Fired and H1-B visas, SaaS growth levers, blockchain startup tips •

For SaaS startups strapped for cash trying to achieve scale, the math doesn’t look great.

A slump in public markets has dragged the entire industry down, but customer acquisition isn’t getting any cheaper. Meanwhile, the runways are shrinking like a wool sweater in an electric dryer, and teams hoping to raise better money have some good news to show potential investors.

So what’s the plan?

“The key is to focus on sustainable scaling by tapping into more overlooked and underestimated sources of revenue,” said Paddle CEO Christian Owens.

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In his guest post from TC+, Owens shares several tactics that “SaaS leaders can use to increase their expansion revenue,” such as adding upsell tiers and charging customers for priority support.

Forget about onboarding new customers for a moment.

Start-up startups that show strong gains in expansion revenue i.e. money generated “after the customer’s first purchase” always get a second look from investors.

And increasing revenue from expansion during a recession? Well, that’s even more impressive.

I’m not sending a TC+ newsletter on Tuesday, October 18, but I’ll be back in a week with more founder resources and early Disrupt summaries.

Thank you very much for reading,

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager,

Dear Sophie: How can I protect my H-1B and green card if I get fired?

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

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/

Dear Sophie,

I’m considering quitting my current permanent job for a big name tech job. I’m excited, but nervous.

I’ve heard you can lose your H-1B status if you get fired. Is there a way to protect my immigration status while taking a bold step?

— Leap of Faith

Dear Sophie,

My early stage startup has not been able to hire as quickly as I would like due to the fierce competition. Now that we see some movement in the job market, we think we can probably finally compete for a top tech talent in our budget.

How can I hire people who were recently fired from H-1B?

— Strategic sponsor

DIY: 5 Ways Startups With Disruptive Components Can Convince OEMs

A skilled blacksmith works in his workshop, hammering a high temperature iron on his anvil to make a new piece by flying many sparks in the dark;  hardware boot

Image Credits: Alan Rubio (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Hardware startup founders have an extremely hard time.

Only a small fraction of tech investors will even meet with them, and building product pipelines is often an erratic, chaotic process.

Rather than relying on sales and marketing teams to build a customer base for the startup of its hardware components, Ori Mor’s company began building devices that used his company’s technology.

“There’s no point in rushing into building a hardware startup,” Mor says. “Instead, start by making just one prototype that you can use to show OEMs.”

‘Me too’ investing is eating returns

Given the number of investors all-in on ecommerce, fintech, cybersecurity, cloud infrastructure, crypto and B2B SaaS, a room full of VCs could look like a crowd of Spider-Man clones pointing at each other.

“Marc Andreessen once said that ‘software eats the world,’” writes Alan Feld, founder and managing partner of Vintage Investment Partners.

“Unfortunately, ‘me-too’ investing eats up returns,” he says, suggesting investors come out of their rut and explore “four relatively underfunded areas that could yield huge winners over the next 10 years.”

How do you go from popular to profitable during a recession?


Image Credits: Patrick Giardino (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Product-driven growth startups are like a car with a manual transmission that needs a push to get going: one driver just can’t do it all alone.

According to Nick Mills, whose sales experience also includes stints at Stripe, Facebook and CircleCI, “all businesses ultimately face a similar challenge: to keep growing, they need to hire sales teams and build a pipeline.”

After explaining how to calculate your actionable addressable market, AKA “the piece of that pie you can win right now,” Mills shows you how to define product-qualified leads that will keep sales engines spinning on all cylinders.

“Telling investors about your viral user growth is no longer enough,” says Mills. “They want to know how this translates into revenue, resiliency and runway.” Disrupt 2022: Getting the BS Out of Your TAM

Every founder needs to understand the industry they want to compete in, but calculating the Total Addressable Market (TAM) is a daunting process, especially for beginners.

In reality, TAM is just a planning tool that gives potential investors a better understanding of a company’s upside potential.

This Wednesday, at Disrupt in San Francisco, I’ll be moderating a discussion with three investors to find out how they approach TAM and what they look for during a pitch:

  • Kara Northman, managing partner, Upfront Ventures
  • Aydin Senkut, Founder and Managing Partner, Felicis Ventures
  • Deena Shakir, partner, Lux Capital

I’ll ask them to share tactics and strategies for finding TAM, how to calculate it for new products and services, and the red flags they most often see from budding entrepreneurs.

Be sure to bring warm layers when you visit SF for Disrupt – if you can’t make it, join us online.

6 Tips for Starting a Blockchain Startup

It will take much more than a downturn in public markets, record inflation and global instability to come between the blockchain founders and their dreams.

Unfortunately, “having a solid roadmap, real-world use cases and a war chest is only a small part of a blockchain startup’s survival strategy,” advises Wolfgang Rückerl, co-founder and CEO of Istari Vision and Entity.

While it’s true that many of the skills needed to launch an early-stage startup also apply to web3 companies, “the road to success in the blockchain industry is paved differently,” he writes. .