It’s a setup as old as storytelling. Roadrunner chases the coyote. The mouse preys on the cat. The hunted becomes the hunter. If we were to apply it to the world of startups, it would be “Venture capital chases the startup,” and it’s rarely seen. But what would it look like if it happened?
Something like this.
Dear relentless VCs:— Deidre Paknad (@day_dree) July 23, 2020
Contacting my customers implying it’s helpful to me when we aren’t raising money is annoying.
11th time this week, 3rd firm.
Diedre Paknad, Co-Founder and CEO of business SaaS startup Workboard ($PRIVATE:WORKBOARD), tweeted earlier today calling for VCs to stop trying to reach the company via its customers. Paknad alleges that VCs have been trying to get Workboard's customers to talk the company into taking their investments. According to Paknad, this has happened 11 times this week alone across three different VC firms.
This behavior is unusual in the startup world where the VCs have typically had all the power. Usually, startups make an effort to network and connect with VCs, leveraging those relationships during funding rounds to raise as much money as possible. But the extremely aggressive VC practices that Paknad is alleging is a sign that Workboard is an exceptionally good investment opportunity.
By tweeting this, Paknad is a signaling opportunity to VCs that aren't already on the hunt, showing that there's investor interest in her company, and to some extent genuinely attempting to get antsy VCs to stop bothering her customers. It's a humble brag that kills 3 birds with one stone.
Workboard's earned the bragging rights, raking in investment and growing healthily. Linkedin Headcount shows Workboard's workforce has nearly doubled in size year-over year. It raised $30 million in a Series C funding round this January, was recently named one of Gartner’s top 25 enterprise software startups to watch, and brought on a new CMO as the company continues to grow.
It's a remarkable thing for a startup to be so appealing that it flips the food chain of venture capital on its head, but Workboard has done it. Investors are clearly chomping at the bit for opportunities like the one Workboard could potentially represent.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.