"You can tell there's a connection to the value that you are delivering. You know it, you can talk it, you've lived it, and I think that will ultimately wind up in product differentiation too and will be rewarded.” - Joanna Arras
Joanna Arras joined Baird Capital in 2014, a venture capital investor focused on early- and expansion-stage companies that leverage technology to solve business problems or just make life easier. She is also currently a board member of ChurnZero, Circonus, FullContact, and SourceDay and was previously a board member of Appcast, Startwire, and Autobooks.
She has also previously served as a board observer of HouseCall Pro, Hireology, NowSecure, Datica, and Sittercity. Before joining Baird Capital, Joanna worked as an Associate in Baird's Investment Banking and Business Development departments, focusing on strategic investments and initiatives. Additionally, she previously served as an Equity Research Analyst at Baird, specializing in semiconductor companies.
Joanna earned a B.S. in management and international business from Indiana University and holds an MBA from The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School with majors in finance and entrepreneurship.
1. Importance of Market Understanding: Entrepreneurs should have an intimate understanding of the sector they are targeting and a strong connection to the voice of the customer. This deep market knowledge can lead to product differentiation and ultimately be rewarded.
2. Focus on Capital Efficiency: In a challenging market, companies need to prioritize capital efficiency and find cost-effective ways to drive growth. It becomes crucial to extend runway, explore inside rounds, and focus on sustainable growth opportunities to attract new investors.
3. Long-Term Partnerships: Building strong relationships between investors and founders is essential for successful partnerships. Both parties need to align their interests, have compatibility, and establish trust. The role of a board member extends beyond investment evaluation and involves providing guidance, support, and connections to help the company thrive.
Navigating Challenging Markets and Finding Value: Joanna Arras, Partner of Baird Capital 0:00
Market challenges during budgeting season 1:02
Stock market performance and customer spending 3:09
Seeking sustainable growth opportunities 5:34
The importance of being adaptable and flexible 9:16
How multi-player is different from traditional partnerships 9:40
Role of Board Members and Investors 11:24
How important it is for founders to build relationships 12:54
Creating a board and a governance structure 14:12
Exciting industry that is beyond the hype 14:32
Delivering value 17:07