This doc is meant to provide some high level insights and direction to Seed companies as they begin preparing for their Series A. Metrics for Series A rounds are much less clear than they used to be and different investors have different frameworks for evaluating Series A opportunities. That said, there are signals that every Series A investor is looking for. Knowing these signals can help you know when to begin fundraising and how best to prepare for investor conversations.

The information in this doc is based on what I’m seeing across our portfolio at Scribble as well as conversations with dozens of Series A investors. There is also a lot of great content already out there on this subject — Unusual Ventures, Pear, First Round, and Scale are several firms that have written helpful resources. I linked those articles as well as a few others at the bottom of this doc.

Ok, now let’s get into it!

What should you focus on after closing your Seed?

The goal of the Seed phase is to begin showing signs of Product-Market Fit (PMF).

What PMF looks like is hard to say and varies for everyone. I’m not going to go into that here, but there are already a lot of well-written, still relevant articles on the subject, such as from a16z here or anything by Andy Rachleff.

In addition to demonstrating PMF, other key goals during the Seed phase are:

Although you certainly want to be growing during the Seed phase (ideally >3x YoY), it’s not all about top-line growth. It’s just as important to begin showing you have PMF and establishing a scalable sales process. Series A investors will want to understand whether the progress a company sees at the Seed phase is repeatable long-term. Some ways to think about this include:

In other words, focus on building a “growth engine” and be able to measure “growth engine” efficiency using performance data, which we’ll get into more later on.

When should you start raising your Series A?

The goal of the Series A phase is to scale GTM efforts and accelerate revenue based on demonstrated PMF; i.e. pouring gas into an engine that has been shown to work.

The signals to know if you’re at this stage are very broad, but below are some points of reference:

For enterprise companies:

For consumer marketplace companies, you ideally want to be between $2–10M in annualized GMV. This is obviously a big range — your Series A round size will vary based on the traction.

For consumer subscription companies, it varies a lot but ideally you have >$1M ARR.

For consumer social companies, it’s more about DAU/MAU (>50% is best in class, >30% is good) and retention D1, D7, D30 (varies a lot depending on the behavior / actual utility of the app — e.g., it’s different for a game vs a social network vs prosumer tool).

What should you emphasize in your Series A conversations?

Once you’ve decided you are ready to begin your Series A fundraise, you’ll want to prepare and practice your pitch. Series A investors are going to be looking at some basic questions that were initially posed at the Seed:

At the Series A, you will have more data than you had at the Seed so Series A investors will want to see that data to support your answers to these questions. Below is more detail around metrics that Series A investors care about. Note that not all investors will care about all of these metrics, but they will likely care about at least some of them.

Closing Thoughts

There is no one recipe for a successful Series A. Although that may make it harder to know when to go out to fundraise, it also can make it easier to tell the story YOU want to tell. The key in this climate is to:

If you want to talk more about anything in here, please email me at annelies@scribble.vc or DM me on Twitter @AnneliesGamble.

Sources

Co-Founder and Partner @Scribblevc