I'm a partner at Redpoint
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book, Winning with Data
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Over the last seven years, software startup investing has changed quite a bit. In 2010, classic SaaS was booming, the benefits of a subscription model were finally becoming clear to the public markets and the mass-market. Since then, many other types of software businesses have been created in new categories like agriculture technology and robotics. Which of these markets are growing the fastest for investment dollars?
Cisco announced yesterday it would acquire AppDynamics for $3.7B. We've analyzed AppDynamic's growth and key metrics, because the business had filed its S-1 to go public. However, the management team and board changed plans and made history. By my estimate, AppDynamics is the fifth largest software acquisition in modern times. More astounding, the AppDynamics acquisition does set the absolute high water mark in one regard - acquisition multiple. It's a very promising predictor of the 2017 M&A environment.
For the nine years I've been a venture capitalist, there's always been a buzzword of the year. Solomo (social local mobile). Mobile-first. Realtime. Big data. 2016 was the year of machine learning. Is ML just another wave to crash and dissipate on the trough of disillusionment?
Over the last few days, I've been reading Shoe Dog, Phil Knight's autobiographical tale describing the formation of Nike, and I think it might be one of the very best founding stories I've read. Easy to read, brimming with passion, full of harrowing business crises, the book is an inspiration to anyone who has a crazy idea and commits to persevering.
I've been struggling with the right way to enable commenting on this blog for a long time. In 2013, I wrote a post called Letter to the Editor about my challenges with comments. Several months ago, I deployed a chat widget at the bottom off this page as an experiment. Here are my observations so far.
Most SaaS companies dream of attaining the $100M ARR mark. The very fastest attain the goal in 6-7 years. Last week, Workday halted trading to announce it had signed Walmart as a customer. Brian White, research analyst at Drexel Hamilton investment bank, estimated this one customer could generate $100M-$200M per year for Workday in recurring revenue - a single customer.
During my first few weeks at Google, I read through the internal resumes of my new colleagues, which detailed their work and promotion paths. Google promoted people quickly. Some college graduates who had distinguished themselves had been promoted every quarter for more than a year, and were managers, senior managers, even directors. And I wanted the same type of trajectory.
Calendars contain one of the under-studied data sets within companies. How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives, wrote Anne Dillard. How we spend our days at work determines what we and the company ultimately achieve.
The fundraising market is in flux. The data indicates that it is certainly reverting to the mean after two record years in 2014 and 2015. Late stage market dynamics are changing as hedge funds and mutual funds seek other areas to invest. In 2017, there will be a lot of comparison between the prices public bound companies fetch at IPO compared to the last round private valuations as the public window opens. Given all that change, which early round will be the hardest to raise for founders in 2017?
Founded in 2008, AppDynamics is a leader in the application performance management space. AppDynamics technology helps engineers determine how software applications behave as users interact with them. Based in San Francisco, AppDynamics employs about 1200 people and has raised approximately $315M to date. The company filed their S-1 recently to take the company public. Let's look at some of the key metrics and then compare AppDynamics to NewRelic, a close competitor which went public in late 2014.