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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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Now displaying: March, 2017
Mar 31, 2017

Mat Ellis is the Founder & CEO @ Cloudability, the startup that provides cloud cost efficiency at scale and they have raised close to $40m in VC funding including from our good friends at Foundry Group and Data Collective. As for Mat, prior to Cloudability, Mat held executive positions with four startups, and key technology roles at Frito-Lay, Pepsi Cola and Goldman Sachs and he currently sits on the boards of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network and the Technology Association of Oregon.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Mat make the move from the UK to SaaS startup founder in Portland, Oregon?
  • How has Mat seen elements change within the business when moving through the stages of company growth? What were the challenges when going through these strategic inflection points?
  • At present, many SaaS founders are looking to hire COOs, what does Mat believe about this hire? When is the right time to make the hire? What should one look for in their first COO?
  • How does Mat assess the balance of sustainability and growth? How does Mat balance between this tough line? What are the inherent challenges?
  • What are Mat’s thought on culture maintenance when startup move into hypergrowth? What is core to retain this startup culture with the scaling through stages?

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

Mat Ellis

Mar 27, 2017

Peter Gassner is the Founder & CEO @ Veeva Systems, the industry cloud for life science systems. With just $4m in capital raised, Peter has taken Veeva to almost $500m in ARR and a prominent force in the rising tide of enterprise SaaS. As for Peter, prior to Veeva, Peter was a Senior Vice President of Technology at Salesforce where he experienced the successful IPO of the company and their rise into the most successful SaaS platform in the industry. Before Salesforce, Peter was with PeopleSoft for 9 years where he led a team of 450 professionals to support PeopleSoft’s technology platform. I do also want to say a big thank you to Jason Lemkin for the intro to Peter today without which the episode would not have been possible.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Peter make the move from Salesforce to founding one of the leaders in SaaS, Veeva?
  • Why did Peter not want to be CEO in the beginning? What was the catalyst for his changing mindset? How has view of CEOship evolved over the Veeva journey?
  • How does Peter assess the attractiveness of a market? What are the 2 questions Peter asks before going into a market? Is it wrong to move into smaller adjacent markets?
  • How does Peter assess the suitability of potential board members? What does he mean when he says all founders should use the ‘grocery store rule’?  
  • What is required to close 7 figure enterprise deals? How can sales teams look to build this relationship with large co’s in a natural and non-transactional way?

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

Mar 24, 2017

Daniel Ruch is the Founder and CEO @ Rocketrip, the startup that reduces travel spend by rewarding employees to save. They have backing from some incredible investors including the likes of Bessemer Venture Partners, Canaan Partners and Y Combinator. Prior to Rocketrip, Dan was a VP in Europe for Tremor Video and before that he held several director and managerial level positions at TACODA until TACODA’s sale to AOL.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Dan make his way into the world of SaaS and come to found Rocketrip?
  • How important is accountability for the founder and CEO? How do you convey this commitment and responsibility to the team? Are there any downsides?
  • At what stage does Dan believe the generalist transitions to the specialist? How has Dan seen his team evolve from stage to stage? What have been the challenges within each stage?
  • How does Dan approach hiring strategy? How does he look to determine people/company fit? Dan has said before that he ‘would not hire without a track record’, why is this?  
  • How does Dan view internal budgets? What are the fundamentals to cost saving within the business? How does Dan think one can cut cost without lowering morale?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What is Dan’s fave SaaS reading material?
  2. What does Dan know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  3. Carrot or stick, what does Dan prefer to implement?

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

Dan Ruch

Mar 20, 2017

Alex Rosen is a Managing Director with IDG Ventures where he focuses on investments in cloud infrastructure, SaaS applications, ad tech, and consumer marketplaces. Alex currently serves as board director at Chubbies, Krux, MindMeld, Minted, Smartling, Tempered Networks, and Uplift. He also led IDG Ventures’ investments in multiple companies including Appboy, Datanyze, Indiegogo, Nuzzel, The League and many more incredible companies. Previously, he was a General Partner at Sprout Group, where he was head of the Internet and Software group. Huge thanks to the team @ Sapphire Ventures for the intro to Alex today.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Alex make his way into the world of SaaS investing and come to be Managing Director @ IDG?
  • SaaS businesses can be massively affected by changes in a few very small data points. So what would you say is one of the single most important metric points?
  • What is a booking?  How should we break it down into the 3 different MRRs? What element of those metrics do you want to see growing?
  • How important a role does unit economics play? What are the couple of forms: customer + sales person? How much ARR should a good sales rep add to in ARR in relation to comp?
  • What is negative churn? How can you take a customer you have already sold and make more money from them? Upsell or cross-sell? What does this to the pricing axis? Why do you want more than 1 axis?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Alex know now that he wishes he had known in the beginning?
  2. What are the greenfield opportunities in SaaS for Alex?
  3. What is Alex’s fave SaaS reading material?

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

Alex Rosen

Mar 17, 2017

Nadim Hossain is the Founder and CEO @ BrightFunnel, the startup that shows marketing true impact on revenue. They are backed by many past guests of the show including Matt Garratt @ Salesforce Ventures, Tim Kopp, and James Cham @ Bloomberg Beta. As for Nadim, prior to founding BrightFunnel, Nadim was VP of Marketing and Sales Development at PowerReviews, paving the way to a $170M exit. He was also a product marketing executive at Salesforce.com during their hyper-growth years.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Nadim make his way into the world of SaaS and come to found BrightFunnel?
  • To what extent is marketing an art or a science in today’s data driven world? How can marketers use and analyse data to drive decision making?
  • How can founders determine which channels are a must have as opposed to a nice to have? What metrics should determine this? Does brand building not count in the revenue driven world today?
  • Nadim has previously said, ‘marketing is eating sales’. What does Nadim mean by this? How does Nadim evaluate the expansion of the marketing funnel?
  • What are the biggest mistakes B2B companies make in today’s environment? How can they rectify this and sustain a brand that will deliver for the long term?

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

Nadim Hossain

Mar 13, 2017

Michael Pryor is Co-Founder & CEO @ Trello, now Head of Product with Trello at Atlassian following their recent acquisition. For those that do not know, Trello lets you work more collaboratively and get more done. Prior to the acquisition they raised from some of the best in the business including the likes of Spark Capital, Index Ventures and Box Group. Michael is also a board member at StackOverflow.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Michael make his way into the world of startups and come to found Trello?
  • What does Michael believe is fundamental to making a market transition successfully? What were the challenges of the early market transition with Trello?
  • What does Michael believe are the 3 key elements that make a great CEO? How does Michael approach the element of cash burn? Does Michael agree for the need of sustainability within growth?
  • How does Michael look to continually recruit the best talent? What are the secrets to running a 60% remote workforce so efficiently?
  • How did the Atlassian deal come about? What was the thought process behind the sales vs raise more venture funding? How did Michael broach the process with regards to transparency within the team?

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

Michael Pryor

Mar 10, 2017

Matin Movasatte is the Founder and CEO @ Heap. the startup that provides analytics infrastructure to automate away the annoying parts of user analytics. They have raised funding from some of the best in the business including our friends and former guests of The Twenty Minute VC including Pejman Nozad, Alexis and Garry @ Initialized, Josh Reeves at Gusto, Redpoint and more incredible investors. As for Matin, prior to Heap Matin was a product manager at Facebook and spent time at both Google and Mozilla. I would like to say a big thank you to Jason Lemkin for the intro today.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Matin make his way into the world of SaaS having been at Facebook and Google?
  • What were Matin’s biggest takeaways from seeing how Facebook operate? What were the pros and cons of their operations? How has this influenced how he builds Heap today?
  • Why does Matin believe that you should always sell your product before it is done being built? What benefits does this have in terms of pricing and iteration? What are the dangers of asking for payment upfront?
  • Why does Matin think it is crucial to hire your customer success team before your sales team? How do customer success drive customer acquisition?
  • What does Matin mean when he says that “product organisation fit” is so important? How can startups determine the fit? What can be done to optimise this?

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

Matin Movasatte

Mar 6, 2017

Didier Elzinga is the Founder & CEO @ CultureAmp, the world’s most powerful employee feedback and analytics platform. They have raised funding from some of the best in the business including the likes of Index Ventures, our friends at Felicis Ventures and Blackbird Ventures. As for Didier, he previously co-founded technical academy award winning Rising Sun Research and is non-executive director at Tourism Australia, the Atlassian Foundation and Slingsby Theatre. I also have to say a huge thank you to Ilya @ Index and Niki @ Blackbird for the intro, without which the show would not have been possible.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Didier make his way into the world of SaaS? What was the a-ha moment for him with CultureAmp?
  • What were Didier’s biggest takeaways from watching Scott and Mike build Atlassian? How did that affect and alter how he structured CultureAmp?
  • How does Didier evaluate product market fit? What are the signs? What metrics determine whether you have it or you do not? Why did Didier decide to bootstrap until $1m ARR?
  • Why does Didier believe there is so little innovation in the go to market strategies of today? What would he like to see change and where does he see opportunity?
  • Why does Didier not believe in paying sales teams commission? How does this affect his ability to hire? How does this affect the internal compensation structure of the firm?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. Didier’s Fave SaaS resource?
  2. What does Didier know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  3. What has been the most challenging element of the CultureAmp journey?

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

Didier Elzinga

Mar 3, 2017

Fayez Mohamood is the Founder and CEO @ Bluecore, the company that is transforming the way eCommerce marketers use data and automation to communicate with customers. They have raised nearly $30m in funding from some of the best in the business and past guests of the show including the teams from FirstMark Capital and Felicis Ventures just to name a few. As a result they have enjoyed some rapid scaling having seen the team grow from 50 to over 100 in just 10 months. As for Fayez, prior to Bluecore he was Head of Product at BigDoor and before that he founded, Gameday Tycoon, a fantasy sports game that runs on Facebook.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Fayez make his way from fantasy sports game to successful SaaS founder with Bluecore?
  • To what extent does Fayez consider B2B marketing an art or a science with the rise of data? How can SaaS startups use data to drive conversion and upsell? What metrics does Fayez hone in on?
  • What 2 methods does Fayez use to harmonise the sales and marketing team? How can these teams be structured to ensure for a clear communication channel and culture of transparency?
  • With the team growing from 30 to over 100, what does the hiring process look like for Fayez? How has this altered and developed over time? What have been the big lessons in the rapid scaling of the team?
  • How does Fayez view efficiency within organisational structures? What must founders watch out for in the scaling process of their companies?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. Advantages and disadvantages of being a SaaS firm in the US?
  2. Fayez’s fave SaaS reading material?
  3. What does Fayez know now that he wishes he had known when he started?

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

Fayez Mohamood

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