All the companies listed above are very successful as they’re all publicly traded today or were at one point, so we’ve concluded you do not need a strategic investor to be successful given that only 18% had a strategic.
If you are going to take on a strategic investor, make sure they don’t have any unique controls or rights outside of those granted to normal investors. For instance, some strategics will ask for a Right of First Refusal to buy your company, which can be very damaging when it’s time to sell your business; no one will want to buy you if they know that after all their hard work, XYZ strategic can cancel the deal and buy your company themselves. Also make sure that strategics do not have control over the direction of your product. It’s great to take their advice when that advice fits into the road map, but an investment doesn’t give them the right to mandate what you build.