Cash Management is not one of the top subjects B2B SaaS founders want to discuss, but critical to start-up survival and success.
Brandon Metcalf learned the in's and out's of Cash Management as a multiple-time founder and CEO. As a result, he recently founded Place Technology to help early-stage CEOs and CFOs use automation and technology to better manage cash across every stage of growth and every function in a company.
"Cautious Capital" is a reality of any capital market that has experienced the momentum and euphoria of the B2B SaaS and Cloud industry over the last five years. Brandon learned the importance of Cash Management and Cash forecasting at Talent Rover, where they had independent P&Ls in eight countries. Cash is always a consideration for strategic decisions in any company. In 2022, growth at any cost is a relic of the past, and today the question is how to optimize every dollar investment to build a sustainable, growth company.
An investor's relationship with a founder is built upon confidence and trust, as such, Brandon errors in telling his investors everything and even oversharing what is going on in the company - especially around cash usage, cash burn, and cash forecasts. Brandon prefers to raise capital in smaller tranches to ensure he and the investors feel comfortable with the previous capital invested and used to grow the business.
Brandon uses an investment analysis firm to gain independent, externally validated company valuation outside the current investors. Then Brandon prefers to raise money at "lower valuations," which provides more comfort to investors and reduces the risks associated with down-round valuations.
Cash Burn is a metric that every CEO, CFO, and investor understands. Cash Burn equals the money brought into a company versus the money spent to run the company. In venture-backed companies, the Cash Burn is almost always negative as a company invests in acquiring and growing customers at a rate much higher than possible in a self-funded, bootstrapped model.
One of Brandon's favorite metrics is the "Burn Multiple" The Burn Multiple measures net cash burned divided by net new ARR. David Sacks, Craft Ventures first popularized this metric. A burn multiple less than 1x is amazing, greater than 3x is bad, and targeting 1x - 2x is good to great.
I asked Brandon, what are the best metrics to track to manage cash management and cash efficiency. Beyond Burn Multiple, # months to cash flow break-even, operating cash burn to forecast/plan, cash to qualified lead - by source, variance analysis on customer payments (contract to actual), cash impact via discounting, cash impact via hiring.
If you are a B2B SaaS founder, CEO, or CFO or considering launching a start-up in the future, understanding the importance and techniques to optimize cash management is a concept that Brandon provides excellent ideas and insights throughout our conversation.