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Index Ventures Principal Bryan Offutt on Scaling Startups

By: brunchwork

Index Ventures Principal Bryan Offutt on Scaling Startups

Bryan Offutt is a Principal at Index Ventures, a VC firm that’s raised $7.25B and has investments in Slack, Dropbox, Etsy, Zendesk, Glossier, Supercell, and more. He joined Index in 2018 and focuses on AI and enterprise investments with an emphasis on design.

Bryan is particularly interested in the consumerization of enterprise and the use of design to improve the approachability of highly technical products. At a recent brunchwork, he shared smart insights on scaling startups.

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1. Find a balance between process and speed. To streamline operations and grow a startup, you’ll eventually need to implement processes.

However, chaos in startups can be a huge boon for creativity and agility. So, creating too much process will slow down the creative flow and hinder growth.

2. Set “in between” targets to balance process and speed.

Let’s say your goal is to release new features weekly. At first, you feel like your goal is unachievable and painful.

So, you set a more achievable “in between” target— perhaps releasing a new feature every month, then every two weeks, and so on. Your team works through the pain by focusing on the “in between” targets.

Eventually, you become efficient enough to reach your original goal of releasing new features weekly. At that point, find your next goal and repeat.

Bring iterative thinking to your operations. Constantly assess what’s working and what isn’t. Don’t try to rush progress too much.

3. Lean into community development. Even for enterprise companies.

Community development means connecting and engaging existing customers in a group setting. Think: subreddits, Facebook groups, offline events, etc.

You want consumers to put your logo on their laptop cases and give your brand shout-outs on social media. This is the natural exhaust of building a great community, and proves you are doing things the right way.

Product marketing alone will not achieve this level of evangelism. Branch out to community marketing to unlock growth.

HOT TAKE

The consumerization of enterprise is a trend to watch.

Go-to-market axes — Enterprises are waking up to the fact that they don’t just sell to faceless organizations, but to human decision makers. Enterprise companies will embrace consumer growth tactics, like community marketing.

Product — Enterprise tech will continue to evolve for ease and efficiency. Combining consumer-centric UX with an enterprise mentality will bring the best of both worlds together. And create massive market opportunities.

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