Midstage Startup MomentumApr 22, 2021
Founders Space CEO Captain Hoff: Navigating Startup Success
For many midstage startups, finding an accelerator can be a great way to find useful guidance that can help drive better results. One of the top accelerators in the startup world today is Founders Space, which is run by Steve Hoffman (AKA Captain Hoff). Steve is a veteran of several startups and the author of several books about the startup world who brings a wealth of information and expertise to the startups that work with Founders Space.
Steve recently spoke to fellow author and startup coach Roland Siebelink on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. The two covered a host of topics relevant to the journey of every founder:
Why it’s critical for startups to continue to innovate.
The qualities Steve looks for in founders that are destined for success.
The true meaning of product-market-fit.
How startups should balance growth versus and how the economic climate can be a factor.
The best way for startups to consider new possibilities without getting distracted.
How startups should pick investors and how to handle difficult investors.
Imascono CEO & Co-Founder Héctor Paz: Be Transparent With Your People
When it comes to virtual and augmented reality technologies, the future that many of us have always dreamed about may already be here. That’s the case largely because of startups like Imascono, which is based in Spain. Imascono has done some amazing things while developing applied imagination and extended reality technologies that have the capacity to be used for entertainment, marketing, and industrial purposes.
Imascono co-founder Héctor Paz recently joined the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast to talk with Roland Siebelink and Carlos Founaud about the long journey of the startup and key steps along the way.
How Imascono has been able to prevent employees from leaving the company.
How Imascono manages to connect the goals of the company with the goals of employees.
The methods Imascono uses to create transparency with employees.
The lessons Imascono has learned from negotiations involving a potential merger.
The biggest takeaways from Imascono’s experience in an accelerator program.
Constrafor CEO & Founder Anwar Ghauche: Talk to Your Customers Before Building a Product
While the construction business is massive, it’s also rather complicated. Fortunately, there are tech startups like Constrafor that are helping both general contractors and subcontractors streamline everything they do, completing projects and getting everyone paid faster. Constrafor is a construction procurement platform that handles everything from insurance to invoicing. While only started in 2019, Constrafor is already striving to become the primary end-to-end procurement platform for the biggest general contractors in the U.S.
Constrafor CEO and founder Anwar Ghauche recently sat down with startup coach Roland
Siebelink on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast to discuss the journey so far. He shared some insight into how Constrafor operates, which is a little different from the average startup:
Why it makes sense for Constrafor to use an indirect monetization method.
The reason Constrafor spoke with potential customers before building a product.
The importance of a sales team, even in a product-led company.
How customer success at Constrafor is handled by everyone, not just one team.
How Anwar handles employees who do not fit the values of Constrafor.
Why Constrafor uses company-wide KPIs rather than team or individual KPIs.
Hydrosat CEO & Co-Founder Pieter Fossel: Finding Triple Win Scenarios
With a growing population and climate change, it’s more important than ever for farmers to be able to grow as much food as possible as efficiently as possible. Fortunately, there are startups like Hydrosat that are trying to make that job a little easier for them. As its name implies, Hydrosat uses satellite data to help farmers, agribusinesses, and government agencies with important insights that can lead to more food being produced with less water while also cutting down on electricity and climate change contributors.
Hydrosat CEO and co-founder Pieter Fossel recently joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. Pieter explained the positive impact Hydrosat can potentially have on the world and a variety of other topics about Hydrosat’s startup journey:
How Hydrosat is able to address food security and climate change at the same time.
The importance of solving a customer’s problem while building a product over time.
Being able to find short-term success while maintaining a long-term vision.
How to work with big distributors without giving up leverage.
How Hydrosat has given both distributors and end users something new.
Sendlane CEO & Founder Jimmy Kim: You Can’t Just Build for Everyone--so I Built It for Myself!
Experience is often a key ingredient for startup founders. Jimmy Kim, the CEO and founder of Sendlane, has plenty of experience with Sendlane being his third startup. With Sendlane, Jimmy is hoping to combine several MarTech tools into a single platform, dominating the space while creating a new category. Given his experience, Jimmy and Sendlane are well on their way to doing just that.
Jimmy joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on this week’s episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast to share how far Sendlane is in its journey. He also shared many key insights from the wealth of knowledge he’s gained as a founder.
Why it took Jimmy three attempts to build a successful sales team.
Why Sendlane decided to use outbound sales sooner than most startups.
Why a startup’s pricing shouldn’t be the driving force in winning the market.
Why offering the cheapest pricing can be a bad thing.
Why fundraising is no different from a sales cycle.
How many term sheets startups should aim to get while fundraising.
Genialis CEO & Co-Founder Rafael Rosengarten: Build a Great Company and a Great Business Follows
The ongoing fight against cancer requires all hands on deck. Fortunately, tech startups are starting to harness the power of AI and machine learning to help in the fight against cancer. Genialis is one startup that uses AI in the precision medicine industry to ensure cancer patients are getting the right treatment.
Genialis CEO and co-founder Rafael Rosengarten recently sat down with startup coach Roland Siebelink to discuss the role his startup is playing in treating cancer patients more effectively. Rafael also spoke about the journey Genialis has been on and his personal journey as a first-time founder.
What it was like being a founder without a business background.
The challenge of succeeding with a startup that hasn’t raised a lot of money.
How startup founders can recognize when it’s time to pivot their company.
Why Genialis doesn’t consider employee headcount an indicator of success.
What it means to build a great company before building a great business.
How Genialis links its values to its strategic initiatives.
Hiberus Internacional CEO Marcos Latorre - How to Develop Talent Instead of Recruiting It
It’s usually in the nature of startup leaders to conquer one market and expand to another. That is exactly the case with Hiberus, which is one of the premier tech startups in Spain but aspires to be so much more. Hiberus is a tech consulting startup that offers a variety of services and has offices all over Europe with over 3,000 employees. After experiencing such impressive growth and success in Europe, Hiberus is now expanding to operate in the U.S. and the Americas.
Hiberus Internacional CEO Marcos Latorre recently joined the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast to speak with startup coaches Roland Siebelink and Carlos Founaud. Marcos talked about the past success and future goals of Hiberus while also sharing the secret sauce that has made Hiberus one of the biggest tech startups in Europe:
How to attract people to a small company in a small city.
Why Hiberus tries to create talent rather than just relying on acquiring talent.
What Hiberus has done to attract customers with a small sales team.
The three things Hiberus provides clients so that they never lose one.
The reason Hiberus prioritizes employees over customers and investors.
How the role of founders and CEOs change as startups grow and expand.
Midstage Momentum Method
No startup can make it to product-market dominance without having a plan. That’s why the Midstage Institute has put together the midstage momentum method. This is a five-lever plan to help startups upon reaching the midstage and get them from product-market fit to product-market dominance as quickly and efficiently as possible. The method creates a roadmap that startups can follow for future success, guiding them as they get better at what they do and build more competencies.
On this week’s episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast, startup coach Roland Siebelink introduces the five parts of the midstage momentum method, giving startups their own roadmap to achieving product-market dominance.
- Better define the responsibilities and expected output of your team.
- Understand the core segments that are most in need of your minimum value proposition.
- Create a key functional road map that can help create discipline and rhythms.
- Learning how to continually grow revenue year after year.
- Ensuring the founder has a vision that can help to inspire others to think big.
Daisy Intelligence Founder & CEO Gary Saarenvirta: What is Explainable Decisions as a Service?
There seems to be truly no limit to what artificial intelligence is capable of doing. One of the best examples of this is Canadian startup Daisy Intelligence, which works primarily with retailers and insurers to make automated decisions that don’t require having a human in the loop. It’s what founder and CEO Gary Saarenvirta likes to call “Explainable Decisions as a Service.”
Gary joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the newest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast to share what “Explainable Decisions as a Service” means and why he doesn’t like the term artificial intelligence. He also talked about his journey to becoming a founder and Daisy’s progress thus far.
- Why Daisy feels the need to explain its AI decisions to customers.
- How to target multiple industries in the go-to-market.
- What it’s like having a global go-to-market in a competitive space.
- Why Daisy should have tried to become profitable sooner.
- Why startups need the right product if they want to burn cash.
- Navigating a product’s users being different from those choosing to buy it.
Resync Co-Founder & CEO Emir Nurov: Why Founders Should be Honey Badgers
All over the planet, companies are trying to reduce their CO2 emissions, if not to help the planet, least to reduce their energy costs. Fortunately, there are startups like Resync that are serving enterprises as an energy management solution using AI. The Singapore-based startup has already made great progress and is now in the process of scaling and expanding to help move companies in different corners of the world to reduce their energy costs and carbon footprints at the same time.
Resync co-founder and CEO Emir Nurov joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on this week’s episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast to talk about his startup’s purpose, approach, and success.
- How Resync reached the point of relying mostly on inbound sales.
- The approach Resync took in finding its first few partnerships.
- Why Resync considers itself to be agnostic to different markets.
- The importance of having a team that believes in the founder’s vision.
- How Resync is able to operate with a limited sales and business development team.
- The value of founders and startup employees having corporate experience.
Cogo EMEA CEO Emma Kisby: Put Purpose at the Heart of Business
Solving the climate crisis is surely going to be a group effort that requires a majority of the people in the world. Fortunately, there is a tech company like Cogo that’s helping to lead the way. Cogo is helping individuals and businesses to better understand their carbon footprints and make choices to help reduce carbon emissions. They’ve started by partnering with big banks but have aspirations to do far more.
Emma Kisby, the EMEA CEO of Cogo, joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the latest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. She spoke about how Cogo turns complex data into something far easier for people to understand about their carbon footprint. She also talked about the history of Cogo, what makes this startup unique, and the future of Cogo.
- How Cogo has created partnerships with big banks and created confidence in them.
- How to take a proof of concept in one country and expand it to others.
- How and why Cogo has defined its principles aimed toward growth.
- The challenges that come with focusing on speed to market.
- How a startup can hold true to its principles without losing its agility.
Ofload Founder & CEO Geoffroy Henry: Where is the Value in Strategic Partners
Let’s face it, the world couldn’t function without trucks on the road carrying goods from place to place. Naturally, the world functions at its best when the freight on those trucks is managed efficiently. Fortunately, there is a logistics startup like Ofload that acts as a service provider and helps to coordinate freight to help trucking companies big and small be more efficient. While Ofload only operates in Australia right now, it has already achieved an impressive amount of traction and has big plans for the future.
Ofload founder and CEO Geoffroy Henry joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the latest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast to talk about Ofload’s past, present, and future. They discussed the role Ofload plays in the supply chain, the success of the company thus far, and how Geoffroy is handling all of the challenges that come with being the founder and CEO of a tech startup.
- How startups can find the right balance between profitability and growth.
- How Ofload has built a team that’s fit for future growth.
- The methods Geoffroy uses when hiring leaders at Ofload.
- The difference between core jobs and growth jobs.
- The purpose behind Ofload’s mix of traditional investors and strategic investors.
- How Ofload benefits from having strategic investors at the cap table.
Cybersixgill CEO Sharon Wagner: Building a Channel-Driven Go-To Market
Given the current climate in the world, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Learning about security threats and being able to remediate them is critical for all organizations. Needless to say, the sooner you know about security threats, the better. That’s Cybersixgill is changing the game for organizations throughout the private and public sectors. Cybersixgill has technology that collects real-time data related to security threats and turns it into actionable intelligence that can help security professionals remediate threats sooner.
Cybersixgill CEO Sharon Wagner has already led one startup that was sold to Microsoft and he has Cybersixgill heading in a similar direction. Sharon joined the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast this week to talk to startup coach Roland Siebelink about what Cybersixgill does and the startup’s journey thus far. He shared insight about what has worked for Cybersixgill and what other startup leaders can do to find similar success.
- What it’s been like for Cybersixgill to address both the private and public sectors.
- How to fine-tune the lead generation process.
- The importance of diversifying lead sources.
- How Cybersixgill has been able to use sales channels, digital marketing, and references at the same time.
- The key to aligning direct sales and indirect sales with one another.
- Defining product-market-fit and why it isn’t just about your company’s product.
What Changes to Make After Finding Product-Market Fit (Part 5)
For all startups, finding product-market fit is far from the end of the journey. In fact, product-market fit is when things only start to get interesting. But after achieving product-market fit, there are several key changes that all startups must make to get to the next stage of development. If those changes are made effectively, a startup can go from product-market fit to product-market dominance.
On this week’s episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast, startup coach Roland Siebelink reviews all of the necessary changes following product-market fit. Being proactive in making these changes once you’re sure you’ve found product-market fit is what will make your startup attractive to investors and put you on the road to finding product-market dominance.
- Redefine your challenge to mastering distribution.
- Conquer your market by being able to capture latent demand.
- Design your product in a way that has automatic, no-brainer upgrades.
- Ensure healthy margins but don’t yet optimize for profitability.
- Use marketing effectively to drive down the sales payback time.
8fig Co-Founder & CEO Yaron Shapira: How to Raise Awareness with Product-Led Growth
It’s hard to deny that e-commerce has a bright future in this world. But how are small entrepreneurs supposed to succeed in this industry? Well, the answer could come from a startup called 8fig, which is using AI to help small e-commerce businesses replicate an executive team, helping them across several layers. In fact, 8fig got its name because it strives to help small e-commerce businesses grow to be eight-figure companies.
Yaron Shapira, the co-founder and CEO of 8fig, joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the latest edition of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. He shared the secret sauce that makes 8fig so helpful for small e-commerce entrepreneurs while also opening up about 8fig’s own journey as a tech startup.
- How 8fig’s AI is able to analyze every e-commerce business individually.
- Why 8fig’s product is designed in a way to ensure that customers don’t outgrow the platform.
- Insight about 8fig’s go-to-market approach as a product-led company.
- The challenge of raising awareness for a startup that’s focused on product-led growth.
- What it’s like being in the same space as massive corporations like Amazon and Shopify.
- How to compete with companies that are also collaborators in the same space.
Rezilion Co-Founder & CEO Liran Tancman: Don’t Take the Burn to the Next Milestone
Software security is more important than ever, and its importance for both software companies and their customers is only going to grow. In theory, that’s going to force developers to spend more time working on security. But that’s not the case with a startup like Rezilion. They are helping companies to deliver safe software while also reducing the amount of time being spent on security, freeing up developers to do what they do best.
Rezilion co-founder and CEO Liran Tancman joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the newest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast to talk about how Rezilion is changing software security. He also talked about all of his experiences as an entrepreneur from the perspective of someone who is now leading his second startup.
- The art of a startup finding its first 10 customers and developing a sales playbook.
- How Rezilion takes a different approach with companies of different sizes.
- The things that matter most when a startup is hiring its first few salespeople.
- How Rezilion determines if a salesperson is a good fit or not.
- Why it can be helpful to wait when it comes to scaling up the go-to-market.
- The internal roadblocks that startups face after their Series A.
- Why it’s important to be careful with the advice offered by investors.
What Changes to Make After Finding Product-Market Fit (Part 4)
The behavior and focus of a startup need to change in several ways after it reaches product-market fit. The use of marketing is one of the biggest challenges during this time. It’s critical that marketing be used effectively and in pursuit of the right goal following product-market fit. During this time, a startup’s marketing efforts should aim to reduce customer acquisition costs and payback time. This will help to speed up growth while ultimately creating more cash to re-invest in future sales and marketing efforts.
In the latest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast, startup coach Roland Siebelink hosts a workshop on driving down payback time for customer acquisition. He explains how this can be accomplished by using the company’s marketing efforts the right way.
- Why you’re in a race for product-market dominance after finding product-market fit.
- Benchmarks for how quickly your flywheel should reduce payback for customer acquisition costs.
- How marketing can play a role in reducing customer acquisition costs and accelerating growth.
- Behavior from marketers you should be aware of when hiring in that department.
- Why it’s important to avoid using too many marketing tactics at the same time.
Precision OS Co-Founder & CEO Danny Goel: Focus on What Customers Actually Want, Not What We Think They Want
Few professionals need to be perfect at their job as much as a surgeon. The trick for surgeons is trying to become skilled and experienced at performing surgery without being able to practice on real patients. Fortunately, Precision OS is helping to solve the problem of surgeons lacking hands-on experience by using VR to simulate real-life conditions of a surgery that can help surgeons gain experience and assess their performance. The Vancouver-based startup is creating technology that could change the medical field for the better.
Precision OS co-founder and CEO Danny Goel visited with startup coach Roland Siebelink on this week’s episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. Danny talked about there is a need for this kind of technology and how Precision OS can make a positive change for both doctors and patients. They also discussed Danny’s unique journey from the medical field to the startup world:
- How Danny has his co-founders built their team based on the company’s three pillars.
- The reason Precision OS took an indirect go-to-market approach.
- The key to getting large MedTech companies to meet with a small startup.
- How partnerships with professional associations have driven the company’s marketing.
- The three metrics Precision OS uses to measure success.
- How Danny receives the advice and recommendations he receives from mentors and advisors.
What Changes to Make After Finding Product-Market Fit (Part 3)
One of the biggest challenges for startups is turning product-market fit into profit. Since startups have the benefit of finding outside investments, traditional financing practices don’t always apply. The question then becomes how to find the right profit margins over time while using investment funds to grow.
On the newest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast, startup coach Roland Siebelink discusses how to manage margins and profitability after product-market fit. He shares what to do and not do following product-market fit so you don’t sacrifice growth for profitability while also making your startup appealing to potential investors.
- The importance of locating gross margins so you don’t lose money in every sale.
- Why optimizing for growth will make your startup more appealing to investors.
- Cautionary tales of companies that grew too big before finding the right gross margins.
- The step-by-step process for becoming profitable over time.
- How the product margin can decline for software companies over time.
- Why it’s best not to optimize for profitability immediately after finding product-market fit.
Midstage Institute Startup Coach Roland Siebelink: Leading Your Midstage Startup Through the New Normal
All startup leaders are currently facing the challenge of leading their company through the new normal of low startup valuations. Valuations started to drop during the second quarter of 2022 and it could take time for the economy to rebound. In the meantime, what are startups supposed to do to make sure they are able to survive these dark days and still put themselves in a position to thrive?
Startup coach Roland Siebelink provides answers to those questions during a 25-minute webinar on getting through the new normal and the best ways for startup founders to lead during this time. The webinar covers five topics that are on the minds of every startup leader, or at least should be on the mind of every startup leader.
- What exactly is this new normal?
- How long will this new normal last?
- How can startup leaders maintain their credibility during this period?
- How can startups ensure their survival by focusing on their core?
- How can a startup extend its runway by making hard decisions?
What Changes to Make After Finding Product-Market Fit (Part 2)
Reaching product-market fit always means that changes are coming for your startup. The obvious changes are often in sales and marketing, but they aren’t the only ones. The entire company needs to change. This includes the user experience, the buyer experience, and even the way that you build your product. If the right changes aren’t made, you risk falling behind your competitors.
On the latest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast, startup coach Roland Siebelink discusses some of the changes that come after tech startups find product-market fit. He explains how companies can make these changes and what happens if they are slow to adopt necessary changes within the company.
- Moving the focus from the available market to the serviceable market to the obtainable market.
- The change in mentality that every part of the company must make after product-market fit.
- Understanding the capacity your startup needs to capture the market and stay ahead of competitors.
- The difference between the user experience and the buyer experience.
- How to design products that will have built-in upgrades.
What Changes to Make After Finding Product-Market Fit (Part 1)
No matter the business or the industry, there will always be changes afoot upon reaching product-market fit. Any startup must be proactive in making these changes after achieving product-market fit. It’s these changes that will hopefully take a startup from product-market fit to product-market dominance. But what are the changes that will take a startup from initial success to being a dominant player in the market?
On this week’s episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast, Midstage Institute co-founder Roland Siebelink talks about all of the ways that tech startups have to change after they’ve reached product-market fit. He explains the potential pitfalls after finding product-market fit and how startups can quickly move to achieve product-market dominance.
- How does a startup know with certainty that it has reached product-market fit?
- The difference between having a solution and addressing customer pains.
- The biggest potential downfall startups experience after achieving product-market fit.
- Why distribution is the most important factor in getting to product-market dominance.
- The best ways to stay one step ahead of your competitors and become the gorilla of a market.
- Why it’s important for your go-to-market team to become bigger than your product and engineering team after reaching product-market fit.
Kountable Co-Founder & CEO Chris Hale: How to Accelerate the Enterprise Sales Cycle
Most tech startups tend to endure a long and strange journey on their way to finding product-market-fit and significant traction. But things have been a little more complex and confusing for Kountable, a startup in the FinTech space. Kountable has had multiple iterations and got its start in a corner of the world that few tech startups venture into. However, Kountable has found success along the way and is on track to reaching its vision.
Kountable co-founder and CEO Chris Hale joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on this week’s episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. He shared details of Kountable’s journey and multiple iterations, as well as some of the key learnings he’s had as a founder:
- How Kountable has taken a different approach to traditional underwriting.
- Why it can sometimes be better not to focus too much on the value proposition.
- The best ways to build brand integrity and amplify trust with customers.
- The ways Kountable has been able to accelerate the enterprise sales cycle.
- What Kountable did when its working capital dropped to 0 in one day.
- How Kountable has been able to engineer fun with a remote team.
ProdPerfect Co-Founder & CEO Dan Widing: If You Know You Can Sell It, Just Build It
The product testing space is an important one, just ask any software engineer. But it’s also a complicated space, especially with the current economic situation in the tech world. These circumstances have led to a lot of challenges but also a lot of learnings for ProdPerfect, which is trying to help its clients improve timeframes, budgets, and priorities when it comes to testing web applications.
ProdPerfect co-founder and CEO Dan Widing joined startup coach Roland Siebelink this week on the latest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. The two talked about what has inspired ProdPerfect’s work and how the company has handled a host of challenges.
- Why ProdPerfect was remote-first even before the pandemic hit.
- The biggest challenge that lies ahead for companies that continue to be remote-first.
- Whether it’s more important to build a product or prove you can sell it.
- Why ProdPerfect was a services company early and how it developed from there.
- What ProdPerfect is doing to adjust to the changing economic climate for startups.
- What startups can do when customers outgrow their need for their product.
- The techniques ProdPerfect uses to maintain a sense of transparency with its employees.
CHEQ Founder & CEO Tom Lapham: How to Work a Triple-Sided Marketplace
Mobile ordering and contactless ordering have changed the food and beverage industry in a short period of time. But on-premise efficiency within the food and beverage industry still leaves much to be desired. However, that could be changing thanks to tech startup CHEQ, which is changing the way food and drinks are ordered in stadiums and restaurants, making those businesses more efficient while helping consumers enjoy themselves more.
CHEQ founder and CEO Tom Lapham recently joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast to talk about how the on-premise experience is becoming more efficient for operators and more focused on consumers. They also discussed CHEQ’s early traction and quick rise to being one of the most promising startups in the world.
- How starting a renewable energy company in China helped to inspire CHEQ.
- How CHEQ effectively addressed the cold-start problem.
- Why CHEQ went after high-profile enterprise clients and how they did so effectively.
- Why taking the land-and-expand approach was the best option for CHEQ.
- The need for startups to pull back on their ambitions during the early days.
- The difference between iterating a product and iterating the go-to-market.
Sensible4 Founder & CEO Harri Santamala: Understanding the Long Game
Self-driving vehicles are becoming all of the rage in all corners of the world. But what happens to autonomous vehicles when the weather is less than perfect? That is the problem being addressed by Finland-based startup Sensible4. With a background more focused on robotics than autonomous driving, Sensible4 is focused on commercial applications for self-driving vehicles while also addressing the problem of those vehicles responding appropriately to bad weather.
Sensible4 founder and CEO Harri Santamala appeared on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast with startup coach Roland Siebelink this week to talk about the inspiration and progress of his startup’s technology. They also spoke about Sensible4’s past and present journey and plans for the future:
- The best methods to gain access to established names and industry leaders.
- The importance of building relationships with potential business partners.
- How investors can be used for more than securing funding.
- The unique advantage Sensible4 has when it comes to finding talented engineers.
- Finding a balance between employees who have the necessary experience and those who have a startup mindset.
- How young startups can reduce the risk of running out of cash.
SuperAnnotate Co-Founder & CEO Tigran Petrosyan: How to Work Across Multiple Industries
The machine learning industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds, creating a whole new space in the technology sphere. That’s where Tigran Petrosyan and his startup SuperAnnotate enter the picture. Tigran is the co-founder and CEO of SuperAnnotate, which provides the training data infrastructure that’s needed for machine learning to work.
Tigran recently joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast to talk about this new space and SuperAnnotate’s role in it. They discussed SuperAnnotate’s unique origins as well as Tigran’s key learnings along the way:
- What it was like for Tigran to found a company with his brother.
- The way that co-founder roles and responsibilities have changed in the first four years of SuperAnnotate.
- How Tigran decides whether he should take someone’s advice or not.
- How to set up a go-to-market that can sell to a variety of industries.
- How SuperAnnotate went about attacking a space that already had big players.
- Why SuperAnnotate abandoned its self-service platform despite early traction.
Keela Founder & CEO Nejeed Kassam: When You Take Other People’s Money, You Don’t Sleep at Night
It’s not just businesses and individuals that need cutting-edge technology to operate more efficiently, nonprofits need it too. In fact, nonprofits and charitable organizations need it more than most because they’ve been falling behind in that area. Fortunately, tech startup Keela is helping to fix that problem by offering technology that can help non-profits in a variety of ways, from processing donations to engaging with donors to converting donors, all in the interest of helping them to raise more money for their cause and do more good in the world.
Keela founder and CEO Nejeed Kassam joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the latest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. They talked about the need nonprofits have for better technology, how Keela is solving that problem, and other facets of Keela’s journey.
- Why and how Keela decided to pivot in its approach to the market.
- What startups should keep in mind when building partnerships.
- Keela’s approach to standardizing its sales playbook.
- Navigating when it’s appropriate to follow your vision or listen to customer feedback.
- The less traditional approach Keela has taken to fundraising.
- Why fundraising shouldn’t be considered an achievement.
4me CEO Cor Winkler Prins: How to Get Things in Place Before Selling to Enterprises
There are always going to be challenges for startups that sell exclusively to enterprise clients. That’s particularly true in a crowded market like service management. However, CEO Cor Winkler Prins and his startup 4me have found a way to succeed by being able to thrive on complexity. Of course, it helps that Cor and the other leaders of 4me have past startup experience to help guide them on their journey.
Cor joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the latest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. He talked about 4me and shared learnings that only someone with experience from multiple startups can know.
- What startups need to do to sell to enterprise clients.
- How startups without a track record or a lot of employees can get enterprise clients to take them seriously.
- How startups can position themselves to be acquired one day.
- What potential serial entrepreneurs should know about starting a new company or changing industries.
- Why 4me believes in avoiding channel conflict even when it's competitors don’t.
- How 4me was able to create a stable and growing partner community.
Sensei Labs Co-Founder & CEO Jay Goldman: How to Keep Iterating in a State of Product-Market-Fit
There are many challenges startups face when they try to spin out of another company, especially when they have a product that wasn’t initially built for commercial use. However, it’s possible to find success in these kinds of situations. Toronto-based startup Sensei Labs is a living example of that. They offer an enterprise orchestration platform that spun out of a parent organization called Klick Health and are finding success all on their own.
Sensei Labs co-founder and CEO Jay Goldman joined the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast with Roland Siebelink this week to talk about the challenges and triumphs his company has experienced in this situation. Jay offered many key learnings that can be applied to startups in all industries and all situations.
- How Sensei Labs was born out of a book.
- The challenges that await when turning a proprietary software into a commercial product.
- The headwinds and tailwinds that become possible in a spin-out startup.
- Why Sensei Labs started its go-to-market with a partner channel.
- What startups should keep in mind when customers ask for exclusivity.
- What a carve-out startup should focus on during its first year after spinning out from its parent organization.
How to Lead Your Startup During the Economic Downturn (part 2)
Tech startups have not been immune to the recent economic downturn. Many have been put in a position where fundraising will be next to impossible, so they need to find other ways to survive the dark economic winter until spring arrives. But there’s no reason why any startup leader can’t find a way to guide their company through these difficult times.
For startup leaders looking for a little help, Midstage Institute co-founders Roland Siebelink and Doug Miller have put together a two-part podcast in which they discuss what startup leaders can do during the current downturn and how to lead during lean times. The second part of their conversation shares practical steps on how to cut costs in the short term and position your startup to thrive when the dark times are over.
- Why it’s critical to focus on the parts of your business that are generating cash in the short term.
- The steps to take before you start to lay off employees.
- Why it’s vital for companies to only have one round of layoffs, even during a downturn.
- How to know what employees should be let go if layoffs become necessary.
- How reducing costs by 1% each month can make a huge difference over time.
- How to create flywheels that can be ready to take off and thrive once economic conditions improve.
Keatext founder and CEO Narjes Boufaden: Customer Journey Is the Single Source of Truth
No matter the industry or the size of a company, the customer experience is often one of the biggest factors in long-term success. With that in mind, Keatext has set out to provide next-level customer analysis feedback. Keatext technology takes emails, surveys, chats, and all other text feedback to help companies understand the customer journey of their clients, including what can be done better.
Keatext founder and CEO Narjes Boufaden recently joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the newest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. Their conversation led to a lot of insight about the importance of the customer journey, as well as Keatext’s startup journey so far and ambition for the future.
- Why Keatext has a product that can be used for both SMBs and enterprise clients.
- How Keatext has eliminated many of the typical challenges of selling to multiple industries.
- What it was like going from working on projects to building a product.
- What Keatext has done to seamlessly connect itself to certain ecosystems.
- What it looks like for Keatext while creating a diverse team where employees fit its culture.
How to Lead Your Startup During the Economic Downturn (part 1)
The recent economic downturn has already had a profound impact on tech startups. Many midstage companies are struggling to raise funds or receive valuations they view as fair, leaving many to wonder how they’ll survive the next year or more and come out of the other side of the downturn intact.
With startup leaders in need of guidance, Midstage Institute co-founders Roland Siebelink and Doug Miller have put together a two-part podcast about what startup leaders can do during the current downturn and how to lead during lean times. In the first part of their conversation on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast, Roland and Doug talk about their experience in past economic downturns and how founders can respond to the current situation.
- The need for startups to increase their runway to cover the next 12 to 24 months.
- Why past downturns have been a blessing in disguise for the startups that survive them.
- The importance of leaders being open with their teams during times of uncertainty.
- The benefits of leaders taking time to celebrate small wins during turbulent times.
- Why the company’s bottom line is now more important than the top line.
- Why it’s not such a bad thing to have to make such hard decisions during a downturn.
LeasePilot CEO & Co-Founder Gabriel Safar: Navigating Multiple Stakeholders with Different Interests
They say that time is money, so saving time is the same as saving money. One startup that’s trying to do just that for its clients is LeasePilot, which helps commercial real estate companies to draft their leases in half of the time it currently takes.
Operating at the cross-section of commercial real estate and lawyers has given LeasePilot a unique perspective on what it takes to find success in the startup world, even with co-founder Gabriel Safar being a former lawyer. Gabriel joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the latest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast on LeasePilot’s journey and what he’s learned along the way.
- Why great technology is only part of the equation in finding success.
- The biggest challenge LeasePilot has faced as a B2B startup.
- Operating a business that has multiple stakeholders with different interests.
- Why LeasePilot is trying a direct approach on its go-to-market.
- The steps LeasePilot took to determine the best potential customers to target.
- Why LeasePilot’s metrics relate to the value they provide.
Hostaway CEO & Co-Founder Marcus Rader: How to be Comfortable as a Wartime CEO
Ever since the emergence of Airbnb, short-term rentals have been unbelievably popular and easy to find in all corners of the world. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy for the people in charge of managing all of those properties. Fortunately, tech startup Hostaway has created software to make that job easier, helping to create a better experience for guests and making the job a little easier for property managers.
Startup veteran Marcus Rader is the CEO and co-founder of Hostaway. He recently joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast to talk about all things startup-related, including Hostaway’s incredible journey thus far.
- Why founders should never treat their idea like a map.
- The consequences when startups don’t understand their category.
- How startups are able to partner with big companies that don’t want to work with small startups.
- Why some CEOs are good wartime CEOs and others thrive during periods of peace.
- How CEOs should spend their time once they free themselves of direct reports.
- What a startup can gain from tracking and mentioning key metrics on a weekly basis.
Thinknum Co-Founder & CEO Gregory Ugwi: Building a Company Is Taking the Ultimate Test
We all know that the Internet is loaded with information, but so much of it isn’t structured in a way that can be queried. Well, that’s not the case anymore because of Thinknum, which crawls the Internet for “alternative” data that tech company operators and investors can use to get ahead.
Thinknum co-founder and CEO Gregory Ugwi joined the latest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast with Roland Siebelink to talk about how he came up with this unique idea, his long-term plans to be a leader in this space, and everything in between.
- Thinknum’s biggest key to building its go-to-market.
- How Thinknum tries to provide value while also generating leads.
- How Thinknum was able to turn things around after struggling to generate sales during its first year.
- The way that Thinknum utilizes its investors beyond the money they provide.
- How Thinknum convinces potential team members to work at a small startup.
- Why Thinknum prefers to hire people who are willing to take risks.
Sprinto Co-Founder & CEO Girish Redekar: SAAS is Eating Software
For B2B SaaS companies, keeping data safe and secure has become increasingly important. However, meeting compliances for privacy and security can be problematic and time-consuming. Fortunately, young startup Sprinto is bringing some much-needed relief to this pain point.
Sprinto co-founder and CEO Girish Redekar was a guest on this week’s episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast with Roland Siebelink. The two talked about Sprinto’s early success and a slew of other topics related to the startup world.
- How and why Sprinto created an end-to-end solution to the problem it solves.
- Why focusing on a specific niche was key to Sprinto’s early success.
- Why Sprinto’s value to its customers is in part due to its end-to-end approach.
- The business benefits of Sprinto using a functional programming paradigm.
- The two macro trends Girish sees happening in the SaaS space.
- Why founders should always take advice from other founders with a grain of salt.
Deep 6 AI Founder & CEO Wout Brusselaers: How to Sell to a Conservative Industry
Among other things, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the importance of clinical trials. The more streamlined and efficient they are, the more lives can be saved by new treatments and devices. Fortunately, tech startup Deep 6 AI is using artificial intelligence to accelerate patient recruitment for clinical trials and make the entire process more efficient.
Deep 6 AI founder and CEO Wout Brusselaers joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on this week’s episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast to talk about how Deep 6 impacts the world and what he’s learned during his startup’s journey thus far.
- How Deep 6 went from an AI proposition to being integrated into healthcare workflows.
- What it’s like selling new software to an industry that’s reluctant to accept change.
- The best advice Wout has received on making B2B sales.
- How Deep 6 is trying to attract talent for an increasingly remote workforce.
- The traits that Deep 6 values in potential team members.
- The framework that Deep 6 has created for the things that matter the most.
Therma Founder & CEO Manik Suri: Investor Value is Rarely Correlated with Check Size
Most people don’t realize it, but businesses in several industries waste massive amounts of food and money because of inefficient refrigeration practices. On top of that, poor refrigeration practices waste energy and add to our carbon footprint. Fortunately, tech startup Therma is working to address both of those problems at the same time.
Therma has already made a small dent in making the refrigeration supply chain more efficient and is on its way toward doing so much more. Therma founder and CEO Manik Suri joined Roland Siebelink on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast this week to talk about how Therma helps customers and the environment at the same time, among other topics pertinent to his startup.
- How Therma is able to sell to both large corporations and small businesses.
- Why Therma chose to target growth on two different fronts.
- The benefits of selling customers on both ROI potential and sustainability.
- Why Therma prefers to partner with investors who care about what they care about.
- The benefits that angel investors can bring to startups beyond money.
- The massive potential that exists with mission-driven entrepreneurship.
RoadBotics Co-Founder & CEO Ben Schmidt: How to Sell When Every Client is Unique
No matter where you are in the world, repairing infrastructure, especially roads, is a constant battle. If only there was a way to use technology to repair infrastructure in a more efficient way. Well, that day is finally here thanks to RoadBotics, a Pittsburgh-based startup that works with governments all over the world to make digital maps of their infrastructure so that they can use tax dollars more effectively when it’s time to repair roads and other forms of infrastructure.
RoadBotics co-founder and CEO Ben Schmidt joined the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast with Roland Siebelink this week. He shared all of the details of RoadBotics, including its product, its journey, and key lessons learned along the way.
- How RoadBotics spun out of Carnegie Mellon University.
- The unique challenges of working exclusively with governments.
- The surprising benefits of being a company that sells exclusively to governments.
- Why GovTech is a viable option for startups despite its bad reputation.
- The key to finding early adopters in the GovTech space.
- How a small company like RoadBotics was able to expand internationally.
Alice Technologies Founder & CEO Rene Morkos: How Many Times a Day Are You Saying No
There is typically more than one way to complete a construction project. The key is finding the best way to complete the project, especially when adjustments need to be made midway through. That’s exactly the problem that Alice Technologies is solving after developing the world’s first generative construction simulator. Alice’s software is a form of project management that the construction industry has never seen before.
Alice Technologies founder and CEO Rene Morkos joined the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast with Roland Siebelink this week to talk about this cutting-edge technology and his startup’s progress.
- The journey of developing new technology and building a product that’s useful for construction projects.
- How Alice Technologies was able to determine its ideal customer profile.
- Why a product that is useful for everyone shouldn’t be sold to everyone.
- The method that Alice Technologies uses to identify and fix bottlenecks within the company.
- The factors that determined Alice’s price points and go-to-market approach.
- Why startups should be saying no to customers while trying to build a pipeline.
Olympe Co-Founder & CEO Laurent Chatelanat: Develop Faster and Less Painfully
On the shores of Lake Geneva, there is a small Swiss startup called Olympe that describes itself as the best composition platform in the world. Its name comes from the home of the Greek gods, and fittingly, Olympe has big dreams and big aspirations for addressing packaged business capabilities for enterprise customers.
Olympe co-founder and CEO Laurent Chatelanat recently sat down to speak with startup coach Roland Siebelink on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. They talked about Olympe’s unique location, name, and everything else that makes this a tech startup worth watching.
- Why Olympe’s go-to-market targets innovation people rather than innovation teams.
- The strategy Olympe is using to sell to enterprise clients.
- Why Olympe puts such great value in getting its product into the hands of customers.
- The best ways that Olympe has discovered to help reduce the length of sales cycles.
- The best strategies young startups can use to find partners.
- The value Olympe gains from having a community of users.
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Autobound Co-Founder & CEO Daniel Wiener: Narrow Is Never Narrow Enough
For companies in almost every industry, success and failure often boil down to the sales process. But what if there was a way to make it easier for sales departments to know who to reach out to and what to say? That’s exactly what Daniel Wiener and his startup Autobound are doing. Autobound works with an existing CRM to analyze data points to find the right buyers and sell to them better.
Daniel recently spoke with startup coach Roland Siebelink on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. The CEO and co-founder of Autobound discussed how his startup began, the unique challenges it has faced, and the young company’s huge aspirations.
- How Autobound was able to narrow down its ideal client profile.
- Why Autobound’s ideal client profile is constantly changing over time.
- Autobound’s challenges while building the best team and finding the right engineering talent.
- How Autobound looks at competition in a new category that it’s trying to lead.
- The strategy Autobound has used to find the right partners.
- The north star that Autobound is striving to reach eventually.
Prophia Co-Founder & CEO Cameron Steele: How to Thrive on Complexity
Anyone who’s involved in commercial real estate knows that it’s a big industry with an even bigger data problem. Fortunately, Cameron Steele and his startup Prophia are working to solve that problem. Even though Cameron hasn’t spent much time in the real industry, he’s built software to access and structure critical data, helping those who work in real estate and ultimately helping to lower real estate prices.
Cameron joined the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast with Roland Siebelink this week to talk about how and why Prophia is making a difference.
- The need to build trust and prove your value proposition with potential customers.
- The best way to acquire domain knowledge when you come from outside a particular industry.
- The advantages of coming from the outside of an industry when it comes to solving problems.
- Why, as a software company, Prophia thrives on complexity.
- The importance of talking to customers in a language they understand.
- How Prophia strives to attract customers without a strong brand within the industry.
Miuros Co-Founder & CEO Benoit Gagnon: Data-Informed Decisions, Not Data-Driven Decisions
Customer service is as important now as it’s ever been. Few companies seem to understand that better than France-based startup Miuros, which mines customer service data and turns it into insights that can be useful for companies that want to improve their customer service. Miuros has already started to build an impressive list of clients from all over the world and has plans to expand further.
Miuros co-founder and CEO Benoit Gagnon found some time this week to sit down with startup coach Roland Siebelink on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. The two talked about the history of Miuros, the company’s hopes for the future, and everything in between.
- Why it’s so important for customer service teams to utilize Miuros’ technology.
- How the co-founder relationship at Miuros came to be and why it’s more important than the product.
- How a startup team with no prior sales and marketing experience built a go-to market.
- Why Miuros has decided not to target enterprise clients, at least for now.
- The one thing Miuros wants before fundraising in the U.S.
- How the pandemic forced Miuros to change its approach to finding customers for the better.
ReUp Co-Founder & Chief Impact Officer Sarah Horn: Why Diversity Breeds Success
One of the most overlooked problems with education in the United States is the low college graduation rate among those who enroll. However, ReUp Education is a tech startup that is seeking to correct that problem, helping to re-enroll students in college so that they can finish what they started and get their degree. With a combination of technology and a dedicated team, ReUp is getting learners back to school and eventually to the graduation stage, one student at a time.
ReUp co-founder and Chief Impact Officer Sarah Horn joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the latest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. They talked about the surprisingly low college graduation rate and everything ReUp is doing to help that rate go up while trying to survive as a mission-driven startup.
- How finding mission-driven team members has been key to ReUp’s success.
- How ReUp’s mission-driven model has become a profitable and sustainable venture.
- The approach ReUp has taken to combat a long sales cycle in the education industry.
- ReUp’s methods of finding and aligning with the right partners.
- Why creating a diverse team has been important for ReUp and key to its success.
- The big vision ReUp has for the future and how the company plans to get there.
JobzMall Co-Founder and CEO Nathan Candaner: Tell Your Story and Make Many Allies
The jobs market has undergone significant changes in a short period of time and California-based tech startup JobzMall is at the cutting edge of those changes. JobzMall is quite literally a digital mall helping to connect employers and job seekers. The difference is that both parties use video to share their story, using video job ads and video resumes to connect the right candidates with available positions.
JobzMall co-founder and CEO Nathan Candaner recently joined startup coach Roland Siebelink on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast to discuss JobzMall’s unique roots and the incredible traction the startup has found. Nathan was also forthcoming about a variety of topics and lessons he’s learned as a founder.
- How JobzMall has become more of a community than a startup.
- The one mistake Nathan made that many other entrepreneurs also make.
- How JobzMall grew by understanding the value it created for customers.
- Why starting a business can be similar to starting a cult.
- How building relationships and partnerships became JobzMall’s key to making sales.
- What factors go into deciding where JobzMall should expand geographically.
StoryFile Co-Founder & CEO Heather Maio-Smith: Build a Foundation, Not a Product
Imagine being able to share your story with the world in a way that will be available forever or getting the chance to ask an ancestor or any remarkable person a question. All of that and more is now possible with StoryFile, a startup that launched its first consumer product in October. Something that started as a way to hear Holocaust survivors is now available to anyone who wants to share their life story or listen to the wisdom of others.
StoryFile co-founder and CEO Heather Maio-Smith spoke with startup coach Roland Siebelink on the latest episode of the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. They discussed the roots of StoryFile, its recent launch, and the journey ahead.
- How to know when your product is ready to launch.
- The difference between seeing other people launch a product and doing it yourself.
- How startup leaders know the type of people to put around them.
- Why StoryFile tried to avoid pivoting in the time leading up to its product launch.
- How to handle having a massive vision without having to narrow that vision.
- The future uses of StoryFile’s technology that go beyond its initial market.
RudderStack Founder & CEO Soumyadeb Mitra: What to Do When DIY Is Your Biggest Competitor
In a world that’s full of data and analytics, it’s nice for companies of all industries and sizes to simplify the things they do with that data as much as possible. Fortunately, there are startups like RudderStack that are doing just that. RudderStack is a customer data platform that simplifies integrations as much as possible. While relatively new to the market, RudderStack has already made great strides and is scaling at an impressive rate.
RudderStack founder and CEO Soumyadeb Mitra recently sat down with startup coach Roland Siebelink on the Midstage Startup Momentum Podcast. Soumyadeb shared many of the lessons he’s learned with RudderStack, as well as insight from being the founder of two previous startups:
- The best way to address DIYers being one of your biggest competitors.
- Tangible ways that a founder can balance a startup’s priorities.
- How a founder who has no sales experience can hire leaders for the go-to-market.
- Why things can start to happen automatically when you find the right culture fit.
- How to build trust with both customers and employees.
- What allows a small startup to compete with a larger, more established company.
The Four Value-Driving Engines that the Best Startups Organize Around
As startups continue to grow, the time comes when they need to start creating cross-functional value. This is when it becomes necessary for different departments to work together. Various departments might be grouped together into buckets and work together toward a common goal. This is what startup coach Roland Siebelink of the Midstage Institute likes to refer to as value engines.
On this week’s episode of the Midstage Momentum Startup Podcast, Roland spoke with fellow startup coach Martin Fuez about the concept of values engines and why they become necessary when startups reach a certain size.
- The four value engines that every startup should consider.
- How value engines can make it easier for CEOs to delegate.
- Why value engines can help with both organization and governance.
- How everyone at the company can fit into one or more of the value engines.
- How value engines can help shake things up and create new goals every quarter.