Startups Overview: Customer Personas, Content That Resonates, Efficiency Metrics... Overview: Customer Personas, Content That Resonates, Efficiency Metrics VCs Love


I celebrated a friend’s birthday with a large group a few days ago and realized how hard it is to say who can’t carry a tune when the whole room is singing the same song.

The same goes for B2B SaaS startups: since so many are generally focused on LTV:CAC ratios, this can be a good way to cover up weak metrics.

Dividing Customer Lifetime Value by Customer Acquisition Cost provides useful insights, but how accurate is your historical retention data and how much have you collected?

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“Today, investors are zooming in on other efficiency metrics that paint a more reliable and comprehensive picture of the startup’s capital efficiency, and you should too,” said Igor Shaverskyi, a partner at VC firm Waveup.

In this TC+ column, he offers a formula and benchmarks to calculate “how long it will take for your customer acquisition costs to pay off”.

With VCs leaning harder on due diligence, reducing CAC Payback and paying “special attention” to how the Rule of 40 works is proof that your team knows how to provide direction. Investors love that.

“In my experience, some companies can get to a good spot in two quarters, but on average it takes about a year,” Shaverskyi writes. “It all depends on the severity of your situation.”

Thank you for reading,

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager,
@your protagonist

How we used data-driven personas to revolutionize the customer experience

People avatar set.  Diverse people avatar profile icons.  User avatar.  Man and woman have different nationalities.  Portraits of men and women.  Characters collection.  Vector illustration.

Image Credits: Hannah Plonsak (Opens in a new window) /Getty Images

I’m constantly surprised by how many startups do that not develop customer personas.

Instead of extracting information from user interactions to create avatars that represent real customers, many teams will substitute their own judgment and guesses about what people like and dislike.

Impartner VP of product Gary Sabin says his company “dove into the numbers” and “looked at 250 data points” to develop “persona-based services in deployment, customer support, and customer success.”

After a year, the company generated higher customer satisfaction scores and NPS scores. “These personas work for us,” says Sabin. “Your customer data can lead you to create the personas that matter most in your customer base.”

Sometimes you need to break your startup’s school ties

Image Credits: Haje Kamps/

When you consider how many startups emerge from colleges and universities, it makes sense that so many academics end up in C-suites. But is that necessarily a good thing?

Last week during Early Stage, hardware editor Brian Heater spoke with SOSV general partner Pae Wu about collaborating with teams of professors and students.

“There are some industries where having members of your founding team who stay in academia can work really well,” Wu said.

“We see this all the time in traditional biotech and pharma. But in other types of situations, frankly, it can become a drag for the company and be problematic for the founders who work full time.”

Ask Sophie: My VOTE OPT expires in 30 days, what are my options?

lone figure at the entrance of a maze hedge with an American flag in the middle

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/

Dear Sophie,

My VOTE OPT expires in a month and my company has not registered me in the H-1B lottery this year.

I’m not sure what options I have right now. Staff!

— Sleepless in Silicon Valley

How startups can produce social content that really resonates

Josh Machiz, Partner at Redpoint, and Rashad Assir, Head of Content at Redpoint, talk about "How to turn your startup into a social star" at TechCrunch Early Stage in Boston on April 20, 2023. Image Credit: Haje Jan Kamps / TechCrunch

Josh Machiz, Partner at Redpoint, and Rashad Assir, Head of Content at Redpoint, talk “How To Turn Your Startup into a Social Star” at Early Stage in Boston on April 20, 2023. Image Credits: Haje Jan Kamps /

There’s something painful about watching a company post something stupid on social media in an attempt to go viral or jump on a trend. It always gives me an eerie feeling, “how are you, fellow kids?” mood.

Rebecca Szkutak spoke to Rashad Assir (Head of Content) and Josh Machiz (Partner) of Redpoint Ventures last week to get their thoughts on how young brands can exude authenticity.

“What we’ve really learned here is that it’s much better to put it out the door, ship it — similar to a startup — and really just see if it catches on, because if you get the urge for it to catch on, then you can invest more in it,’ Machiz said.

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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