TLDR Founders 2024-02-19

OpenAI’s $80B+ valuation 💸, Adobe’s failed Figma acquisition 🎨, VC returns at 14-year low 📉

Headlines & Trends

OpenAI valued at $80 billion in deal with Thrive Capital (2 minute read)

OpenAI has reportedly reached a valuation of over $80 billion following a deal with VC firm Thrive Capital. The valuation marks a nearly 3x increase in less than 10 months and makes OpenAI the 3rd highest-valued tech startup in the world. The deal involves a share sale under a tender offer and allows employees to cash out their shares in the company.

Venture Capital Returns Hit Rock Bottom (1 minute read)

VCs returned 5.6% of their assets under management to investors in 2023, marking the lowest yearly return in 14 years.

Figma’s CEO on the Company’s Failed Sale to Adobe (8 minute read)

Figma CEO Dylan Field shares the challenges he faced after regulators blocked the sale to Adobe. Despite losing some of the early employees and facing a valuation cut to $10 billion, Figma's financial position has strengthened. It is now cash-flow positive and its annual recurring revenue has increased by 40 percent to $600 million in 2023. Furthermore, Figma has benefited from a substantial $1 billion breakup fee paid by Adobe.
Strategies & Tactics

Zapier’s CRO: Blending PLG and Sales for GTM Success (5 minute read)

Struggling to integrate product-led growth and sales-led models? In this post, Giancarlo Lionetti, the CRO of Zapier, provides insights on how to blend them effectively. Integrating product-led growth and sales-led models involves weighing trade-offs such as short-term sales hiring versus long-term demand generation, aligning roles to current product maturity, and deciding when an experimental sales role is preferable to a scalable one.

AI is like Water: Necessary, Ubiquitous, and so Similar (5 minute read)

Technology alone is no longer enough to provide a competitive advantage for GenAI companies. This makes GenAI and bottled water similar, as the underlying product is essentially the same. The key differentiators must come from factors such as user experience, distribution, perceived value to customers, branding, and marketing.

Packaging, Pricing Pages, and Motivations (6 minute read)

Have you ever wondered why your pricing page fails to convert visitors into paying customers? The reason may be a lack of clarity in plan differentiation. Not being clear about who each plan is meant for and why users should upgrade can leave potential customers confused. Learn how to perfect your packaging strategy so you can build pricing pages that clearly communicate the value proposition for each customer segment.
Tools & Resources

Investor Updates Email (Template)

Email template for investor updates from Y Combinator.

Unspam AI (Tool)

Ensure your emails land in the inbox, not spam.

Model for Growth Decisions (Template)

Faire's Head of Strategy & Analytics shares his spreadsheet model for forecasting growth.

Mental Framework for Better Collaboration (2 minute read)

Everyone has triggers – things said or done that annoy or motivate them. Being able to identify and leverage these triggers productively can greatly improve your working relationships.

Paying Employees with Monopoly Money (4 minute read)

Equity compensation is like monopoly money for early-stage startups. Every founder must master the skill of designing equity incentives that make employees feel like they have ownership in the company's growth. This article uncovers best practices around cap tables, vesting schedules, stock options, and more to help startups better hire and retain talent.

Is Engineering a Commodity? (4 minute read)

Leaders and managers often make the mistake of treating engineering as a commodity. However, every engineer has their own set of skills and abilities, which makes them better suited for specific tasks. If you believe that your engineers are interchangeable resources, then it’s high time to reassess your hiring process, because you probably aren’t hiring top talent.
Quick Links

The Four Cohorts of the Status Quo (1 minute read)

Startup founders are always looking to disrupt the status quo. This article highlights the dynamics of the status quo and the potential strategies for driving change by focusing on the groups that are either harmed or indifferent to the current state.

Bitcoin’s ETF, One of the Biggest Public Offerings in 20 Years (1 minute read)

The Bitcoin ETFs launched on January 12 and have raised $4.6B, more than any tech IPOs except Facebook, Meta, and Uber.

Save Your Response Rate and Avoid These 5 Opening Lines (3 minute read)

Cold email outreach is becoming increasingly challenging in 2024. Here are five lessons learned from over 10,000 experiments that can help make your cold emails stand out and drive higher open rates.
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