I'm a partner at Redpoint
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book, Winning with Data
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The rate of new software company formation seems to have declined materially in the past few years. In 2011-2013, about 1450 software companies were founded each year on average. In 2014, that figure fell to 1186 and in 2015, we count 481.
What is the optimal pricing strategy for my start up? That depends. It depends on at least three other variables - the product, the placement, the positioning. Combined with price, these are the four 4Ps of marketing created by Dr. E. Jerome McCarthy, former professor of marketing at Michigan State and Notre Dame. Also called the marketing mix, these four variables need to be aligned when determining pricing for your startup.
As a SaaS startup scales from finding initial product market fit to building its go to market organization, one of the most important goals in building that go to market organization is developing a multifaceted marketing team. Marketing’s role in SaaS sales has expanded to the success of SaaS companies as customers prefer to educate themselves more than they have in the past.
The acquisition frenzy continues in SaaS. This morning Microsoft announced it would acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, which prices the business at 8 .1x trailing 12 month revenues and 6.7x next 12 month revenues. In addition, Symantec announced that it would acquire Blue Coat for $4.7 billion, a 7.7x trailing multiple. In the 2016 acquisition market, the median acquisition multiple is 7.8x trailing 12 month revenue and 6.4x next 12 month revenue.
Which are the ripest areas for startups to disrupt using machine learning? At the core, machine learning/artificial intelligence relies on two key ingredients - advanced algorithms and data sets to train those algorithms. Novel algorithms are increasingly making their way into the public domain in the form of open-source libraries. So, the key differentiator for startups and ultimately long-term competitive advantage is access to proprietary data sets.
How does a chat bot company transform a technology advantage into a distribution advantage? This I think is the key question facing startups in this part of the ecosystem.
When is the right time to increase sales headcount for a SaaS startup? It is one of the most strategic decisions for early-stage business to make given the amount of effort and expense involved in building, managing and scaling a sales team.
There are two main ways of building a SaaS sales team - top down or bottoms up. Top down SaaS sales organizations start with a VP of Sales who often hires senior account executives. Bottoms up sales teams hire the first account manager and promote from within. Which is better?
Two billion dollar SaaS acquisitions were announced this week with Salesforce paying $2.9B for DemandWare, an eCommerce platform provider, and Vista Equity Partners paying $1.8B for Marketo, the marketing automation company. In addition to the absolute size, these transactions distinguish themselves with high valuation multiples of 12x and 8x on trailing revenues.
We each know that focus is the most effective way to work, but hearing the mantra to focus doesn't help narrow our scope. What's the best way to focus? Start with the premise that everything is noise and then work to find the exceptionally valuable or important things for each day and for each project.