Finding your startup's valuation: 5 factors to consider

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By Walter Thompson and Ram Iyer

Friday, May 13, 2022

Welcome to TechCrunch+ Friday

Welcome to TechCrunch+ Friday image

Image Credits: avier Zayas Photography / Getty Images (Image has been modified)

The ongoing market correction and the cratering of several leading crypto tokens are erasing wealth so quickly, you can almost hear it.

Companies in other industries are on a hiring spree, but startups like Robinhood, and Peloton are laying off thousands as FAANG companies slow down their recruiting and look for places to save money.

For many tech workers, this is the first time they’ve experienced real uncertainty. Investors are affluent, and founders will weather this storm just fine, but in downturns like these, rank-and-file employees are the first to feel any pain.

So, if your face doesn’t appear on the team slide in your startup’s pitch deck, this would be a good time to cancel your upcoming vacation. And maybe one of your subscription boxes.

In this environment, every entrepreneur should be fluent with their key metrics. If you can’t recall exactly how much runway you have left by the time you finish reading this sentence, I’m a little worried for you.

For her latest TC+ column, angel investor Marjorie Radlo-Zandi addresses a related question on every founder’s mind: What is my current valuation?

For many startups, finding that figure requires more art than science, since pre-revenue companies are still gathering data and fine-tuning their products.

“Many traditional valuation methods, such as discounted cash flow, aren’t as useful for valuing early-stage startups,” she writes. “This means investors have to gauge other factors that aren’t so easily measured.”

There’s no antidote for uncertainty, but it can be mitigated: dive into your data, activate your personal network, and look for ways to support your co-workers.

Thanks very much for reading TechCrunch+.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch+

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Pitch Deck Teardown: Dutch’s $20M Series A deck

Pitch Deck Teardown: Dutch’s $20M Series A deck image

Image Credits: Dutch

As CEO and founder of virtual veterinarian care platform Dutch, Joe Spector initially intended to raise a $15 million Series A, but his pitch deck so skillfully blended visuals of lovable pets with market research and traction metrics, he ended up closing a $20 million round.

With flair, Dutch’s deck tells a convincing story of how the company used its seed funding to launch a service within three months, establish a brand identity, build a team and expand from 12 to 32 states.

If you’re working on a pitch deck and are in need of inspiration, start here: all 17 slides are available to TC+ members.

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TC Sessions: Climate

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Benefitting from painful lessons learned during the cleantech 1.0 boom and its eventual bust in 2012, climate technology is back with a vengeance.

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When and how to hire your startup’s first growth marketer

When and how to hire your startup’s first growth marketer image

Image Credits: Eoneren / Getty Images

Emotion and intuition often drive a lot of hiring inside early-stage startups, but when a company reaches product-market fit and finds its target audience, it’s a signal that “hiring a growth marketer will enable your efforts to be scaled much faster than without one,” says Jonathan Martinez, who has helped scale companies like Chime, Uber and Postmates.

In a TC+ post, Martinez explains how to identify the right kind of growth hire, which traits to look for, and how to set clear expectations and milestones once they’re on board.

“Priority tasks should consist of setting up a growth tech stack, creating a testing roadmap to find the most efficient growth levers, and robust creative and copy testing in the first 90 days.”

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Dear Sophie: What are the visa options for international founders?

Dear Sophie: What are the visa options for international founders? image

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

I started a startup in Pakistan with a couple of co-founders a few years ago. One of the co-founders and I want to move to the United States to access the market.

What are our visa options? Thanks in advance for your help!

— Purposeful in Pakistan

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To boost early-stage growth, adopt a jobs-to-be-done approach to marketing

To boost early-stage growth, adopt a jobs-to-be-done approach to marketing image

Image Credits: Martin Poole / Getty Images

Understanding your customer’s needs is paramount to any marketing strategy, but it can be hard to test your hypotheses when your budget is limited.

However, by adopting a “jobs-to-be-done” framework, early-stage startups can define, categorize, capture and organize all their customers’ needs, writes Michael Popchuk, co-founder and CEO of Saldo Apps.

Using real-life examples, Popchuk explains how startups can employ and leverage the JTBD framework to improve their SEO strategy, marketing, and product development.

“Thinking of and using the jobs users want to accomplish to inform your strategy will help boost SEO, improve conversion on generic pages and increase the virality of your product.”

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Battery startups are working to disrupt more than just cars and trucks

Battery startups are working to disrupt more than just cars and trucks image

Image Credits: Bill Hinton / Getty Images

Electric vehicles are the prime market for battery startups these days, but some enterprising companies are foraying into new territories with batteries that can do more than a typical lithium-ion cell.

Natron Energy, whose batteries use Prussian blue coupled with a sodium-based electrolyte, can charge up much faster and can withstand discharge cycles more than “5x to 10x what lithium-ion batteries are capable of,” reports Tim De Chant.

This capability gives these batteries unique use cases, such as power back-ups for data centers. Moreover, “because the batteries can charge rapidly over and over again without risk of significant degradation, data center managers can task them with shaving power demand when prices spike.”

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