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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: October, 2017
Oct 30, 2017

Jack Altman is the Founder & CEO of Lattice, the #1 performance management solution for growing companies.They have raised close to $10m in funding from some of our favourites in industry including the likes of Miles Grimshaw @ Thrive, Khosla Ventures, Elad Gil, Alexis Ohanian and YC’s Daniel Gross. Prior to founding Lattice, Jack was the Head of Business Development @ Teespring where he saw the firm move into hyper scaling. Jack has also build an incredible angel portfolio including the likes of Gusto, OpenDoor, Instacart, Zenefits and Soylent.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Jack made his way from seeing the hypergrowth of Teespring to starting Lattice?
  • What does Jack identify as the 2 core challenges to rapid scaling in SaaS? Does Jack agree with Chris Caren in stating you have to hire for 3-4 years ahead of the role? How does Jack see the role and structure of communication change with the scaling of a firm?
  • How did the early days of selling look with Lattice? How did Jack incorporate the team into his learnings and development within the world of SaaS? What should founders look for in the first sales hire? How does that profile change with the scaling?
  • Why does Jack believe that each and every department should have their own North Star as well as a company North Star? Does Jack concur with Eric Ries’ believe that every department must also have their own budget?
  • In terms of metrics, how does Jack prioritise within the metric stack? What is most important for Jack to focus on? How has Jack seen this change with time? Does Jack agree with Shan Sinha @ Highfive that it is “always about payback”?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. Jack’s Favourite SaaS reading material?
  2. What does Jack know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  3. How much time does Jack spend talking to customers?

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

Jack Altman

Oct 23, 2017

Rajeev Batra is a Partner at Mayfield, a firm that has championed bold entrepreneurs since 1969. Rajeev’s investments at Mayfield include the likes of Crunchbase, SmartRecruiters, Marketo (IPO then taken private by Vista Equity), ServiceMax (acquired by GE Digital) and more incredible companies. Prior to Mayfield, Rajeev was at Mobius (Softbank) Venture Capital and Austin Ventures. Before making the move into VC, Rajeev was on the operational side as an entrepreneur and executive with three of the companies he worked with going public and later being acquired, including the very notable Siebel Systems.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Rajeev made the transition from successful operator with 3 IPOs under his belt to investing in the next generation of enterprise companies with Mayfield?
  • What does Rajeev mean when he says “startups do not die of starvation, they die of indigestion”? How does this realisation affect Rajeev’s approach to customer profiling and segmenting customers?
  • Why does Rajeev believe that “early product market fit can be misleading”? How does Rajeev look to provide context and action from numbers and analytics in the early days?
  • How does Rajeev feel that founders should approach gross margin from the early days? How should this relationship and thought process towards gross margin change over time?
  • Why does Rajeev believe that retention is the number 1 metric for SaaS founders to focus on? In the stack of metrics, how does this compare to gross margin, CAC/LTV and payback period?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. Enterprise investing is spreadsheet investing: True or false?
  2. How does Mayfield use an internal budget to align themselves to entrepreneurs?
  3. What does Rajeev mean when he says “I look for 2 act opportunities”?

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

Rajeev Batra

Oct 16, 2017

Shan Sinha is the Founder & CEO @ 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:

  • How Shan made his way from being one of the foundations of Google Drive to changing the world of video conferencing with Highfive?
  • As a successful second time founder, how has Shan’s thesis around customer success changed? When is the right time to hire your first CS personnel? What profile should those first CS hires have? How does this vary to differing profiles in the scaling journey?
  • Logos or expansion? What does Shan believe is crucial in the early days of SaaS scaling? What metric is the true determinant of whether a customer is attaining consistent value from your product?
  • Why does Shan believe that not everything has to scale from Day 1? What are the benefits of implementing a model that is unable to scale? What does this show and teach the startup? How does Shan think about capturing the perfect customer experience?
  • Why does Shan believe that payback period is the single most important metric for SaaS startups? How does Shan think about payback and margins when selling to the traditionally smaller ACV marker of SMB? What are the challenges in doing so?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. When is a stretch VP a stretch too far?
  2. What does Shan know now that he wishes had known when he started Highfive?
  3. Challenges of doing both hardware and software simultaneously?

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

Shan Sinha

Oct 9, 2017

Chris Caren is the CEO @ Turnitin, the company revolutionising the experience of writing to learn with backing from the likes of IVP, Norwest Venture Partners and GIC. Chris has scaled the company to serve over 25m students and 2m teachers across 15,000 institutions. Prior to joining Turnitin in 2009, Chris spent 4 years with Microsoft as a General Manager and before that 3 years at Business Objects as a VP of Product Marketing.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Chris made his way into the world of SaaS and came to be CEO @ Turnitin?
  • What were Chris’ biggest takeaways from watching both Business Objects and Microsoft as they scaled into hyper growth mode? What were his big lessons in management from Bernard Liautaud? What marketing takeaways did he have from working with Dave Kellogg?
  • Why does Chris believe management team upgrade is the most important role a CEO can perform? What are the core characteristics that upgrade candidates must have for them to be an attractive hire? What culture must be built into the fibre of the leadership team?
  • How does Chris look to manage internal discontent when bringing in external managers? How does Chris look to involve internal candidates for the role in the search for their next boss? What are the benefits of this?   
  • When is a stretch VP a stretch too far? What are the signs of potential strain? How does the team convey this? Once identified, what is the right post-mortem chain to take place?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What should founders consider before selling their company?
  2. What does Chris know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  3. What is Chris’ favourite SaaS reading material and why?

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

Oct 2, 2017

Greg Schott is the Chairman and CEO @ Mulesoft, provider of the leading platform for building application networks. They have raised over $250m in funding from some of the best investors in the world including NEA and Lightspeed and then some of the largest companies of the day in Cisco, Salesforce and SAP. Greg joined Mulesoft in 2009 when the company only had 20 employees, over the last 8 years Greg has scaled the team to over 1,000 today in 18 countries. A real software industry veteran with over 20 years of experience building and leading high growth technology companies from early stage through IPO.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Greg made his way into the world of SaaS and came to be CEO @ Mulesoft?
  • Greg has seen Mulesoft scale from 20 to 1,000 employees today, what have been the biggest challenges in scaling the team? Where are the breaking points? What are the signs of those impending breaking points? How does that show through the team behaviour?
  • Where do most companies go wrong in the hiring process? What is the right and wrong way to respond when a bad hire has been made? How long is long enough to determine whether a bad hire is a bad hire? Does Greg agree with the hire fast, fire fast thesis?
  • If Greg could go back to 2009 when he joined the firm with 20 employees, what would Greg change about the way he approached hiring? What hiring advice would Greg give to an early stage SaaS company?   
  • How does Greg think about scaling sales teams? How does Greg view specialisation in the scaling of sales? When is the right time? What should CEO’s look for in their sales leaders? How does that alter at different points in the journey?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. How have things changed since IPO?
  2. When is the right time to expand product line and enter new segments?
  3. Biggest challenge with Mulesoft today?
  4. Which SaaS CEO does Greg most admire and why?

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

Greg Schott

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