“No number of salespeople or engineers can save you in the long run if your customers don’t like your product”
When the founders are laying off staff and cutting costs to weather the recession, it might seem strange to tell startups to take their product as seriously as ever. In times of recession, do users really care about the product experience? Yes, says Mighty Capital, whose portfolio includes companies like Airbnb and Amplitude.
The San Francisco-based venture capital firm has a central thesis: the best product wins. And the changed macro conditions don’t invalidate it. On the contrary, the founding managing partner of Mighty Capital, SC Moatti, told TechCrunch it’s “perhaps more relevant than ever.”
SC Moatti is a former Facebook executive with a passion for all things product. In addition to her role at Mighty Capital, she is also the founder and CEO of Products That Count, an extensive network of product managers that touts the benefits of product-driven growth.
Product-driven growth really comes into its own in a downturn: if the product itself is doing the heavy lifting, that potentially means spending a lot less on sales and marketing. This makes it more likely for successful product-focused companies to grow quickly and be profitable, which is something investors love to hear right now.
There is a catch though: you can’t be product driven without a great product. However, entrepreneurs are understandably nervous about making the kind of investment it would require when their burn rate is already keeping them awake at night.
To understand how SC Moatti thinks about the product vs. expense conundrum, we asked it a series of questions that founders might have if they’re considering making the leap into product. His responses follow below, edited for length and clarity.