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  • Writer's pictureAditya Sudhakar

Jyoti Bansal using logic to grow AppDynamics

  • Theme: Logic

  • Biases and risks: He started the company in his 20s and was a solo founder. There are biases against you when you're young, technical and an immigrant. In addition to bias, there are risk concerns like market isn't big enough, you're a solo founder, this is a solved problem. Think of it logically, why are investors feeling biases and risks, how can they be mitigated. 

  • Conviction: You need to believe something fundamental like software is changing to distributed cloud based. Monitoring these apps is an opportunity. 

  • Fundraising: 1) Why will this be a billion $s 2) Who else thinks this (he recorded interviews with permission as validation. In later rounds validation shown through higher rates of growth, unit economics). 3) Why is one uniquely positioned (in earlier rounds, this is the founding team. In later rounds this is margin, disribution, network effects). 

  • Rejection and doubt: 20 VCs rejected his pitch. He then got his first term sheet, and then got another 6 in one week. One VC asked him why he was still at his job, he quit the next morning. Post Series A funding, he had $5.5mm in bank, staring at a screen, has a ppt and some code. What now! Weight of responsibility to fulfill promise. 

  • Finding product market fit: At every stage, you solve for the most critical problem. First you raise funding. Then hire a team of engineers. It's a sales pitch. Start with people you trust. Funding takes 3-4 months. Hiring takes another 3-4 months. Product market fit is when you have a repeat business case. Why would 5-10 businesses pay you and is that repeatable. You don't yet need a sales team. You don't know if it's scalable yet. Took 20 months to find PMF after pivoting a bunch of times. Rule of thumb is 100 customer conversations to fix features and messaging. 

  • Finding growth: After finding PMF it takes 2 years to get to $1mm ARR. There's nothing like a rolodex. You need to make your own sales. Intros also don't get you the most brutal feedback. Involve the entire engineering team, bring the market into the company on sales calls. You call the 4 horsemen of Saas at the time: Concur, SFDC, Taleo, SuccessFactors and they all tell you no. But you finally find something repeatable. You then build out your GTM function, ie, sales and demand gen. You won't know what to ask your first eg: sales rep. So hire a VP and learn from them. Likewise, hire a good VP marketing. Crash a 2yr learning curve. Sales should start to make deals happen independently at $50k, then $100k, then $250k, then $1mm. 

  • CEO growth: Continue to focus on your strength (product, code, marketing, etc) but also learn to manage people and learn sales/ customer acquisition. 

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