Notorious PLG 10.12.21

Weekly update email on the most important product-led growth ("PLG") companies

Notorious PLG Startup of the Week:

Poised is an AI-powered speech coach that democratizes access to coaching. On average, we spend a third of our work week in meetings. We have all experienced the gut-wrenching pressure of high-stakes presentations and meetings. Not “landing the pitch” or effectively painting the vision for an idea can unfortunately be career limiting. In fact, 70% of professionals believe that presentation skills are critical for career success and progression.

To improve, we are left turning to colleagues and friends to help coach us, but they often aren’t in the right meeting with us. Even when we do get feedback, the feedback is not specific enough or actionable. Others turn to speech coaches, but they are expensive, time-consuming, and hard to access. There needs to be a better service to help us improve our communication skills that is readily available to everyone.

Poised is effortless, yet powerful. A new user connects Poised to her calendar and Poised automatically launches in the background during meetings, listening only to the user’s voice to provide discrete, valuable, real-time feedback. Poised can remind us to slow down, speak with more energy or be conscious of our frequent filler words. Poised uses the latest advancements in machine learning to provide personalized coaching both in real-time and post-meeting. Users track performance over time, set goals, and access educational content through a rich dashboard.

For this edition of Notorious PLG, Charles (CEO + Co-founder) shared his thoughts on PLG with me:

“At Poised, our mission is to improve the world's spoken communication. To accelerate this mission, we've chosen to focus first on building the best possible individual experience for the 1 billion professionals spending hours in video meetings and presentations - improving their confidence, clarity, or even executive presence. Our product-led growth philosophy is based off of 3 principles 

1. Obsess over the end-user experience

Our entire team participates in user interviews, even engineers. This helps to prioritize our roadmap and sharpen our intuition for the product experience. The bar for user experience at Poised is incredibly high and people can tell, recently someone posted on Reddit "Poised: these guys are obsessed with improving the way you speak. Become an awesome communicator, def useful in these times." A senior executive at one of the world's largest all-remote companies was describing how Poised was spreading within the organization and commented that "there's no way our company would buy this unless employees like using it (and they do)". 

2. Deliver value quickly

Delivering value quickly comprises the fast velocity of our development, putting the product in users hands immediately, and reducing the time before a user experiences an a'ha moment in the product. Anyone can sign up for the waitlist and experience the product and not wait for a long sales process. We continually optimize our onboarding flow to get users to experience value quickly. We also have a rapid experimentation culture and utilize a modern product-led growth stack (Grain, Sprig,, Amplitude, Fivetran, Segment, Intercom among others) to quickly learn.

3. Grow alongside the product

Our growth efforts center on making it easier for users who experience the value in the product to share it with others and building a passionate community who want to improve their communication and help others in the process. We also want to amplify user stories and build meaningful content that authentically helps people even if they do not use the product. Finally, we have been more intentional about the brand from earlier stages knowing that these efforts compound as the product continues to get better.”

For full disclosure, I led Poised’s $4.5M seed round and am very excited about this opportunity.

Please email any Notorious PLG of the Week suggestions to me at

PLG Tweet(s) of the Week:

Twitter avatar for @SaaSletterMatt Harney @SaaSletter
Round-up of 6 Product Led Growth / #PLG sessions at @saastr 2021:… With talks from @rachelwolan from DropBox, Aaron Cort @clickup, @a85 CEO @getpostman, @ONottebohm CRO @NotionHQ, + marketing leaders from @DoolyHQ + @Calendly + @loom.

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Recent PLG Financings (Private Companies):

  • 100ms: a live video infrastructure platform raised $4.5M seed round @ $17.5M post led Accel.

  • Orchest: data science application to build pipelines iteratively by editing and connecting notebooks and scripts raised $3.5M seed round co-Led by Gradient Ventures and Basis Set Ventures.

  • Cord: London-based software and APIs to add collaborative product features with a single line of Javascript raised $17.5M Series A @ $71.5M post led by Index.

  • Gretel: privacy engineering as a service delivered as APIs raised $50M Series B led by Anthos Capital.

  • Modern Treasury: payment operations software to track and move money raised $85M Series C at $2.1B post led by Altimeter Capital. Huge congrats to my friend Dimitri!

  • Domino Data Lab: enterprise MLOps and data science platform raised $100M Series F @ $800M post led by Great Hill Partners.

  • Notion: an all-in-one workspace for notes, docs, wikis, projects, and collaboration raised $275M @ $10B post led by Coatue Management and Sequoia. Notion has 20M+ users today, up from one million in 2019, and four million last April. Amazing to see both Figma + Notion reach decacorn status.

Recent PLG Performance (Public Companies):

Financial data as of Friday market close.

Biggest Stock Gainers (1 week):

  • Cloudflare: 16%

  • Asana: 6%

  • 5%

Biggest Stock Gainers (1 month):

  • Digital Ocean: 18%

  • Eventbrite: 13%

  • Asana: 11%

Enterprise Value / TTM Revenue:

  • Top quartile: 39.9x

  • Median: 18.4x

  • Lower quartile: 10.9x

Enterprise Value / NTM Revenue:

  • Top quartile: 27.5x

  • Median: 13.3x

  • Lower quartile: 7.7x

Rule of 40 (TTM Revenue Growth % + FCF Margin %):

  • Top quartile: 50%

  • Median: 36%

  • Lower quartile: 28%

Median % of Sales:

  • S&M: 45%

  • R&D: 31%

  • G&A: 19%

Net Revenue Retention:

  • Top quartile: 125%

  • Median: 120%

  • Lower quartile: 112%

GM-Adjusted CAC Payback Period (Months):

  • Top quartile: 17

  • Median: 21

  • Lower quartile: 28

15 Highest EV / NTM Multiples:

Notorious PLG Dataset (click to zoom):

Note: TTM = Trailing Twelve Months; NTM = Next Twelve Months. Rule of 40 = TTM Revenue Growth % + FCF Margin %. GM-Adjusted CAC Payback = Change in Quarterly Revenue / (Gross Margin % * Prior Quarter Sales & Marketing Expense) * 12.

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