Hi, I'm a partner at Redpoint
. I invest in Series A and B SaaS companies. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the
book, Winning with Data
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The next big shift in SaaS is an evolution from software as a service as a displacer to a disruptor. Displacement technologies compete with incumbents on the same buying parameters. Disruptive companies change the way a buyer thinks about solving their need. Most SaaS products today are displacers.
Salesforce's initial public offering in 2003 demarcated the beginning of a new era, the era of Software as a Service. In the 13 years that followed, many startups have followed their path to build innovative software that has transformed their respective industries and sectors. The shift has been revolutionary both in software delivery as well as sales. It's not an understatement to say everything has changed.
On the prospects list of every SaaS startup, you will find a list of company names and next to them a projected dollar amount projecting the potential revenue from closing the deal. Each line item might represent a sale to team, department or the entire company. Regardless, there is a single champion advocating internally for the company to invest in this software product. If the project succeeds, that person will be promoted.
I've been reading Robert Greene's book Mastery. Greene has amassed biographies of tens of great people from Henry Ford to Paul Graham, from Alexander the Great to Larry Page. Across many of them, he identifies two common paths to mastery, mentorship and grit.
LinkedIn. Twitter. Facebook. Asana. RelateIQ. Slack. 3 Email Accounts. Each of those is an inbox, an implicit or explicit to do list. If I count the feed and the messaging products as separate inboxes, I have a grand total of 12 inboxes for work. 12 things to check first thing and last thing. How many do you have?
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.