– Raised sooo much money

– Hedge funds turned VCs led every round past the B and drove the valuation to sky-high limits

– Hired and hired and hired

– 45 month payback

– Sponsored everything under the sun

– Valuation implied they’d get 100% market share and kill Salesforce and Hubspot within 5 years

– If they don’t 3x this year all is lost

– Even with $20M in the bank, only 10 months of runway left

– Beautiful creatures but not particularly durable




– Bootstrapped till profitability then raised a nominal amount of funding

– Did one round and moved back to profitability shortly thereafter

-Kept the team lean and mean and used automation wherever they could

– 20% growth this year but profitable and sustainable

– 12 month payback

– Valuation implied they’re a solid company with durable enterprise value

– They’re profitable so if they don’t hit their growth target they still get to be a company forever

– Infinite runway

– They’re an acquired taste but they get the job done and make it to the top of the mountain


Date a unicorn. Marry a donkey.


Sam Jacobs

2021 Unicorn Startups vs 2023 Donkey Startups

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