TechCrunch+ roundup: Building growth funnels, HR tech bonanza, secondary market signals

Building a durable growth funnel doesn’t just scale your business: it also signals to investors that a team can move directionally, which is a major confidence builder.

“Acquisition, activation and retention are critical,” writes Jonathan Martinez, TC+’s in-house growth expert. “While referral and monetization are also quite important, they won’t make or break a startup.”

He says early-stage teams should push well beyond “vanity metrics” like click-throughs and conversions to develop advanced metrics that are specific to the business they’re building.

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For this article, he broke down onboarding and activation processes at several startups, including Postmates, Zoom, Uber and Canva, to show how they shaped messaging that push users deeper into their funnels.

It’s complex work, but don’t be intimidated — a growth analyst or data scientist contractor can easily set up the dashboards you’ll need to run experiments, set goals and track day-to-day progress.

“This isn’t meant to be a teardown of each specific startup, but rather a holistic look into what leading companies are doing, their mindsets when it comes to growth and how to replicate these actions in your own startup,” says Martinez.

Thanks very much for reading,

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+

While everyone keeps talking about AI, HR tech startups are quietly building toward a $24B market

Concept illustration depicting Europe and digitization

Image Credits: Gopixa (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

According to a report on European HR tech by GP Bullhound, the industry generated 15% of the region’s new unicorns.

“HR tech is proving more durable than other sectors, at least when it comes to fundraising,” write Anna Heim and Alex Wilhelm.

“Going by the trend these days, we’re bound to see some HR tech startups from around the world going public in addition to all the AI startups.”

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Coinbase execs: As global crypto policy grows, US has urgent need for legislation

Flags representing the United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea

Image Credits: U.S. State Department

Crypto maximalists are comfortable making big bets, but ambiguous oversight by U.S. financial agencies is holding back corporate adoption, according to a study conducted by The Block and Coinbase.

“Around 91% of surveyed executives agree that lack of clear regulation on crypto, blockchain or web3 make the space hard to navigate,” reports Jacquelyn Melinek, who interviewed Kara Calvert, head of U.S. policy at Coinbase, and Faryar Shirzad, its chief policy officer.

“It doesn’t matter where lines are drawn, we’ll build to those lines,” said Shirzad. “But we can’t deal with a lack of clarity; the uncertainty is not healthy.”

Don’t wait to identify your startup’s ideal customer personas

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Image Credits: Carol Yepes (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Most early-stage startups don’t have a dedicated full-time CMO, and that’s OK.

However, it’s still someone’s responsibility to capture user data, which is why growth expert Jonathan Martinez shared a guide with TC+ for developing ideal customer profiles (ICPs).

“By identifying your ideal customer personas first, you will find product-market fit faster and identify the right customers to sell to,” he writes.

There are signs that it will be a hot secondaries summer

valuations, startups, secondaries

Buyers and sellers are striking the balance of what startups could be valued at. Image Credits: Getty Images

Buyers and sellers in the secondary market are getting closer on prices: The average bid/ask spread at private securities marketplace Forge Global has fallen to 17%, reports Rebecca Szkutak.

“We need to watch this and see that this 17% is sustainable,” said Forge Global CEO Kelly Rodriques.

“If it is, there are a group of market participants that are watching the space and wondering when to jump back in.”

SignalFire’s State of Talent report 2023

Image Credits: Sean Gladwell (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The State of Talent report that early-stage VC firm SignalFire just shared with TC+ tracks shifts in the tech labor market from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to the end of Q1 2023.

“Tech has seen nonstop layoffs that hit 166,044 workers in Q1 2023 alone,” writes Dr. Heather Doshay, a SignalFire partner. “That’s more than all of 2022’s then-record 161,411 tech layoffs.”

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