‘You have a chance to have a good experience’ – TechCrunch
Regular fundraisers presented as the most important step in a founder’s journey, but it is putting the cart before the horse.
Until a company builds a growing base of customers who are deeply engaged with its product, begging investors for money is an exercise in egotism. However, after a startup hits a market-appropriate product, savvy investors can compete for a chance to get in.
According to Frederique Dame, an investment partner with GV who has led the engineering and product teams at companies like Uber, Smugmug and Yahoo, achieving market fit is not a linear process. . As a partner, she provides founders of portfolio companies with a range of services including advising them on recruitment, marketing and deals, as well as product development. .
In a live chat at TechCrunch Early Stage, we discussed her experience validating product ideas, collecting actionable customer data, creating a work culture is user-centric and handles some of the unique challenges that come with team sizes ranging from a few dozen people to several thousand employees.
At Uber, Dame led strategic programs that helped the company grow from 80 employees to 7,000, including the transition from spreadsheets to systems that created transparency and accountability. Early-stage employees are used to using ad-hoc processes to get work done as they sprint to development, so I asked her how she approached work from a cultural perspective.
Put your ego aside and listen closely to your customers
Trust me with what you don’t know or what doesn’t work, because once we invest, we’re going to have to work on these things. Frederique Dame
“I think the first thing you need to do is hire people with low egos and low egos themselves,” she says. After Uber’s launch, early customers frequently experienced price spikes because the platform didn’t introduce drivers quickly enough. In response, Dame directed members of the company’s separate driving and driving teams to focus on a single issue.
“We recognize that many products are in conflict… between integrated drivers, internal systems, and [including] Dame said. “It’s important to have driving directions, but if you get a price hike every time you order an Uber, or if you can’t afford an Uber, there’s no point in having an Uber.”
After reaching out to drivers, it became clear that they weren’t listening to customers closely: In 2011, most drivers were using flip phones with rudimentary web browsing capabilities. To sign up, many people visited internet cafes that weren’t running the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome.
“They were viewing an error page, and they failed. It’s really important to understand the customer journey and what you’re doing with your product,” says Dame. “Be obsessive and talk to the customer as much as you can.”
Test as many ideas as possible (without asking for technical help)
To achieve product-market fit, teams have to iterate rapidly and iteratively to collect customer data, but there’s an inescapable tension between the need to test new products and create new ones. new ideas and desire to ensure that the road map shared with investors remains consistent with the actual product pipeline.