism for initiating the move too late or too soon.

At Done, it went relatively well. Probably because we are a small team, always aware of the pulse of the business. While the heartbeat was faint early this summer, we knew we had the defibrillator to restart: the meeting setup feature that was pointed out by VCs and customers was the true jewel of our service. We had sixty days to build it.

Pain Point

About 56 million meetings are organized every day in the United States alone, according to a research by LogMeIn. And everyone agrees that it is a universal pain point. We confirmed it through various polls and surveys made on Facebook and Google and the conclusion was that it was a great nut to crack.

Of course, as Apple’s marketing stated, “there is an app for that”. Several actually. The most used and the most powerful are functionalities of platforms like Google Suite, Microsoft Teams, or Slack. They work fine as long as everybody interacts in the same bowl. Once you want to include people from the outside world things get complicated and third-party apps need to be called in. Calendly and Doodle work just fine. I witnessed people from Google using Doodle to arrange a 15-person meeting of the media industry… However — and I say it with all due respect to their vast user base — if these two services were a car, they would be more a Trabant than a Tesla. And in 2020, no one would be satisfied with the iconic car from East Germany.

Hence our idea: building a service that will do the tedious work for you. We called it Meeting’s Monster.

Right now, organizing a meeting goes like this: you or an assistant will contact the participants to see their availability. Again, it’s easy within the company. When schedules aren’t shared it is done by a string of emails, instant messaging or even phone:

“John: we should evaluate the plan, may I suggest a meeting on Tuesday or Thursday? 10 AM
– Alicia: Tuesday is fully booked, can we try Thursday 11 AM
– Eddy: does not work for me, Friday PM will be great..”
– John : I’m sorry, I’m off this Friday PM… I will set up a Doodle for next week
– Eddy : Go for it, I will try to answer quicker than last time…”

And so on… And that is only for a meeting with three people.

The preliminary conversation will grow exponentially based on the number of attendants based on the formula in which the level of pain (P) is equal to Meeting importance (M) to the power of the Attendees (A):

Delving into details shows the innate complexity of what looks in theory so simple and so routine. Setting up a meeting carries a significant number of moving parts and untold rules.

For instance: I want to set up a session involving an external partner and people from marketing (to discuss the strategy), finance (we are about to spend a lot), and legal (only the paranoid survive). Here are the usual constraints: X often has business lunches, meaning he must be free between 12:30 and 2:30 pm. Y’s office is 45 min away (best case), 1h20 (worse case), so if we want her in person, we better take that into account. Z said that Wednesday afternoon should remain meeting-free and Friday is WFH only. Another one doesn’t want meetings back to back, etc.

Then there are more subtle factors: in this meeting, Sarah, Mathilde, and Henry are “Must have people” while six others are “Nice to have.” But what if none of the latter are available? Should we keep the meeting? Even more delicate, if Sarah is in, Jonas must be invited otherwise he will, once again, go nuclear on Sarah. But if Jonas and Lisa are in the same room, sparks will fly (Jonas is decidedly a pain, but that’s another subject).

Any human assistant will factor in these things and act accordingly. They will know that this meeting is an important one and should take precedence over others that week. They will cleverly manage egos and competencies.

Let’s be clear, with Meeting’s Monster, we do not pretend to solve all those delicate issues, but we intend to get as close to it as possible. More importantly, we want to build a system that will allow the user to simply ask: “I need an hour with these two people in the next 48 hours [or] this group by the end of the month”. And the service will take care of it.

On our new app, it looks like this:

Most of the heavy lifting is performed under the hood.

Rules vs. Behavior

In order to address constraints and exceptions, the simplest route is to build a catalog of rules that will govern the way that people organize their meetings. Again, we will need to take into account many usages that could vary from one country to another, based on culture, or working habits. We did the chart. Its complexity rivals the map of the Tokyo subway. Hence the questions: how deep should we go with the rules? Which ones should be suggested or left to the users, depending on their sectors and location?

The set of rules approach has its limitations. They can be overwhelming and profuse and yet not nearing exhaustivity… Other industries have gone through similar hurdles. Ten years ago, Natural Language Processing and text-generation were largely rule-driven. And the pioneers of the self-driving car tried first to teach the software how to drive. In both cases, artificial intelligence, relying on a large dataset of behaviors, settled the situation.

Another option is then to have the software look at the user’s meeting history to detect patterns resulting from individuals habits and general practices of the company. There is no doubt we will find valuable inputs that will make our software better. Then reality set in, with issues like the exploitability of the data and also some obvious privacy issues (though these will be solved through a carefully designed opt-in process).

The upheaval we see in everyone’s working habits, especially with the rise of online interactions, will help us a lot. They will be way easier to use and to interpret for companies like ours. Then we will need to rely on the law of diminishing returns: past a certain point, it will be useless to work on features that will be rarely needed by the customer. The question is where to set the cursor.

For the rest, there is both a vast addressable market and a painful friction to overcome. Sounds like a great business opportunity and we intend to grab it.

Gilles Raymond & Frederic Filloux


The Dreaded Pivot was originally published in Monday Note on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The Dreaded Pivot


This post is by Frederic Filloux from Monday Note - Medium

THE DONE SAGA, EP. 07

Feedback from users and investors has been unambiguous. In the Done app, there is only one killer feature, the calendar system. Over the last two months, we pivoted the company around it — and learned a lot.

by Gilles Raymond and Frederic Filloux

Photo by Ondrej Trnak on Unsplash

This series recounts the creation of the startup Done, from the first idea to the final product, with its best and worst moments (past and coming). No bullshit. Promised.

Episode 1, “The Two Foundations” After a near-death experience, the sale of News Republic to a giant Chinese tech company.
Episode 2, “Three Chinese lessons” What it really means to work for a Chinese company. The need to rethink how we interact digitally.
Episode 3, “Strategic Branding” How Done drew inspiration from the hospitality industry.
Episode 4, “The Design Sprint” A product in five days, from the idea to testing.
Episode 5, “The Hard Thing About Funding” Nine months of toil and rejection.
Episode 6, “Tribe Selling” The mechanism of a product’s mass adoption

I detected the signs early on in the life of the company. Every pitch I made to potential investors brought the same conclusion: “…Your key differentiator is your clever system to quickly arrange meetings, the rest could be found anywhere”.

Done was meant to be “The only app you need for work” thanks to the integration of a chat system, a task manager, a file-sharing feature, and a calendar. That one was the true gem of the application, at least according to the VCs I probed. In short, we had devised a super fast way to set up meetings with a single swipe, where our competitors required multiple interactions, and sometimes even cryptic instructions that looked like a line of code.

Then came the market confirmation with good and not so good returns. On the plus side, we went from 2,000 “real” users in June to 10,000 in September, a natural growth achieved without a shred of marketing expenses. Our core users still spend about 20 minutes each day on the app, not bad for a service that had yet to achieve a network effect. But the churn was worse than our competitors. And COVID didn’t help either: our product was designed to be primarily for mobile usage, with an interface based on quick taps and swipes. But with the pandemic and the explosion of remote working, people went back to the desktop with its multiple tabs often displayed on a large screen.

Time to Pivot

Create, experiment, learn, and adapt are the key components of tech culture. It entails a much higher tolerance for failure. This trait is the biggest impediment to the tech revolution in Europe, where I came from. There, a business failure is prohibitive and the culprit behind one can be barred from rebuilding anything for years.

Being prepared to pivot is part of managing a startup. It is a frequent twist of the tech narrative: Slack was originally an internal communication tool used at Tiny Speck, a gaming startup. YouTube was a video dating site. Twitter a podcast downloading platform. Instagram was originally a FourSquare-like service.

Pivoting rarely involves joy and exhilaration. For the team, it is always a traumatic experience with months of toiling going down the drain. Sometimes it comes along with finger-pointing or criticism for initiating the move too late or too soon.

At Done, it went relatively well. Probably because we are a small team, always aware of the pulse of the business. While the heartbeat was faint early this summer, we knew we had the defibrillator to restart: the meeting setup feature that was pointed out by VCs and customers was the true jewel of our service. We had sixty days to build it.

Pain Point

About 56 million meetings are organized every day in the United States alone, according to a research by LogMeIn. And everyone agrees that it is a universal pain point. We confirmed it through various polls and surveys made on Facebook and Google and the conclusion was that it was a great nut to crack.

Of course, as Apple’s marketing stated, “there is an app for that”. Several actually. The most used and the most powerful are functionalities of platforms like Google Suite, Microsoft Teams, or Slack. They work fine as long as everybody interacts in the same bowl. Once you want to include people from the outside world things get complicated and third-party apps need to be called in. Calendly and Doodle work just fine. I witnessed people from Google using Doodle to arrange a 15-person meeting of the media industry… However — and I say it with all due respect to their vast user base — if these two services were a car, they would be more a Trabant than a Tesla. And in 2020, no one would be satisfied with the iconic car from East Germany.

Hence our idea: building a service that will do the tedious work for you. We called it Meeting’s Monster.

Right now, organizing a meeting goes like this: you or an assistant will contact the participants to see their availability. Again, it’s easy within the company. When schedules aren’t shared it is done by a string of emails, instant messaging or even phone:

“John: we should evaluate the plan, may I suggest a meeting on Tuesday or Thursday? 10 AM
– Alicia: Tuesday is fully booked, can we try Thursday 11 AM
– Eddy: does not work for me, Friday PM will be great..”
– John : I’m sorry, I’m off this Friday PM… I will set up a Doodle for next week
– Eddy : Go for it, I will try to answer quicker than last time…”

And so on… And that is only for a meeting with three people.

The preliminary conversation will grow exponentially based on the number of attendants based on the formula in which the level of pain (P) is equal to Meeting importance (M) to the power of the Attendees (A):

Delving into details shows the innate complexity of what looks in theory so simple and so routine. Setting up a meeting carries a significant number of moving parts and untold rules.

For instance: I want to set up a session involving an external partner and people from marketing (to discuss the strategy), finance (we are about to spend a lot), and legal (only the paranoid survive). Here are the usual constraints: X often has business lunches, meaning he must be free between 12:30 and 2:30 pm. Y’s office is 45 min away (best case), 1h20 (worse case), so if we want her in person, we better take that into account. Z said that Wednesday afternoon should remain meeting-free and Friday is WFH only. Another one doesn’t want meetings back to back, etc.

Then there are more subtle factors: in this meeting, Sarah, Mathilde, and Henry are “Must have people” while six others are “Nice to have.” But what if none of the latter are available? Should we keep the meeting? Even more delicate, if Sarah is in, Jonas must be invited otherwise he will, once again, go nuclear on Sarah. But if Jonas and Lisa are in the same room, sparks will fly (Jonas is decidedly a pain, but that’s another subject).

Any human assistant will factor in these things and act accordingly. They will know that this meeting is an important one and should take precedence over others that week. They will cleverly manage egos and competencies.

Let’s be clear, with Meeting’s Monster, we do not pretend to solve all those delicate issues, but we intend to get as close to it as possible. More importantly, we want to build a system that will allow the user to simply ask: “I need an hour with these two people in the next 48 hours [or] this group by the end of the month”. And the service will take care of it.

On our new app, it looks like this:

Most of the heavy lifting is performed under the hood.

Rules vs. Behavior

In order to address constraints and exceptions, the simplest route is to build a catalog of rules that will govern the way that people organize their meetings. Again, we will need to take into account many usages that could vary from one country to another, based on culture, or working habits. We did the chart. Its complexity rivals the map of the Tokyo subway. Hence the questions: how deep should we go with the rules? Which ones should be suggested or left to the users, depending on their sectors and location?

The set of rules approach has its limitations. They can be overwhelming and profuse and yet not nearing exhaustivity… Other industries have gone through similar hurdles. Ten years ago, Natural Language Processing and text-generation were largely rule-driven. And the pioneers of the self-driving car tried first to teach the software how to drive. In both cases, artificial intelligence, relying on a large dataset of behaviors, settled the situation.

Another option is then to have the software look at the user’s meeting history to detect patterns resulting from individuals habits and general practices of the company. There is no doubt we will find valuable inputs that will make our software better. Then reality set in, with issues like the exploitability of the data and also some obvious privacy issues (though these will be solved through a carefully designed opt-in process).

The upheaval we see in everyone’s working habits, especially with the rise of online interactions, will help us a lot. They will be way easier to use and to interpret for companies like ours. Then we will need to rely on the law of diminishing returns: past a certain point, it will be useless to work on features that will be rarely needed by the customer. The question is where to set the cursor.

For the rest, there is both a vast addressable market and a painful friction to overcome. Sounds like a great business opportunity and we intend to grab it.

Gilles Raymond & Frederic Filloux


The Dreaded Pivot was originally published in Monday Note on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

What’s New on VC+ in October?


This post is by Louise Stoddart from Visual Capitalist

If you’re a regular visitor to Visual Capitalist, you know that we’re your home base for data-driven, visual storytelling that helps explain a complex world.

But did you know there’s a way to get even more out of Visual Capitalist, all while helping support the work we do?

New to VC+ in October 2020

VC+ is our members program that gives you exclusive access to extra visual content and insightful special features. It also gets you access to The Trendline, our new members-only graphic newsletter.

So, what is getting sent to VC+ members in the coming weeks?


The Ever-Changing Brand Landscape

SPECIAL DISPATCH: Our best collection of infographics on all things brands

Since the 1980’s, brands have evolved from status symbols to symbols of social change. In fact, brands of all shapes and sizes are now expected to go beyond transactions and create more meaningful relationships with their customers. 

But the majority of brands are up against walls of fierce competition, and face difficult macroeconomic conditions that could determine their future.

In this VC+ special dispatch, we explore the tough environment that brands operate in, and uncover what it takes for them to survive.

Publishing date: October 8 (Get VC+ to access)


“Ask Me Anything” with Nick Routley, Managing Editor

SPECIAL DISPATCH: Nick answers questions submitted by VC+ members

Have you ever wanted to ask our Managing Editor a specific question? In this exclusive feature for our VC+ community, Nick will address these questions, giving behind-the-scenes access to Visual Capitalist and our team.

Publishing date: October 15 (Get VC+ to access)


Behind the Scenes With our New Book: Part 4

SPECIAL DISPATCH: A Close Look at What to Expect From “Signals”

When most books are published, you are only privy to the final result.

However, we’re taking VC+ members to see what happens behind the scenes.

In the last update, we covered the final selection process, and revealed one of the completed signals. In the final part of the series next month, VC+ members will get to see images of the final physical book as printed, as well as what went into some of the most impressive visualizations found in the book.

Interested in placing a bulk order for “Signals”? Find out more here.

Publishing date: October 22 (Get VC+ to access)


The Trendline

PREMIUM NEWSLETTER: Our Weekly Newsletter for VC+ Members
The Trendline

Every week, VC+ members also get our premium graphic newsletter, The Trendline.

With The Trendline, we’ll send you the best visual content, datasets, and insightful reports relating to business that our editors find each week.

Publishing Date: Every Sunday


More Visuals. More Insight. More Understanding.

Get access to these upcoming features by becoming a VC+ member.

For a limited time, get 25% off, which makes your VC+ membership the same price as a coffee each month:

Get 25% Off VC+ Today

PS – We look forward to sending you even more great visuals and data!

The post What’s New on VC+ in October? appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

The 3 VC’s you’ll meet on Monday


This post is by Phin Barnes from sneakerheadVC - Medium

It’s Friday, and many folks are looking forward to a couple days off the screens that dominate our lives these days — but for a ton of founders with partner meetings set for Monday, this weekend is packed with preparation. As you get ready to “pitch” make sure you also take some time to think about what you are looking for in a partner and how you will identify the right person to work with. Firms have brands, but you work with a person and in many ways the mental model the partner uses to define how they will contribute to your success should drive your choice.

Every investor is different, but in my experience, there are three VC mindsets when it comes to partnering with founders — those who fix, those who help and those who serve. (NOTE: I am ignoring the 4th category of vampire VC who sucks the life out of you as your company heads toward zombie status. I assume you did not respond to the email inviting you to meet their partners…)

  1. The Fixer — The fixer is very sure the best solution to any problem your company faces lives in their past. This partner typically has operating experience and believes in applying their lessons with high frequency and force to your business. The Fixer is exceptional at finding what is broken, and this is actually where their primary value lies. Often the observations of a fixer will highlight challenges and areas of weakness that you’ve missed and if you can leverage them for problem identification rather than lean on them for solutions, they can be great partners. This can be challenging because the Fixer is unlikely to have a well developed appreciation for how the world may have changed since their time in the trenches and the investment in education or debate rarely pays off for founders.
  2. The Helper — The helper views your weaknesses as an opportunity to show their strengths. Different than the fixer, who finds problems and always has “the solution”, the helper listens to your problems and offers to engage where they can add value. Very unlikely to be value detracting, the helper is highest leverage in areas where many startups struggle (i.e. recruiting process and pipeline, PR, customer connections or general management tactics like goal setting and OKRs). The challenge with helpers is they can take away more than they give by getting you to comfort with best practices but stopping short of pushing you to the world class, and often contrarian thinking required to maximize your potential. When your partner is a helper, use their support to establish the basics, but don’t be afraid to leave them behind and explore the edges of what is possible. These edges are often where company defining decisions are made and where helpers are most out of their depth.
  3. The Enlisted — The enlisted are in service of you and your company and will do whatever they believe is best for those they serve. There can be tension when a CEO and a VC partner with an enlisted mindset disagree about what is best for the CEO or for the company. The strength of conviction it takes to “enlist” can also lead to emotion around what is best and how to achieve it — and this typically has to be managed by the CEO. The enlisted can also be frustrating for CEOs to work with because they are conscious of not robbing you of your autonomy by “helping” or “fixing.” The enlisted tend to sit with you in the struggle longer than others and explore solutions that depend on amplifying your strengths and demanding your growth as a leader. But, even in disagreement, the intense desire of the enlisted VC to do whatever it takes for you to maximize your potential as CEO, to have the most meaningful impact on the company and for your company to capture the largest market opportunity available is the foundation of this type of partnership.

Every founder has unique needs and their own path to walk in the search for their best. There is no optimal VC type but knowing who you are partnering with, the mindset they will bring to the partnership and how that mindset will (and will not) serve you is the most critical part of the decision.


The 3 VC’s you’ll meet on Monday was originally published in sneakerheadVC on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The 3 VC’s you’ll meet on Monday


This post is by Phin Barnes from sneakerheadVC - Medium

It’s Friday, and many folks are looking forward to a couple days off the screens that dominate our lives these days — but for a ton of founders with partner meetings set for Monday, this weekend is packed with preparation. As you get ready to “pitch” make sure you also take some time to think about what you are looking for in a partner and how you will identify the right person to work with. Firms have brands, but you work with a person and in many ways the mental model the partner uses to define how they will contribute to your success should drive your choice.

Every investor is different, but in my experience, there are three VC mindsets when it comes to partnering with founders — those who fix, those who help and those who serve. (NOTE: I am ignoring the 4th category of vampire VC who sucks the life out of you as your company heads toward zombie status. I assume you did not respond to the email inviting you to meet their partners…)

  1. The Fixer — The fixer is very sure the best solution to any problem your company faces lives in their past. This partner typically has operating experience and believes in applying their lessons with high frequency and force to your business. The Fixer is exceptional at finding what is broken, and this is actually where their primary value lies. Often the observations of a fixer will highlight challenges and areas of weakness that you’ve missed and if you can leverage them for problem identification rather than lean on them for solutions, they can be great partners. This can be challenging because the Fixer is unlikely to have a well developed appreciation for how the world may have changed since their time in the trenches and the investment in education or debate rarely pays off for founders.
  2. The Helper — The helper views your weaknesses as an opportunity to show their strengths. Different than the fixer, who finds problems and always has “the solution”, the helper listens to your problems and offers to engage where they can add value. Very unlikely to be value detracting, the helper is highest leverage in areas where many startups struggle (i.e. recruiting process and pipeline, PR, customer connections or general management tactics like goal setting and OKRs). The challenge with helpers is they can take away more than they give by getting you to comfort with best practices but stopping short of pushing you to the world class, and often contrarian thinking required to maximize your potential. When your partner is a helper, use their support to establish the basics, but don’t be afraid to leave them behind and explore the edges of what is possible. These edges are often where company defining decisions are made and where helpers are most out of their depth.
  3. The Enlisted — The enlisted are in service of you and your company and will do whatever they believe is best for those they serve. There can be tension when a CEO and a VC partner with an enlisted mindset disagree about what is best for the CEO or for the company. The strength of conviction it takes to “enlist” can also lead to emotion around what is best and how to achieve it — and this typically has to be managed by the CEO. The enlisted can also be frustrating for CEOs to work with because they are conscious of not robbing you of your autonomy by “helping” or “fixing.” The enlisted tend to sit with you in the struggle longer than others and explore solutions that depend on amplifying your strengths and demanding your growth as a leader. But, even in disagreement, the intense desire of the enlisted VC to do whatever it takes for you to maximize your potential as CEO, to have the most meaningful impact on the company and for your company to capture the largest market opportunity available is the foundation of this type of partnership.

Every founder has unique needs and their own path to walk in the search for their best. There is no optimal VC type but knowing who you are partnering with, the mindset they will bring to the partnership and how that mindset will (and will not) serve you is the most critical part of the decision.


The 3 VC’s you’ll meet on Monday was originally published in sneakerheadVC on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The 3 VC’s you’ll meet on Monday


This post is by Phin Barnes from sneakerheadVC - Medium

It’s Friday, and many folks are looking forward to a couple days off the screens that dominate our lives these days — but for a ton of founders with partner meetings set for Monday, this weekend is packed with preparation. As you get ready to “pitch” make sure you also take some time to think about what you are looking for in a partner and how you will identify the right person to work with. Firms have brands, but you work with a person and in many ways the mental model the partner uses to define how they will contribute to your success should drive your choice.

Every investor is different, but in my experience, there are three VC mindsets when it comes to partnering with founders — those who fix, those who help and those who serve. (NOTE: I am ignoring the 4th category of vampire VC who sucks the life out of you as your company heads toward zombie status. I assume you did not respond to the email inviting you to meet their partners…)

  1. The Fixer — The fixer is very sure the best solution to any problem your company faces lives in their past. This partner typically has operating experience and believes in applying their lessons with high frequency and force to your business. The Fixer is exceptional at finding what is broken, and this is actually where their primary value lies. Often the observations of a fixer will highlight challenges and areas of weakness that you’ve missed and if you can leverage them for problem identification rather than lean on them for solutions, they can be great partners. This can be challenging because the Fixer is unlikely to have a well developed appreciation for how the world may have changed since their time in the trenches and the investment in education or debate rarely pays off for founders.
  2. The Helper — The helper views your weaknesses as an opportunity to show their strengths. Different than the fixer, who finds problems and always has “the solution”, the helper listens to your problems and offers to engage where they can add value. Very unlikely to be value detracting, the helper is highest leverage in areas where many startups struggle (i.e. recruiting process and pipeline, PR, customer connections or general management tactics like goal setting and OKRs). The challenge with helpers is they can take away more than they give by getting you to comfort with best practices but stopping short of pushing you to the world class, and often contrarian thinking required to maximize your potential. When your partner is a helper, use their support to establish the basics, but don’t be afraid to leave them behind and explore the edges of what is possible. These edges are often where company defining decisions are made and where helpers are most out of their depth.
  3. The Enlisted — The enlisted are in service of you and your company and will do whatever they believe is best for those they serve. There can be tension when a CEO and a VC partner with an enlisted mindset disagree about what is best for the CEO or for the company. The strength of conviction it takes to “enlist” can also lead to emotion around what is best and how to achieve it — and this typically has to be managed by the CEO. The enlisted can also be frustrating for CEOs to work with because they are conscious of not robbing you of your autonomy by “helping” or “fixing.” The enlisted tend to sit with you in the struggle longer than others and explore solutions that depend on amplifying your strengths and demanding your growth as a leader. But, even in disagreement, the intense desire of the enlisted VC to do whatever it takes for you to maximize your potential as CEO, to have the most meaningful impact on the company and for your company to capture the largest market opportunity available is the foundation of this type of partnership.

Every founder has unique needs and their own path to walk in the search for their best. There is no optimal VC type but knowing who you are partnering with, the mindset they will bring to the partnership and how that mindset will (and will not) serve you is the most critical part of the decision.


The 3 VC’s you’ll meet on Monday was originally published in sneakerheadVC on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Riskbook raises £2m for its hyperconnected marketplace for reinsurance placement


This post is by Kate McGinn from Seedcamp

Health insurance, home insurance, car insurance — we all depend on various forms of insurance to protect ourselves from uncertainty. But what about insurance for insurance? How do you insure insurance companies who take on the risk of others? The answer is reinsurance. Insurers transfer portions of their risk portfolio to other parties in an effort to distribute the probability of large losses.

Co-founders Ben Rose (President) and Jerad Leigh (CEO)

Today’s $200bn reinsurance insurance industry relies on outdated technology to support insurance brokers. This is why we are excited to back Riskbook in a £2m seed round alongside our friends at Episode 1 Ventures and MMC Ventures. The team is on a mission to bring the reinsurance industry into the 21st century.

“Riskbook has managed to build out a highly talented team and bring to market a reinsurance platform that is getting extremely positive feedback from cedents, brokers, and reinsurers.”

— Sia Houchangnia, Partner at Seedcamp

Co-founders Jerad Leigh, Ben Rose, and Jezen Thomas have developed a hyperconnected reinsurance marketplace which provides a radically better placement experience for  both brokers and underwriters. Riskbook provides robust data capture, easy document management, threaded correspondence, and end-to-end placement management via an exceptional user experience for global reinsurance practitioners.

“We are excited to be partnering with leading venture capital firms to create the placing experience the reinsurance community has dreamt of for decades,” CEO Jerad comments. “Paired with Riskbook’s win-win-win philosophy, this new funding cements our role as a trusted independent provider to cedents, brokers and reinsurers alike.”

The team is using the round of funding to make key industry hires, develop their Lloyd’s-recognized digital placement platform, and allow Riskbook to scale to meet the needs of a growing global customer base of cedents, brokers, and reinsurers.

“Reinsurance is one of those massive industries that has been overlooked by most investors,” our investment partner Sia Houchangnia comments. “To disrupt such a complex industry, you do need the right mix of technical know-how and subject-matter expertise. That’s the reason why we got very excited when we first met Ben, Jerad, and Jezen a year ago. Since the pre-seed round we led, their execution has been extremely impressive. In a short amount of time, Riskbook has managed to build out a highly talented team and bring to market a reinsurance platform that is getting extremely positive feedback from cedents, brokers, and reinsurers.”

We are excited about the Riskbook team’s distinctive position to streamline reinsurance placement and modernize the industry to benefit practitioners globally.

Riskbook raises £2m for its hyperconnected marketplace for reinsurance placement


This post is by Kate McGinn from Seedcamp

Health insurance, home insurance, car insurance — we all depend on various forms of insurance to protect ourselves from uncertainty. But what about insurance for insurance? How do you insure insurance companies who take on the risk of others? The answer is reinsurance. Insurers transfer portions of their risk portfolio to other parties in an effort to distribute the probability of large losses.

Co-founders Ben Rose (President) and Jerad Leigh (CEO)

Today’s $200bn reinsurance insurance industry relies on outdated technology to support insurance brokers. This is why we are excited to back Riskbook in a £2m seed round alongside our friends at Episode 1 Ventures and MMC Ventures. The team is on a mission to bring the reinsurance industry into the 21st century.

“Riskbook has managed to build out a highly talented team and bring to market a reinsurance platform that is getting extremely positive feedback from cedents, brokers, and reinsurers.”

— Sia Houchangnia, Partner at Seedcamp

Co-founders Jerad Leigh, Ben Rose, and Jezen Thomas have developed a hyperconnected reinsurance marketplace which provides a radically better placement experience for  both brokers and underwriters. Riskbook provides robust data capture, easy document management, threaded correspondence, and end-to-end placement management via an exceptional user experience for global reinsurance practitioners.

“We are excited to be partnering with leading venture capital firms to create the placing experience the reinsurance community has dreamt of for decades,” CEO Jerad comments. “Paired with Riskbook’s win-win-win philosophy, this new funding cements our role as a trusted independent provider to cedents, brokers and reinsurers alike.”

The team is using the round of funding to make key industry hires, develop their Lloyd’s-recognized digital placement platform, and allow Riskbook to scale to meet the needs of a growing global customer base of cedents, brokers, and reinsurers.

“Reinsurance is one of those massive industries that has been overlooked by most investors,” our investment partner Sia Houchangnia comments. “To disrupt such a complex industry, you do need the right mix of technical know-how and subject-matter expertise. That’s the reason why we got very excited when we first met Ben, Jerad, and Jezen a year ago. Since the pre-seed round we led, their execution has been extremely impressive. In a short amount of time, Riskbook has managed to build out a highly talented team and bring to market a reinsurance platform that is getting extremely positive feedback from cedents, brokers, and reinsurers.”

We are excited about the Riskbook team’s distinctive position to streamline reinsurance placement and modernize the industry to benefit practitioners globally.

Riskbook raises £2m for its hyperconnected marketplace for reinsurance placement


This post is by Kate McGinn from Seedcamp

Health insurance, home insurance, car insurance — we all depend on various forms of insurance to protect ourselves from uncertainty. But what about insurance for insurance? How do you insure insurance companies who take on the risk of others? The answer is reinsurance. Insurers transfer portions of their risk portfolio to other parties in an effort to distribute the probability of large losses.

Co-founders Ben Rose (President) and Jerad Leigh (CEO)

Today’s $200bn reinsurance insurance industry relies on outdated technology to support insurance brokers. This is why we are excited to back Riskbook in a £2m seed round alongside our friends at Episode 1 Ventures and MMC Ventures. The team is on a mission to bring the reinsurance industry into the 21st century.

“Riskbook has managed to build out a highly talented team and bring to market a reinsurance platform that is getting extremely positive feedback from cedents, brokers, and reinsurers.”

— Sia Houchangnia, Partner at Seedcamp

Co-founders Jerad Leigh, Ben Rose, and Jezen Thomas have developed a hyperconnected reinsurance marketplace which provides a radically better placement experience for  both brokers and underwriters. Riskbook provides robust data capture, easy document management, threaded correspondence, and end-to-end placement management via an exceptional user experience for global reinsurance practitioners.

“We are excited to be partnering with leading venture capital firms to create the placing experience the reinsurance community has dreamt of for decades,” CEO Jerad comments. “Paired with Riskbook’s win-win-win philosophy, this new funding cements our role as a trusted independent provider to cedents, brokers and reinsurers alike.”

The team is using the round of funding to make key industry hires, develop their Lloyd’s-recognized digital placement platform, and allow Riskbook to scale to meet the needs of a growing global customer base of cedents, brokers, and reinsurers.

“Reinsurance is one of those massive industries that has been overlooked by most investors,” our investment partner Sia Houchangnia comments. “To disrupt such a complex industry, you do need the right mix of technical know-how and subject-matter expertise. That’s the reason why we got very excited when we first met Ben, Jerad, and Jezen a year ago. Since the pre-seed round we led, their execution has been extremely impressive. In a short amount of time, Riskbook has managed to build out a highly talented team and bring to market a reinsurance platform that is getting extremely positive feedback from cedents, brokers, and reinsurers.”

We are excited about the Riskbook team’s distinctive position to streamline reinsurance placement and modernize the industry to benefit practitioners globally.