In an era when no one worried too much about IT spending, startups leaned into the bottom-up sales approach and driving product-led growth.

But that was then, and this is now.

“It’s too soon to pronounce bottoms-up dead, but it’s looking pretty moribund,” according to Battery Ventures’ State of Cloud Software Spending Report, which surveyed 100 CIOs, CTOs and “other large tech buyers” who “represent $30 billion in annual technology spending.”

The report shows that contract approval times are slowing down as “CXOs are tightening restrictions on self-procurement, even in the dev/test environment.”

Thanks for reading TC+ this week!

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+

Crunchbase will begin tracking venture dollars allocated to LGBTQ+ founders

Image Credits: Namthip Muanthongthae / Getty Images

According to one estimate, founders who identify as LGBTQ+ receive less than 1% of startup funding. To kick off Pride Month, Crunchbase announced that it has started measuring how much venture capital flows to members of this community.

“Having concrete data helps in advocating for policy changes, funding initiatives and resource allocation to support LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs,” said Ryan Husk, Crunchbase’s director of business development.

“It enables us to make evidence-based arguments for greater equity and access within the startup ecosystem.”

Factors to consider before pricing AI-enabled SaaS

Image Credits: jayk7 (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

SaaS pricing is an art and a science, but the advent of artificial intelligence as a service “has created a mad dash to sprinkle AI pixie dust across the SaaS ecosystem,” writes Jake Saper, general partner at Emergence Capital.

“This is a time for learning and iteration,” he writes in a detailed TC+ article that contains his framework for AI feature pricing and a matrix that compares monthly costs from eight major SaaS companies.

“Even if you aren’t able to charge much for your AI features today, they can create meaningful value by making your current product more valuable and perhaps stickier.”

Many startups are built off research, so why don’t more scientists become founders?

Image Credits: Getty Images

Scientists generally have experience with managing budgets, shepherding complex projects to completion and raising funds, but many investors still don’t see them as founder material.

On the Found podcast, Rebecca Szkutak and Dominic Madori-Davis interviewed Dr. Stacy Blain, co-founder and chief science officer at Concarlo Therapeutics, about the challenges she faced when transitioning into tech from academia.

“The beauty of being a scientist is that we can learn a lot,” she said.

“That’s what we’ve been trained to do for decades: Look at a situation, figure out what’s important, troubleshoot and learn the appropriate things.”

Deal Dive: Why this startup chose to sell itself over raising a Series A

Image Credits: Getty Images

You know the story: a plucky startup achieves product-market fit with support from savvy investors before it goes public and makes billions of dollars for everyone involved.

Reality, however, is much more complicated.

Career platform Heroes Jobs raised $9M in funding, reached $2M in ARR and had a signed commitment for a Series A round when co-founder and former CEO Cyriac Lefort realized acquisition costs were just too high.

Instead of swimming against the current, Heroes Jobs sold to work marketplace JobGet “for an undisclosed amount,” reports Rebecca Szkutak.

“We all know that you don’t want to start doing down rounds,” Lefort said. “It becomes complicated for the company and the rest of the people in the company.”

Ask Sophie: How long until I can travel while waiting for my green card?

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

I came to the United States from Tunisia to get my master’s degree and Ph.D. I recently finished my Ph.D., and I’m working for a biotech company on OPT.

I’ve been trying to get publications and significant awards to qualify for the EB-1A green card and I need to travel internationally frequently for business.

Once I apply, will I be stuck in the U.S.? If so, for how long?

— Tenacious from Tunisia

Pitch Deck Teardown:’s $1.9M seed deck

Image Credits: Oii AI, which offers AI-powered supply-chain management software, shared its partially redacted seed deck with TechCrunch+.

According to the company, this presentation helped it land a $1.85M round. Haje Jan Kamps breaks it into two sections: “Three things to love,” and “three things that could be improved.”

Cover slide
Vision slide
Interstitial slide
Overview slide (“Welcome to Oii”)
Solution slide? with a side of business model slide
Problem slide?
Market trend slide
Traction slide
Team slide
TAM slide 1 (Pharma sector)
TAM slide 2 (Retail sector)
Market overview + competitive landscape slide
Competitive advantage slide
Sales pipeline slide
Product roadmap slide
The Ask + Opportunity slide
Use of Funds slide
Closing slide + contact detail slide
Appendix slide 1: Competition (Llamasoft)
Appendix slide 2: Competition (Llamasoft)
Appendix slide 3: Acquisition opportunities

Three climate technologies every investor should have in their portfolio

Image Credits: Getty Images

Now that we’ll likely blow past the 1.5 degree Celsius target that would have slowed down our worsening climate crisis, investors and entrepreneurs need to focus on scalable solutions.

With that in mind, climate reporter Tim De Chant examined three technologies “that deserve a closer look:”

Enhanced rock weathering
Grid management software

“Fusion may not pan out, but if it does, the winners could make Exxon look small by comparison,” he writes.

Startups may have room to innovate as enterprise providers puzzle out how to price AI tools

Image Credits: Anadolu Agency (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

AI-enabled tools are having a moment, but even as companies uncover new use cases, there’s no broad consensus on how they should price these offerings.

Alex Wilhelm reviewed statements by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Box CEO Aaron Levie and CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz to see how they’re each thinking about these products before adding his “thoughts on where startups might have an edge and where they probably won’t.”

TechCrunch+ roundup: Rethinking PLG, AI-enabled SaaS pricing, traveling with a green card by Walter Thompson originally published on TechCrunch