Is 27 too late to start a SaaS business?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Q: Is 27 too late to start a SaaS business?

< p class="Box-sc-9env3-0 Text-jjrgda-0 QTextPara___StyledText-anoo6m-0 kvqEEv">Nah, it’s pretty young.

In Aileen Lee’s original post on Unicorns, she noted “the average age on our list of founders at founding is 34”.

It’s possible that’s come down a bit, but probably not much.

At SaaStr Annual, this year, we have 7,000 folks who say they are “founders”.

The average age is about 37:

More here: Who’s Coming to the 2020 SaaStr Annual: Stage, Role, Countries, and More | SaaStr

View original question on quora The post Is 27 too late to start a SaaS business? appeared first on SaaStr.

When should an enterprise data collection startup hire a VP Customer Success to upsell customers much larger contracts for analytics?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Q: When should an enterprise data collection startup hire a VP Customer Success to upsell customers much larger contracts for analytics?

< p class="Box-sc-9env3-0 Text-jjrgda-0 QTextPara___StyledText-anoo6m-0 kvqEEv">As early as possible.

Once you have even $1m in revenue, you are likely ready for a full-time customer success leader. Maybe even, once you have more than 2 or 3 big customers. Then it can’t just be part of your job, or someone else’s job.

Staff 1 person for every few top logos if you can, as early as you can. Watch magic happen over time.

View original question on quora The post When should an enterprise data collection startup hire a VP Customer Success to upsell customers much larger contracts for analytics? appeared first on SaaStr.

For a Saas startup, what is better: to bill clients annually or monthly? Why?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Q: For a Saas startup, what is better: to bill clients annually or monthly? Why?
< p class="Box-sc-9env3-0 Text-jjrgda-0 QTextPara___StyledText-anoo6m-0 kvqEEv">It’s 2020.

Bill and charge your customers the way they want to be charged. Ask them. And copy the pricing patterns of similar apps they already use.

Even SMBs today have now deployed 100+ SaaS apps. Some enterprises are at 500+, or even more.

So we know.

We know:

  • How we want to try new apps (15 days? 30 days? 1 limited free edition?)
  • How we want to test new apps (if they want to do a pilot, let them!) … and …
  • How we want to buy.

Take friction out of the sales process. If they want to buy annually for a discount, let them. If they want some utility pricing (like Stripe or Twilio), let them.

Let them buy the way they are already used to buying 100 other SaaS apps

Continue reading "For a Saas startup, what is better: to bill clients annually or monthly? Why?"

SaaStr Podcasts for the Week with Lucidchart and Wrike — February 28, 2020


This post is by Deborah Findling from SaaStr


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Ep. 311: Karl Sun is the Founder & CEO @ Lucidchart, a visual workspace that combines diagramming, data visualization, and collaboration to accelerate understanding and drive innovation. To date, Karl has raised $114M with Lucidchart from some of the best in the business including K9 Ventures, Meritech, Iconiq, GV and Kickstart in Utah. As for Karl, prior to founding the company he spent 6 years at Google in some fascinating roles including Head of Patents, Head of Business Development in China and running Google’s energy investments. As a result of his success, Karl was recently announced as EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

Pssst 🗣 Loving our podcast content? Listen to the start of the episode for a promo code to our upcoming events! In Today’s Episode We Discuss:
  • How Karl made his way into the world of SaaS with the founding of Lucidchart having been Head of Business Development for Google in China and Head of Patents.
  • How does one know when we need to hire generalists vs specialists? How does this requirement change as the company scales? How does Karl fundamentally think about finding great talent and keeping top of funnel full? How does Karl think about working with recruiters? What works? What does not work?
  • Karl has been in every interview for every new hire for the first 6 years of the business, why? How does Karl think about doing this at scale? How does Karl structure the hiring process today? Why do they have a hiring committee? What does the process look like? How do they assess and test for culture?
  • How does Karl think about retaining agility and flexibility with scale? How does Karl maintain employee empowerment with the implementation of process? How does Karl think about the balance between creating accountability without a fear of failure? What are the challenges of this?  

Ep. 312: Starting a company can be daunting, exhausting, and expensive, but with the right focus and idea – extremely rewarding; take it from Andrew Filev, Founder and CEO of Wrike. In this session, he will outline the do’s and dont’s that he learned bootstrapping Wrike. Where it makes sense to invest your precious resources when to outsource, and how to save yourself money without cutting corners.

This episode is sponsored by Owl Labs.   SaaStr’s Founder’s Favorites Series features one of SaaStr’s best of the best sessions that you might have missed. This podcast is an excerpt from Andrew’s session at SaaStr Europa 2019.   If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here: Jason Lemkin
SaaStr
Harry Stebbings
Karl Sun
Andrew Filev Below, we’ve shared the transcript of Harry’s interview with Karl. Continue reading "SaaStr Podcasts for the Week with Lucidchart and Wrike — February 28, 2020"

To Have Great Support — All Of It Has to Be Great


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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The other day I had a whiplash moment as a customer of a Unicorn SaaS company.  I had a large problem with a piece of software with a lot of integrations in it, and it really wasn’t clear whose problem it was.  But one of the vendors stepped up and said they’d solve the problem.  They worked over the weekend and fixed it!  Beyond above and beyond. I became the world’s biggest super fan of this vendor.  I said put me on the website, make me a reference account, anything.  I became Mr NPS 100. And then something happen.  The fix … broke.  And things were sort of bad again. Under the adage of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, I went back to the vendor that did the fix and told them the fix didn’t work anymore.  After some research, they Continue reading "To Have Great Support — All Of It Has to Be Great"

How do you pull your SaaS competitor’s customers to your SaaS instead?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Q: How do you pull your SaaS competitor’s customers to your SaaS instead?
< p class="Box-sc-9env3-0 Text-jjrgda-0 QTextPara___StyledText-anoo6m-0 kvqEEv">You have to be where your competitors are. You have to show up.

Many startups try to avoid the places their larger competitors are. They avoid the same tradeshows. They don’t sponsor the same newsletters and services.

They try to stake out their own marketing white space.

While that’s a good idea, you also want to be exactly where your competitors are. Why?

  • 80%+ of customers will buy the top brand. But not 100%. Others will look for what else is out. What’s more innovative. What has a new solution to an old problem. And they will look where the top brand is. At the same events, the same podcasts, the same websites.
  • You often get another chance at the deals you lose — but you have to be remembered and present. When the competition screws up, Continue reading "How do you pull your SaaS competitor’s customers to your SaaS instead?"

Does valuation play into how likely anyone would want to acquire the business from the founders?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Q: Does valuation play into how likely anyone would want to acquire the business from the founders?
< p class="Box-sc-9env3-0 Text-jjrgda-0 QTextPara___StyledText-anoo6m-0 kvqEEv">There is no question “too high” of a valuation can discourage an acquisition. Acquirers will generally assume they have to pay more than the last round price to buy you, and often 2x-3x more:
  • Plaid at $5b was 2x the last round price.
  • Credit Karma at $7b was ~2x the last round price.
  • Salesforce just bought Vlocity for $1.2b, a smidge more than the last round price of $1b.

So yes, your valuation really becomes your floor price in many ways for an acquistion — in both bad ways (hard to get acquired for less than last round price) and good ways (a floor for negotiation, like Plaid, etc.).

So whatever you do, don’t raise a round at a higher price than you are willing to sell for!

But the bigger Continue reading "Does valuation play into how likely anyone would want to acquire the business from the founders?"

The Dow Jones drops nearly 1200 points as coronavirus fears batter stock markets


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from SaaS – TechCrunch


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The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped nearly 1200 points today to close at 25,766.64, marking the single worst week for the index since 2011. The Nasdaq stock market fell over 400 points.

Behind the collapse was a growing realization that COVID-19, the coronavirus strain sweeping across the globe, has indeed landed on U.S. shores and will likely have a much stronger effect on the economy than analysts and investors initially predicted. Morning trading showed that economists and investors were not assuaged by the reassurances from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who repeatedly indicated that the U.S. was well-prepared to meet the threat posed by the spreading virus.
It was only minutes after the press conference concluded that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement that the U.S. had identified its first case of community infection — when a person who Continue reading "The Dow Jones drops nearly 1200 points as coronavirus fears batter stock markets"

Is it a prerequisite to have a high IQ in order to succeed as a tech entrepreneur?


This post is by Jason Lemkin from SaaStr


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Q: Is it a prerequisite to have a high IQ in order to succeed as a tech entrepreneur?

 

It is a prerequisite to hire folks with a high IQ to success in software.

You probably need a wicked smart CTO, some incredible engineers, maybe an insanely smart head of product or marketing, etc.

But if you can recruit people smarter than you … which is a superpower … then that works, too.

It doesn’t really help as CEO to be the smartest person at your company.

View original question on quora The post Is it a prerequisite to have a high IQ in order to succeed as a tech entrepreneur? appeared first on SaaStr.

Two approaches to marketing messaging at odds


This post is by Team SaaStr from SaaStr


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By Shane Murphy-Reuter, Intercom SVP of Marketing Most marketers I know struggle over the same competing messaging challenges: to what degree should we focus our messaging on the function of what our product can do, versus the emotion of how it makes me feel when I use it? The benefits of both approaches are clear. We’re all human, so if brands can tap into a higher, more emotional meaning for us, we reward that with loyalty. Emotional marketing cuts through the noise and makes me care. However, emotional messaging can only get you so far. At some point, if you want someone to buy your $100k software, you need to convince them of the function of your product. Most tech companies are founded by technical people who lean towards communicating the functional, and miss the emotional “why.” So how do you create campaigns that have both emotional and functional Continue reading "Two approaches to marketing messaging at odds"