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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: December, 2017
Dec 18, 2017

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!

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?
  • Metrics: 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? 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?
  • Negative Churn: 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?
  • Upsell: 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 upsell 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?

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

Dec 11, 2017

Des Traynor is the Co-Founder, Chief Strategy Officer and VP of Marketing at Intercom, one of the world’s hottest startups that simply put, makes communicating with customers easy and efficient. They have raised over $115m in funding from some of the world’s leading investors including Social Capital, Index Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and then titans of industry with Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and the Collison brothers at Stripe. Prior to Intercom, Des previously co-founded Exceptional (now a part of Rackspace), and prior was a UX designer for web applications.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Des made his way from founding consultancy web design businesses in Ireland to founding SaaS superstar, Intercom, with Eoghan and moving to San Francisco?
  • Why does Des believe that “brand is the most overlooked element for new startups”? How must founders think differently when constructing their brand for a single product vs multi-product company? What is the right way to think about this brand architecture?
  • How involved should customers be in the development of product roadmap? Where are the nuances and challenges to this? When is the right time to start thinking about releasing a second product? What is the right and the wrong way for this to be marketed?
  • What does Des mean when he says, “there is an inverse correlation between quality and market size”? How should founders think about selling to both SMB and enterprise? How do their buying psychology and implementation process differ?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. When I say success, who is the first person that comes to Des’ mind?
  2. Where do most startups go wrong with their branding?
  3. What does Des know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?

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

Des Traynor

Dec 4, 2017

Greg Sands is the Founder & Managing Partner @ Costanoa Ventures, one of the leading early stage enterprise funds on the West Coast with their latest $175m fund, raised earlier this year. At Costanoa, Greg has made investments in the likes of Intacct (acquired by Sage for $800m), Quizlet, DemandBase and previous guest, Grovo, just to name a few. Prior to founding Costanoa, Greg was a Managing Director at Sutter Hill, where he was an early investor in the likes of Feedburner, AllBusiness, and Return Path. Before Sutter Hill, Greg was on the other side of the table as the first hire at Netscape after its founding engineering team. As Netscape’s 1st Product Manager, Greg wrote the initial business plan, coined the name Netscape, and created the SuiteSpot Business Unit, which he grew from zero to $150m in revenue. He also served as Manager of Business Development at Cisco where he architected a global channel management plan.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Greg make his way into the world of SaaS as the first non-engineering hire at Netscape and then make his way into the world of SaaS investing, subsequently?  
  • Why does Greg completely disagree with the hailed notion of, “The Rule of 40”? Why does Greg believe it has achieved such status and recognition in market today? Where are the large nuances? If not the rule of 40, what metrics and benchmarks should early stage SaaS founders be focussing on?
  • If we disregard “The Rule of 40”, how does that impact the emphasis that should be placed on profitability? Tom Tunguz stated on the show, ““growth is the largest determinant of value at IPO, not profitability”. What are Greg’s thoughts on this?
  • In that scaling process, Greg has said to me before, “the first hire in every function should be a Swiss army knife hire and most people go wrong”. What does Greg mean when he says a Swiss Army Knife, how does that change in marketing vs sales? Where do most people go wrong within this?
  • How does Greg define the different phases of product market fit? Why does Greg advocate that all founders approach product market fit with a “crawl, walk, run” approach? What examples does Greg have where this has worked and what specifically about this allowed it to work so well?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. Logos or expansion?
  2. Pros and cons of usage based pricing?
  3. What does Greg know now that he wishes he had known in the beginning?

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 Sands

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