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The Ideal Customer Profile. The perfect customer. Can you describe it for your startup? The more precisely you can describe it, the better. That will simplify disqualification. But articulating the ICP well isn't enough.
Yesterday, Salesforce announced it will acquire Mulesoft for $6.5B. A recent addition to the list of public software companies, Mulesoft is a tremendous business. The company generated $297M of revenue in 2017 at a 73% gross margin, and grew by 58%. Salesforce is acquiring the business for an astounding 21x enterprise value to trailing twelve months revenue multiple - nearly 2x the next closest.
Recently, people have been asking just where are we in the SaaS valuation cycle. I last updated the chart above more than six months ago. The answer is close to ten year highs.
In the US, the median seed round has nearly quadrupled over the past seven years. In the mean time, seed investment has grown more than 7x and then fallen to a bit more than half of the high. As the market has grown and retrenched during that time period, I've been wondering about the geographic diversity of these seed dollars. Throughout these cycles, are startups in other states benefitting? Are they increasing their share of investment dollars?
It's one of the most important questions a CEO can ask. Why does our sales team lose potential sales? One of the companies I work with, Chorus, listens and analyzes sales calls to provide insights to heads of sales and account executives. Chorus explored the reasons account executives lose sales opportunities.
Recently, I met an exceptional marketer. She described the purpose, strategy and tactics of a marketing department remarkably succinctly. Marketing's methods can seem intangible. But she explained them simply and elegantly. I drew the chart above based on her vision of marketing's roadmap.
At Saastr, Jason and I discussed the role of private equity in SaaS on stage as a potential acquisition path for SaaS startups. Private equity hasn't been a common exit route for venture backed startups in the past. But that's changing.
Founded in 2007, Dropbox epitomizes the freemium go-to-market. Dropbox has grown from 0 to 500 million users over that time period. 2% of those users convert to paid and pay an average of $9.33 per month. 90% of revenue originates through self serve channels - an astounding figure for company that generated more than $1B in revenue last year.
What should be the return on investment of a startup's cash burn? Fred Wilson posed this question last year in his post Some Thoughts on Burn Rates. In that post, he suggests, and I agree, that a 5x ROI on cash burn is a good target.
You're two or three years into your startup. You have hired a great team and want to retain them. It's time to consider refreshing their stock options to motivate them to stay longer. How many options should you grant to each employee?