SaaStr Podcast #190: Ed Sim, Founder & GP @ Boldstart Ventures on Why SaaS Founders Should Not Sell Their Products in The Early Days

Welcome to Episode 190! Ed Sim is the Founder & General Partner @ Boldstart Ventures, one of the leading players in early stage SaaS investing. Their MO is to be a first check VC for enterprise founders and they have backed the likes of GoToMeeting (acq by Citrix), LivePerson (IPO, NASDAQ), Divide (acq by Google), Kustomer, Snyk and BigID just to name a few. Ed is also a cofounder of MState, a growth lab for enterprise blockchain in partnership with IBM. Ed is also a board director/observer of Kustomer, Hypr Biometric, Snyk, BigID, Fortress IQ, Wallaroo Labs and Manifold. If that wasn’t enough, Ed is also the writer behind BeyondVC, a must read blog in the world of SaaS. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

Drumroll, Please … Announcing Our First Wave of Annual 2019 Speakers!

Over the years, the SaaStr Annual has hosted a bevy of top industry leaders (Aaron Levie, Stewart Butterfield, Therese Tucker, and Claire Hughes-Johnson, just to name a few), all of whom have graced the stage to share their biggest learnings, most important wins and failures, and best career-building advice. And the lineup we’re currently curating for our next big event is set to continue the tradition of bringing amazing speakers and content to the SaaStr masses. So, which industry heavyweights are we bringing with us to San Jose in February? Check below for our very first who’s-who-of-Annual-2019 announcement!

What SaaS companies has Jason Lemkin invested in?

Many, not all, are here: Fund & Investments They include:
  • Talkdesk
  • Algolia
  • Pipedrive
  • RainforestQA
  • Logikcull
  • Front
  • Automile
  • Intercom
  • Mixmax
  • Pipedrive
  • PlatoHQ
  • Gorgias. io
  • Mapistry
  • HelloOffice
  • Salesloft
  • few more
Not that many, really. For better or worse, I’ve done fewer investments with a higher hit rate vs. doing a lot more, with a higher loss late. View original question on quora The post What SaaS companies has Jason Lemkin invested in? appeared first on SaaStr.

What’s the best way to calculate LTV for a SaaS business with negative MRR churn (MRR retention greater than 100%)?

At least segment your customers. Here’s my most recent learnings, look at our 11+ year customers: The 11 Year Customer | SaaStr I’m not personally sure how you calculate net LTV if you have > 100% revenue retention. But:
  • You can still calculate churn & gross retention easily. And try to drive those down, quarter by quarter.
  • Often, if you segment your customers, you’ll have a segment with lower retention. E.g., SMBs vs. Enterprise. Also, track cohorts and see how they perform over time.
  • Your first year bookings will still be a critical metric to understand how much to spend on sales + marketing. Spending a lot of year 2’s and year 11’s revenue on year 1 sales and marketing costs isn’t sustainable.
View original question on quora The post What’s the best way to calculate LTV for a SaaS business with negative MRR churn (MRR retention greater Continue reading "What’s the best way to calculate LTV for a SaaS business with negative MRR churn (MRR retention greater than 100%)?"

Is Silicon Valley losing its edge?

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Inc. here. Silicon Valley has always been Hollywood for tech. While there are other places to make movies, Hollywood is where most are produced. It’s where the big studios are and where the funding is. That’s still true, but many movies these days are shot in cheaper locations, like Canada. Bollywood now makes a lot more movies and sells more tickets than Hollywood, even though it makes less money, and China’s box office is set to eclipse North America’s in 2020. Silicon Valley is subject to a similar dynamic. Though it’s likely to remain dominant in the tech industry for the foreseeable future, the rest of the world and the rest of the country are catching up. That’s good news for everyone. Here’s why.

Silicon Valley’s (slightly) waning dominance

Last year, $26.6 billion in startup funding was raised in San Francisco and San Jose,
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Why do all great entrepreneurs seem to be great speakers?

  • They’ve had 5+ years to practice, and
  • They often get to talk about the same thing again and again and really hone it.
You will get really good after 4–5 years, too. The first time I had to do it, I froze up and walked out of a room of 10. Now, it’s easy to get up in front of 5,000 with no prep at all. All CEOs get pretty good at it, as time goes on. Especially because you get to talk about what you are most passionate about. Pretty good, 2011: Fast forward to pretty amazing by 2018: View original question on quora The post Why do all great entrepreneurs seem to be great speakers? appeared first on SaaStr.

A No-BS SaaS Marketing Framework with Andrus Purde, Founder of OutFunnel

At SaaStr Europa, we learned a 5 step marketing framework from Andrus Purde, Founder at OutFunnel. What category does your startup fit into? And are you utilizing the right marketing mix? Since you all loved our first SaaStr Europa, we’re bringing it back in 2019. You can get tickets at a super early bird discount rate right now. Transcript Andrus Purde, Founder of Outfunnel: Good morning. I’m slightly confused first because my title is Useful, No BS Framework. This room, I’m not sure whether I can use the word bullshit or should I stick to BS? I think I’ll stick to BS for the time being. I’m here to talk to you about and help you think about marketing. Let’s start with some definitions. The title of this talk, Useful means that I’ve used this framework to drive millions of dollars of AAR in various companies. No BS means that Continue reading "A No-BS SaaS Marketing Framework with Andrus Purde, Founder of OutFunnel"

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve seen a SaaS company make?

When I look at the SaaS companies I’ve worked with most closely over the past 5+ years, the #1 mistake stands-out … but is also an interesting contrast to #2.
  • The #1 mistake I’ve seen is transitioning to a new model / product too quickly. For example, moving to a 100% SaaS model from a non-SaaS or part-SaaS immediately, overnight. Too quickly, and prospects and happy customers are too confused, and the team has trouble adjusting.
By contrast:
  • The #2 mistake I’ve seen is transitioning to a new model / product too slowly. If you have to radically change your pricing, your model, or even your target customer, if you phase it in too slowly, momentum and/or competition can pass you by. This can be especially apparent in services companies that are too slow to go “all in” on becoming SaaS companies.
Boy it’s hard to get this just right. Continue reading "What’s the biggest mistake you’ve seen a SaaS company make?"

The Art of Management Team Rituals

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on Medium here. As your company grows from 10 to 200 people, new challenges begin to pop-up every day— like structuring your management team, sharing information internally, aligning your board/managers/employees while also keeping the team focused on the right goals. Do you recognize any of these?
  • Lack of alignment between C-Levels
  • Unclear key milestones for the next 2 quarters
  • No clear understanding of your budget constraints
  • Requests from your board for things you are unable to provide
  • Difficulties convincing your managers and employees
If so, then, you need to read the following article and build your own management rituals with your team. To be honest, I have experimented with a lot of methodologies over the past 20 years— first, as a CEO/COO of different software companies, and then as an operating partner at Serena (OKRs, holocracy, fully asynchronous communication, holding one-on-one meetings). One of
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