Recruiting – The 3rd Crucial Startup Skill

I used to believe that there were two critical startup skills:

  1. Building a great product that has clear product/market fit.
  2. Building a sales and marketing machine.

At Matrix Partners, we’d argue about  whether you could get away with just having a great product. Or whether you could take an organization that was spectacular at sales and marketing and sell anything. Ultimately, for most companies, I personally concluded that you’d need both of these skills to be really successful in the B2B world.

In the last two or three years, I’ve witnessed something new: a hiring crisis so severe that it is crippling startup’s abilities to get products built on time, and starving them of the talent they need to market and sell those products. There is an intense skills shortage that has been created by the explosion in startups over the past few years.

Something important has changed in the recruiting process: the best people are almost never on the market, and you are going to have to develop recruiting processes that find passive candidates that are not looking to leave their current job. In many cases, it will take months or years of relationship building with these candidates to find the right moment when they are open to considering a change. And closing them takes greater selling efforts than in the past due to the intense competition over the good candidates.

This leads me to believe that there is now a third crucial startup skill that needs to be developed: Recruiting.

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Much like sales and marketing, recruiting is a funnel process that needs attention at the top of the funnel (ToFU) -Sourcing, middle of the funnel (MoFU) -Evaluating, and at the bottom of the funnel (Selling), as well as in a fourth phase, On-Boarding, after you have successfully hired someone.

Click here to read the full post on my blog, forEntrepreneurs, where I’ll take you step by step through the Recruiting Funnel from sourcing to close, and how to use it to build your brand, leverage your VCs, and hire the best executives for your team.

Banks and Entrepreneurs: Breaking the Logjam

There is a massive innovation happening in fintech right now. What’s intriguing is that banks are not leading this trend. While they remain strapped from the financial crisis with even tougher regulations and balance sheets, not to mention the lengthy development cycles common to all large corporations, upstarts like LendingClub, Poynt, Coinbase and others are pushing the boundaries.

However, as any seasoned fintech entrepreneur knows, banks still hold the power. And, as Hans Morris, former President of Visa and partner at Nyca Partners said in our recent video interview, you can’t actually disrupt the entire financial system. You may still need credit licenses, access to working capital, the ability to settle transactions, etc. This creates an opportunity for banks and entrepreneurs to work together. Easier said than done? Banks, and particularly their vendor approval departments, are notorious for red tape and excruciating business development cycles.

To break through this logjam, entrepreneurs need to focus on the most pressing consumer and banking problems. If a problem is urgent, or better yet, your solution addresses a mandated fix, bank executives will find a way to make the partnership work.

In our latest Talks forEntrepreneurs video, Dana Stalder of Matrix Partners and former PayPal executive, talks with Hans Morris about the challenges of innovating with banks and where the best opportunities exist for entrepreneurs.

Banks and Innovation: What Entrepreneurs Need to Know (15 minutes)

If you’re a fintech entrepreneur, you’re pushing boundaries. But, you can’t actually disrupt the entire financial system. Learn how to make the system work for you.

  • What prevents banks from innovating
  • How to partner with and sell into banks
  • Where are the best opportunities

Watch and subscribe to more Talks forEntrepreneurs videos here.

Announcing Talks forEntrepreneurs: Conversations with Experts and Entrepreneurs to Help You Grow Your Company.

At Matrix Partners, our mission is to support and guide entrepreneurs building bold new businesses. Being an entrepreneur is one of the hardest jobs around, but we believe that hearing the experiences of other founders and experts is one of the best ways for us to spur more learning and faster growth.

Our Talks forEntrepreneurs series starts with Payments–a space more complicated than many where it’s critical for entrepreneurs to know the players, technologies and how they’re all connected and changing.

In this series of videos, General Partner Dana Stalder sits down with successful founders and executives in FinTech. Each short talk helps entrepreneurs understand the challenges, opportunities, and players in different areas of payments, while giving them tools and knowledge to grow their companies.

The first three videos are included below. Listen or view on your favorite channel, and subscribe to be notified as we post more videos on FinTech, marketplaces, startup management, and more. Drop us a note at with topics you’d like us to explore next. We hope you enjoy the Talks!


Lessons Learned Starting My First Company (10 minutes)

Osama Bedier founded Poynt 18 months ago after leadership positions at Google and PayPal. Hear what he’s learned, including:

  • Skipping a seed round
  • Selling before coding
  • Hiring great people and letting go


From LendingClub to Orchard–What’s Happening in Credit? (16 minutes)

Hans Morris of Nyca Partners, Director at LendingClub and former president of Visa, joins Dana Stalder of Matrix Partners to discuss the evolution in credit:

  • Why this is a multi-hundred billion dollar opportunity
  • What investors look for in credit startups
  • Global vs US opportunities for innovation


Mobile Payments: What Entrepreneurs Need to Know (22 minutes)

Scott Loftesness of Glenbrook and Dana Stalder of Matrix Partners discuss mobile payments and:

  • The 8+ year journey to ApplePay
  • Technologies here to stay: NFC, tokenization, and biometrics
  • What it all means for the Networks
  • What’s driving merchant and consumer demand

Like these? Listen or view on your favorite channel, and subscribe to be notified as we post more videos on FinTech, marketplaces, startup management, and more.

Toward Our 3D Future

This article was originally published in TechCrunch.

3dprinthouse-e1425055831270If the past couple of years have been about one theme for me investment-wise, they have been about exploring the bridge between bits and atoms with a series of bets aimed to make a path between the digital world and the physical one we populate.

And no, I am not talking about ordering a pizza from my smartphone or getting a maid on-demand to come clean my house within an hour. I’m talking about turning the bits on your screen into something you can touch or turning the room in which you are reading these words in into a digital model that you can inhabit. I am referring to the worlds of 3D printing and virtual reality.

Continue reading “Toward Our 3D Future”

Bridge Group 2015 SaaS Inside Sales Survey Report

Survey results from 342 B2B SaaS companies on key inside sales metrics including group structure, ramp and retention, quota and compensation, activity & technology and leadership.



The SaaS model has become mainstream, and is everywhere. Gone are the early fears of data privacy and security, and now even late adopters are using SaaS for a variety of functions. Software as a Service didn’t just change the delivery mechanism, business model and associated metrics, it also changed the way software is sold. In most SaaS companies, the model of choice is Inside Sales (occasionally coupled with a smaller team of field sales reps).

Continue reading “Bridge Group 2015 SaaS Inside Sales Survey Report”