When I was at Google, we worked with a user experience team frequently to help us design changes to the AdWords front end. After having reviewed our designs within our product team for weeks, we often thought the design was complete and foolproof. But we were consistently proven wrong by the UX team whose work surfaced face-slapping oversights.
The fundraising markets have infused more cash into startups in 2015 than in any year since 2001. But, the venture backed IPO markets touched five year lows and whispers of a bubble have become a meme in the past six months. What's really going on? And should that impact when founders start companies?
Last week, I was chatting with an old friend who after I told her how busy and ragged I sometimes felt, she asked me, "Are you present?" To which I immediately replied, "At work?" And she laughed, and said, "I meant at home, but I have my answer!"
As a startup scales and surpasses its first organizational breaking point of 8 employees, it's time to start thinking about organizational design. The strategy a startup chooses in their market should determine their organizational design. In the First Round Review profile of Paul Arnold , the Head of Operations at AppDirect, Paul shares the challenges the initial organizational structure created as the company grew 5x in less than a year.
The Ultimate Software Company is a $5.5B market cap provider of SaaS Human Capital Management software. Founded in 1996, the company initially sold licensed software and migrated to multi-tenant SaaS in 2002 with a product called UltiPro. Today, more than 82% of revenues are subscription dollars.
SaaS Enabled Marketplaces employ elegant business models. They are verticalized SaaS companies that manage a marketplace to create winner-take-all market dynamics. SEMs can generate revenue in four ways - charge the buyer and/or supplier a software fee & charge the buyer and/or supplier a marketplace fee. In addition, a startup must determine what rake to charge.
After a startup attains product market fit and begins to exceed the first breaking point of the startup management structure around 10 employees, it's time to codify the company's values. The values of the company are the most concrete way for a business to determine whether candidates might make good employees.
Last night, SaaS Office Hours at Redpoint welcomed Maia Josebachvilli, the VP of People and Strategy of Greenhouse. Maia is a thought leader in human resources. Specifically, she champions a metrics-based approach for developing world class recruiting teams. Because of her position, Maia has observed recruiting patterns in hundreds of companies, and has developed best practices for startups.
Just 25 months ago, Aileen Lee coined the term unicorn in her post Welcome to the Unicorn Club and last week the Economist declared these Unicorns "Gored" Over the span of those two years, the Unicorn press cycle has swung from euphoric apotheosis to bleak nadir.
In 2015, startups benefitted from a vibrant fund raising market. In 2016, I believe they will enjoy a very active acquisition environment. The roughly 60 or so publicly traded software companies hold more than $380B in cash and short term investments on their balance sheets. Though Microsoft, Google, Cisco and Oracle possess 75% of that cash, 14 other companies have cash reserves of greater than $500M.