Sramana Mitra: What stage do you recommend people to make that shift in your orbit? Are we talking about getting to a million and then moving to Silicon Valley? We see all kinds of permutations and combinations of this behavior. I’m curious what your thoughts are on this.
Brian Jacobs: Rather than a revenue number, I think more in terms of product-market fit. If you’ve got a product that is clearly meeting the needs of your customers and you believe that it’s time to put your foot on the gas and grow your sales and marketing capabilities, then that’s a good time to do it. We see some companies which, for instance, are offering their products on a freemium basis. They are getting no revenue from those customers, but you can start to see if the product is meeting the customer’s needs. That’s more important to us than a specific revenue number. >>>
Heidi Jannenga, Co-founder and President of WebPT, discusses how they raised $1 million WITH $1 million in revenue already booked, and then turned that $1 million into $17 million in revenue.
Sramana Mitra: In some cases, the newsroom analogy is probably not the right analogy. Think about a toothbrush brand. That’s now news-oriented. If you think about how to do content marketing for those kinds of brands, it’s a very difficult problem.
Ashu Garg: In the newsroom analogy, I’m using the word very loosely. It’s the idea that you have to have a focused team thinking about content creation in the context of what users want. Take a toothpaste brand. Talking about your toothpaste, the color and the flavor is probably not that interesting for the audience.
Maybe stories about how the brand is engaging with changing the lives of poor people in third world countries would be interesting. I >>>
According to recent reports, the attendance for the world’s top 10 theme-park operators grew 8.6% last year, almost double the rate of 2016. Visitors to parks run by Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) rose 6.8% to 150 million worldwide, while Merlin Entertainments, the runner-up operator saw attendance to Lego Land climb 7.8% to 66 million. Universal Studios came in a distant third with a 4.4% increase to 49.5 million visitors. With Disney’s parks doing good business, Disney is preparing to up the ante on the streaming market for its digital content.
Sramana Mitra: Your strategy is to not worry about the ones that are not really making it and will have to raise money with liquidation preference where you don’t have the negotiating leverage. Focus on the ones that will get to decent exit and you need three of those to make your fund economics work.
Charlie O’Donnell: Yes. I do 80% to 90% of my total investment upfront, which is a deviation from the way that most fund managers work on it. The way to think about my fund is, if you had a $100 million seed fund, what percentage of that fund goes into the seed round? If you’re following on three to one or four to one, you’re really talking about, at most, 20% of the fund and the rest of it was dollars when you double down on your winners. >>>
Brian Jacobs: As far as the future of the cloud is concerned, I think we continue to see more and more innovation. I believe innovation begets more innovation. Once you see how the cloud changes your business, you start to see new opportunities that maybe weren’t so visible initially.
I think that this idea around industry cloud, which is a vertical software company that is enabling competitors to aggregate data and share data without compromising their trade secrets, is an exciting opportunity. It’s a mix of vertical software with Big Data with the idea that by sharing data in the cloud, you can do some things that companies with an on-premise solution just can’t do. That’s one of our key investment themes.
Another one is mobile business applications. We think that the mobile phone is now effectively a supercomputer in your pocket. >>>
Vikrant Mathur, Co-founder of Future Today, discusses his 10+ years journey of building a profitable bootstrapped business to over $10 million in revenue.
Sramana Mitra: Media buying has been the most obvious areas which needed to be automated because of the trends that you described. Machine learning applies very well into that space. Can you talk about other areas in marketing technology, where, powered by machine learning, there is venture-scale opportunity?
Ashu Garg: I’m going to talk about very broad themes. The beauty of entrepreneurship is, startups always prove investors wrong. I’m sure that there are folks in this audience who will have ideas that we haven’t even thought of. With that caveat, I published a book called The Decade of The CMO last year. We talked about five major technology trends within marketing technology and five buckets of areas where I think mostly billion-dollar companies will emerge. >>>