Episode 13: Krista Morgan of Stage Fund
On How Companies Can Rebound By Refocusing on Profitability
On this episode
Shiv Narayanan interviews Krista Morgan, General Partner at Stage Fund.
Krista and Shiv discuss the challenges many companies experience in high-pressure VC models, and how Stage’s alternative investment approach offers a solution for founders and investors.
Learn about Stage’s process for finding efficiencies and rebuilding revenue generation to get growth back on track in portfolio companies, plus the essential finance foundations many companies are missing.
The information contained in this podcast is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice.
- Stage Fund’s investment approach and how it differs to typical PE firms - 2.14
- Why some companies struggle with the pressures of VC funding - 5.18
- How Stage comes in to help out both founders and investors - 8.13
- The approach to growth that causes problems for many founders - 11.35
- The method Stage uses to get these companies back on track - 16.53
- How they tackle budgeting and efficiency - 22.20
- Building the playbook to grow revenue - 24.59
- Krista’s perspective on add-ons and bolt-ons - 26.35
- The foundational finance work many companies are missing - 30.55
Click to view transcript
Shiv: Alright Krista, welcome to the show, how's it going?
Krista: Good, thanks. Thanks for having me.
Shiv: Thanks for being on. So I'm excited for the audience to learn about what you do. So why don't we start there? Why don't you give them a background on Stage Fund and your role and what makes you guys different.
Krista: Sure. So I'm Krista. I'm a general partner at Stage. We're an early stage private equity fund, which in our case means that we're going and buying, call it five to $10 million revenue businesses that typically have had VC funding and then for whatever reason are moving off the VC path. And we get them restructured and kind of move them off this like venture mindset into a private equity mindset. We've been doing this for - originally Stage was founded in 2009, so it's been a long time - but I joined in 2020, and that's when we launched our first fund, and we are now finishing up fund two, starting to think about fund three.
Shiv: That's awesome. And it's still like - in terms of relative size as a private equity fund, it's still smaller, right? So talk a little bit about the types of companies you're investing in because there is this huge market of smaller businesses that are sometimes too small for private equity firms because they're looking to deploy a lot more capital and they need to write larger check sizes, they almost ignore these other businesses. And so that presents a bit of a greenfield opportunity for you, so we'd love to hear more about that.
Krista: Yeah, absolutely. So the way I would say is, yeah, we're not - we're not a typical private equity fund going after typical deals. We are looking - the thesis originally started, really came from the, from the fact that in - call it in all sort of cycles, the venture market is constantly weeding. It's constantly, like at every round, right, companies are getting weeded out.
And what happens is you always have companies falling out of the venture funnel, if you will. And we... And so, I'm sorry, I just totally lost my train of thought there. Sorry. So you have companies - you have companies who are falling out of the funnel. And our view is that there are - some of them are just never going to amount to anything, but a lot of them just could be a good business. They're just not meant for the venture.
Right? And, and so with that's what we're looking for. We're looking for these - typically technology - companies that, you know, they have a good product, they have a good customer, but they're, they're not going on this rocket ship, but they could be profitable and still growing and be a value-add. They - but they're going to need more scale. To your point - there isn't a huge market to buy a $5 million that's burning cash, it's still very risky. And so that is where I say we would differ from a typical private equity fund and that we are taking some of that, call it early stage risk. Just we're trying to mitigate that risk through a private equity management model.
Shiv: Right. Yeah, I think a lot of these companies that go down the VC path, you almost get caught on this hamster wheel that you can't get off of because you raise seed and Series A and Series B and the goalpost keeps getting moved for the founders to actually have a meaningful exit. And over time, they're getting more and more diluted and more and more investors or board members are in their boardroom making those decisions. And before you know it, the founders kind of lost control. And maybe that business is not even capable of growing to the level that they've raised money at, at the valuation that they've raised at. And so for the founder to actually get their money out, maybe the company needs to sell one day for $500 million or go public. But the vehicle that they're in, the business itself, is incapable of growing to that point. So they get kind of caught between a rock and a hard place. And is that the type of company that you're rescuing or moving from this VC hamster wheel to more of this profitable, more operationalized, and thinking about just the gross margins and being more meticulous with the day-to-day spending within the business so that it's more attractive to private equity.
Krista: I mean, I really couldn't have said it better myself. So yes, I would say that's exactly right. And I think what's really important about what you said is it is really hard. It is really hard for someone that's sitting with a VC cap table, VC investors, and call it VC expectations to just say, ‘okay, now I'm gonna just cut my costs. I'm gonna get profitable and I'm gonna be sustainable’. Because as a founder, frankly, both the founders and the investors are going, ‘What am I doing here? This isn't exciting for me.’ The VCs aren't excited about it, and the founder's not excited. But it's very hard without a third party coming in and leading a transaction. How do you get out of that cap table? How do you get out of that? It's really just your corporate structure no longer matches the kind of, it's no longer incentivizing anyone on your cap table, basically.
Shiv: To actually move the needle. And I have a friend like this, without using names, that they raised a bunch of venture capital. They're now diluted down to like 11%. Company has missed growth projections and revenue targets, but now he's in this position where his equity has vested. His comp that he's making at this company is significantly lower than what he would be making if he just took a job elsewhere. And so the incentives are mismatched. He's better off walking away, getting a full-time job and letting the company figure its place out versus staying in there and trying to ride out, you know, ride it out until they figure it out or the business kind of goes under, right? So help me understand like how does Stage come in? Because if you've raised money at a certain valuation and now your business is worth less than that, how does Stage then take over that cap table where it's attractive enough for the existing VC partners and the investors there?
Krista: So, two things. I would say, one, what we haven't talked about is debt. So over the past couple of years, as early stage venture money has risen, so has - there's so much debt in the market as well, right? Revenue-based financing, you've got venture debt. So actually a lot of the times we're coming in a situation where there's a lender. So this lender is looking at this going…
And often I would say it’s very common for there to be, call it 5 million of debt on 5 million of revenue, and the lender is going ‘Even if… How am I ever gonna get this paid back? Forget the 30 million dollars of preference that's sitting on there.’ So in these situations, we're coming in and saying - I guess like there's, call it that - there's sort of the technical way we do it, but practically we're going, ‘Look, here's where you're at, How do we make sure that the debt can seed a path to getting taken care of? Then who is the go-forward management team and how do we make sure they can get taken care of?’ And kind of, sort of last, it's like, ‘Last but not least, what does the - what is the current equity stack look like? What do they need?’
You'd be amazed - like there are times that we offer a rollover equity to prior investors and they just don't want it. They're like, ‘Look, my fund is closing. This is just sitting out there. I just want this to be done. Like, I just want to know that this is a zero so I can move on’, versus trying to give them, because, often, like technically, we're usually doing this through asset - you know, an asset purchase. So we are moving - we're creating a new company and then figuring out how to migrate everything over. And then also there's often a lot of liabilities. So on top of the debt and the investors and the management, there was also - call it, you haven't paid Amazon in six months, or you've been racking up some other bill that also has to get taken care of. So we're - a lot of the work we do in transactions is just have a very clear view of everyone that's expecting something to happen, and who's important, how do we prioritize that and then move everything over.
Shiv: And you're trying to get them all out as safe as possible where the incentives are, I guess, aligned, right?
Krista: Correct. Like what I tell founders all the time is like, these transactions, these are hard, right? They're hard for everyone. No one's ever - no one's ever happy per se. But if you can get through it, when you wake up on the other side of this transaction and actually you are in the money and actually you do - you're recapitalized, you now have money to go and start growing your business again and you can just stop - usually these founders have been spending months, just tough board calls, tough lender calls, it's exhausting. You just wanna get forward and get back to working on your business.
Shiv: Right, and when you come in and you're able to resolve these problems, you find that the founders are actually sticking around post that transition.
Krista: It really depends. We - I would say this is a culture shift. You know, as you were talking about - if you've been - we have founders that, you know - we bought a company in our second fund where, you know, this was the founders like third venture-backed startup, you know, and he stuck with us for, call it six months. And then he's like, ‘Look, like, all you guys want to talk about cash all the time, budgets. This is a very different - is a very different thing and what I want is to go and I have a new idea and I want to go and build it and take venture money and not be - It's a very different, just a very different business when you're constantly finding that balance between growth and profitability versus a growth-at-all-costs model. But then we have a founder, by the same token, there's a founder that came over, thought - like we've worked with him and now his company's growing again. It's doing great. And he, you know, he's very happy and he's going to do extremely well when we transact his company. So it can go either way.
Shiv: Right. Yeah, I almost wish founders were able to connect the dots on this idea of being profitable and, and not thinking about raising the next round to stay afloat and not having these obscene burn rates as the only way to build a business. It's like, it's like an epidemic and even now you're seeing so many startups or venture backed companies that have laid off hundreds if not thousands of people in some cases. And even still, people think it's the only way where you have to go raise money, spend obscene amounts of capital that's not yours, that you're not accountable for, and build a company that doesn't even have good fundamentals. Whereas on the flip side, we've seen profitable businesses exit for two, three, $400 million, and they're just good, positive cash-flowing businesses, and they're not as complicated as their counterparts and even the same vertical because they never raised that venture capital.
Krista: You know, it's so hard because who do you - you know, do you blame the founders? I started a fintech, I was a founder of a fintech company that did not end well, as you can imagine, which is how I find myself here today. But it's always a story - a story for tequila. But what I can tell you is at the time, you know, I was - you know, I raised seed money, I raised some angel money. And I - all ll I could think of was growth and every meeting you have with an investor, when are you going to grow? Every blog that you read, every startup event you go to, how many employees do you have now? How much money have you raised now? And how much are you growing? And no one ever asks you, are you profitable? And so it's hard to know. It's really a function of the ecosystem. And honestly, I think it is. While there's a part of me that says, oh, that's really not good business, you have to - there's a lot of technology that has been funded - like, venture money, it - like, venture money is funding the build of technologies we wouldn't have if all we were doing is focused on being profitable right from the get-go. So it's really hard to say it's all bad. You know, it's just - but I do think I believe that giving, let's call it the ecosystem and founders especially, just giving them - kind of cutting them a break, like look you took this money, you tried to go down this one path and you didn't make it. But rather than feel like a failure, which I can tell you from personal experience is what you feel when you have to go to your investors and say, you're not gonna get a return. How do we just make that kind of an accepted part of just the reality of instead of like sweeping it under the rug and making founders feel ashamed about?
Shiv: For sure. I think your point about VC making the impact that it has is a good one Because I think there are some ideas that require large amounts of capital to become a reality, like Uber comes to mind where you have all these legal battles to fight in different markets There's no way to do that without a ton of venture capital, right? So I think ideas like that definitely require that type of investment. I just - I find that a lot of these other businesses - it's like the vehicle that you're in is just not capable of becoming as big as the model dictates you to be. And it's just not cool to build a profitable company. It's cool to build the next Google, right? And not everybody's the next Google.
Krista: Yeah, well, it's getting cooler.
Shiv: Yeah, it's getting cooler now. Yeah. Now with the way the markets are going. And that's been my hope for like many years that like, it's less important if you have 30, 50, a hundred employees, but like if you're burning, you know, a million dollars a month or something like that, then it's not a real company. It's trying to become one maybe, but there's a lot of work that needs to be done there. So I admire the path that you're on in that sense. So talk to me about, okay, once you've found this business, you've identified all these incentives or areas through which you can solve these problems either for the investors or the founders. How do you right the ship in terms of your fund because you are now taking on the liabilities, you're taking on the debt, you're… you're basically taking that monkey from somebody else and now you have to produce a return. So talk to me about the philosophy there or how do you actually go about generating alpha for your fund and your LPs?
Krista: Good question. That is the big one. So we have, we call it a 100 day plan because we like marketing. It sounds good. But I would say there's two pieces to it. There's, let's call it that there's pre-close restructuring. So when we're coming into a company, we're looking at - you know, one of the pieces of our diligence is do we think this company can be profitable? Some companies can't. And we have to say, look, this is not gonna be a fit for us. So you're figuring out, can it be profitable? What's it gonna take? And our view is that on the day that you close, on the day we close, the company should be more valuable than the day before, just because we've cleaned things up or we've sort of told people what order things are gonna happen in, right? Yes, you're gonna get your payment, Amazon, but we're going to pay you this much money over the next six months. And we have time to get that done while we're building the business again. So we've sort of restructured liability. Sometimes we've walked away from them. So there's a lot that we're just going to say, look, this has to get taken care of or the company's got to wind down and there's no cash to pay it. And then when we're building this model, even in the transactions, we're like, what employees are we taking with us? And we try to force pretty hard cuts. Like we want things to feel uncomfortable. We want to cut deeper than every single founder. Every single person I talk to is like, ‘I've already cut, Krista. Like I'm in this tough spot. I've already kind of cut as deep as I can go.’ And I'm like, look, you have 35 people. You have 3 million of revenue. You have not cut - if I were to say to you, growth doesn't matter. And the only thing that matters is preserving revenue and ensuring that the technology does not fail, right? If that's our goal, what does your budget need to look like? And let's cut to there and then get them - we want the company to have 60 days post-close to like, just get in the habit, right? Get in the habit of thinking about cash and not just paying bills as soon as they come in and learning - like letting the team adjust to doing a lot more with less. And then at the end - call it the 100 day plan, because we're saying at the end of 100 days, then we start to talk about, okay, let's think about investing. So now that we are stable, now that this business is really running lean and everyone is in that habit, then we think about investing. And in terms of alpha, a lot of it comes into the - I would say like - if you just, if you take it high-level, our strategy is we're saying this company had, let's call it $30 million of capital invested. We're going to buy that capital at a discount. Typical deal is going to say, you know, our overall buy price, our acquisition price is less than two times revenue. And then we get the company we like - we get the company, ideally we get it growing. And then, you know, and then our capital goes in top of the preference stack. And if we can grow it, then we get multiple. So we look for both multiple expansion and, call it the rev - like growing the revenue that multiple is based on. So - but it's a value strategy. We have to buy, right? A lot of our money is made on the buy. It's we're in this situation and we're really able to negotiate like a good price for the company.
Shiv: Right. Yeah. You said you opened a lot of threads there, so let's go through that. Well, that's good. It's a good answer. Yeah. So let's start with the deal flow side, which is you've got to find the right kind of business that has the right specific circumstances to even try to deploy this type of a strategy in the first place. So how does your deal flow work? Like, how are you going about finding these types of companies?
Krista: A lot is from lenders. We do get people that come to us directly, but - so I ran a fintech company, so I was a lender. So I have a lot of relationships. My partner, Dan, who was a founder of Stage, he had a lot of relationships. So I would say the vast majority of our deal flow comes from venture banks, technology and lending firms that are looking for some kind of recovery and call us. And then next down is we do have relationships with VCs who are like, ‘Look, I have this company. I need to - I need that - I need them to stop being my problem. Can you help me get this restructured?’
Shiv: Right. So in both cases, they kind of have the situation that needs to be resolved. It's a distressed asset or what have you and you're a solution to that problem so that they can move on to the more successful deals in their portfolios. That makes sense. In terms of this budgeting approach, I completely agree. I think basically what you're describing is almost like a zero-based budgeting approach, right? It's starting from scratch. If we have, for example, $3 million in revenue and 35 employees and if you even say average headcount is $100,000 an employee, you're losing 500 grand a year. So from that perspective, you're already underwater. And what is the base level we need to be operating at from an efficiency standpoint to sustain this business? And so that part makes sense as well. Are you doing those cuts at a very micro level or is it more of like a finance exercise where you're like, roughly, if we're 3 million in revenue, here's the percentage that we should be spending on headcount versus, let's say marketing or sales or operations or whatever. Is there a lot of benchmarking there? Like, how are you going about figuring out the right amount in those areas?
Krista: No, I think that's where the fact these are small companies and we are all, we all really understand early stage. Like no one at the firm really comes out of private equity. We come from, hey, we operated technology companies. And so you're going in and we're in it. So like we're interviewing, we're interviewing management, we're interviewing that VP level. We're really digging into - I mean, we're not talking - we're not buying companies with, you know, not even usually with 50 people. You got 30 people. You know, it's not out of the realm. If you talk to 15 of them, usually have a pretty good idea of what everybody does. And then you sit with the CEO and you say, look, like, you know, we don't need this. Or like, this person should also be able to do this person's job. And when you start talking to the actual team members, they know, right, everyone knows on their team, who's really the people that are like able to just take on more stuff and get it done. Then you cut the team down and then you can increase other people's salaries. Like those people you're asking to take on more work, you can actually reward them. We can offer them good retention bonuses. So I would say the restructuring of the team is probably the biggest pieces of diligence that we're doing. Because in companies like this, team is everything. You want to make sure you have the leanest, most capable group of people that you can going forward. Yeah.
Shiv: Right. Required to actually sustain the business. Yeah, I think, especially when you look at it as line items, that's probably the biggest area of spend as well, right?
Krista: Yeah, definitely. It's all - it's basically hosting and people.
Shiv: Right. And then how much work are you doing on, like, let's say you streamline the team, like how much work are you doing actually on the playbook that they use or how they think about go to market or product management to actually land more customers and grow revenue over time and things like that?
Krista: A lot. So what we're trying to understand is like a big part of - a big part of diligence is why are they in this situation that they are in? They were given all this money. They have a good - if they have a good product and they have - usually we look for some, call it like marquee customers, that we can point to to say ‘This, this product has value and customers will buy it.’ We try to dig in to why did they buy it? Why haven't other customers bought it? What are we missing? What did they miss? And just get a sense of what went wrong. You know, sometimes - we were looking at a company the other day, I mean, sort of a special situation, but like they basically just got caught up in a giant like legal issue, like kind of something that had nothing to do with the core business, like took everything over for a year. So yeah, they haven't grown because they have just not been focused on it. So we're trying to understand what happened. So is it circumstantial? Is it a fundamental flaw in the product? Or was it just poor execution? And we look at it and go, okay, we think provided we can get them focused and then rework their go-to-market, we think this can grow again.
Shiv: And as you're going through this process, like how long are you holding these companies for? Because I imagine as you're transforming the companies, at some point it does become a healthy business, right? And maybe more attractive to a private equity buyer or a strategic buyer. So how long are you sticking around?
Krista: Good question. I often describe us affectionately as like ‘fix and flip’ for startups. Because to your point - once a company is restructured and then it can get focused, it can grow again, we're not the... that is what - what our expertise is, is seeing value in something that other people can't see, letting that, let's call it letting that value shine and then finding someone else that is going to take it and really scale. So our hold period, we look for - I mean, we say two to four years, I would say we're trying not to hold much more than three years. If we're still holding over three years, it's probably because something - the turnaround took longer. We had an assumption that didn’t work out, and we’ve almost had to do call it a second turnaround. Yeah. Or we also - so one thing we've done in our second fund twice now is we've actually found add-ons. We've found add-ons to portfolio companies. So that happens as well. So once we get something healthy, we might see another distressed asset that's related and we bring it in to try to bump up organic, sort of like, you know, give it an inorganic growth.
Shiv: Is your fund size big enough where you're using add-ons as a core strategy or is that more like an ad hoc basis?
Krista: I would say it - seeing what's happening fund two, I don't say it's our core strategy, but I would say we are open to it and as I think about fund three and structuring it, I'm gonna be allocating like, call it sort of allocating accordingly So that we do have the capital to do these to do these roll ups. I mean ideally they don't take - the nice thing is, when you're doing a roll up, if you're big - if the company we own is already profitable and we can bring something in, like ideally doesn't need that much more capital. So, you know, we're not - I'm not, we're not going out and buying, you know, it's not like we're going and buying a, you know, non-distressed asset and adding it in. We're still a value buyer even on that add-on.
Shiv: Right. Even on that, on the add-on piece. Right, does that complicate things when you're bolting it on to an existing distressed asset because now you got two things to figure out and two different companies with their own issues?
Krista: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, but you know, I like a challenge. So, no, ideally, I would say ideally, the company that we're that we're bolting it onto is, we've kind of - we've gotten it off the really like - it's stable. And so we're bringing something in. And, you know, we're only kind of doing, call it one at a time. We're not - I am, I am looking at a transaction now that would involve us buying like two new distressed assets and putting them together. I'll be honest with you, I'm both really excited as a deal junkie about like getting it done, but also a little nervous like that feels like a lot of work. Yeah, yeah.
Shiv: Well, yeah, is that possible? Yeah, right, I hear you on that. Yeah, and the larger private equity firms run this playbook, right? But it's a much larger scale. So I think the margin for error is almost - you have more margin for error when the deals are larger, I would think, than when the deals are smaller, or do you think it's the other way around?
Krista: Correct. I think it's just different. Just you've got different risks. When the deal is small, the nice thing is that, I don't know, it's like, you can really get your - you can look at everything, you can get your hands around it and just say, ‘okay, we're gonna make changes very quickly.’ I think when the companies are bigger, the changes that you make have potentially like other unintended consequences that are harder to see because there's just so much more going on.
Shiv: Yeah, that's actually a really good point. I actually think even - tell me this, like, as you're working with these smaller businesses, do you find that even some fundamental things like cashflow forecasting and having their financial statements in order and having like an operating model - maybe it feels like a lot of them would be missing some of those basic pieces that, if you can bring in, it's pretty much easier to manage because now you have that visibility that the business didn't have before?
Krista: Yeah, so that's something we haven't talked about. So we - as part of our firm, we actually take on the - we take on finance and accounting and HR is all handled by our team for specifically that reason, because we know that to really manage, you know, I think to manage any company, you need to have an excellent grasp of the financials and you need to know that the data that you're getting is good.
So we handle that internally. We run all our own reports. I'm not phoning the CEO to ask them for their financials. I phone my CFO to ask for the financials. And so it just - cause I think, and I think you're right. They just haven't been - that just has not been a part of their like, like their culture, right? For better, for worse.
Shiv: Yeah, I think there's - I don't know if it's an education gap or like a cultural thing where we think about growing companies. We think about the cool stuff like strategy or product or marketing and sales, but the more like pedantic stuff like accounting and finance and cash flow and, and things like that kind of get overlooked. So like on our side, for example, so we're a management consulting firm, fully bootstrapped, profitable from day one. And one thing that we always try to do is we try to only hire when we have 12 months of runway. That's like one example of how we make decisions. And we were talking about this week because we're thinking about adding some more team members to our team. And I was doing some cash flow forecasting and just out loud, I kind of blurted out, it's like, in general, you're told it's like ‘strategy, people, cash’. That's like the scaling up model. It's like, what's the strategy? Who do you need? How much money do you need? But in this type of model, like your cash flow affects your strategy just as much as your strategy affects your cash. And I think that's one of the things that founders don't connect the dots on, right? Because that's not where their head is. But really keeping a track of like, how much cash is going in and out every month? Do we have that? Do we know how many invoices are due? When is our AR coming in? How much do we owe in terms of our APN payables and all the foreign exchange risk? Like little things like that can make such a big difference in your cashflow position. So if you're not really on top of that, that becomes a pretty easy way to come in and have a pretty good handle on the business.
Krista: I think you're absolutely right. And we don't talk about it like that, although I think I might start, because I like the way you're - I might steal some of your management consulting speak. But that is in principle, what we're saying is, ‘Look, this is how much money we have coming in. This is what it's costing us to bring in that money. And so this is what we have left, and what leverage do we have?’ So, for example, we came in recently and we just said, ‘Look, we need to raise the price.’ And they're like, ‘Well, we have contracts with customers and we can't - customers will leave.’ And we're like, ‘Well, if we raise the price at 50% and we lose 20% of our customers, and we know this is a really sticky product and we go to our customers and we're like, look, it's just,’ I said, ‘right now this is a good business but the unit economics are fundamentally unprofitable. So what are we all doing here? If your customers won't pay what it actually costs to run this product, then this is not a real business.’ And founders just don't necessarily think about that. And so everything is about if we want to spend more, if we want, where can this cash come from? Can we reduce costs? Can we increase revenue? Can we bring on new customers? But in some ways, bringing on new customers is the last thing. First thing we're doing is saying, how do we make today's revenue more profitable? Because that we already have growth is an unknown. And I think too many founders see growth as either given or there's like, oh yeah, I will sign this deal and like, maybe, but maybe not like, but you have the deals right now. So what could we do with this?
Shiv: Yeah, you know, yeah, right. Right. Right. There's like a, yeah, there's a misinterpreted version or like not the right view of risk of like what is actually in hand versus likelihood of something or the cost of getting that. And is that, is that worth it? So yeah, I think, I think that's great. I think that's a - so just with all that said, I think that's a good place to stop, but before we end the episode, just obviously awesome content, but just for founders listening or even investors listening, what would be a good book that you've read that you recommend to folks that are trying to be more of this like profit-first mentality that would help them start to think about their businesses a little bit differently.
Krista: Oh, that is a good question. What have I read recently? I don't know. I don't know that I've got a book that I would recommend. I think what I would say is it is amazing what you learn about your business when you really just dig into your, call it like 12 month P&L, like every line item, just opening it up. I mean, as a founder, I never did that. Not really. Not in detail. I really asked myself, like, what revenue am I getting from every customer? What am I spending? What is every single thing I'm spending money on, you know, and what could I do differently? And I think that exercise, if you're serious about profitability, that is like - you and your PNL being at one is basically, you know, it's very basic, but it's something we don't do. It changes everything.
Shiv: Yeah, I think that's great advice. I think especially for CEOs or founders and CEOs that think a big chunk of their job is things like strategy, culture, people, and all of those fun things. I think one big element of being in that CEO role is to think about finances and your P&L and your cash flow. And that's really the lifeblood that feeds everything else. So making sure that that's nailed down, I think that's really, really good advice. So with that said, thanks for doing this Krista. If people want to learn more about what you're up to at Stage, how can they learn more about you?
Krista: Just stagefund.com and then I'm on LinkedIn. I'm easy to find. But I really appreciate you having me. This was awesome.
Shiv: Yeah, thanks for being on. I appreciate you doing this. And I know the audience will learn a ton from it. So really appreciate it.
Ep.10: Allen Duan of B Capital Group
5 Pillars of Value Creation for Minority Investors
How being a minority investor influences B Capital's value creation approach and how they leverage advisors and partners.
Ep.11: Cody Lee of Summit Partners
What You Need to Know About Marketing in Portcos
Why marketing is a function no portco or investor can afford to ignore, and what you need to know about portco marketing in the current environment.
Ep.12: Justin Johnson of Camber Partners
Maximizing Returns on a PLG Approach Using Data & AI
Why product led growth is such a popular approach among PE investors, and how Camber is leveraging AI to identify growth opportunities in PLG companies.