Employee Data Research, SaaS Sales Failures, Financial Close Strategies • ExamPaper

For the past 24 months, Thomvest Ventures has recorded employee data for 150 Series A to C enterprise SaaS startups, and we’ve got the numbers.

This report, prepared by Eddie Ackerman, Thomvest’s strategic financial operating partner, looks at the hiring rate since February 2021 by region, company type and, specifically, how much time has passed since the last fundraiser.

Ackerman says he expects another tranche of layoffs within weeks after startups hold their board meetings in Q4 2022.


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That’s not something an employee wants to read a few days before Christmas, but forewarned.

“For companies with strong balance sheets, strong lenders, product-market fit or low burn, now is the best time to hire critical employees,” says Ackerman.

And if that doesn’t describe your business, you should already be planning to reduce headcount.

“The difficult decision to freeze hiring should be made early, even if your balance sheet is in good shape,” Ackerman writes.

If you’re a founder reading this, when layoffs occur, you have a moral and ethical responsibility to notify your employees as soon as possible. Do the right thing.


ExamPaper+ will publish next week on a light schedule and we will resume our usual cadence on Monday, January 2. I’m taking a short break for the holidays and will be sending out the next ExamPaper+ newsletter/roundup on Tuesday January 3rd.

Thank you so much for reading us in 2022. A very happy new year!

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, ExamPaper+
@your protagonist

How to get the most out of your investor relationships in 2023

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As Santa revises his list of naughty and nice people, it’s also a great time for startup founders to take stock of their investor relationships.

Vidya Raman, a partner at Sorenson Ventures, has written a TC+ article with dos and don’ts for upcoming board meetings, her thoughts on which communication channels are best for different requests for help, and specific data points to bring up in your discussions.

“Be ruthless about how you spend your time,” she advises, “especially with your investors.”

Holiday shipping is easier this year, but technology is still lagging behind

Boxes on conveyor belt to the truck loading dock in the distribution warehouse.

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Global supply lines are in better shape than around this time last year, but that doesn’t bode well for the future, writes Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen.

“The shipping improvements this year largely reflect a decline in consumption rather than any improvement in underlying infrastructure,” he says, noting that labor shortages, global instability and high fuel prices have created persistent bottlenecks.

“Fortunately, the data available today is immeasurably rich, and we also have the tools to use it in ways that can increase efficiency.”

Pitch Deck Teardown: Card Blanch’s $460K deck for his angel round

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Fintech startup Card Blanch recently closed a $460,000 round for its pre-launch service that promises to let customers track personal expenses from a centralized app.

To see why this deck was derided by angel investors bringing good news, we’re sharing the founders’ unedited deck:

  • Cover slide
  • Problem slide
  • Market size slide
  • Solution slide
  • Product slide
  • Slide “How it works”.
  • Competition slide
  • Revenue model dia
  • Slide of market opportunities
  • “Next Steps” – the question slide
  • “Your whole wallet on one card” – value slider
  • “Complete spend analysis in one place” – overview slide

Dear Sophie: What are the pros and cons of the E-2 and L-1A visas?

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Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/ExamPaper

Dear Sophia,

We co-founded a startup in Colombia and we are thinking of opening a sales office in the US! I would move and my co-founder will continue to lead our technical team from Colombia.

I am currently considering both the E-2 investor and L-1A executive visas. What are the pros and cons of each?

— Courageous Colombian

How To Solve The Close Financial Dilemma: 3 Strategies That Never Fail

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Be honest: Did you rush the November month-end close because of the December holidays?

New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep, but since this is the slowest time of the year, it’s a good time to adopt healthier accounting habits.

Before you run your December numbers, look for ways to automate month-end close, advises Shagun Malhotra, a CPA and CIA who is also an experienced auditor.

In a TC+ post, she shares three strategies for digitizing this process, along with suggestions for sub-metrics to track that give you an accurate picture of your financial health.

“The data collected in these steps will help you quickly identify the core issues of your business so you can assess what to do next.”

3 Black investors talk about what they’re looking for in 2023

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Investors are generally optimistic about the long-term resilience of technology, but when it comes to expanding opportunities for black founders, Dominic-Madori Davis says they’re largely fatalistic.

She interviewed three black investors to hear their thoughts on impact investing, what trends they expect to set in 2023 and how they prefer to be approached by founders:

  • Alexis Alston, Director, Lightship Capital
  • Richard Kerby, Managing Partner, Equal Ventures
  • Jadyn Bryden, Vice President, Xfund

Avoid 3 common sales mistakes startups make during a recession

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Analysts estimate that IT spending will increase in 2023, but tell that to SaaS sales teams trying to contract with customers who have been instructed to reduce their spending.

“What every business needs right now is efficient sales,” said Anand Shah, CEO and co-founder of Databook, explaining why reactive actions like increasing sales quotas or raising prices don’t help.

“Make real changes to meet the needs of your buyers. Use the macroeconomic background to drive the necessary improvements in sales productivity.”

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