TCL Podcast: Hear how Cambly found profitability before its Series A

Cambly was founded in 2012, and has since raised $80.29 million from leading venture capital firms. Success didn’t come overnight. The company had to weather a failed fundraise and countless competitors on its way to becoming a market leader.

I had Cambly CEO Sameer Shariff and Benchmark partner Sarah Tavel on TechCrunch Live. It was the first event of 2023, and the timing is great. Part of Cambly’s story involves tweaking its business model to become cashflow positive much earlier than initially planned. And after the company started making money, it was able to close its Series A and a Series B.

Hear this conversation in the TechCrunch Live podcast, or you can watch the video recap. Both are embedded below.

TechCrunch Live records weekly, each Wednesday, at noon Pacific. It’s free to attend. Register for the next event right here. It will feature Christina Ross of Cube and Rajeev Batra of Mayfield.


Why Cambly failed to raise a Series A, and how the company changed to keep it afloat.

  • Where was Cambly at in 2016, and what was the company’s runway and trajectory?
  • What was the size of the total addressable market targeted by Cambly?
  • After failing to close a Series A, how long did it take the company leaders to change direction?
  • What moves did Cambly make to turn the company profitable?

How to keep an investor engaged after they say no.

  • What do investors expect after a pitch fails?
  • How often should a founder email investors company updates?

When is the right time for a company to fundraise?

  • What metrics are important in a Series A raise?
  • Don’t fundraise when the company needs money, but rather fundraise when the company can tell a compelling story.
  • How do investors value a company that’s cash flow positive?

On the struggles of building a marketplace.

  • How to fight incumbent competitors.
  • How to structure the company’s gross merchandise volume (GMV).
  • How to avoid getting stuck in a very small market.

Assets mentioned in the episode
The Hierarchy of Marketplaces — Introduction and Level 1, by Sarah Tavel