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The Official Saastr Podcast: SaaS | Founders | Investors

The Official Saastr Podcast is the latest and greatest from the world of Saastr, interviewing the most prominent operators and investors to discover their tips, tactics and strategies to attain success in the fiercely competitive world of SaaS. On the side of the operators, we centre around getting from $0 to $100m ARR faster, what it takes to scale successfully and what are the core elements of hiring. As for the investors, we learn what metrics they hone in on when examining SaaS business, what type of metrics excites them and what they look for in SaaS founders.
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The Official Saastr Podcast: SaaS | Founders | Investors
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Now displaying: November, 2016
Nov 28, 2016

Kathryn Minshew is the Founder & CEO @ The Muse, named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Media and Inc.’s 15 Women to Watch in Tech. Before founding The Muse, Kathryn worked on vaccines in Rwanda and Malawi with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and was previously at McKinsey. Kathryn has spoken at MIT and Harvard, appeared on The TODAY Show and CNN, and contributes on career and entrepreneurship to the Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Kathryn came to found The Muse? What was the a-ha moment for her?
  • Why did Kathryn introduce a SaaS business model into the traditionally, transactional model of recruiting? What were the benefits and how did it alter her go to market?
  • With no prior sales experience, how did Kathryn find the experience of running the sales team? What were the core takeaways? At what stage should the founder stop selling the product and hire a sales team?
  • Why does Kathryn believe you have to make the customer feel slightly uncomfortable to be successful? What did Kathryn look for in her initial sales hires? Why did Kathryn hire 3 reps to start with and not 2, as usually suggested?
  • How does Kathryn approach the customer success field at The Muse? When did Kathryn hire her first CS rep? What is Kathryn’s take on CS being involved in the sales process?
60 Second SaaStr
  1. What does Kathryn know now that she wishes she had known when she started?
  2. Biggest mistake SaaS companies are enacting with their recruiting process?
  3. Productivity tips and hacks?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Kathryn Minshew

Nov 25, 2016

Michael Sharkey is CEO & Co-Founder of Autopilot, the startup that allows you to automate customer journeys as simply as drawing on a whiteboard. Autopilot has funding from some of the best investors both in Australia and in SaaS with backing from the likes of Salesforce Ventures and Blackbird Ventures. Prior to founding Autopilot with his two brothers, Michael joined his brother Chris to grow start-up Stayz into a top Australian rental booking site which was acquired by FairFax Digital in 2006 and again by HomeAway for $225M in 2013. Michael also co-founded digital marketing agency Sharkey Media where he helped grow Australian startups. I would love to say a huge thank you to Matt Garratt @ Salesforce Ventures for the intro to Michael today.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Michael come to co-found Autopilot with his two brothers? What was the a-ha moment for him?
  • Why did Michael choose a self service model with Autopilot? How does this model affect their CAC? How does this model alter the outbound marketing strategy?
  • How does Michael approach the dilemma of variable or fixed pricing? Has Michael found that the lack of reliability around variable pricing causes customers concern?
  • With Michael interest in unit economics, why are we seeing many SaaS startups, Marketo and Eloqua, exiting with losses? What can founders do to adopt the unit economics first mindset? How does this attitude to unit economics affect attitudes to aggressive growth?
  • Michael focuses on 100% net retention, what does that process and strategy look like in practice? How does this commitment to 100% retention affect Michael’s management style and work processes?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. Biggest mentor to Michael and how it came about?
  2. What does Michael know now that he wishes he had known in the beginning?
  3. The biggest mistakes SaaS companies make with their email marketing processes?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Michael Sharkey

Nov 21, 2016

Robert Siegel is a Partner at XSeed Capital, one of the leading seed funds in the valley. At XSeed, Rob specialises on, you guessed it, all things from the wonderful world of SaaS and he sits on the Board of Directors of Cape Productions and Caller Zen. Robert is currently on the faculty at the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he teaches an array of topics that he led to His role as the Co-President Emeritus of Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs. Prior to joining XSeed, Robert was General Manager of the Video and Software Solutions division for GE Security, with annual revenues of $350 million. Before that, Robert was Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Weave Innovations Inc. (acquired by Kodak). If that was not enough Robert also served in various management roles at Intel Corporation, including an executive position in their Corporate Business Development division, in which he invested capital in startups that were strategically aligned with Intel’s vision. I would also like to say a huge thanks to Tien @ Zuora for the intro to Robert today.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Robert make his way into the world of SaaS? What was it about XSeed that made him want to make the transition from operations to VC?
  • We have seen many big SaaS exits in the last year with Marketo and Nutanix, does Robert think the time for big SaaS exits has come and gone? Have we moved to a world of consolidation?
  • How do companies both large and small need to react to this shift on a strategic level? How does this affect the internal infrastructure of larger companies?
  • For smaller startups, how should their attitude to competition change? How does this change Robert’s search process as an investor? How can smaller startups make themselves attractive acquisition targets?
  • How does Rob’s view of consolidation affect his excitement for mega returns in SaaS? How does it impact how Rob approaches valuation? How does this change Rob’s expectations of unit economics?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. Strategic investors: Good or Bad?
  2. What does Rob know now that he wishes he had known when he started?
  3. Fave SaaS resource or reading material?
  4. Greenfield opportunity in SaaS?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Robert Siegel

Nov 18, 2016

David Thompson is CMO at Domo, the company that allows customers to turn data into opportunities. David is a highly accomplished branding expert and recognized leader in demand generation, having served as longtime CMO of WebEx, where he named the company, helped create the cloud-based conferencing category and positioned the company for its IPO and subsequent buyout by Cisco. He also co-founded and served as chief executive officer of Genius.com, a leading SaaS marketing automation company, and he launched the Sales 2.0 Conference.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did David make his way into the world of tech and SaaS pre-bubble? How did the bubble affect how David approached company building going forward?
  • What should all SaaS startups consider pre spending big on marketing? What should their core gating factors be? Is it always right to have an internal marketing team?
  • What are the must haves and the nice to haves in B2B marketing? Why is Facebook a must have or business branding today?
  • How can businesses accurately measure the success of their marketing and branding efforts? Is it all about revenue or is there external reputation metrics to consider?
  • On the whole, would David consider successful B2B branding closer to consumer or closer to enterprise marketing? What do the best in the enterprise class do?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What are David’s favourite marketing tools?
  2. If David could recommend one book to SaaS founders what would it be?
  3. With the martech explosion: are we entering a world of consolidation?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

David Thompson

Nov 14, 2016

Daniel Saks is the Co-CEO of AppDirect, which he founded in 2009. AppDirect is the leading commerce platform for selling cloud services and at the firm, Daniel plays a key role in the growth and development of AppDirect, from attracting a leading team, to nurturing relationships with customers and partners. AppDirect has backing from some of the leading investors in the world including the likes of Foundry Group and J.P. Morgan. Prior to AppDirect, Daniel worked at Viant Capital, a boutique tech investment bank.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Daniel make the move from family business to SaaS founder? How did he get the business off the ground in the early days?
  • From working in his family business, what did Daniel observe about the buying patterns of businesses? What makes Daniel believe humans like to buy from humans?
  • Is it a problem that many of today’s software vendors lean on direct sales? What are the first steps to create a multi-channel approach? What does it take to support indirect sales channels such as affiliates and resellers?
  • What is Daniel’s 4 Step Playbook for optimising the distribution of software? What does it take to move past the early adopter audience into the hands of the wider market?
  • Why does Daniel believe that the promise of SaaS is yet to be fully realised? What excites Daniel with the rise of the cloud and the movement away from on-premise?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. When is the right time to hire your first customer success rep?
  2. What does Daniel know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  3. Biggest challenge in the AppDirect journey and how Daniel overcame it?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Daniel Saks

Nov 11, 2016

Part 2 with David Skok, now David is a serial entrepreneur turned VC at Matrix Partners. He founded four companies: Skok Systems, Corporate Software Europe, Watermark Software, and SilverStream Software and did one turnaround with Xionics. Three of the companies he founded went public and one was acquired. In 2001 David joined Matrix Partners, who had backed his last two startups, as a General Partner. David’s successful exits as an investor at Matrix include: HubSpot, JBoss, AppIQ, Tabblo, Netezza, Diligent Technologies, CloudSwitch, TribeHR, GrabCAD, OpenSpan and Enservio. David currently serves on the boards of Atomist, CloudBees, Digium, Meteor, Namely HR, Salsify, and Zaius. You can also find David’s amazing blog here! Huge thanks to Hardi Meybaum and Jason Lemkin for the intro to David today.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • What is negative churn? Why is it fundamental for SaaS startups to have a strong grasp of their negative churn?
  • How does negative churn affect the pricing axis? What can startups do if they have no alternative product to upsell to?
  • To what extent should founders be willing to engage in customisation in order to upsell a product? What are the dangers? What should founders be mindful of?
  • To what extent is up sell the responsibility of customer success? Should they have a hand in the sales process? What are the dangers and concerns?
  • How important is it for a startup to track their champion with the customer company? Does it matter if your champion leaves? What should you do if so?
60 Second SaaStr

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

David Skok

Nov 7, 2016

David Skok is a serial entrepreneur turned VC at Matrix Partners. He founded four companies: Skok Systems, Corporate Software Europe, Watermark Software, and SilverStream Software and did one turnaround with Xionics. Three of the companies he founded went public and one was acquired. In 2001 David joined Matrix Partners, who had backed his last two startups, as a General Partner. David’s successful exits as an investor at Matrix include: HubSpot, JBoss, AppIQ, Tabblo, Netezza, Diligent Technologies, CloudSwitch, TribeHR, GrabCAD, OpenSpan and Enservio. David currently serves on the boards of Atomist, CloudBees, Digium, Meteor, Namely HR, Salsify, and Zaius. You can also find David’s amazing blog here! Huge thanks to Hardi Meybaum and Jason Lemkin for the intro to David today.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did David make his way into the world of SaaS? What was it about Matrix that made him want to make the transition from operations to VC?
  • Why are metrics so important? What role do they play in an organisation? How do good founders respond to questions on not achieving sales targets?
  • Why are SaaS businesses immune from being measured on standard financials like GAP financials? What metrics in SaaS really determine the trajectory of the business?
  • How can founders examine unit economics to determine whether they have a sustainable SaaS business?
  • How does David address sales rep productivity? How much in ARR should they be booking in relation to their annual comp package?
60 Second SaaStr

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

David Skok

Nov 4, 2016

Taro Fukuyama is Founder & CEO @ AnyPerk. Born and raised in Tokyo, Taro is a Y Combinator graduate with AnyPerk and part of the first Japanese team ever to be admitted to YC. He was also named one of Business Insider’s “Silicon Valley 100 Coolest People in Tech Right Now.”Fun fact, Taro co-founded AnyPerk in a Taco Bell car park! What a story! They also have investment from the likes of DCM, YC, Gary Vaynerchuk, previous SaaStr guest Nick Mehta and many more incredible people. I would also like to say a huge thanks to Jason lemkin for the intro to Taro today.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Taro make his way to San Francisco and come to found AnyPerk?
  • As a first time founder, how did Taro look to build out the management team? What were the inherent challenges and what did Taro look for in his core executive?
  • What are the 6 questions that will determine whether you have clarity in your organisation? Why is clarity so important to unify the team? What does this clarity allow?
  • What are the 5 steps to building a cohesive team? How can CEOs be both vulnerable and authoritative as a leader?
  • How should founders approach offsites? What is the necessary preparation? How should they be structured for optimal productivity? What can be done to ensure they produce meaningful outcomes?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. Favourite SaaS reading material?
  2. What does Taro know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  3. The biggest mistake companies make with employee happiness?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin

Harry Stebbings

SaaStr

Taro Fukuyama

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