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Startup Digest Reading List: Pricing, Ant Financial, Product Managers, Deepfakes

Welcome to this week's edition of Startup Digest Reading List featuring stories I found interesting o
Issue #129  •  November 2  •  View online  •  Suggest a link
Startup Reading List
Startup Reading List
A weekly curated newsletter on startups and technology.
Welcome to this week’s edition of Startup Digest Reading List featuring stories I found interesting on startups, venture capital, and fintech.
Last week my partner at Race Capital, Edith Yeung, and I were on the Wharton Fintech Podcast moderated by our wonderful host Miguel Armaza. In the episode, we talked about investing post-COVID and the fintech ecosystems both in the US and Asia. Check it out here: Apple Podcast | Spotify Podcast
Written by Chris McCann, General Partner @ Race Capital, former Greylock Partners. More about me.
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How to Price your SaaS Product
Pricing is one of the most mysterious topics, especially in the world of B2B SaaS. Some companies: just copy others’ pricing, make it up, try to quantify it, or just a/b test it to find an equilibrium on demand and supply. 
As Patrick Campbell of Profitwell says in his post on pricing SaaS products: price is the exchange rate on the value you’re creating in the world. The three core topics in the post he covers include: 

  • Figure out your “value metric” which is what you charge for. For example, per seat, per GB used, per transaction, etc. 
  • Determine your customer profiles and segments - The goal of being as specific as possible.
  • Figure out what price range you’re in - $10/mo vs. $100 vs. $1K vs. $10K vs. $1M. Before trying to optimize specific numbers, find out what range your product belongs to.
Ant Financial’s IPO
Ant Financial is expected to begin trading on November 5th and will likely be one of the largest fintech offerings on record, if not the largest technology IPO overall.
Lillian Li of Eight Roads Capital wrote a great piece covering Ant Financial’s history, product, and company strategy. Just to get a basic sense of how large Ant Financial is, while Paypal processed $712B in 2019, AliPay processed $17 Trillion in mainland China alone.
Unlike their US counterparts, Ant Financial has a wide ranging portfolio of fintech products including payments & credit (for both consumers and business), wealth management & investment products, and individualized insurance products. Similar to Amazon, they are their own first and best customer in each market, and they use their entire user base to drive very low customer acquisition costs for all of their products and offerings. 
If you’re into fintech, you have to know what Ant Financial is all about and Lillian did a great job profiling the company.
Good/Bad Product Managers
In Ben Horowitz’s classic post on Product Managers (PMs), he details out the principals PM’s follow (both good and bad ones) to achieve results.
TLDR Good product managers are: The CEO of the product, balances all of the goals of the company and each function, clearly defines product requirements in writing, and knows the advantages of their product compared to others. 
H/T to Sriram Krishnan for reposting this post in a clearer and concise format.
Bonus: Deepfakes
I’ve read about deepfakes and have seen them before but nothing compares to this one. Nothing in that video is real. Get ready for a lot more chaos in our media landscape going forward.
This Startup Digest Reading List goes out to a wide membership base of founders, technologists, investors, and operators. Feel free to share with others, sign up here:
Techstars Startup Digest Startup Reading List is curated by:
Chris McCann Chris McCann - General Partner @ Race Capital, former Greylock Partners
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