TBEN+ Roundup: Deep Tech Fundraising, Negative Trade Secrets, 3 Metrics Investors Love

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Startup board meetings are scheduled several weeks apart, but many founders work on the deck until the last minute to update investors on revenue, product pipeline, hiring, and other essentials.

In this environment, founders who try to “light up” their numbers in a positive story will lose their credibility.

It’s nice to think so, but you can’t present a detailed plan that will save the day – there are just too many factors beyond your control.

The best move is to create a guiding plan, but to create one you need to have a firm grasp of the KPIs your investors are considering before launching your next fundraiser.


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In a detailed post with formulas and benchmarks for calculating incremental profit margin, pre-S&M profit margin and cash burn efficiency, Paris Heymann, a partner at Index Ventures, offers an investor perspective on the metrics that matter most.

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“In strong macroeconomic times, these metrics can be overlooked and undervalued, but they are important now as capital efficiency has returned as a critical strategic priority for nearly all companies,” he writes.

Thank you very much for reading,

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TBEN+
@your protagonist

Failures are valuable IP: Protect your startup’s negative trade secrets

Image Credits: dem10 (Opens in a new window) /Getty Images

Patent applications and GitHub codespaces are obvious bits of intellectual property, but so are the embarrassing mistakes and dead ends every company faces.

Rivals can learn a lot from your failed A/B tests, failed email campaigns, and wasted tech cycles, write Eugene Y. Mar and Thomas J. Pardini, attorneys at Farella Braun + Martel LLP in San Francisco.

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In this post, they offer advice to protect your “negative know-how” along with general tips for defining and managing trade secrets.

A VC’s perspective on deep tech fundraising in Q1 2023

A tunnel full of technology

Image Credits: Xi Huo (Opens in a new window) /Getty Images

I learned something today: Successful deep tech startups and SaaS companies generally reach multi-billion dollar valuations in the same time frame.

“It took the average deep tech startup $115 million and 5.2 years to become a unicorn,” said Karthee Madasamy, managing partner at MFV Partners.

New companies in this sector raised about $600 million last year, a steep drop from $800 million in 2021. But Madasamy says recent climate regulation, automation and space are just a few factors that are sparking investor interest during this recession .

“As major exits become increasingly difficult to achieve in the coming years, the technologies within deep tech that are transforming entire industries provide some of the only avenues for ’10x exits’.”

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4 investors discuss the next big wave for alternative seafood startups

Image Credits: Arye Elfenbein/WildType

There’s a lot of hype surrounding plant-based burgers and nuggets, but alternative seafood products are attracting more attention — and funding — from investors these days.

“More than $178 million has been pumped into alternative seafood products in the first half of 2022, and the market is expected to be worth $1.6 billion over the next 10 years,” reports Christine Hall.

To learn more about this growing space, Christine surveyed four investors to get their thoughts on regulation, the “unique challenges” companies face as they try to scale, and how they approach growth and risk:

  • Kate Danaher, general manager of ocean and seafood, S2G Ventures
  • Friederike Grosse-Holz, Director, Blue Horizon
  • Christian Lim, Managing Director, Blue Ocean of SWEN Capital Partners
  • Amy Novogratz, co-founder and managing partner, Aqua-Spark

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