In Early Markets, Services Can Be a Competitive Advantage

In early markets, customers prefer entire solutions, not best in class point products. These solutions often include significant professional services and education. At the beginning of a new wave, most customers don’t understand the technology well. So, they seek experts to guide them. Companies that provide services and education often win the early market. They develop customer relationships, reinforce their expertise with a strong brand, define the purchasing criteria in their favor and ultimately grow faster. In the earliest days of commercial Hadoop, Cloudera educated the market through services. As they grew the user base, they developed subscription products, which now account for about 75% of revenue . In the IoT (internet of things), C3IoT and UpTake have pursued similar strategies. In the cloud native world, Heptio provides consulting and training for Kubernetes, a new infrastructure technology. In each case, the new technology is complex and understood by few. During this Continue reading "In Early Markets, Services Can Be a Competitive Advantage"

How do I protect a business startup idea which would be easy to imitate/steal?

Do it. Get started. Build it, launch it, and most importantly — sell the product. Start selling. 1000 teams can build whatever your little team can. 100 can probably figure it out as well as you can. 10 can probably do much better than you can. But they haven’t. Talk is cheap. Smart people can talk about anything and everything. So go get 10 customers before they even write a line of code. Get 1,000 while they are deciding if the market is really large enough. Get to $10m+ in ARR, growing 100%+, with 50+ NPS before they really get going. Then you can’t be stopped. Only dented. View original question on quora The post How do I protect a business startup idea which would be easy to imitate/steal? appeared first on SaaStr.

SaaStr Podcast #194: Steve Newman, Founder & CEO @ Scalyr on How Small Numbers In SaaS Can Deceive You

Steve Newman is the Founder & CEO @ Scalyr, the startup that helps your devops team solve more problems in less time with log monitoring and analysis in seconds. Steve has raised over $27.5m in funding with Scalyr from many friends of the show including Susa Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Shasta and GV. As for Steve, prior to Scalyr, he was the Founder of Writely which was acquired by Google to become the little known, Google Docs. Before that he founded 2 prior startups, Ann Arbour Softworks (acq by Ashton-Tate) and BitCraft (acquired by Macromedia). If that was not enough, Steve also sat on the Technical Advisory Board at Box for over 3 years.    In Today’s Episode We Discuss:
  • How Steve made his way into the world of startups and SaaS over 30 years ago? What is the founding story with Scalyr and what was that a-ha moment?
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SaaStr Pro Snippet: Is the mid-market totally overlooked?

SaaStr Pro Snippets come from discussions that members of SaaStr Pro have in our monthly ask-me-anything (AMA) webinars with SaaS experts. This week’s snippet comes from a great question one of our members asked Jason Lemkin: Can you succeed targeting mid-market business with $300 – $750 MRR pricing plans? And if you haven’t checked it out yet, SaaStr Pro is an automated training program that CEOs use to train their entire management team on the SaaStr Playbook. Learn more at and start training your management team today!


The next question is: according to your experience, can a SaaS company that targets mid-sized businesses with $300 to $750 MRR plans succeed? Look…you will get lots of advice all over the internet talking about SMBs versus enterprise and closing big deals versus self-serve. You know what’s great? No one’s talking about the mid-market. No one. I haven’t seen a
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As a VC, have you ever seen a promising startup destroyed by a small mistake?

I haven’t. However, multiple times I’ve seen them almost destroyed by a “simple” mistake — not predicting the burn rate, and cash out-flows, properly. In the very early days, pre-revenue, you pretty much get the burn rate right. If there are 2 of you at WeWork and zero customers, you know what you burn each month 😉 But once a start-up raises some money and starts to hire, even at just $20k to $40k in MRR, oftentimes without any background in cash management, they mis-predict. Put differently, their gut on cash burn is a bit off. They haven’t done it before. And just enough off to have dangerous consequences:

What is the least amount of money required to be a venture capitalist?

Probably about a $10m fund. This is quite small still, but a realistic line between super duper angel and VC.
  • Why? A $250k check is probably what it takes to join a syndicated Seed Round today.
  • You probably need to do at least 20 deals to get enough diversity in the fund, possibly 30.
  • You probably want to save 50% for reserves and follow-on investments.
$250k x 20 x 2 = $10m. View original question on quora The post What is the least amount of money required to be a venture capitalist? appeared first on SaaStr.

Zipwhip’s CMO on the State of Growth Marketing

As product led growth companies continue to take the tech world by storm, the demand for ‘growth experts’ increases by the day. Growth marketers, in particular, are receiving more and more attention and yet, as the intrigue rises, so does the murkiness around exactly what a growth marketers’ role in a business can and should be. To unveil some of the mystery around growth marketing, I interviewed Zipwhip’s CMO, Scott Heimes who shared his experience on the topic. Before joining Zipwhip, Scott was CMO at SendGrid where he built out and led the growth function as part of his broader marketing team. Today, Scott is in the process of establishing a growth marketing function at Zipwhip and shared how he defines growth marketing and the ways it can impact a scaling organization.

What is growth marketing?

The term growth marketing can mean a lot of different things to a lot of
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How to Expand Internationally – Lesson From VP of Growth @ LinkedIn (Video + Transcript)

At SaaStr Annual earlier this year, VP of Growth at LinkedIn, Aatif Awan, had a session on expanding internationally. Has your SaaS startup gone global? If so, what tips and tricks do you feel helped you get to that point? His 6 step framework can be applied to any business looking to generate revenue outside of the U.S. Also, don’t miss out on discounted prices for SaaStr Annual 2019 tickets. Transcript Aatif Awan Hello everyone. They used to say when America sneezes, the world catches a cold. I’m curious how many people have not heard of this? There are quite a few folks. That’s okay, because it’s becoming less and less true. What the phrase refers to is the singular impact American economy has on the global economy, and what’s happening today is that the world is very different. If you look at the global economy, while US is Continue reading "How to Expand Internationally – Lesson From VP of Growth @ LinkedIn (Video + Transcript)"

Here’s How to Decide if You’re Ready to Bring in Sales Leadership

To sell or not to sell – that is the question among startup founders. As a founder and former sales leader, I get asked all the time how I decided to step back from my sales role and add a layer between me and my sales reps. When I founded ion interactive, I just sort of organically moved into the sales role. Why not? I had a strong sales background, and who knew the product better than me? From there, I personally sold and assisted my newly hired AEs with their deals for several years as I built a sales team, and I never had a self-imposed deadline for when I would relinquish my sales role. What I did have was a drive to hire, retain and nurture a high-performing team that would allow me to step back from running my own deals. I stopped selling gradually as I had more
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