GTM 4: What Defines a Successful Startup

GTM 4: What Defines a Successful Startup

Top-line and annual recurring revenue (ARR) growth are commonly used to indicate a startup’ssuccess. There is increasingly an obsession with achieving high numbers in ARR among startups. However, these numbers can be so deceiving. To know whether a company is achieving success, you must ask how much was spent to create that growth.

In this episode, Brian Murray, partner and CEO of Craft Ventures and the co-founder of Cabal,joins Scott Barker to discuss his experience in the startup world and the metrics that define a successful startup.

To begin, Brian discusses the burn multiple and why it’s a better indicator than ARR for gauging a startup’s performance. He elaborates on the idea of intellectual honesty, the distinction between genuine and false signals, and the importance of recognizing the difference between the two when gathering information. 

You won’t want to miss out on Brian’s insights into what he’s learned from his time in the startup world, both the successes and failures.

Episode Highlights

(04:19) How the venture capital landscape is changing

(04:45) The concept of burn multiple: How much burn does it cost to generate one new dollar of ARR?

(07:31) The relationship between companies and investors and how to get the most out of them. 

(08:09) The misconception that more employees mean more success. 

(08:45) The story that shaped Brian’s career

(11:46) The concept of intellectual honesty

(13:10) How to discern true signals from misleading signals

(17:22) Brian’s achievements at Cotap

(21:39) Brian’s experience at Cabal and key learnings from there

(26:27) Bitcoin as an inspiration 

(27:25) Why “contributor” is a more suitable word for advisor

(31:15) How much you should leave for strategic investors in an early round

(36:10) Brian’s learnings in his career


…growing despite having fewer resources—those are the types of companies we get really excited about today, for sure.

…the interesting thing about startups is that at great companies, there’s a lot of mistakes that are made. And at failed companies, there is a lot of greatness that happens.

If you as a company can be good about interpreting signals and infusing those into a feedback loop of product development and marketing and go-to-market and sales and etc., then I think you’ll give yourself a much better shot at success.

Compress time, create value.

The GTM Podcast

Don’t miss The .GTM Podcast dropping every Tuesday, discussing true stories and experiences including trials and tribulations in the Go-To-Market world.

And…monthly bonus podcast episodes dropping the first Thursday of every month.

Before helping found GTMfund, Scott spent 4 years at Outreach as Director of Strategic Engagement. He was in charge of aligning key relationships with VCs, BoDs, ecosystem partners and community members to drive revenue and strategic initiatives across Outreach. Scott initially ran revenue/partnerships for Sales Hacker (which was acquired by Outreach in 2018). Prior to Sales Hacker, he led and built outbound Business Development teams at Payfirma and MediaValet. Scott also advises for a number of high growth start-ups and is the host/author of The GTM Podcast and The GTM Newsletter. At GTMfund, Scott leads all fundraising efforts and runs the media arm of the firm. He’s also responsible for assessing investments, team management, LP/community relationships and GTM support for founders.

Join Us Today

Insider access to the GTM network and the best minds in tech.

Trending Now

You may also like...