If your startup has secured funding or you’re currently seeking it, then you may have heard about the importance of investors updates. Keeping your investors informed about what’s going on within the company helps them better advise you and can directly benefit your business in the long run. However, exactly when and how to do this can be a bit confusing for first-timers, so we’ve brought on two experienced guests for today’s show to clear up the particulars.
Our first guest, Ari Newman, is a Partner at the venture arm of startup accelerator Techstars, where he has advised and invested in dozens of startups over the last six years. He’s joined by Mike Preuss, co-founder and CEO of Visible, which sells robust stakeholder reporting software in use by more than 2,000 businesses around the world. Together, Ari and Mike have an intimate understanding of the investor-entrepreneur relationship and how they can most effectively communicate with each other.
In this episode of Powderkeg: Igniting Startups, Ari and Mike offer their most valuable insider info on how to gather vital company metrics and share them with your investors, your team members and other important stakeholders. We also get into some of the “big picture” topics surrounding metrics reporting, such as why you always need to be honest and how a thorough reporting process will help your business succeed.
In this episode with Ari Newman and Mike Preuss, you’ll learn:
- The biggest mistakes to avoid when pitching your company to investors
- How to craft timely investor updates that will benefit your business
- Why you shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes as an entrepreneur
- The importance of transparency even when you only have bad news
- How Visible helps companies track and report key metrics
Please enjoy this conversation with Ari Newman and Mike Preuss!
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If you like this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. You can also follow us on Soundcloud or Stitcher. We have an incredible lineup of interviews we’ll be releasing every Tuesday here on the Powderkeg Podcast.
Ari Newman and Mike Preuss quotes from this episode of Powderkeg Igniting Startups:
“Companies that have a regular cadence for sharing information with stakeholders are typically more successful in the long run.” — @MikePreuss on @PowderkegHQ
“Never deliver metrics in isolation. Without the context of what the plan for the month was or what you did the previous month compared to this month, that data becomes a lot less meaningful.” — @arinewman on @PowderkegHQ
“Your stakeholders want to hear from you, good or bad. People are scared to share when something’s going wrong, but investors are there to help you fix the problem before it becomes something bigger.” — @MikePreuss on @PowderkegHQ
“Part of the entrepreneurial journey is making mistakes, allowing those mistakes to happen, and moving past them and learning from them.” — @arinewman on @PowderkegHQ
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
Companies and organizations:
Venture capital firms:
Software and apps:
Powderkeg Podcast #1 with Kristian Andersen
Powderkeg Podcast #4 with Chris Heivly
Ari Newman (@arinewman)
Mike Preuss (@MikePreuss)
Kristian Andersen (@kristianindy)
Mike Fitzgerald (LinkedIn)
Brad Wisler (@gopsig)
Chris Heivly (@chrisheivly)
Herb Kelleher (Wikipedia)
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The value of the regular cadence of updates that consistent metrics is that it enables us as investors to create lines, not dots and information in our head about those companies without having to get on a call with the company and having them walk through nine months of financials or six months of progress. When you get a monthly update, you can go okay, I know where this company is.
That’s Ari Newman, who is a partner at TechStars based in the greater Denver area, and one of two guests on this very special episode of powderkeg. Igniting startups. I’m your host, Matt Hunckler. And joining me for today’s special episode is Mike preusse, co founder and CEO of Chicago based visible, which is a SASS platform that helps founders engage investors with automatic data driven investor updates. Together, we’re going to talk about the what, why and how of investor updates. This is something we know a lot of entrepreneurs need help with. And it’s important for a lot of reasons from maintaining trust with your investors to making sure you’re focused on the right metrics to grow your business faster. As always, we record all of our podcasts from Facebook live streams. So if you’d like what you hear today, follow us on Facebook to be among the first to hear every episode, and to be able to tune in live and ask your own questions of some of the guests we have here on powderkeg igniting startups. Now let’s get started with today’s episode. Hey, welcome to another episode of powderkeg igniting startups live. We’re doing this on Facebook Live. So feel free to chime in with questions. We will send both of our guests today a link to the entire live stream, and they might be able to chime in on some of your questions. We have an awesome couple of guests here today. Maybe even a fourth guest with the dog in the background there. We like to keep things pretty lively. Here I am your host, Matt Hunckler, CEO and founder of powder keg, you can find everything here at powder keg.com. But I want to dive right into it today because we have two amazing guests. Our first guest is from as a partner at TechStars venture TechStars ventures he received his degree in business and marketing from the University of Colorado in 1996. has a ton of experience working with internet applications, enterprise software, service delivery, customer service, social web platforms, SAS. I mean, there’s nothing this guy can’t do. over 12 years of experience in developing and delivering high tech solutions, you know, either starting as a co founder acting as a co founder in the company or later after the acquisition. Please help me welcome to the show Mr. Ari Newman, a partner at TechStars. Alright, thanks for being here today, man. Good to be here. Yeah, good to have you. And then our other guests, longtime friend, I met him when he was still in college, we met at a bar down at Indiana University and have stayed in touch ever since. He’s been entrepreneurial, since he was a kid himself as our other guest was as well. He is now the CEO of visible, which is a reporting platform used by over 2000 businesses, keeping all team members investors and stakeholders engaged through beautiful reports. We are user at powderkeg. Although I would have to say we are not a power user. So I might try to get some tips here on the second half of the show. We’re gonna have already for the first 1015 minutes and then we’re going to jump to the final 1015 minutes with Mike. But we have all three guests for these first 1015 minutes. So first of all, I want to say thank you guys both for being here. Mike, where are you tuning in from today? I am in Chicago. Awesome, man. Good to have you from Chicago. And then are you are you in Colorado? I am awesome, man. Well, hey, Ari, I wanted to get a little bit more context from you about what you’re doing now at TechStars. Because you’re a part of the first class of Tech Stars in 2007, and are now back engaged with Tech Stars for the last several years. What are you focused on primarily today?
Yeah, that’s right. I was in the first TechStars class in oh seven. And I’ve been working at TechStars since 2012. And I’m focused on investing in early stage companies. So seed and series A investing and TechStars alumni.
Awesome, man. Well, we’re excited to have you here today. I’d love to dive right into what you’re doing right now. With seed in series A investing. I know you probably see a lot of pitches, how many pitches, would you say you see a year?
Well, it varies. But if you you know, TechStars is graduating a couple of 100 companies a year through our accelerators. And so we as an investing team, you know, spend time with with all of them from, you know, from the early early onset of the process through their sort of post program growth. So, you know, over the course, over the course of the year, we would look at a couple 100 companies and support those. And then our portfolio of seed investments that we’ve made across the last two funds, I think we have 190 seed investments and almost 20 See He’s at this point.
Oh my gosh. So you’ve seen a lot of good pitches?
Yeah, I’ve seen I’ve seen a lot of pitches good, bad and otherwise, and, you know, just like humans, every company is different.
Can you tell me a little bit about the pitches that are maybe not so good? Because I think a lot of times, that’s where you can learn the most. You know, I heard another one of your podcasts and you said, sometimes failures is where you can find the most learning? What are some of the biggest pitching fails that you’ve seen?
You know, that’s a great question. I think that it’s hard, it’s hard to sort of give you a one line answer to that, I would say that, like the greatest pitch fails are pitches that don’t quickly and effectively convey the, you know, the big thing that the company is doing to get stuck in the weeds quickly, or talk about features or talk about mechanics, and don’t talk about the why or the value or how the world changes if this product becomes successful. And I think I think keeping the narrative across the front end of the pitch is really important. So I’m a bit, I’m a big fan of pitches that, you know, sort of tee up the why this company is talking and then explain how it’s going to all come together. I’m also like a big sort of pitch fail thing is too much content on every slide. So I talked to a lot of companies about, there’s only one key message per slide, you can’t deliver too many messages per slide. And so, you know, if you see something where it’s like tons of text, and the speaker is basically talking, you know, like reading you the slide, and there’s like they’re trying to boil the ocean on every single slide, you get lost, you get distracted, you’re bored. And there’s, you know, you’re checking your phone, it’s done.
Yeah, attention is huge. That’s a really great point. You know, I know a lot of companies, when they go into the fundraising process, don’t have everything put together. And Mike and I were talking just before the call here, and Mike, maybe you could provide some more context to this, about company hygiene, meaning just like having some of those core features in place. Maybe not features, but core functions of the business like accounting insurance, making sure you’ve got your business house in order. Can you talk to me a little bit more about some of what you’ve seen working with those 2000 plus companies that are on the visible platform?
Yeah, absolutely. This is kind of I don’t want to steal his thunder, because he we chatted actually before the phone call. But I’ve known Ari now for about four years helping TechStars companies report data effectively back to their investors. And one of the things that we’ve seen in the data and visible and I think, you know, Ari has probably seen as an investor, I’ll let him speak to this more specifically, but companies that have a regular cadence of how they’re sharing information with stakeholders and reporting to them, and regular manner, typically will be more successful in the long run. Right, whether that’s correlation or causation. I think that’s up for argument. But you could argue that companies that have a really good I love that was argued, always turn around, you know, kind of this this company, back office hygiene around, do you have the right practices in place for accounting, your insurance, your payroll, HR, investor reporting, because those are all really important things that could be really expensive to fix, or even detrimental to the business in the long run.
Already, when you when you’re hearing from these companies, and looking at sort of like their their back office, their communication, and communicating those key points and factors of the business? What’s the right cadence? I mean, I’m assuming investors don’t want to be bothered, you know, daily, or, you know, maybe even not weekly. But could you maybe give me a little more context there?
Yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s a lot there. I, ultimately, I think monthly updates are great. monthly updates. Yeah. And as companies get bigger, and information becomes more sensitive, and the business is more complicated. You see a lot of companies that did get to growth stage. You know, it’ll, it’ll end up in series, like Series C Series D companies, that cadence will slow down. It’s like quarterly updates or what have
you. What do you want to see in a monthly update, like,
in an early stage company, cedar series, a company you would you would want to see monthly financial performance, the expense line core metrics for the business? You know, the basics,
just the metrics, or are you wanting some context with that as well?
Great question. Yes, of course, the context like there’s, there’s always the narrative. Here’s, like, the thing that I want to hear is, how’s it really going? Yeah, right. Like be what’s what’s really going on there because If you could have had a great month numbers wise, but your co founder could have just quit and your largest account is going to churn the next month. Right? And, you know, or the numbers say you had an okay month, but you actually just shipped your most important feature set ever. And it’s going to unlock tons of new revenue. Like, of course, I want the narrative on top of the metrics, right. So like a great, a great update on a monthly basis is, here’s what we said we were gonna do, here’s what we did, here’s the good, bad and ugly. And here are the numbers,
in terms of some of the ones that you’ve seen is there one that you can maybe point out to that was really well executed? You wouldn’t have to read us the report, but like, what made it really good, or stand out to you as a good company update?
It’s the company updates structure that I like that it’s hard because I see so many of them, but like that structure, have some narrative at the top and then core metrics. And then the key with the metrics is not the is never deliver metrics in isolation. Like when when a company sends out an update and says we haven’t great month, and then here’s our numbers for the month, without the context of what the plan for the month was. So planned versus actual, or what you did the previous month compared to this month, that data becomes a lot less easy to parse or less meaningful to me, when I’m skimming through updates. Yep. And I think that’s sort of like transparency and self accountability of a company saying, Here’s what we said we were going to do. And here’s what we did. It’s great. Whether the numbers are up or down doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that you’re consistently reporting them
out of how many updates are usually the metrics like right on where, where they wanted to be in terms of early stage when you’re talking like seed pre Series A.
You already know the answer to that. Right? It’s almost
I’ve got a question for Ari. Yeah. That’s a high jacket.
No. Go for it.
Alright, you guys follow on? With future rounds out of the TechStars. Fund?
how much does like the previous investor cadence and updates that you receive? How much does that factor into if you decide to follow along with the company or not?
That’s a great question. I’m gonna I’m gonna sort of answer your question, but I’m also going to pile on go. Yeah, please. Yeah. So. So yeah. So we Yes, when we, when we make an investment at TechStars first makes an investment. When a company comes through an accelerator, then, like what, what our group does is put a little bit of extra capital into some of the companies at seed stage. And then very, very selectively, you know, more capital in series. Inevitably, there are, you know, follow on second seed, third seed a prime, you know, bridge to the be like, there’s always the next round. So regardless of what you call it, there’s always the next round. And to partly answer your question, the, the value of the regular cadence of updates, that consistent metrics, is that it enables us as investors to create lines, not dots and information in our head about those companies without having to get on a call with the company and having them walk through nine months of financials or six months of progress. When you get a monthly update, you can go okay, I know where this company is, and you get to the next month, and you know where it is. And mentally you create these lines in your mind about the company’s trajectory, or how they’ve been solving problems or what the growth curve looks like. And so that that consistent engagement is super, super helpful. So when the email does come in, hey, we’re raising XYZ, like we already have context, and we have history.
How often? Or get, I guess, how much time are you spending reading through those investor updates? Because I imagine at this point, you know, you’re involved in investing in so many companies, you probably are getting at least one a day, if not more, how much time are you spending on each one individually?
I don’t know the answer to that. It’s no more than a couple of minutes each.
Sure. I think that’s helpful to understand just in terms of like how to structure that update, because if you’re only spending a couple of minutes,
yeah, well, and maybe that’s good, you know, good advice for people is realize that we’re only going to be spending a few minutes that well, and every investor is different. I can’t speak for anyone else. But for us, given our volume and the number of companies like for me, it’s a couple of minutes and you know, as an entrepreneur, like don’t spend two hours writing your monthly update. It’s it’s get the key points across right and that’s why you know, We’re on, we’re sitting here talking to Mike visible like automating this and making it easy making it consistent, right? Even if I was was got, like, totally crushed for two months and didn’t read your updates. If I know I have a call coming up with a company, I can go back into my email folder and read those updates quickly. And then I have that quick historical context. And when the formatting is roughly the same every time, it’s pretty easy to get through.
Yeah, that’s a really great point. And we’ll dive in a little deeper on sort of some of that formatting that visible. I mean, working with 2000 companies has that perspective on how to format that in the most effective way. But before we let you go already, can you tell us a little bit about the TechStars program? Obviously, people that are listening, very technical, they’ve heard of TechStars. But maybe they haven’t gone through the program, or they don’t understand how to engage? What all right now, are you focused on with that program?
Sure. Well, you know, TechStars is a worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, we run accelerator programs that help companies get started and grow quickly all over the planet. And so I’m involved in those programs as a mentor or advisor, or just getting to know the companies and trying to be helpful with strategy or fundraising. And you know, we’re a very small our fund is a very small percentage of the overall capital that is deployed across the TechStars ecosystem. So really, it’s just about engagement, and trying to be helpful. And we occasionally will put a little bit of extra capital into a few of the companies. But if you go to tech stars.com/stats, you can see the size of the network and the amount of money that folks have raised. You know, in aggregate, it’s in the billions now. And we’re, you know, we’re just huge fans of the alumni companies in here to support them.
That’s really awesome. And it’s, it’s across the country, right, or even worldwide at this point.
Yeah, it’s global. Absolutely. We run accelerators in the continental United States, Canada. You know, Northern Europe, we’ve got stuff going in Asia PAC as well, it’s, it’s very broad. At this point, I think we’re around 30 programs globally.
That’s awesome. I appreciate you sharing some of your perspective, from working with TechStars. Ari, and I know you had 12 years in the trenches, I wish we could go through your entire bio, because I’m sure there’s a lot of lessons learned there. But could you maybe share like one lesson? Before you hop off here and we dive in a conversation with Mike, one of your biggest lessons in that those 12 years? It doesn’t have to be the biggest ever, but one that kind of stands out to you just first one that comes to your mind.
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, interesting. So not a specific lesson. But like, like, as a particular issue, but probably in the macro. You know, it was actually my father in law that said to me, when I started my last company, like, you know, something to be something to the effect of, you’re going to screw up a lot of things. And at the time, it totally petrified me, it’s like, What do you mean, I’m going to screw up a lot of things? No, no. And that would became like a fundamental truth, like part of the entrepreneurial journey is making mistakes, breaking things, trusting your instincts, your instincts sometimes are wrong, and that’s okay. And like the allowing, allowing yourself to not be perfect, allowing those mistakes to happen. And moving past them, and learning from them, you know, was probably the biggest takeaway of everything. I tend to be, you know, a perfectionist or want everything to be precise. And letting go of that, and accepting that I was going to screw things up and make mistakes. Along the way, while I was trying to build a business was really powerful. And it turns out to be super true. As an investor, I screw stuff up almost every day.
It’s really refreshing to hear that level of transparency. And the advice that I’m sure comes with lots of scars and bumps and bruises from all the entrepreneurial battles that you’ve been in. Well, Ari, thank you so much for being here today. What if people want to find you? What’s the best social platform to find you on? And what’s your handle there?
Sure. I probably just LinkedIn already dot Numen, or Twitter at Arindam. And all one word.
Awesome, man. Well, we’re gonna dive into some conversation with Mike get visible, learn a little bit more about how they’re growing that platform. But thanks for hopping on in the first part of this conversation and hope to talk to you again soon.
You bet. Great to join you guys.
See, sorry. Thanks. Sorry. Mike. Don’t go anywhere. I would love I would love, love, love to talk a little bit about your journey. We couldn’t dive into all 12 years of arduous journey, but I was wondering if maybe you could give me a little bit of context of how you got into this entrepreneurial game and take it, take it all the way back to like when you were a kid, your first entrepreneurial venture, when did you get the get the bug?
Yeah, I think it probably started in middle school kind of early high school. My dad was a teacher for 32 years. And back, you know, this would have been, you know, in the 90s, really educators and only ones that had a Mac. And so he would bring a Mac home, and had really cool apps on there, like, you know, iMovie, and photos and other things you could do. And I started messing around with creating videos, and my dad was a cross country and track coach, and I ended up making highlight videos for the team. And through that, you know, kind of learn a lot of fun things, but like, hey, I can actually build a business out of just like software and my own creativity, and not even have to, you know, buy something and then resell it at a higher level, but I could create something of real value. So that was kind of my foray was making highlight videos. So you know, cross country teams, kids in my high school that want to get recruited for particular sports, I would throw together a highlight reel for them. And you know, it was a great business model, right, because you could charge a flat fee to make the video and then every DVD you pressed, you would make some money as well. So that was my kind of initial foray into that. And then that really segmented towards college. Because when I was growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, I was looking a lot of schools and Midwest and Indiana really stuck out to me because they had this entrepreneurship program. And I was really intrigued by that. And it was one of the top rated ones. And I ended up joining the program in the Kelley School of Business and kind of like, changed my life in terms of the trajectory that I’ve that I’ve had so far.
Tell me a little bit about the entrepreneurial program. Because I went through the program at IU, I didn’t fully invest my time and energy into it because I was off starting a company. So I’m curious what I missed. What did you get? What did you get out of the entrepreneur program at Indiana University? Yeah,
it’s funny, because it’s like, how do you study entrepreneurship without starting a company is kind of like my whole point. So I think like, there are certain things I would change, but I think it’s just that mindset of learning from previous companies that have been started or entrepreneurs ranging from, you know, they just like really interesting things where like, for instance, the high end, there’s a company that was huge, right, that only made the cap, the metal cap for Heinz ketchup, right. And that’s how they made their business. But eventually, Heinz switched from the glass bottle, right with the cap to plastic bottle, and totally screwed that company, right? They went out of business, they didn’t innovate, and they weren’t really working with that partner figured out. So there’s like, interesting, interesting case studies and things you learned along the way of like, kind of what past failure looks like or, or success. They had a loose names Herb Kelleher, the CEO of Southwest come in, right? Like, that’s an incredible experience. So they pull in all these really inspirational folks to that school. And then it just gets your like mind thinking in that direction to like, Alright, how do I start a business? What kind of capital do I need? Who do I need to hire? What’s our go to market strategy? So it was it was cool in the sense that it really got you thinking in a little bit of a different way.
Yeah, absolutely. I imagine you hear a lot of those same case studies now working with 2000 companies, more than 2000 companies as visible customers. Anything you’ve learned, you know, just track I know, you’re not like in everyone’s data following their data. But I’m sure you hear a lot of the lessons learned.
Yeah, I mean, not to like oversell visible versus another solution, or whatever. But I think the one thing that we’ve learned is just that, like, kind of share early and share often. So sure, what you mean by that? Yeah. So I think a couple of things that we’ve just seen ourselves and and through our customers is, you know, if you have a regular cadence that you’re sharing with investors, or your own team, or, you know, people, you trust advisors, etc, you’re gonna get feedback very quickly back into that. So you can improve and grow and get better. And you’re also gonna make sure that everyone’s on the same page, there should never be a really a surprise at a board meeting, or at an all hands company meeting, right? Because everyone should really know what’s going on prior to that meeting. So there should never be a surprise when you get a group of people together in a room if you’re communicating with them on on a regular basis.
Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. Well, tell me a little bit about the idea behind visible. You know, I know you came out of college, enter the aura Fellowship Program, which is how we met. How did you end up working on this opportunity visible?
Yeah. So I was living in the Bay area at the time and Christian Andersen and my And Fitzgerald reached out to me with Brad Whistler and they said, Hey, we have this idea for a way to really change how venture capitalists and early stage investors gathered data from their portfolio companies. So they felt the same pain point that already felt, right, which is like, I need to know what’s going on with our companies, I want to make sure I can help them make sure they’re successful, have a better chance of succeeding. And I just want to make that as frictionless as possible. So that’s how we really that was like the impetus for the idea. And the original application that we prototyped and built was to help accelerators, and VCs and early stage investors gather and get that data from their portfolio companies. And once we put that product in market and have people buying it, and using it, kind of the one thing we really saw was, this is more of a problem for companies really, then then investors, right, we were selling it to investors, who would distribute it to the portfolio companies, which sounds great. But what really ends up happening is it’s like, it’s the company that really needs to be able to want to do this and has to do it right. You can’t really force someone to do this. It’s like, it’s like going to the gym, right? Everyone knows, you should go to the gym and workout and be healthy. But rarely that happens. So how can we bring and help change behavior a little bit. And so that’s when we really pivoted the business in terms of like a go to market strategy and said, Hey, our real customers should be companies. This is a problem they have. And let’s focus on them being the most important thing to us is its companies and investors are great, they’ll help distribute, you know, the word visible and talk to people about it. But really, they’re just getting the information and viewers right, they’re not gonna be the primary customer have of our business anymore.
Oh, tell me about that pivot. What was the hardest part of pulling that off?
That’s good question. I think that’s one of the big things is like, we probably should have done it earlier. Like, that’s like my one big kind of takeaway, I think, in terms of starting a company is just like, trust your gut a lot faster than you have before. Because usually your guts, right, and you don’t want to put off a big decision. So I think it’s, it’s trusting your gut early. And then part of that is and I guess in going back to your question is the hardest part is just like the mind shifts, right? Yep. And it’s really just a bandaid, you have to rip off and do. Because I think we’re we’re kind of in this like, no man’s land for a little bit where VCs would still sign off. It’s like, hey, I want to pay you, I want to pay you, I don’t use your products. And we’re like, yeah, and revenue is great. But it’s not what we’re really focused on anymore. So it’s like, do you take that? Do you bring that customer on knowing that they’re probably going to churn and, you know, nine months? Or do you do you solely focus on on your new driving initiatives? So I think the hardest thing is just the mind shift. And really the focus on what you believe the new business is going to be and not worrying about the old one.
Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. And when do you usually like engaging with companies? Like when do they? When should they be thinking about solution, like visible to help share their, you know, metrics? Yeah, from all aspects of the business?
I would say, you know, that’s a great question. I would say most of our companies, once they get to around like 10 employees is a good time for them to adopt a tool, like visible that helps get all of your key data in one place helps you create really beautiful reports that you can send out and track and do all that I don’t think you really need to use visible prior to that, I think, and you don’t certainly don’t have to use as well, when you’re 10 or more, I think, really, the thing is that you should just kind of do it and share, right? It’s whether using visible or just a plain text, email. Your stakeholders want to hear from you good or bad. I think the one thing that we have learned and just kind of seen is people are scared to share when something’s not going, right? You know, something’s going wrong, that’s really scary to share with people that have given you money, and to share that with them. That’s exactly what you should be doing. Because, as you just heard already say like, things go wrong all of the time. Investors see this all of the time. And they’re really there to help kind of like help you navigate that and fix the problem before becomes something bigger. And usually what happens is someone goes silent for nine months, and then they have a huge problem and they can’t be fixed. So that’s like the one thing we’ve seen is like you you kind of have to get out of your mindset of like your view of the world is just you and the company and you’re like man, this is freaking hard. And you’re scared to kind of open up and and share that with people that have given you money or our mentors. Versus like an investor who sees this, you know, Ra 150 companies. How many of those you know, you could argue a third of those are you you’re treading water at this point a third are growing. And then another third are on a, you know, a nice trajectory, but they see it all day every day.
That makes a lot of sense, in terms of like, making that mental shift. Is that something that you always did yourself? You know, because you are a startup founder, yourself, you’ve been through that startup pivot, I’m sure you’ve run into issues along the way. And we don’t have to get into specifics. But unless you want to, but if, if if, you know, have you adopted that mindset? And what was the hardest part about adopting that mindset?
We had, you know, I think just by the nature of the company that we built and wanted to build, we’ve been very transparent with everyone that works at visible, everyone that’s invested in the company, everyone that’s part of the ride. Because I mean, that’s just our product. And I guess in adopting the mindset, it’s scary, but then I think what you’ll find is, it’s incredibly refreshing, and that you’ll get a lot of help, and people rallying behind, you’re like, hey, you know, I really need a peer in the business, right? That was like one thing that that I’m going through right now is like, hey, I need another leader in the business to come and help take some of this weight and own certain parts of the business. And that’s kind of hard to admit. But then what you get in return are all of your different board members, investors and team members, like, Hey, I know this person, I know this person, what does that ideal person you’re looking for? Let’s sit down and talk about it. I think what you get is so much value from opening up and saying where you need help. That it’s, it’s it’s really refreshing.
I really appreciate hearing that, because I think that’s something I’m still working on mentally adjusting is making sure that you’re even transparently internally. We’ve, my business partner has really helped me in a lot of ways with kind of that, like, these are the metrics, we got to publish the metrics, make sure everyone on the team understands how they all correlate. And having we’re almost like creating that, like open book management style. And using a tool using tools like visible I’m sure would help. So as a recent subscriber to visible but someone who has not fully adopted it. What do I need to be doing? Like how long should I expect it to take for me to set up my entire visible profile?
Yeah, so the first of all, thanks for being a customer Much, much appreciated course.
Thanks for the recommendation,
we think most people or we see most people, depending on on, you know how much you really invest can get set up in in, you know, five to 15 minutes really, it’s it’s we connect with a bunch of the apps you use to run your business today. So you know, powder keg, I’m assuming is connected to Google Analytics, we can pull in Google Analytics data, we can pull in Salesforce data or HubSpot data, if we’re using that to run a sales organization, or stripe data if you’re processing payments for an E commerce platform. So we, our goal is to make it dead simple to get all of that data into one place. So we continue to build connectors to, you know, next generation and the best in class. Sass apps are using to run your business. And then we really want to be agnostic in terms of how you tell the story of that data. So how you distribute it to your team or to your investors. So being able to embed a beautiful looking report directly an email, but maybe some people want a PDF, or your team lives in Slack. So we just enabled a Slack integration where I can send all that directly to Slack and have a conversation and a Slack channel. Or maybe I want to query that through voice and have something read to me about a maybe a particular KPI so we want to be agnostic in terms of being dead simple to get data in, and then giving you really simple but powerful tools to visualize that data and send it out. I think one of the things that already said that this will really does a great job at is can I see a trend of a particular metric? And then can I see where we were to budget or plan because I think that’s really important. Oh, we grew revenue 3% This month over last? That’s great. What were you supposed to do? Was it supposed to be 20? Or was it supposed to be 50? Yeah. So I think that’s really important, too, is like, here we are to plan. If you’re not hitting the plan, how do you adjust accordingly to make sure that you will going forward? So those are all things that I think are super important. But that kind of was a tangent for your question that like, yeah, you can get going in, it’s not common to, or it’s not uncommon to see companies signing up and buying visible and in a day because it’s they get that much value back quickly.
That’s awesome, man. And I imagine as with any piece of software, a lot of people have used it in unique ways that maybe you didn’t originally intend them to use it, what are some of the more unique applications that you’ve seen of using visible data, this kind of company metric reporting?
Yeah, there’s a couple of there’s a couple of great ones we have, they’re not a customer. They were using kind of our initial integration. But it was just unique in the sense that it was a church in New Zealand reporting data to the congregation into members of the Church, which is kind of interesting. So we have like a really tight integration with Xero, which is very similar to QuickBooks, they were started in Australia, New Zealand, which is probably how they found out about us. But that was a pretty interesting way. We just had another company sign up called Fly sky runner. And they make this kind of crazy off road vehicle that has a, a wing attached to a kind like a parasail. So not only can drive on dirt, but it can like take off and fly. That’s so and they’re using that in a cool fundraising way and want to be more professional like a 10 Q or something of a publicly traded company might produce. So there’s companies like that that are signing up. But it’s fun to see how people sign up and adopted. Another way that we were starting to get we’ll use it as for like client reporting. So I’m a big enterprise company and I really important customers, and I want to give some insight in terms of how we’re interacting with them and and do a business review of your business with us can produce a nice looking report that I can send back to you and we can have a conversation around it. So we’re seeing really cool ways that people are adopting it and picking it up and using the tool.
That’s awesome, man. Well, I hope we can add some really cool, cool use cases as we adopt it here over the next month or so. getting it implemented at powderkeg. Before we sign off here, where can people find you, Mike, you know, on social media, or otherwise, to learn more about visible
Yeah, so visible, our domain is visible.bc. I’m probably most active on Twitter, and it’s just at Mike, Bruce P R. E, USS. But those are kind of the two that take up most of my day.
Awesome, man. Well, hopefully people will hit you up there. We’ll link it up. For those of you that are watching or listening on Facebook Live. So you can find Mike, invisible vc.vc Sorry. Mike mentioned a few people. Previously, Christian Anderson was actually our first episode in Season One of powderkeg igniting startups. So if you’re interested in learning more about Christian and high alpha, of which visible as a portfolio company, make sure you check that out. Chris Hively. Also at Tech Stars, would be another good episode from season one to listen to. But until then, dive in. Take some of this actionable advice from both Mike and RA today and implement it in your business. Drop a comment below of what you learned or what you liked the most? Or if you have a question for either of them, because we’ll share this link directly with them and maybe get you an answer. Thanks so much for tuning in. And thank you, Mike for being here. Really appreciate you coming on and powderkeg It was a blast. Absolutely, man. Alright, see ya. Bye. That’s all for today’s episode. We had a great chat with Ari Newman from Tech Stars, who you can follow on Twitter at at Ari Newman. Likewise, huge thanks to Mike crews of visible you can give him a follow at at Mike preusse on Twitter, and make sure you check out visible at visible dot v c. Again, that’s visible.vc. We use the software ourselves highly recommend to get links to the resources and people mentioned in this episode, as well as more stories on entrepreneurs, leaders and professionals, building companies outside of Silicon Valley, subscribe to us on email@example.com forward slash iTunes. You’ll want to subscribe because we have some really great guests coming up in season two, which officially starts with our very next episode. We’re going to be talking about fundraising in the Midwest as well as outside the coasts, so don’t miss it. Thanks for listening to this special in between a sewed you’ll be hearing from us again soon on powderkeg igniting startups