Userlist was first started in 2017. The product went live in 2019.
Things were moving slowly — but they weren’t experiencing the “rocketship” growth curve that every startup hopes for.
A tiny seed round gave them some cash to burn. It wasn’t what you’d get from a VC, but it was enough.
Moving forward to 2021, they were in the midst of the pandemic, and in a weird transition phase where they needed to plan out the next phase.
Do they stay small and shrink ops to continue — or do they take more money and grow?
Both Jane and her co-founder, Benedict were experienced. They were growing slowly, steadily and organically.
But Jane’s partner has had some bad run-ins with VCs that made him want to stay small. Whereas she is ready for growth and already looking at angel investors to work with.
The Fears That Hold Them Back
What did unite Jane and her co-founder at this point were their fears about the hiring experience and investor relations as a small company.
Because of the nature of Userlist, the sales experience was a battle. They had to convince customers to replace an essential tool in the techstack. The sales cycle was steep.
If they take on new staff and the company doesn’t perform as hoped? Will they end up missing payroll?
And with investors, what if they take the money, and nothing happens? How can they manage that as a small company?
Jane was on the side of taking a risk and getting an investment. She’d already had the conversation with a mentor, who was very much in the mindset of hiring to save time… and encouraging Jane to take money to do that.
But her co-founder was feeling more conservative and wanted to play it safe.
Convincing Your Partner with Data-Driven Decision Making
Jane was stuck.
They were only two in the team, plus the odd contractor to help with bigger projects.
Between them, they had a skill set that allowed them to do everything themselves. But this took a lot of time.
She knew that Benedict wouldn’t budge on his opinion… so she took action. She contracted marketers, delegated tasks and experienced some growth as a result.
By taking things into her own hands she was able to show her partner
- they didn’t have to do everything themselves
- by contracting, they can try new pathways, outside of their skill set
- evidence of what the investment money could do
Jane and Benedict had several conversations about investing, and with the addition of this data-driven decision-making approach — he saw that expanding in this way and getting more money would help the business grow.
The process was gradual. But at the same time, they had just launched a product that quickly became their USP — and the key to the growth they wanted.
What followed was Jane’s fundraising — which was equally experimental. And in this episode, she shares how she got the support of a community of investors, rather than one dictating voice.
We talk about
- What a tiny seed round is, and how it benefited them
- The insight filtering process she used to manage 22 investors
- How she manages the fears — post fundraising
Jane’s determination and small steps edged her toward 2x -ing her revenue.
Tune in for more insights on managing her co-founder relationship and how she got there.