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TechCrunch+ roundup: Fighting fundraising fears, XaaS CS strategy, the 'collapse' of VC

·4-min read

Ever traveled on a cruise ship?

Pre-COVID, most journeys started with a shipwide safety drill where passengers assembled, donned life vests and learned what to do in an emergency.

The ocean has an average depth of 2.3 miles, yet these rehearsals were always a calm affair. You’re starting a vacation; what could possibly go wrong?

Full TechCrunch+ articles are only available to members.
Use discount code TCPLUSROUNDUP to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription.

Similarly, there’s no reason to be fearful about raising money, but like carefree cruisers at full sail, founders should have healthy respect for a process that’s not under their control.

“Any change is an opportunity to create leverage, and a downturn is no exception,” writes Masha Bucher, founder and general partner of early-stage VC firm, Day One Ventures.

In this TC+ post, she discusses the current economic environment and shares “actionable tips for closing pre-seed to Series B rounds.”

We’re publishing on a diminished schedule over Labor Day weekend, so I’ll be back next Friday with another roundup. Thanks very much for reading!

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

Crafting an XaaS customer success strategy that drives growth

pickup truck carrying giant tomato
pickup truck carrying giant tomato

Image Credits: THEPALMER (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Giving users better service than they expect could literally save a software startup. In one study, companies that spent 10% of their yearly revenue on customer success attained peak net recurring revenue.

"Companies mostly deploy two or more customer success archetypes," according to The Alexander Group's Rachel Parrinello and John Stamos. "They usually vary by customer segment, business versus technical focus and sales motion focus: adopt, renew, upsell and cross-sell."

If you're interested in optimizing revenue through customer success, read the rest for a full overview of the customer success job design methodology, because "companies should not design their customer success roles in a vacuum."

We need to unlearn the lessons of the 2021 fundraising bubble

hand throwing old books into the trash; unlearn the lessons of the 2021 fundraising boom
hand throwing old books into the trash; unlearn the lessons of the 2021 fundraising boom

Image Credits: kulkann (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Does your startup have a data room? Are you calculating the ROI for each new hire before you extend an offer letter?

At the risk of invoking the “do you even lift?” meme: every process inside your organization can be improved, and founders need to make gains wherever possible, writes Immad Akhund, co-founder and CEO of Mercury.

“Use this tighter market to prepare and ensure your business is scalable, and you’ll do better when fundraising.”

Dear Sophie: What are the quickest visa options for bringing in international talent?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center
lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

Our startup is recruiting engineers. Most of our team works remotely, but some of our potential recruits would want to work in the office. They are international students graduating in December, as well as some individuals who have worked with us remotely as contractors.

What are the quickest visa options we should consider? Can their supervisor work remotely? Anything else we should keep in mind?

— Rigorous Recruiter

Stop sensationalizing the 'collapse' of VC: Look at the data

Card House Against Blue Skies
Card House Against Blue Skies

Image Credits: perrygerenday (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

For many founders looking to raise money, this is a terrible time. Fundraising is taking much longer than it used to, and valuations are much lower than a few months ago.

For investors, however, things are settling back to earth, says Brian Walsh of WIND Ventures.

"The reality is that there was an unprecedented hype cycle in 2021, and what we have seen since the beginning of 2022, objectively, is a 'reversion to the mean' in line with long-term trends."

To reach fintech's next level, infrastructure providers must address these pain points

Fifty dollar bill with plasters stuck on it, overhead view, close-up
Fifty dollar bill with plasters stuck on it, overhead view, close-up

Image Credits: Jeffrey Coolidge (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Can infrastructure companies like Stripe, Plaid and Klarna help struggling fintech startups cope with shrinking valuations and lackluster deal flow?

Perhaps, but "to do this, they’ll have to take a closer look at the problems those customers deal with on a daily basis," writes Laura Spiekerman, co-founder and chief revenue officer of Alloy.

Moving faster to find better ways to prevent fraud and align products with interest rates can unlock greater potential in the sector, says Spiekerman.

"Infrastructure providers must reprioritize and find a way to grow their capabilities for their current customers instead of just signing new ones."

An action plan for founders fundraising in fintech’s choppy waters

The bow of a ship ploughs through heavy seas and spray in open ocean.
The bow of a ship ploughs through heavy seas and spray in open ocean.

Image Credits: Jason Edwards (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Startup fundraising is an uphill sprint in times of plenty, but during a downturn, it’s an absolute grind.

"It’s not you; it’s the market," advises Ryan Falvey, co-founder and managing partner of Financial Venture Studio.

"The best founders recognize that the goal is to close a round, not to maximize the price or minimize dilution," which means you should talk to as many investors as you can and take their money if terms are reasonable.