Founder Resources

Since starting our Mentor Meetings program two years ago, we’ve met hundreds of founders at various stages of their growth trajectory who have unanswered questions about how to raise capital, scale their organizations, and beyond. Through these meetings, we’ve found some key themes repeat consistently. Keeping in mind that founders always know their businesses best and that all advice should be taken with a grain of salt, we’ve put together a list of resources on best practices for key functional areas. We look forward to building upon this resource pool over time. Please let us know if we’re missing one of your must-reads!


Everything You Need To Know About Angel Investors by Denise Stephan (Crunchbase)

“They may invest as early as when a business is merely a concept, or after the company has proven to have some traction.”

How to Design a Pitch Deck: Lessons from a Seasoned Founder by Daniel Eckler (Mylo)

“Successful startups are known for their disruptive approach, so it’s interesting to see how so many innovative companies are surprisingly conservative (and sometimes sloppy) when it comes to their pitch deck .”

How Much Should You Raise in Your VC Round? And What is a VC Looking at in Your Model? By Mark Suster (Upfront Ventures)

“There are many things a VC is looking for in reviewing your business plan but beyond things the like the quality of revenue, margins, OPEX and CAPEX there’s a really simple rule I call, ‘Cash In, Cash Out, Milestones Achieved.’”

How to Raise a Seed Round by Geoff Ralston (Y Combinator)

“This brief guide is a summary of what startup founders need to know about raising the seed funds critical to getting their company off the ground.”

9 Seed Funding Gotchas by Alex Iskold (2048 Ventures)

“So how do you actually win this and get funding? Two things – preparation and traction.”

The Hackers Guide to Startup Fundraising by Fletcher Richman (Galvanized)

“I’ll walk you through my process to remove repetition and get you in more meetings with investors.”

The Top 3 Things Investors Are Looking for in SaaS Startups by Cristoph Janz (Point Nine Capital)

“Good revenue growth is worthless if the company gets huge adoption initially but doesn’t drive fundamental change.”

7 Tips for Raising Capital in a Slower Market by Alex Iskold (2048 Ventures)

“Even when capital is readily available, fundraising is still not easy.”

To Raise a Venture Round These Days, You Need To Be a Little Crazy by Hunter Walk (Homebrew)

“If your numbers are solid but not CRAZY, you definitely need a CRAZY vision.”

8 Things That Make Investors Cringe by Lili Balford (Ateliers Advisors)

“Have you ever left a pitch and wondered what investors really thought about you? I decided to roll up my sleeves and conduct a nationwide, sector and stage agnostic survey of investors.”

Why Maximizing Your Valuation May be Minimizing Your Chance for Success by Micah Baldwin (Madrona Venture Group)

“There are two schools in setting initial valuation: Maximize and Optimize.”

A Question About Risk That Founders Forget to Ask VCs by Hunter Walk (Homebrew)

“Potentially the best founder <> fund matches come when both parties are clear about what needs to still be proven out”


Optimize Your Funnel By Getting Inside Your Buyer’s Head by David Skok (Matrix Partners)

I discuss how to design a great sales process, analyze the buyers’ journey, and shorten the time to customer conversion from trials, freemium and open source products

Clarity of Message: Why You Need A Great Message & How To Create It by David Skok, Mike Troiano (Matrix Partners)

“This post focuses on how to get messaging and positioning right in the early stages of your company.”

SaaS Sales Compensation: How to Design the Right Plan by David Skok (Matrix Partners)

“In this blog post we will explore how to design sales compensation plans that help drive the right behaviors.”

Everything You Need to Know About Buyer Personas by Patrick Campbell (Profitwell)

“Quantified buyer personas are rich with data to help you make important pricing and marketing strategy decisions.”

7 “Easy” Ways to Increase Sales by Jason Lemkin (SaaStr)

“Stop acting “cheaper,''cuter, ''hipper.” Act more enterprise.”

How to choose the right SaaS sales model for my SaaS company by Sona Hovhannisyan (incredo)

“Choosing the right model can set your business in the success path and choosing the wrong model can leave your SaaS company with nothing.”


Things You Must Know to Start A Business by Bill Green (Crunchbase)

“...building a startup is a game of endurance. It doesn’t happen overnight. The first 12-18 months come with a brutal learning curve most new founders struggle to make it through.”

Diversity & Inclusion at Early Stage Startups by Kat Manalac (Y Combinator)

“Diversity and inclusion initiatives can improve culture and reduce turnover (if done right).”

Diversity at Startups by Homebrew

“A company with people from different backgrounds, ages, genders, and perspectives can spark innovation. Innovation can lead to success.”

Managing Your Startup Board — A Short Presentation by Mark Suster (Upfront Ventures)

“Boards are organizations that need managing just as you would do for your management team.”

6 Ways Great Companies Use Board Decks to Their Advantage by Max Heald (Union Square Ventures)

“I quickly found out that there is no one standard board deck for a USV company (and in fact, we’re proud of that), but I did observe a few commonalities among the most effective decks.”

Front’s Mathilde Collin on Why Discipline Is More Important Than Vision, The Right Way To Approach Investor Updates and Director Reports & How To Effectively Structure 1-1s by Harry Stebbings, Mathilde Collin (The Twenty Minute VC)

“Success will happen only if you’re consistent.”

The 5 Step Process to Perfecting Your Product Launch Strategy by Patrick Campbell (Profitwell)

“It's critical to design a process that allows you to launch vastly different product experiences within specific communities so your product can reach critical mass.”


16 Metrics You Must Keep an Eye On by Marc Andreessen

“Good metrics aren’t about raising money from VCs — they’re about running the business in a way where founders know how and why certain things are working (or not and can address or adjust accordingly.”

3 Metrics That Really Matter for Your Startup by The Muse

“While each start-up has its own unique metrics that are important, here are three categories that are almost universal.”

The Key Drivers for SaaS Success by David Skok (Matrix Partners)

“This slide deck offers a comprehensive and detailed look at the key metrics that are needed to understand and optimize a SaaS business, and how these can be used to drive SaaS success.”

What Does it Take to Raise Capital in SaaS in 2018? by Cristoph Janz (Point Nine Ventures)

“I thought about the question of ‘what does it take to raise capital in SaaS in 2016?’ and tried to give an answer that would fit on the proverbial back of a napkin..Now it’s time for the 2018 version.”

The Marketplace Funding Napkin 2018 by Julia Morrongiello (Point Nine Ventures)

“So what does it take to raise capital as a marketplace startup in 2018?”


12 Tactics to Perfect your Interviewing Process by Dana Stalder (Matrix Partners)

“When it comes to effective, data-driven interviewing, it all starts with knowing who you are and what you want — and then taking a structured approach to find candidates that meet your criteria.”

Things Learned Hiring Replacement Co-op by Nicholas Parente (Underscore VC)

“I went back, reviewed my notes, and distilled 5 key takeaways that I learned while hiring my replacement at Underscore.”

How to Know if a Key Hire is an A or a B (or even a C) by Jason Lemkin (SaaStr)

“The biggest mistake you are probably going in your first year or two to make is hiring B or even C players for key director and VP positions.”

Be Careful Hiring CEOs, Architects, Game Devs, or Dualies by Jason Lemkin (SaaStr)

“I’ve learned again and again, including quite recently, there are 4 types of hires to just avoid”

How To Get Better at Recruiting. (We All Need To) by Jason Lemkin (SaaStr)

“Recruiting is tough. I certainly don’t do it well enough. But to be a great CEO, you need to find a way to force yourself to be a great recruiter.”

Ask a Female Engineer: Interviewing + Company Culture by Cadran Cowansage (Y Combinator)

“We’ve recruited a group of female engineers with years of industry experience to try an experiment with us called “Ask A Female Engineer.”

How To Alter Your Hiring Practices To Increase Diversity by Maynard Webb (Forbes)

“If you build a culture where fit means people who expand who we are, then diversity will be germane to your future success.”

The Close: New Rules for Hiring Executive Candidates by Dana Stalder (Matrix Partners)

“The close is a critical part of a successful recruiting process”


500 startups

Andreessen Horowitz

Christopher Janz

Elizabeth Yin

First Round Review

Fred Wilson

Jason Lemkin

Mahesh Vellanki

Mark Suster

Matt Turck

Paul Graham

The Twenty Minute VC

Tomas Tunguz


Y Combinator