TechCrunch+ roundup: SaaS pricing strategies, 2022 open source report, can Vine regrow?

I found an old leather jacket in the back of a closet recently. It's a vintage item in fantastic shape — except for a huge tear in one of the front pockets.

Two clothing donation centers rejected it, so I decided to see if it's worth repairing. It was pricey when new, but with some attention and care, maybe it could find a second life.

Vine, Twitter's shuttered video-sharing platform that launched three years before TikTok, is much like my old jacket: Back in the day, it earned compliments, but if I wore it out now, it'd just look janky as hell.

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In October 2022, incoming Twitter CEO Elon Musk polled his followers: "Bring back Vine?"

Nearly 70% responded yes, which means Twitter developers are "likely now asking themselves if they should try to revive the old codebase or start from scratch," writes Marcus Merrell, vice president of technology strategy at Sauce Labs.

"Reviving parts of a codebase is like changing a plane’s engine while it’s mid-flight," but rebooting involves an inordinate amount of technical resources.

Merrell draws on his experience as a developer to weigh the costs, benefits and challenges associated with resuscitating and refactoring old software.

"In both cases, you’re wasting time and resources," he says. "I’d wager that the tech is the least of their problems."

Thanks very much for reading,

Walter Thompson
Editorial Manager, TechCrunch+

Teach yourself growth marketing: Which metrics really matter?

Modern car illuminated dashboard closeup
Modern car illuminated dashboard closeup

Image Credits: Rittikrai_PIX (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

In the final article of a five-part series, growth marketing expert Jonathan Martinez shares the key metrics he tracked at Coinbase and Uber, along with a framework for activating and retaining early adopters who drive revenue.

Tracking KPIs like lifetime value and customer acquisition cost are obvious, so the article includes a framework that will help you identify which channels and customers drive the most revenue.

“Find the reasons that make your product or service ‘sticky,’ and you will save a lot of time,” writes Martinez.

Optimizing freemium products: Challenges and opportunities

Seven different drinking straws in a cup
Seven different drinking straws in a cup

Image Credits: Richard 0rury (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Offering a free sample in the hopes that the recipient becomes a paying customer is a core tactic at food courts, cosmetic counters and inside software startups.

Freemium products are everywhere, but unless companies revisit and optimize their strategy, there's no effective way to optimize conversions.

"Enabling freemium, especially for established products, can bring organizational and operational challenges even if it adds value to the business," writes Konstantin Valiotti, product director of growth at PandaDoc.

In this article, he presents strategies for optimizing:

  • User activation

  • Conversion paths

  • Product changes

  • Where to place barriers and limitations

Dear Sophie: What H-1B and other immigration changes can we expect this year?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center
lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

I help several startups with HR. I heard the application fees for many visas and green cards are going to increase substantially.

When will those increases go into effect? Are there any other immigration-related changes coming this year? Any H-1B updates?

— Passionate People Person

The team slide is the most important slide in a startup pitch deck

Illustration of friends riding a tandem bicycle on blue background.
Illustration of friends riding a tandem bicycle on blue background.

Image Credits: Malte Mueller (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Early-stage investors usually know more about the market than the founders who are pitching them.

Novices stack pitch decks with data points from Gartner studies, quotes from TechCrunch articles and outlandish TAM projections in the hopes that it will burnish their credentials.

None of those are driving factors, but a comprehensive team slide that explains why a specific group of people is qualified to attack a particular problem is far more compelling, writes Haje Jan Kamps.

Which open source startups rocketed in 2022?

Stock illustration depicting startups and technology
Stock illustration depicting startups and technology

Image Credits: Swillklitch / Getty Images

In its yearly report ranking the fastest-growing commercial open source startups (COSS), Runa Capital looked at funding trends in the sector.

Using a methodology based in part on the number of stars in each company's GitHub repository, the report identifies which companies and universities turn out the most COSS founders, along with their geographic distribution.

"Purists might also take issue with some of the startups that have been included in Runa Capital’s report," notes Paul Sawers, "given that some have fairly lightweight open source credentials."

Pitch Deck Teardown: Laoshi's $570K angel deck

Image Credits: Laoshi (opens in a new window)

The founders of Laoshi raised a $570,000 angel round to scale up their app, which helps users learn to read and write in Chinese.

To help other very early-stage founders, they shared 15 slides from their deck:

  • Cover slide

  • Problem slide

  • Market slide

  • Solution slide

  • Competition slide

  • Road map slide

  • Team slide

  • Teacher growth slide

  • Teacher retention slide

  • Summary slide

  • “Contact us” slide

  • Appendices cover slide

  • Appendix I: Viral effect slide

  • Appendix II: Business model slide

  • Appendix III: “The ask” slide