Annual recurring revenue is a critical health metric for any subscription-based business.

Calculating ARR is easy, but it’s a hard number to budge, as it’s a direct reflection of how well a startup is doing in terms of product-market fit.

In his latest column, Sales Kiwi co-founder and TC+ contributor Jonathan Martinez shared five essential takeaways that he learned along the way to reaching $1M ARR. Lesson one?

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“I never tested more than two paid channels at a time, which is how I was ultimately able to unlock acquisition for my team,” writes Jonathan.

“This applies for all forms of growth, so if you’re trying to unlock lifecycle marketing, don’t also put efforts into unlocking four paid channels at the same time.”

Martinez goes well beyond basic best practices: drawing from experience, he explains how he deals with meeting overload and why “performance consultants are golden” if you want to scale quickly.

Thanks very much for reading!

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+

How you invest your time is just as important as how you invest your money

Image Credits: Federico Morando (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

How and where do VCs find startups to back when they are first starting out with investing?

In an excerpt from her new book “Breaking into Venture,” SemperVirens General Partner Allison Baum Gates revisits her early days as an investor, when establishing deal flow and networking were skills she’d yet to acquire.

Drawing from the early chapters of her book, this post includes a target prospect list for new investors, along with relationship-building advice from experienced VCs.

“You can spend a lot of time searching for something, but if you’re looking in the wrong places, you’ll never find it,” she writes.

Who’s #OpenToWork? A tale of two labor markets

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Talented software engineers are generally in demand, but could adding #OpenToWork to a LinkedIn profile actually work against people who are hoping to change jobs?

Job platform examined job applicants’ test interview pass/fail rates cross-referenced with whether they’d added the hashtag to see if it’s a positive or negative signal to employers.

“We also made sure to check their LinkedIns twice: once in early 2021, when there were practically no tech layoffs, and again in early 2023, in the wake of the worst round of tech layoffs since 2001.”

Generative AI’s future in enterprise could be smaller, more focused language models

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The large language models that brought us the Pope’s puffy coat and other delights learned how to respond to human prompts after studying unfathomable amounts of text.

But, “what if each industry or even each company had its own model trained to understand the jargon, language and approach of the individual entity?” asks enterprise reporter Ron Miller.

A number of companies are building smaller large language models (sLLMs) that could create “more accurate and tailored content,” he writes.

“This represents a huge opportunity for the startup community, and we are seeing lots of companies with a head start on this idea.”

Do you need a deck to raise from VCs? Not always.

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“A lot of founders start by sending a deck, but honestly I hate that and I’ve never done that in my life,” says Svix CEO Tom Hacohen.

In an interview with Haje Jan Kamps, Hacohen explains how he successfully raised a round from Andreesern Horowitz without preparing a traditional pitch deck that ticked all the boxes.

“I want to tell a compelling thing at my own pace. And a deck with information doesn’t do that,” says Hachocen. “Another part of this is that I’m a solo founder, and I just don’t really have time to make a deck.”

TechCrunch+ roundup: #OpenToWork reality check, deck-free pitching, ARR growth lessons by Walter Thompson originally published on TechCrunch