One smart SaaS entrepreneur told me last week he prefers bottoms up businesses to top-down companies because bottoms up sales and marketing efforts enable startups to pursue hundreds of paths into a company. Unlike top down sales processes which offer a startup one shot at closing an account (a meeting with a CEO or VP), for bottoms up products, each employee is a credit-card-carrying-decision-maker.
In the last 35 years, the federal funds rate has varied from as high as 16% in 1981 to as low as 0.09%. throughout those cycles, venture capital has flourished from a cottage industry into $100B per year asset class. VCs are on track to invest as much capital this year as during the height of the dot com era. But, is there any observable relationship between the federal funds rate and the startup ecosystem?
When deciding to open source software, one of the key questions teams must answer is the license under which they will distribute their software. There are a wide variety of different alternatives. But, the three most common are GPL, Apache and MIT. I was curious if there was any relationship between type of license used by startup commercializing open source software, and their ability to raise capital, and exit.
There's a "new" $4B startup today. A consumer hardware company called FitBit started trading on the Nasdaq this morning and it's an impressive success story. We've examined the tremendous revenue growth GoPro experienced in a previous post. Impressively, FitBit is growing faster.
Open Source Software started the movement in the late 1990s. Since then, open source software has transformed the software industry. Today, many infrastructure software startups employ open source strategies to market their software and win dominant market share.
Financial discipline is a hallmark of great companies. It's what enables businesses to build exceptional go to market models, weather difficult times, and ultimately succeed. Sometimes, financial discipline in startups is imposed by financial markets, like in 2008 when the total amount of venture capital investment plummeted after Lehman imploded. Other times, financial discipline is imposed by founders and management teams. The tweet above is from Lew Cirne, founder and CEO of New Relic, a $1.5B market cap company serving developers, who deliberately raised small arounds at the outset of the company to impose financial discipline on his business. In other words, Lew valued patience with unit economics.
Compensation structures are one of the most interesting questions facing customer success organizations in software startups. How should customer success leaders structure their team's compensation in order to align the objectives of individual customer success managers with those of the larger business?
As I prepared the S-1 analysis for ServiceNow, the third largest public SaaS company in the world, I came across a section in their latest annual report called Key Factors Affecting Our Performance in which the company describes the two ways they evaluate churn. One is common, but another is unusual.
Worth $11.5B, ServiceNow is the third public SaaS company, after Salesforce and LinkedIn. Based in San Diego, ServiceNow employs roughly 3000 people, and sells a system of record for IT operations teams to manage IT assets, facilities, and human resources. ServiceNow's software allows clients to develop custom applications for their own needs, often with the help of the company's professional services team.
The role of the marketing team within SaaS has stretched from simply engendering awareness and creating interest, to guiding customers much deeper into the funnel. Steve Patrizi created the schematic above that illustrates the idea beautifully.