Tomasz Tunguz is partner at Redpoint
. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the
book, Winning with Data
. Join more than 20,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.
Just how real is the sudden importance and profitability for SaaS companies? The median publicly traded SaaS company has improved net margin from -25% to -8.8% in less than two years, after a nearly four-year trend of negative growth in net margin. The initial spike in 2014 occurs two quarters after the first SaaS correction and the second occurs in late 2015.
The notion of channel sales in SaaS companies is becoming more common than in has been in the last few years, and for some businesses like Intacct, channel partnerships drive more than 50% of sales.
In the past week, Oracle acquired two vertical SaaS companies. OPower is an Arlington Virginia based company that employs approximately 600 people. The company analyzes utility consumption patterns and helps homeowners reduce their energy consumption. Textura provides collaboration tools for the construction industry and is based in Illinois. Oracle paid $663 million, net of cash for Textura and $532 million for OPower. These two acquisitions form a notable moment in time for the evolution of the vertical software industry.
It is an election year. The Federal Reserve has changed its interest rate hike plan. Venture financing has slowed by upwards of 15% in the first quarter. Q1 GDP growth fell to 0.5% from 1.4% in Q4. How much have all these factors impacted SaaS companies? Are buyers purchasing less software?
In ServiceNow's Q1 Investor presentation are the first semblances of SaaS metrics in public company reporting. If you sift through the 40+ public SaaS businesses, you won't find mention of annual recurring revenue, churn, account expansion, or cash collection cycles in most of them - even though these are the the metrics the management teams employ to evaluate and steer their businesses.
As the overall venture market environment evolves in 2016, so too does the SaaS and Software segment. The number of Series A, B, C, and D investments in software companies stabilized at roughly 170 per quarter from mid-2013 through mid-2015, before falling 17% in Q4 2015 to a two year low. In Q1 2016, SaaS rounds increased a modest 10%. The SaaS fundraising has slowed in parallel to the rest of the market. But early 2016 pace still exceeds the best quarters of 2010-2012.
It's hard to read Boys in the Boat before I sleep. The stories of the 8 rowers awaiting the coxswain's call at the starting line of a boat race remind me of the races I competed in with so many wonderful friends and oarsmen. Imagining those races - and in particular, placing second at nationals, the adrenaline surges and my heartbeat accelerates, resurfacing all those memories and moments.
Pricing. Is there any word that confers some whisper of dark arts than pricing? Or any question that instills less confidence than, "How did you derive your pricing strategy?" Many times, startups replicate and tune competitors' pricing strategies. If everyone else prices per seat, then so should we...Is this the right thought process?
About 15 years since the creation of the first SaaS companies, public SaaS companies account for 14% of total software revenues generated by public companies, a figure growing at about 17% per year. Over the last ten years, the total amount of revenue generated by software companies has tripled from $53B to $169B, meaning SaaS companies are both taking share and growing the market.
Starting in late 2015 through the first quarter of 2016, founders have shifted their seed fundraising strategies toward a single investor. Seeds led by a single investor have increased by 50% in these trailing six months. How much of this trend is due to greater participation of venture capitalists investing in the seed market?