In this episode of Growth Journeys, TCV General Partner Neil Tolaney speaks with Hotmart Co-Founder and CEO João Pedro (JP) Resende about the challenges (and opportunities) of bootstrapping a business in Brazil without any outside capital, how Hotmart is empowering today’s creators to pursue and monetize their passions, and the value that comes with building and nurturing an engaged creator community. Hotmart is one of the world’s leading digital enablement platforms with a diverse and fast-growing ecosystem of 35+ million creators and consumers. Its all-in-one, cloud-based technology platform integrates the features and functionalities that creators of all sizes need to build, run, manage, and grow their digital businesses.
Joining a founder-led fast-growth technology company as an outside CEO isn’t an easy task. While Steve Munford had prior experience in taking the helm at founder-led companies, he started his current role as CEO of global identity verification provider Trulioo just as countries were locking down at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Further complicating his new role was that when Steve joined, Trulioo was embarking on an effort to scale go-to-market and product distribution across multiple geographies. In today’s episode of Growth Journeys, Amol speaks with Steve about how he has approached global operations at Trulioo at a time of exponential growth. He takes us through Trulioo’s strategy for understanding the nuances of the various new end-markets that it serves as it scales, and how Trulioo’s customer base is integral to how the company prioritizes go-to-market channels. Steve also provides us his best practices for building trust, communication and preserving a culture across a rapidly-growing multi-geo organization. Steve shares how Trulioo leveraging its core mission of empowering all seven billion people on the planet to participate in the global economy as a north star for its growth journey.
Scaling a company can sometimes feel like a high-speed dash to the top, making it easy to prioritize activities that yield immediate growth. But it can also take time to educate the industries that a company is transforming with tech, and even more time to build trust with prospective customers. In this episode of Growth Journeys, Clio CEO and founder Jack Newton shares the slow and steady strategy Clio took to win market leadership in the legal tech industry with TCV principal and Clio board member Amol Halekar. Key takeaways include investing in market education and community building, and using a robust partnership strategy to build a moat around your business. Amol and Jack also discuss how Clio maintained investor excitement to continue fundraising later rounds, and the importance of mission for customers, partners, and employees.
Revenue is the lifeblood of any business, yet sales planning in the fast-moving tech world remains challenging. New competitors can launch into your markets more easily than ever, while SaaS business models are making it harder to land and expand enterprise-wide contracts. In this timely episode of Growth Journeys, long-time B2B sales leader Mark Smith (NetScreen, Infoblox, Arista, Rubrik) shares veteran advice on sales planning with Kunal Mehta, a principal on TCV’s Portfolio Operations team. Key takeaways include basing near-term forecasts on long-term fundamentals and applying the power of propensity models to predict sales success. Mark and Kunal also explore the secrets of hiring and motivating successful salespeople, why technology is changing the sales cycle, and how to think about 2021.
Newsela’s founders were educators who imagined the equivalent of Spotify or Netflix for educational content in schools. They designed their SaaS offering for the practical realities of classroom instruction, seeded it with teachers across the country, and then leveraged teacher advocacy to win district-level contracts. When it looked like their high growth could be derailed by school closings during the pandemic, they pivoted to giving content away to demonstrate solidarity with their customers – and reached two-thirds of all schools in the country. Now Newsela is firmly entrenched in the new normal for K-12 education. In this fast-moving conversation, TCV’s Dave Eichler joins Newsela co-founder and CEO Matthew Gross to unpack the secrets of the company’s success.
In early 2020 Varsity Tutors was the largest live learning platform in the U.S., connecting students and professionals with personalized instruction. Then the pandemic hit. After taking quick action to ensure business continuity, Varsity Tutors went back on offense: moving its core business entirely online, adding more small classes, and offering free live large classes. As customers flooded back Varsity Tutors kept innovating, with virtual summer camps, celebrity tutors, and School@Home – which can fully replace conventional schooling. In this conversation, Heidi Robinson, Chief Product Officer at Varsity Tutors and TCV Principal Beth Knuppel discuss how to “predict the weather” in uncertain times, so you can develop the right products at the right time; principles for product design and development in an increasingly virtual world; how to rally and redirect talent into new responsibilities in a crisis; and much more.
Barry McCarthy was CFO at Netflix and Spotify during periods of explosive growth, and he took both companies public – in different ways. Our latest episode of Growth Journeys pairs exceptional operator Barry McCarthy with veteran investor Woody Marshall, a Spotify board member and TCV General partner. Together they explore how “visionary” founders and CEOs need to be able to see the future while staying grounded in the present, and how strategic CFOs develop their own ability to see around corners and help the team navigate both choppy waters and growth opportunities in finance and operations. McCarthy and Marshall then apply these lessons to the timely topic of managing in a crisis, and the critically important relationship between CEOs and their boards of directors.
At GoFundMe, 2020 started with the celebration of a new chapter, a ten-year milestone, and the welcoming of new CEO Tim Cadogan. When the coronavirus pandemic began to spread globally, Cadogan, then in his first week as CEO, acted decisively to safeguard employees by implementing work from home and galvanized the team to quickly innovate to support the GoFundMe community in its mission of inspiring hope and changing lives through giving. In this wide-ranging discussion, Cadogan and TCV General Partner Woody Marshall, a GoFundMe board member, discuss: • How GoFundMe’s global community has responded to the coronavirus pandemic and how the company has adapted to meet the surge of activity • How GoFundMe seeks to create a seamless fundraising experience by balancing efficiency and safety • How to learn a global business from top to bottom, build relationships, and earn trust – remotely – in a short period of time • Essential qualities of culture for mission-driven companies • The importance of honest and open communication within a company, with a board, and with a community
Recognized as a true disruptor of an established industry, at-home fitness pioneer Peloton initially struggled to get funded. Investors questioned whether Peloton could unseat entrenched workout chains and exercise machine makers, especially with a business model that requires blended expertise in hardware, software, content, retail, and logistics. But CEO John Foley and his co-founders persisted in their vision of a fitness company that actually gets people fit, delivering revenue growth, expanding internationally, going public, and continually adding value to memberships. TCV led Peloton’s Series F financing round in 2018 and supported the company on its journey to its IPO. John Foley joins Peloton board member and TCV general partner Jay Hoag for a wide-ranging discussion with multiple lessons for entrepreneurs.
Todd Piett joined a start-up called Rave Wireless to lead marketing and, on his way to becoming CEO in 2017, helped the company pivot from higher education communications to mobile safety applications. Now called Rave Mobile Safety, the company posted its tenth straight year of revenue growth in 2020, driven by innovative apps for smart 911 service, school panic buttons, and emergency alerts on corporate campuses. Todd is an articulate proponent of the principle that safety is a human right, which government and other large organizations have a duty to ensure. In this Growth Journeys podcast, Todd and TCV GP Kapil Venkatachalam discuss the evolution of “citizen safety,” how Rave successfully changed its business model, and how the company is innovating to bring modern communications to a traditional customer base.
Shanna Tellerman is a two-time Founder and CEO. Her current company, Modsy, is a virtual interior design service that provides 3D photorealistic renderings of a user’s home space, supplies design expertise to furnish it beautifully, and makes everything in the design available for purchase – all on the same website. In this Growth Journeys podcast, Shanna traces her evolution from math-loving fine arts major to entrepreneur by way of 3D technology and venture investing at Google. Tina Hoang-To, Executive Vice President at TCV, also has both CEO and venture experience, so this lively conversation is filled with lessons about founding and leading businesses, raising capital, scaling a team, integrating technology and design, and forging a successful partnership with investors.
Board members can bring a wealth of experience and advice to their CEOs – and not just when the board convenes each quarter. The chemistry of this critical relationship requires careful attention, particularly when selecting and onboarding new directors, coaching the team and providing diverse insights. Tayloe Stansbury, Venture Partner at TCV, shares lessons and insights from his board memberships and two decades reporting to corporate boards as CTO at Intuit, CIO at VMware, and EVP at Ariba. Beth Knuppel, Principal in TCV’s Portfolio Operations, guides the conversation to the key moments and processes that board members and CEOs need to master so that their relationships – and the business – can thrive.
Cellular connectivity today allows for an always-on world, connected by voice, text, apps, and the internet. In contrast with consumers, businesses have been slow to adopt cellular for primary internet connectivity given cost and reliability concerns. This is changing quickly, however, with continued improvement in both quality and affordability as the world moves to 5G. Cradlepoint is the market-leading innovator helping businesses move from a wired to wireless world utilizing Cradlepoint’s software-defined wireless products to connect people, places, and things with enterprise-class visibility, security, and control. In this podcast, board members Matt Robinson and Doug Gilstrap from TCV explore Cradlepoint’s growth journey with CEO George Mulhern, as he talks through the opportunities, tough decisions, and lessons learned to become the global leader in cellular connectivity for business.
TCV believes innovation and great entrepreneurs are everywhere, including the emerging software ecosystem coming out of Australia and New Zealand. TCV GP David Yuan recently had a chance to chat with Rod Drury, Founder of Xero, about how Drury and his team created and scaled a massive New Zealand-based SaaS platform for small businesses around the world. Their conversation includes many lessons for growing companies, including the advantages of a small home market, how to build a global team and business from day one, why Xero went public first and then scaled the business worldwide. For these lessons and a lot more, settle back and click play.
David Yuan is a General Partner at TCV, where his investments have scored 4 IPOs and 8 acquisitions. These successes and his track record of investing in era-defining companies have earned him a place on Forbes’ Midas List of top technology investors. In this conversation with Harry Stebbings, creator of “The Twenty Minute VC” and SaaStr podcasts, Yuan shares insights into SaaS strategies and why they hold so much potential, how to manage senior talent transitions when scaling a company, and how to take a long-term view through market and investment cycles. For all this and more, settle back and press play.
Nearly half of current infrastructure-as-a-service enterprise users are running production applications on public cloud infrastructure. Yet security seems to be an afterthought, or simply assumed because the major cloud providers are tech heavyweights Amazon, Google and Microsoft. But recent breaches prove that sophisticated attackers can penetrate the cloud and do serious damage, including blemishing corporate brands. So enterprises must ensure that their their own security stack is properly architected for the cloud. In this podcast, TCV’s Tim McAdam and Vectra CEO Hitesh Sheth talk about what it takes to reduce business risk in the cloud, keep enterprises and consumers secure, and still capitalize on the tremendous opportunities the cloud offers.
The SaaS model is now enabling SMB and vertical SaaS companies to evolve from tool companies to market makers. When they reach a critical mass of service providers using their platforms, these pioneering companies can leverage data and mindshare advantages to create demand for the services they enable. Such two-sided marketplaces generate powerful network effects, a deeper moat, and a significantly larger TAM. In this conversation, Brian Rothenberg, former VP of growth at Eventbrite, explains the steps and structures necessary to accomplish this strategic transformation and reach scale. He also offers priceless tips on timing and managing relationships with original SaaS clients, to gain and sustain the most powerful network effects.
Zillow was launched in 2006 with a boldly simple idea: to transform the way people buy real estate. The company took off immediately, growing largely through word of mouth. Yet it was paid media and advertising that enabled Zillow to build a nationally recognized brand, fuel sustained rapid growth, and become the world’s largest home related marketplace. In this exclusive podcast, Jeremy Wacksman discusses with TCV’s David Yuan how marketing shaped Zillow’s trajectory and lessons learned along the way.
Woody Marshall joined TCV in 2008 and has since led investments in AirBnB, Groupon, Netflix, Peloton, Spotify and others. Harry Stebbings of “The Twenty Minute VC” leads a fast-paced discussion of the lessons Woody has learned about scaling a range of era-defining business models, how to excel as leader and board member, and the potential pitfalls in pursuing hypergrowth. For insights from a veteran investor who has been named to multiple Midas Lists, settle in and press play.
Dan Wernikoff rose to become an EVP at Intuit and general manager of its small business unit and consumer tax group. In both cases he scaled the business-within-a-business from small groups of early adopters to huge hordes of happy SMBs and consumers, by relentlessly measuring early indicators, leveraging core strengths, and focusing on long-term growth goals. In this conversation with TCV General Partner Tim McAdam, he shares lessons about how selling into SMB markets differs from enterprise, the best metrics for tracking success, and why empathy and understanding matter more than slick ads and sales techniques. He also explains how to infuse human expertise into SaaS models in a way that fits the SMB/consumer mindset. For these insights and more, settle back and press play.
Even the most hardened left-brain investor can recognize the genius of Jonathan Mildenhall. While leading the marketing organizations at Coca-Cola and Airbnb, Jonathan focused each of these brands on an authentic and emotive purpose that cut through the cynicism of modern consumerism to create connection and change human behavior based on shared values. Jonathan was kind enough to share with TCV GP David Yuan his stories and experiences leading Coca-Cola and Airbnb marketing, as well as his new venture, TwentyFirstCenturyBrand.
When the world flipped from desktop to mobile, high-velocity B2B software companies faced a question: Could they join B2C companies in making that challenging pivot? Many tried, but few have succeeded. SafetyCulture is one of the winners. David Yuan, General Partner at TCV, caught up with Luke Anear, CEO and founder of SafetyCulture, to talk through his growth journey in building a disruptive mobile-SaaS company. Luke’s a former private investigator, nearly lost his shirt as a boxing promoter, and worked as a videographer for Tony Robbins. FOR AN INSIDE STORY ON HOW SAFETYCULTURE SCALED TO A COMPELLING MARKET POSITION WITH A MOBILE-FIRST B2B PRODUCT, SETTLE BACK AND CLICK PLAY.
TCV’s Founding General Partner Jay Hoag, a long-time Netflix board member, chats with Patty McCord, Netflix’s chief talent officer for 14 years and co-creator of the Netflix culture deck, for this exclusive podcast about her book: “Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility.” Together they detail the origins of the culture deck, what happened when it went viral, and how CEOs can apply the principles that made Netflix a magnet for high-performance talent.
Marketing automation company ExactTarget was ready to IPO in 2009. The S-1 filing was done, and Wall Street was receptive. But CEO Scott Dorsey decided to stay private and scale the company with strategic investments. In the fall of 2009, he reached out to David Yuan https://www.tcv.com/team/dave-yuan/, General Partner at TCV, for a significant investment. The low-profile midwestern SaaS company then scaled past 100 million in revenue, transformed its industry, and was acquired by Salesforce.com. Listen to Dorsey and Yuan as they relive the high points of an epic growth journey.