SaaStr Podcast #147: Shan Sinha, Founder & CEO @ Highfive On Why Payback Period Is The Critical Metric

Shan Sinha is the Founder & CEO of Highfive, the startup that quite simply makes insanely simple video conferencing. They have raised over $45m in funding from some of the best in the business, including a16z, Lightspeed General Catalyst, and Founder Collective, and then individuals including Aaron Levie, Drew Houston, and Marc Benioff. Prior to Highfive, Shan was the Group Product Manager for Google Apps for Enterprise, which he joined following Google’s 2010 acquisition of his prior company, DocVerse, which later became part of Google Drive. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

SaaStr Podcast #135: Auren Hoffman, Founder & CEO @ Safegraph on Why Raising Prices Is Not A Good Idea

Welcome to Episode 135! Auren Hoffman is the Founder & CEO of Safegraph, the startup that is unlocking the world’s most powerful data so that machines and humans can answer society’s toughest questions. They have backing from likes of Naval Ravikant and prior guests of the show including SignalFire, IDG Ventures, and David Rodnitzky, just to name a few. Prior to Safegraph, Auren has an astonishing 5 successful exits under his belt with one being, LiveRamp (sold to Acxiom for $310m in 2014). If that was not enough, Auren is also a prolific angel investor with a portfolio including the likes of ThumbTack, Rainforest QA, Brightroll, and Groupon. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

SaaStr Podcast #134: Promise Phelon, CEO @ TapInfluence On The Crucial Difference Between Mentorship & Advocacy

Welcome to Episode 134! Promise Phelon is the CEO of TapInfluence, bringing the first ever influencer marketing platform to the Fortune 1000. Under Promise’s leadership the company has enjoyed a 300% increase in revenue in 2015 alone, they made the successful transition from a services to a SaaS model, and were successful in raising a fantastic $14m Series B. Prior to TapInfluence, Promise was the Founder and CEO at 2 startups, one of which, The Phelon Group, grew to 8 figure revenues and was successfully acquired in 2009. Before that, Promise got her start at BEA systems. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

Twilio: The Inside Story with Jeff Lawson, CEO/Co Founder (Video + Transcript)

Most of us have heard of Twilio but we’re using it the platform a lot more than we realize. Thanks to Twilio, you’re able to do things like make a phone call within the Uber app to your driver, send messages and confirmations with Airbnb, receive alerts from Netflix and more. Jason sits down with Jeff Lawson, CEO and Co-founder of Twilio, to get the inside scoop about Twilio and how they’ve managed to become so successful. Jeff talks about why developers are the key to getting into new markets, the usefulness of billboards, balancing sales and engineering cultures and why focusing on a niche is bad advice. And if you haven’t heard: SaaStr Annual will be back in 2018, bigger and better than ever! Join 10,000 fellow founders, investors and execs for 3 days of unparalleled networking and epic learnings from SaaS legends like Jyoti BansalAaron Levie
Continue reading "Twilio: The Inside Story with Jeff Lawson, CEO/Co Founder (Video + Transcript)"

One Simple Rule on When to Build a “Custom” Feature

“Custom” features …  I feel this is perhaps the point founders get the most conflicting advice of all on. Especially from VCs, B2C folks, and folks that have never sold bigger deals and into the enterprise.
  • One-off customization per se is bad. Agreed.  This is SaaS, not a services business.

But

  • Being paid a lot to build something important already on your roadmap can be magical. It helps you see the future. It is a gift.

So here’s my rule:

  • If BigCo offers to pay you a huge sum for a standard contract that also includes a requirement to ship an important feature you don’t yet have (usually > any other customer is currently paying you, or close),
  • And they are OK without any true exclusivity on it (sometimes a short period is OK),
  • And it’s already on your Next 24 Months Roadmap,
  • then build it.
  • Because — there almost certainly Continue reading "One Simple Rule on When to Build a “Custom” Feature"

One Simple Rule on When to Build a “Custom” Feature

“Custom” features …  I feel this is perhaps the point founders get the most conflicting advice of all on. Especially from VCs, B2C folks, and folks that have never sold bigger deals and into the enterprise.
  • One-off customization per se is bad. Agreed.  This is SaaS, not a services business.

But

  • Being paid a lot to build something important already on your roadmap can be magical. It helps you see the future. It is a gift.

So here’s my rule:

  • If BigCo offers to pay you a huge sum for a standard contract that also includes a requirement to ship an important feature you don’t yet have (usually > any other customer is currently paying you, or close),
  • And they are OK without any true exclusivity on it (sometimes a short period is OK),
  • And it’s already on your Next 24 Months Roadmap,
  • then build it.
  • Because — there almost certainly Continue reading "One Simple Rule on When to Build a “Custom” Feature"

SaaStr Podcast #125: Laura Bilazarian, Founder & CEO @ Teamable Discusses Why You Should Always Be Premium

Welcome to Episode 125! Laura Bilazarian is the Founder & CEO of Teamable, the startup that allows you to recruit the best talent from your network. They have raised funding from some stellar investors including the likes of True Ventures and SaaStr. As for Laura, she started out her career on Wall St before making forays into the world of Vietnamese hotel building and being a National Rugby Champion. Laura has also spent time with the likes of Fairmount Partners where she worked on dozens of M&A transactions to large public companies. In today’s episode you will learn: