Getting to $10 Million ARR Without a Series A

Christina Cacioppo built Vanta into a $10 million a year business in just 4 years. Even more impressive, she did it without raising a Series A. But how?


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In an excellent talk at LAUNCH’s Founder University, Christina shares the secrets of capital efficient growth.

Vanta is a SaaS company that helps startups with security audits. These audits, like SOC2 and HIPAA, are a must to land big customers.

Vanta had an unbeatable value proposition. Instead of taking months or even a year for SOC2 certification, Vanta could do it in weeks.

Word spread quickly among startup founders. This was fortunate — Christina didn’t have any money for marketing anyway!

Soon, customers were almost ripping the product out of Christina’s hands.

Another advantage of having such an in-demand product was that Vanta could charge annually, upfront. This meant predictable revenue and let Vanta avoid a sudden cash crunch that could force it to raise capital.

Vanta stayed frugal. Coffee came from Costco, not an in-house barista.

What little money Christina had, she spent on great employees.

She spent most of her time on recruiting. Christina knew that the right people would make or break Vanta.

By early 2021, Christina finally started raising that Series A. By then, she was clear on what the money could do and what it couldn’t.

Money alone couldn’t build a product customers wanted. Nor could it find Vanta’s ideal customer.

That’s why Christina and her team did that before they raised!

When the Series A came, it was a doozy. Vanta pulled in $50 million at a $500 million valuation, led by Sequoia.

Earlier this year, Vanta became a unicorn, raising at a $1.6 billion valuation.

Vanta’s strategy makes a ton of sense. Every day, I see founders beating their heads against the wall trying to raise money.

But they fail because they have few , if any, customers. Some don’t even have a product.

These founders are putting the cart before the horse. Build something awesome and cold e-mail some prospects.

Once you have a few paying customers, fundraising will get 10 times easier.

What do you think of Christina’s experience with Vanta? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on tech:

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Photo: Vanta Founder & CEO Christina Cacioppo

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