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A VC’s perspect...

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Episode 12

A VC’s perspective on what financial data matters most

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Episode summary

In the season 1 finale of Controllers Classified, host Erik Zhou is joined by Sarah Hinkfuss from Bain Capital Ventures for an overview of the VC investment landscape and a deep dive into her investment due diligence approach for growth stage companies.

The episode begins with Sarah highlighting milestones from her career, including her time conducting water pricing research in the Middle East, her transition into tech, and her pivot from tech into investing. Underlying everything is her passion for empirical based decision making and a belief that complex problems require a multidisciplinary approach.

The conversation then pivots to the investment landscape. Sarah explains the relationship between companies, VCs, and LPs, and how the macroeconomic environment is driving a “flight to quality”. The result is companies are being asked to balance growth and profitability, and increasingly making hard decisions around what to keep and what to cut.

Sarah then gives listeners an insider's look at her investment due diligence approach for growth stage companies, underscoring the importance of a company’s financials in this process. She spends some time explaining why unit economics and a business model are so important and notes that it’s not just about seeing the numbers. A founder must have a clear narrative about what drives their business and where they see things going in the future. Sarah also touches on the transition from Series A to Series B, and the nuances in the fundraising process for early vs. growth stage companies.

This episode is a must-listen for founders & finance leaders aiming to navigate the complexities of fundraising in today’s macroeconomic environment.

Show notes

  • Sarah's journey to Bain Capital Ventures [2:03]

  • The investment landscape [7:15]

  • An investor’s due diligence [12:22]

  • What investors want to see from your financials [21:55]

  • Sarah's son goes looking for EBITDA [40:45]

Guest bio

Sarah_Hikfuss
Sarah_Hikfuss

Sarah Hinkfuss, Partner, Bain Capital Ventures

Sarah Hinkfuss is a Partner at Bain Capital Ventures where she works with growth-stage founders in application software and fintech. She is particularly interested in backing founders who have personal experience in the market they are creating.

Prior to joining BCV, Sarah was a Vice President on the Tech Opportunities team at Bain Capital, and worked as an Associate in KKR’s Growth Equity group in San Francisco. Prior to that she was a Senior Vice President at Applied Predictive Technologies, an enterprise SaaS company acquired by Mastercard in 2015.

Sarah received an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she was an Arjay Miller Scholar and Siebel Scholar. She graduated cum laude with a BA in Economics and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, where she was a Hoopes Prize recipient and Weatherhead Research Fellow.

“Three things that are important to share with investors: your unit economics, your business model, and your narrative”

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