I was Stripe’s CMO. Here’s why I’m joining VC firm SignalFire

By Jim Stoneham | March 23, 2022 |

    “If you can’t measure it, don’t ship it.” As my cardinal rule, I’ve written this on the whiteboard in every one of my offices. As a founder and CEO of Opsmatic, CEO of Payvment, and more recently as CMO of New Relic and Stripe, I’ve used data to power a more personalized experience for customers with highly targeted messaging and communications. Coaching teams to forge and execute data-driven go-to-market (GTM) programs is my passion.

    This is why I’m thrilled to be joining early-stage VC firm SignalFire as an Operating Partner to do more of what I love – helping founders scale their startups by co-creating go-to-market strategies. I enjoy working closely with our portfolio companies to find the right voice and channels that unlock their growth. As with SignalFire’s recruiting, data science, PR, and other programs, our portfolio companies can reach out to me directly for help to solve their operating challenges.

    I will also be sharing my best tips and marketing playbooks through the SignalFire newsletter and blog. Subscribe here to receive our newsletter with my guides for topics such as critical GTM metrics, building a data practice, how and when to scale your teams, the role of event marketing, and product-led growth. 

    Founding a new business with a breakthrough product is only part of the equation – knowing how to reach and retain customers at scale is essential. That’s only getting more challenging as increased startup funding floods the market with more competitors vying for attention and share of wallet. The solution lies in data. I’ve led many teams where data instrumentation of our systems and processes was foundational. This discipline helped us move faster, create deeper customer engagement, deliver email open rates well above industry standards, higher-converting pipelines, and high-confidence sales teams – all at significant scale.

    As I contemplated next steps after Stripe, I was compelled to return to my roots of earlier-stage company building, but I wanted to have a broader impact. Joining a venture firm seemed an ideal way to accomplish this goal – but it had to be a firm where assisting founders hands-on was not only a core tenet but a tangible service to be constantly improved with data.

    When I met Chris Farmer and the SignalFire team, I knew I’d found “my people.” SignalFire is a venture firm like no other – with a culture that feels more like a startup than any venture firm I’ve met. Nearly a third of the team is focused on technology in the form of Beacon, an AI recruitment and market intelligence data platform that can identify the best job candidates for portfolio companies, create hyper-targeted prospect lists for the fund’s recruiters to warm up, and provide deep market insights across categories and competitors. It’s an incredible resource that I wish I’d had as I built my own startups, and it’s part of the rocket fuel that’s propelling SignalFire’s portfolio successes.

    SignalFire’s investment team is full of former operators who partner with founders to help navigate the many challenges of early-stage company building. They are complemented by experienced operating partners across HR (former Netflix Chief Talent Officer Tawni Cranz), recruiting, (former Facebook executive recruiter Mike Mangini), PR, (former TechCrunch Editor Josh Constine), and with my arrival, go-to-market. We roll up our sleeves to help with organizational growth, key talent acquisition, and sales and marketing success. SignalFire also has an impressive network of advisors from the world’s most successful companies who are also LPs in the fund, incentivized to help founders win.

    But what really clinched it for me was that SignalFire actually measures its net promoter score (NPS), currently a stunning 92 amongst portfolio founders – 85% of which say SignalFire is their most valuable investor. Through founder surveys and dashboards that track exactly which of its value-add services the portfolio is using, SignalFire constantly adds to and improves its post-investment services in a constant quest to help founders succeed. I spoke with Forbes about why founders are increasingly demanding tangible value-adds from their VCs

    SignalFire aims to be a founder’s first call when things get tough, not just when they’re raising capital. Solving our portfolio’s marketing challenges is my focus, and if you’re a founder, I’d love to work with you! Starting a new company? You owe it to yourself to talk to us at SignalFire. 

    If you’re interested in connecting, you can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn, and I’d also urge you to follow @SignalFire as we’re always doing something interesting. Plus, join our newsletter to receive my own guides to marketing. I can’t wait to build with you!

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