Nerdshala+ roundup: Growth budgets, hiring tips, zero-party data Twitter Space

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Early-stage startup marketers must walk a fine line: Everyone is free to chime in on their own, and campaign budgets for pre-revenue companies are extremely slim.

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The CTO can always claim how many tickets his team has closed and release dates, but the development manager’s key performance metrics may not appear for weeks or months.

With that in mind, we contacted several marketing experts and asked each of them the same question:


“If you only had a $25,000 marketing budget for the first quarter of 2022, how would you spend it?”

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use discount code TCPLUSROUNDUP To save 20% off a year or two subscription.

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Here’s who we talked to:

  • Cam Sinclair, Director/Marketer, Ammo
  • Jonathan Metric, Chief Development Officer, Portage Ventures
  • Tracy Wallace, Director of Marketing, MarketerHire
  • Jonathan Martinez, Founder, JMStrategy
  • Maya Moufrek, Founder, Marketing Cube
  • Pip Laza, CEO, Winter and CXL. founder of
  • Lindsey Goldman, Strategic Advisor, MO Professional

The detailed suggestions we received included a budget breakdown, tips for developing a minimum viable brand design, and advice on how to measure success.

Even if you don’t have a marketing person on your team, there’s still enough time on the calendar by January 1st to hire a part-timer who can execute many of these strategies and tactics.

Thanks so much for reading,

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, Nerdshala+
@your hero

TC+ Twitter Spaces: How to Use Zero-Party Data to Personalize Marketing Campaigns

image credit: paper boat creative (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images (image has been modified)

Tomorrow at 3PM PST/6PM EST, I’m hosting a Twitter space with Ben Parr, President and Co-Founder of Octane AI, about using zero-party data to personalize marketing campaigns.

We’ll discuss several of the tips she shared in a guest post that can help you figure out the right questions to ask customers that can boost loyalty and conversions.

This conversation is open to all, so please bring your own questions!

Offer decks and other new tips for startup hiring

shaking hands in front of the flag

image credit: Bryce Durbin

Most new startups operate with a hybrid workforce, but that doesn’t guarantee that hiring processes keep pace.

In a panel discussion at Nerdshala Disrupt, Managing Editor Eric Alden interviewed Jaime Bot, talent partner at Sequoia, Touni Nazario-Kranz, operating partner at SignalFire, and Doris Tong, founder and CEO of EQ Talent Group, to learn about their recent shifts. More information can be obtained. Recruitment.

It’s not just engineering talent that is in high demand—with so many startup staff, “there just aren’t enough senior people in the world to be hired overall,” Eric writes.

Casper’s return to private life isn’t a canary for DTC companies going public

Like many of you, my first exposure to Casper was promoting its mattress a few years ago through the company’s ubiquitous podcast ads.

The company has an interesting trajectory: venture-backed, it has been “struggling as a public concern” since its 2020 IPO, reports Alex Wilhelm.

Yesterday, the company announced that it would go private again, “and given that we’re seeing cash-hungry operations like SweetGreen and Rent the Runway list, it’s worth digging into what happened at Casper.”

Lessons We Learned From The Last Week Of Fintech Earnings

Change falling on a white background.  Dimes and Quarters.  All in focus with mild motion blur

image credit: radiojaho (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

After a week of dynamic news, Ryan Lawler and Alex Wilhelm filed a Friday afternoon collab that looked back at “a range of winning fintech results from BNPL, consumer finance, proptech and corporate finance players.”

His recaps include the results of lower earnings from Robinhood and Square, driven by Affirm’s earnings, Zillow’s abandonment of iBuying, and the decline in cryptocurrency trading.

“This is going to be the year of fintech in both the public and private markets.”

Utah’s Podium Raises Pre-IPO Round, Raises Its Valuation to $3 Billion

image credit: George Frey / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Podium, which provides software services to SMBs, landed a $3 billion valuation in a $201 million round, after an investor told Bloomberg to “definitely” take the Utah-based company public.

Podium declined to share more.

Alex Wilhelm writes, “The lack of hard financial results makes Podium’s upcoming IPO all the more curious.”

“Given that we’re going to see the results for the podium’s current performance inside its final S-1 filing, why not tell us now?”

A wave of LatAm fintech is laying new global commerce rails

Closeup of cutting rail tracks in train yard

image credit: baona (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

To better serve consumers who use at least 14 different currencies, online merchants in Latin America are building innovative, robust fintech infrastructure that is benefitting global brands and SMEs.

“The key to increasing market share and loyalty for global merchants and service providers is eliminating the friction associated with the payment and online shopping experience,” writes EBANX CEO Joao del Valle.

“In practice, consumers want this process to be ‘thoughtless’ so that there are no barriers to making payments using their preferred methods and to ensure that digital transactions are fast, easy, painless and secure.”

Faster deals, less due diligence: the African startup market mirrors its bigger rivals

African startups have already outgrown all prior years, meaning 2021 is sure to be one for the books, Alex Wilhelm and Anna Heim report for The Exchange.

They found that the situation in Africa looked a lot like it does elsewhere: investors are increasingly trading, and due diligence is often getting worse.

To help decipher the numbers, he spoke to Brian Odiambo, West Africa Director of NovaStar Ventures, and Lexi Nowitske, Managing Partner at Acuity Venture Partners.

Recognition as a Service and the Future of Elective Degrees

Image of a yellow toolbox sitting on a keyboard to represent a Digital Ops toolbox to allow hyperautomation.

image credit: blue cup (Opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Edtech startup Woolf raised a $7.5 million seed round not to offer education options, but to legitimize those options.

“Wolf University is not competing with a cadre of startups offering unaccredited options for education,” writes Natasha Mascarenhas.

“Instead, Woolf wants to make them the customers of the future.”

Big deals are pushing more AI startups into the IPO arena

Alex Wilhelm and Anna Heim unboxed new data from CB Insights on venture capital investments in AI, noting that rising dollar volume and deal volume mean more AI-focused startups are heading to the public markets.

They leaned on Jay Das, partner at Sapphire Ventures and Rudina Cesseri, partner at GlassSwing Ventures, to help decipher the numbers.

“If you raise a total of $100 million, in a single shot, investors are betting on an exit north of $1 billion, and hopefully much larger,” wrote Anna and Alex.

“Most of those companies will need to power their own exits, rather than seek a soft corporate landing.”

Microsoft’s transition to the cloud is a lesson in corporate growth

Jared Spataro, Microsoft Executive Officer in charge of Microsoft 365

image credit: Microsoft

It’s no exaggeration to say that Microsoft’s transition to cloud computing fundamentally changed how the tech giant does business.

“Microsoft wasn’t just asking customers to make this change,” writes Ron Miller. “It also includes massive internal changes to everything from the way you build and distribute software – moving from a waterfall schedule of months and years to an agile place where you can potentially update on a daily basis. Huh.”

Last month, in a Nerdshala session: SaaS, he discussed the transition with Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365.

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