Podcast / Fund-Build-Scale

Fund/Build/Scale: Breaking in to Enterprise Sales (Transcript)

Here is the transcript (edited for space and clarity) of the conversation between Fund/Build/Scale podcast host Walter Thompson, Maria Latushkin, GVP of Technology and Engineering at Albertsons, and Jack Berkowitz, Chief Data Officer at Securiti.

Maria Latushkin  00:04

If you hit it right, the rewards are plentiful. You get to innovate, you get to figure out the roadmap together. There’s a lot of goodness in this. But you have to put in a lot of energy as an enterprise in order to make sure as you see it through. And so there will always be a very limited number of early stage startups that we would feel we can afford to engage with.

Walter Thompson  00:27

That’s Maria Latushkin, GVP of Technology and Engineering at Albertsons, the second-largest grocery chain in America. I interviewed her and Jack Berkowitz, Chief Data Officer at Securiti, to get an insider’s perspective on how enterprise-level customers buy software and services from early-stage AI startups. The most surprising thing I learned came early in the chat: spinning up a pilot program or a partnership with a startup creates tangible risks for enterprise customers, which means they can only afford to work with a few of them at a time.

Jack Berkowitz  00:57

Because at the end of the day, we only had so much energy. And so we would balance between established companies, and three startups maybe an actual execution. Maybe we were having discussions with others, it was probably two or three at any one time.

Walter Thompson  01:14

Maria and Jack each have experience working inside early stage startups., but their time working as C-level execs at public companies gives them a unique perspective on breaking into enterprise sales. In this episode, we’ll talk about sales strategies, navigating the procurement process, how to run a proof of concept or pilot program and other essential topics. I’m Walter Thompson. This is Fund/Build/Scale. More after this.

Walter Thompson  01:47

Fund/Build/Scale is sponsored by Mayfield, the early-stage venture capital firm that takes a people-first approach to helping founders build iconic companies. The podcast is also sponsored by Securiti, pioneer of the data command center, a centralized platform that enables the safe use of data and Gen AI.

Walter Thompson  02:12

If you could just both say, Jack starting with you, approximately how many vendors do you work with each year that are early-stage startups?

Jack Berkowitz  02:20

It’s a great question. Um, you know, in my last role where we were really encouraging startups to come because we were interested in the latest things in AI and ML, even then we were sort of limited, we probably only had three at any one time coming through the system. Because at the end of the day, we only had so much energy. And so we would balance between established companies and three startups, maybe an actual execution, maybe we’re having discussions with others, but it’s probably two or three at any one time.

Maria Latushkin  03:00

Same here. And the reason being is, whether you are like right now I work for a public company, real large public company, but even when I wasn’t working for a large public company, there’s a lot of responsibility you take on as a buyer, and you want to make sure that you do that well. So there’s a lot of energy, as Jack says, that needs to be put in, in shepherding a very early-stage company, there’s the rewards, if you hit it, right, the rewards are plentiful, you get to innovate, you get to figure out the roadmap together, there’s a lot of goodness in this. But you have to put in a lot of energy as an enterprise in order to make sure that you see it through. And so there would always be a very limited number of startups that early stage startups that we would feel we can afford to engage with.

Walter Thompson  03:53

I mean, it sounds kind of like a partnership, not just a customer-client relationship.

Maria Latushkin  03:58

It truly is. It truly is.

Jack Berkowitz  04:03

I’m sorry. Well, I was just gonna say it’s a two way partnership in a sens  because the startup wants to fail fast. And unfortunately for the executive for the team, failing fast on the enterprise side is probably not the best outcome.

Walter Thompson  04:23

How often are you someone’s first customer?

Maria Latushkin  04:28

Not in the company I’m at right now. Previously, we have been first customers, small companies I was at. And there’s a lot that goes into ensuring that you are safe, first customer and some of the things that you really have to think about and that would be important for the startup to be able to have answers to is how much risk do they introduce. For the person, depending on what it is that they’re developing for the person that is a buyer or the person that is piloting, how easy or difficult is it to integrate with the company, because the more you have to put in upfront, knowing that you’re the first customer, and it’s really more of an unknown situation, you want to make this a smaller decision for the person that is partnering with you. And so, the looser the integration, the less kind of upstart effort it requires, the better the company that being able to demonstrate that the risk is going to be mitigated, there isn’t ever a zero risk, but like to the extent that you can look under the covers, and see how they would help you mitigate the risk, that would be the important parts for us to consider,

Jack Berkowitz  05:52

Yeah, my last role, it was at a Fortune 250 company. We were never the first customer, never; it just wouldn’t hit our profile to be able to even deal with our procurement group and the insurance and the financing needed. What I would say, though, is when I was in smaller companies, five, six hundred-person companies, then yeah, we were happy to be the first customer because we had flexibility to be able to do it as well. And, you know, the notion for me buying at, or partnering at the Fortune 250 company is, “we’ll tell you what, who do you have already?” So if you got 10 or 15, then I’m comfortable, right? So 10 or 15, mid, mid-sized enterprises, before you go to, you know, one of the biggest companies in the world.

Maria Latushkin  06:45

It’s my advice, having been in small startups, my advice to startups would be not to target these really, really large companies, because the amount of overhead a companies that are large, established companies will present this startup out of necessity, not on purpose, but they have to do certain things. And they have to be able to guarantee certain things for their executive team for the shareholders may become too much overhead and may not actually be good at the end of it good for the company. So maybe taking careful who you want to target as your first customers or first pilot is actually really important. Yeah, when the company is quote unquote, smaller, you buy all of the needs that it would have.

Jack Berkowitz  07:33

Yeah, I was just thinking exactly the same thing, Maria. The killer whale hunting, you don’t want the whale to pull you under?

Maria Latushkin  07:41

Yeah. Yeah.

Walter Thompson  07:43

That’s a great analogy. I mean, yeah, that’s a great analogy, because everybody wants to land the whale. I’m getting all this Moby Dick imagery in my head, certainly. So what are some of the consequences? It sounds like you’re saying, you know, an enterprise customer can literally make or break your business, so what does it look like when things go bad? What are some of the consequences for you as a client, as a customer? If things don’t go well, if this partnership isn’t paying off, doesn’t bear fruit? What are you worried about going wrong?

Maria Latushkin  08:13

There’s a multitude of things. I mean, I’m not gonna go into the doomsday scenario, but I’ll just, you know, even on the surface some of the things would be — I mentioned risk, right? Depending on the type of the solution, depending on the partnership, managing risk is an important thing, is that something that can be introduced? Whether that’s vulnerabilities or it’s some other risks to your company that you have to think about? That’s one. Another one is the company’s solvency. If you have a business case, and presumably you were counting on something as a company that this partner will deliver in the case that they are not, what happens to that function, what happens to that need that you have as a customer? That is another thing that we always think about scale. If your pilot goes well, and then you’re trying to scale it to your whole operation, is that something that is going to work? Will they be able to scale with you both in terms of, you know, traffic volume, all of that, as well as maybe geographical needs, like other elements that scale introduces with it? Will they be able to continue to be a partner, or you will your crush them with your needs, like that’s also something that is very important, both for the company because the company doesn’t want to be crushed, and for the buyer, because the buyer also wants to make sure that that, you know, we’re able to deliver with a solution that we’re recommending,

Jack Berkowitz  09:50

And that can come into play, even if it’s a successful pilot. So you run a pilot, you run a POC, and you’re ready to go and suddenly, as a buyer, you’re having to fund the company? Or find people to fund the company. And so it really is a dance as you move forward to make sure that the company is stable and able to grow with the big enterprise. And we had that recently where, you know, thankfully, we were able to help one company get some additional funding. But, you know, in this environment right now, it was an interesting set of discussions, if you can imagine.

Walter Thompson  10:30

But there must have been some clear benefit for you at the other end, if you’re willing to extend yourself that far, I’m imagining,

Jack Berkowitz  10:35

Yeah, yeah, this system worked better than anything that we had seen and fit into our architectural approach. So it was worth it, for us to extend and stretch further than we normally would. Because of the benefit on the other side, for sure.

Walter Thompson  10:55

Jack, in our pre-interview, you said something that stuck in my head, I asked you when is it too early to talk to an enterprise customer? And you said, you know, well, you know, we can be brutal, as far as, you know, data and compliance in our systems and volumes. But you tempered that by saying, “you can talk to us, but don’t sell to us.” So what does that look like — someone’s trying to figure out how to talk to you, how to sell to you, but they’re not ready to do that yet? How do you want to experience customer discovery from your side of the desk?

Jack Berkowitz  11:21

So I’ve been thinking a little bit about this, you know, at the end of the day, my role level and Maria’s level work selling right now. I mean, we’re, that’s part of our job is to sell, right. But we don’t sell by going in and giving a 20-page PowerPoint pitch, we’re pushing and pushing and pushing, we’re selling through influence, selling through the ideas being there. So the conversation is really about the ideas. It’s much more important to us as a big enterprise dealing with a startup, what’s your long term vision? What do you actually see — I don’t care about your vision for making money or the fact that you’re gonna go work remotely, that doesn’t matter to me. But where do you see the technology space evolving? How do you see things evolving? Where are you going to play if things change in a different way? So really, I’m looking for that same discussion I might have with one of my peers, with my boss, with somebody in the business that I happen to be in, or in the technology business technology area that I’m in that conversation, that helps me understand the product. But if you come in with a list of features, and why you’re better than some other company, and then what you don’t do, I didn’t know you didn’t do that. And I don’t even know that other company. It’s more about for me, understanding where you’re headed and how you fit into, you know, a technology landscape that’s changing rapidly. I mean, today’s technology landscape didn’t even exist 12 months ago. And so that’s what I’m really interested in.

Maria Latushkin  12:59

To add to that, I would also say I love what you said, as in terms of the influence. And really this whole selling process being a conversation. As buyers, we understand that you if you talk to a startup we understand it doesn’t it’s not as bulletproof, as in a large enterprise that comes it’s given, we don’t expect that — we do expect vision, we do expect somebody to be innovative and knowing where the industry is going, where they’re going. And that would be something that we would benefit from. The other thing is my advice to startups would be to learn the customer. Unfortunately, too often I get into a discussion and with one or two questions, I understand that they don’t really understand our business, don’t know our business, and can’t solve — or they’re not even close enough to solving the business problems we may have. And that to me feels like the ones that did bother, they stand apart from the ones that actually learn the business. So try to learn the business to the extent that they can, like did their homework, did their research, and are trying to be relevant to us in that conversation. That’s important.

Walter Thompson  14:12

That’s weird, going in totally cold. Doesn’t make sense to me. But maybe it’s a volume game. They’re just kind of trying to hit so many of the people. Maybe they don’t bother to prepare, I don’t know.

Jack Berkowitz  14:21

I think the thing is, particularly the ones that have raised money from venture capitalists, and I, I’ve raised over $100 million as part of management teams myself, you get so wrapped up into the venture capital world, thinking that they’re they’re your buyer, and they’re your customer. And to be frank, they’re not. They’re bankers. Some of them might have actually worked in a company, but a lot of them haven’t. You know, and I literally just hung up from a VC — of course they’re getting information and trying to build things, but your customers are the technologists.To impress the table at your customers, and so you really need to understand who they are, and what’s motivating them. And what the company does way more important than the PC world.

Walter Thompson  15:11

So, domain expertise, it sounds like we’re kind of, you’re kind of dancing around that word, but perhaps  that’s kind of the middle of this, as far as if you’re going to, if you’re going to tell me you’re going to solve my problem, you need to have some understanding, some frame of context for my problem, and like, the causes and so forth. So how does someone get it? Am I wrong about that? That’s a question, I suppose? Or am I making an assumption here? How much domain expertise do I need to sell to you?

Jack Berkowitz  15:37

You know, my last firm, we did a lot with moving data and moving payments, and things like that. And so, for us, you know, coming in and talking about you know, streaming information on public internet is probably not the thing we were interested in, we’re moving systems into bankings capability. So understanding that at a time is important. 

Maria Latushkin  16:06

It’s always, in my opinion, it’s always better to have a successful first client, successful first implementation versus maybe the biggest one, right? And so picking the first one, or the first couple is really important. If I had to do it, I would go and I would try to find out where my chances of success maximized, and having domain expertise, being able to speak with from the point of like, confidence and authority to some degree about the problems that you’re solving for the customer, does put some, you know, winning points for you in in that discussion, in that partnership in that division and gives credibility. So I would work hard on trying to understand what my connections are, how can I get that domain expertise before I show up to that buyer?

Jack Berkowitz  17:00

You hit it, right? It’s about connections. It’s about networking to go find that information. So, you know, find businesses around the company, find businesses that have sold to the company, find people inside the company that can, you know, “hey, I’ll spend 10 minutes explaining to you what this process is, or that process is.”

Walter Thompson  17:24

Even if you’re not a buyer, there’s a stakeholder who has a problem.

Jack Berkowitz  17:28

Yeah, they’re influencing or they may not even be connected, but they just have context and are giving you context as to what you’re selling into, and what you’re about to get into. Even in that process, you may be like, “well, wait a second, why am I getting the idea that I’ve got this meeting with a C-level person, but we can’t actually help them?” You know, do everybody a favor: Don’t have the meeting, right?

Walter Thompson  17:54

I wanted to talk about creating a framework for enterprise product development for AI startups. Maria, my first question for you is, table stakes: What do enterprise customers want or need to hear before they sign with a new AI vendor in this environment?

Maria Latushkin  19:17

AI is especially interesting, I would say that everything that I mentioned before in terms of the ability to scale, the security compliance, all of the areas of “how will we not get in trouble?” apply. In addition to which, I will try to understand I will pay special attention as a buyer and I will pay special attention as the person that could start up it is in trying to articulate what is it that AI does and being able to show to the buyer the risk that it’s done responsibly and the best practices are in place. And that it’s, again, it’s a little hard to answer because AI is a broad term, and depending what it is they do approach I would have would be different. But if I had to like really, really up level it, it’s ensuring that responsible AI practices are in place would have been my number-one concern, as well as security.

Jack Berkowitz  20:23

And you probably don’t need to be the one who invents it all, you know, talking about how you can take advantage either of things in the company’s environment, or you’ve got partnerships with companies that build data governance, or data security, or whatever it happens to be, because you’re adding the specific things. Now, if you happen to be in a data governance product, that’s a different story. But, you know, do the pieces that make sense for you, and clear about the borders for you. The other thing is, one of the big areas that is concerned right now is intellectual property rights, even of the models, right? So OpenAI works great. Gemini works great. All these other things work great, but what are the intellectual property rights of your company? And how do those relate, that would be an important thing  to be understood.

Maria Latushkin  21:23

Add to that, and data as well, in general, all of the data governance, the ownership of the data origination of the data, especially as data gets transformed, between the companies, they, if there is any data sharing, or data creation, between the enterprise and the startup.

Jack Berkowitz  21:41

Remember, the procurement teams are going to be separate from the technical buyer or the business buyer. And in fact, most companies keep it separate. So don’t ask the business buyer, what the prices [are], don’t agree, because your current team is gonna have a different story, they will actually have a structured set of requirements that you’re going to need to meet, or you’re going to need to at least discuss with them, whether it’s liability insurance, if you have people coming on site, or you know, all those other things that are involved in risk management. And it’s best to get a relationship with their procurement team early, you can ask for it, you can ask the business buyer or the technical buyer, “can you introduce me to procurement upfront, even in the first meeting, because everybody knows that’s going to take time?” And I would suggest you do that, because that’s the checklist.

Walter Thompson  22:34

What does that process look like for both of you? I know it can vary, because we’re talking in most cases, with regard to AI startups, this is brand new, or emerging technology in some ways. So how do you kick the tires, and what does that process look like from the inside?

Jack Berkowitz  22:49

For me, we always will assign an individual responsible to shepherd and take the steps necessary for that company to come in. Sometimes there’ll be two people, one person on technical integration, and one more on technology and business evaluation. Sometimes those would be different folks. But there is always one person who’s going to have to be responsible for overseeing it otherwise, you know, in a big company, particularly, you might have 10, 15 people involved, and it will get focused as it moves forward.

Maria Latushkin  23:26

Same principle with the one person for the same reasons. There’s always this double if somebody takes the lead, but there’s always the second person to them. So sometimes maybe there would be a business lead. And there would be the technical lead, who is the second person, but they’re lockstep or vice versa? Maybe it’s a technical solution, but then you really, really ensure that from the finance perspective, the finance leader or business lead, depending on the situation, is there. And then they are the parties that have veto rights of sorts, right? You make sure that from a legal perspective, they check all the boxes from a security perspectivel m,. So there’s, there’s this one stream that’s pushing it through shepherding it, and the other ones that get involved to make sure that there’s kind of no harm will be done, right. So from the legal security and other depending on the situation, other areas.

Jack Berkowitz  24:22

And those groups to startups may seem that they’re trying to block things, but they’re not. Everybody’s in there to move their company forward. But they’re doing their job. And I think getting warm relationships with them as you go is only a great experience because those organizations are never going away as you continue to grow.

Walter Thompson  24:46

So ballpark it for me: how likely is it that a pilot is going to turn into a long-term contract, just you know, generally speaking,

Jack Berkowitz  24:52

In my experience, it’s about 50-50, about half the time the pilots will move forward. Recently, we just had an example over the past year where we did a pilot with one company, it was very successful. But what we found out was, we weren’t ready for them. And unfortunately for them, a second company showed up that we were better positioned to be able to handle. So that company hadn’t been in the pilot, but we never even needed to do a pilot with the second company. You know, the first company  objected, “well, how can you do that if you didn’t do a pilot?” It’s like, “well, we kind of did, it was as much learning on our side, about how we need to organize and what we needed to do.” And it’s unfortunate, but, you know, that was the case.

Maria Latushkin  25:37

The really important part for startups to keep in mind is that the pilot on the buyer side is not to prove our technology, it’s to provide the business model. And most of the time, on the buyer side, they actually are expecting technology to work. There might be a pre-pilot or POC or something you do on the side, etc. But by the time you get to pilot, that’s where, especially for large companies, they expect the technology to work. And it’s for them to provide the business model to prove that it’s the pilot for that company, to see if they can roll it up. To rephrase your question, if the company gets to that stage of the pilot when the technology works, and it’s a question of the business model, and it’s a question of the user experience, or whatever else needs to happen, then I would also say it’s about 50-50. Sometimes another company shows up with a better business model, or some other circumstances change. But at that point, if it did go through pilot and pilot proved to be working well, I’d say it’s probably 50-50. It’s difficult to get to pilot, I would say that out of the number of companies that we talk to, the number of companies that actually that make it to pilot, that’s the smaller number, because very often, you see that there is not a fit, or the tech is not ready, or something else you’re able to see quickly enough before getting into the pilot.,

Jack Berkowitz  27:09

And then as we were talking earlier, the opportunity cost to take something to a pilot, it’s just, you can only handle so much as a throughput in a company at any one time. Even if it’s the biggest company, it doesn’t have infinite resources and attention and everything else. And those people are doing other jobs all at the same time. And so, you know, it limits the number of companies that can get to a true pilot. A POC is not a pilot, a project is not a pilot, a pilot is, “hey, we’re going to instrument the United States, or we’re going to instrument California,” you know, massive places. Scale.

Walter Thompson  27:51

So for runway-minded founders who are looking at their bank balance — I know there’s no single path for this, but how long between getting a yes, to go into a pilot program, to them getting some money out of the back end, realizing revenue from that pilot?

Jack Berkowitz  28:09

In my experience, we don’t really want to have pilots run that long. And so, you know, you might only see a pilot run 90 days, and if they can’t prove what it’s doing in 60 to 90 days, then we’ve got an issue. In fact, you know, well-run pilots will have almost weekly cadence. And so you know, within a few days, if it’s working, you know, it’s important to have your, your sort of first land contracts backed in parallel. In fact, a lot of procurement agencies and groups won’t allow the pilot to start without having that backend agreed. I think startups should realize that land and expand is probably going to be a better way for any company also. So if the pilot has the scope of California, but the company does business around the world, they expect that the first project is going to be California, right? Because it’s easy to just roll in. And then you know, you’ll get later contracts as it goes.

Maria Latushkin  29:18

I agree with everything. And to add to this, I would always ask to the extent you can in the beginning, what the budgeting cycles are like, what does it take in a company to get further steps because I’ve seen being in a startup, I’ve seen sometimes is that you get to verify the pilot, but it doesn’t mean that this is the time for the contract. And it might be that elapsed time when we think about runway elapsed time between pilots. A pilot can be verified within 90 days, but then there might be elapsed time to the contract may be much longer. And it will depend on a variety of factors, and every company will have its own variety of factors. So for a startup working with the company for the first time, I would find that out not to be then put in a situation where I would be really anxious.

Walter Thompson  30:10

Yeah. Awesome. Thanks. The engineers I’ve talked to — just a few so far, but it seems that many of them really don’t like coding new features for a single client. But that’s something that seems probably likely to come up during a pilot program. Maria, is that a consideration for you? And how often would you be likely to ask for something like a special feature that you knew that would benefit you, but not necessarily their entire platform?

Maria Latushkin  30:33

I try not to do that. I try to explain sometimes they would not. Sometimes they are early enough, where they have not necessarily gone through my cohort of clients, clients like me, and I would [say], “you actually should do this, because there will be more clients like me.” I would, unless this is something so specific for our business, that is without which we can’t do it. The whole idea of partnering with somebody is not to have something really esoteric that can ever be upgraded, that’s done specifically for you. It’s to actually create a platform that would be general purpose enough. That’s like, full of best practices versus something that’s very bespoke and esoteric. Of course, there are cases when we actually your business requires it to be something different. But otherwise, I wouldn’t do it.

Jack Berkowitz  31:33

I think Maria, right. Would you agree? I not only wouldn’t do it, I want them to have other clients. I want them to grow their business, we need them to be successful. We need them to grow to hundreds of clients and, and everything else. We don’t want to be the only customer because it just creates a bad situation.

Walter Thompson  31:56

Codependency is not a good thing. 

Jack Berkowitz  31:59

You know, I think it gets into the thing also, like, are you willing to take a call on behalf of a startup? Well, if it proves to be successful, and everything’s going well, yeah, because your best salesperson is going to be, you know, your early customers and you want them to have other clients, you want them to meet other clients, too. Right? You want that group of customers to be really supportive of you. Because it’s in the best interest of the customer.

Walter Thompson  32:35

So in a pilot, in a scenario like this, what are some of the most common ways where founders are their own worst enemy, where they’re sabotaging their own work or the likelihood of success without realizing it? Have you seen people doing this without realizing?

Jack Berkowitz  32:51

Well, the biggest one to me is the dive bomb, or the helicopter founder. You know, the founder who either a has the initial meeting, and then you know, it’s too important for them to go do other things than to be with you every day or, you know, checking in on the board, dive bombing, where the, you know, the the project teams meet, you know, 30 days in or 45 days in, and then the founder shows up and tells everybody that they’re doing things wrong. I think if the executive team and technical team is on a project, and they’re meeting every week, then the founders, particularly early-stage, should be in those meetings. I’ve seen this sort of helicopter or dive bomb, I don’t know what the right word is. I’ve seen it too many times over the past few years, particularly with the AI startups, to be honest with you.

Maria Latushkin  33:53

To add to this, I would also say that founders don’t listen to their customers. They missed them, they missed the opportunity, they missed the mark. And there’s always something you learn from potential customers, current customers just being good listeners. And that would be my advice to founders. So many times, over the course of my career, I would do meetings, but somebody said, “oh, the other ones showed, more promise but this one really understood my needs, and the needs of our business,” … and that would be the company that got the business. And the reverse of it is true as well. Companies that were the farm especially when it’s you know, founders are so important and founders set the tone for the company in the beginning of its journey. If they don’t listen, if they’re not in tune with the actual needs, it’s okay to say no, but it has to be an educated no, it has to be a no that comes after listening. I would say that that’s really really important as well.

Jack Berkowitz  34:58

Yeah, and you can hear the language, to follow up with Maria said, you can sometimes hear the language of a professional product manager or professional founder who says things like, “well, our customers think this. And quite frankly, you know, our customers are telling us this.” And you’re sitting across the table like, “well, I’m the customer. I’m not saying that — I’m saying something different.” And there’s a couple of big Valley FAANG companies where there’s this vocabulary that comes out of them. I don’t know where it’s come from. But it’s really bad.

Walter Thompson  35:36

I’ve literally heard product managers say things like, “customers don’t really know what they want.” So yeah, there’s a certain hubris there. My last question about pilot programs: success fee agreements, what are they, and how do they work in a pilot program to help everyone come out ahead at the end? Do either of you use them in your practice? 

Jack Berkowitz  36:03

Yeah, I’ve used them quite a bit. And so what we’ll do is, is it’s really on the later stage contracts, right, the later stage of things. And what they are, is essentially agreeing to a business objective, or a commitment to a date. And so you know, something like 75% of the money will be under a normal contract, and then there’ll be a bonus. If you hit certain joint objectives now, that means that the company — the customer — also has to be responsible for seeing through their commitments. But if that’s the case, then you can accelerate through some additional monies.

Walter Thompson  36:43

Maria, is that advice you’ve used in these contracts?

Maria Latushkin  36:44

Yeah, it’s something very similar. We’re also ensure that we talked in the beginning of what happens to the data that we exchange in artifacts, etc. In the case, in both cases, actually, whether we continue on on.

Walter Thompson  37:00

Thanks very much to both of you for the time today. I really appreciate it. It’s been a great conversation.

Maria Latushkin  37:04

Thank you. It’s a pleasure.

Jack Berkowitz  37:06

Thank you.

Walter Thompson  37:08

Thanks very much to my guests, Maria Lashutkin and Jack Berkowitz. For my next episode, I spoke to Laura Bisesto, global head of policy and privacy at Nextdoor. We talked about the regulatory landscape facing AI startups in 2024, and how small companies should start the work of developing their own ethical frameworks. We got into how startups can recognize when they need legal help, recapped some data governance best practices, and also talked about why it’s so important to create a buttoned-down process for rolling out new AI features. If you’ve listened this far, I hope you got something out of the conversation. Subscribe to Fund/Build/Scale so you’ll automatically get future episodes, and consider leaving a review. For now, you can find the FBS newsletter on Substack. The show theme was written and performed by Michael Tritter and Carlos Chairez. Michael also edited the podcast and provided additional music. Thanks very much for listening.

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