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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: August, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

Ed Sim is the Founder & General Partner @ Boldstart Ventures, one of the leading players in early stage SaaS investing. Their MO, to be a first check VC for enterprise founders and they have backed the likes of GoToMeeting (acq by Citrix), LivePerson (IPO, NASDAQ), Divide (acq by Google), Kustomer, Snyk and BigID just to name a few. Ed is also a cofounder of MState, a growth lab for enterprise blockchain in partnership with IBM. Ed is also a board director/observer of Kustomer, Hypr Biometric, Snyk, BigID, Fortress IQ, Wallaroo Labs and Manifold. If that wasn’t enough, Ed is also the writer behind BeyondVC, a must read blog in the world of SaaS.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Ed made his way into the world of VC from one very meaningful high school lecture that changed his life and career path?
  • What does Ed mean when he says “founders should not sell their product to enterprise in the early days”. Starting from the ground up, what can founders do to begin that relationship building process with enterprise buyers and CIOs? What can a startup do to establish that trust in the mind of large buyers? How much of a role does VC backing provide in comforting enterprise buyers?
  • What would Ed advise founders contemplating the debate of going SMB up to enterprise or enterprise to SMB? What role should product play in this decision-making process? What are the leading indicators in testing the product that founders should observe for and guide their direction? Where does Ed most often see founders make mistakes here?  
  • How does Ed think about discounting? Would he agree with a previous guest that “discounting is now table stakes”? Rather than the financial element, what does Ed believe the founder should really be looking to get from the buyer in terms of commitment? How does Ed approach and assess pilots? To what extent should they be free or paid? What can be done to set the benchmarks for success and ensure closing?

Ed’s 60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Ed know now that he wishes he had known in the beginning?
  2. Quality or quantity of logos?
  3. What would Ed most like to change in the world of 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

Ed Sim

Aug 20, 2018

Craig Walker is the Founder & CEO @ Dialpad, the startup that provides a business phone system for the modern workplace. To date, Craig has raised over $120m in VC funding with Dialpad from some of the best in the business including Iconiq, Andreesen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Felicis and Bill Marris’s Section 32. Prior to Dialpad, Craig was an EiR @ Google Ventures and founded and product managed Google Voice. Before that Craig founded Grand Central Communications, a personal communications startup that was acquired by Google. Finally prior to that, Craig enjoyed roles in the world of VC as General Partner @ Sterling Payot Capital and Founder & Senior Director of Yahoo Voice.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Craig made his way into the world of SaaS following time as both a GP in the world of venture and then as the creator of what would become Google Voice?
  • Why does Craig think go-to-market is the most challenging element of being a CEO? How does Craig think about when is the right time to go large on go-to-market? Where does Craig believe most founders make mistakes here?
  • How does Craig look to balance aggressive scaling of team with the maintaining of early company culture? What are the foundations to doing this successfully? How does Craig approach the element of hiring external talent vs promotion from within? How does Craig think about managing the internal discontent if hiring an external candidate?  
  • How does Craig assess the effectiveness of trials in attracting large enterprises? What are the parameters that must be set for a trial, before it is agreed? What must founders learn to say no to when it comes to trials? How does Craig approach discounting? Why does Craig argue if your client asks for aggressive discounts, you have not explained your core USPs successfully?    

Craig’s 60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Craig knows now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. When I say success in SaaS, who does Craig first think to and why?
  3. Quality or quantity of logos 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

Craig Walker

Aug 13, 2018

Fouad ElNaggar is the Founder & CEO @ Sapho, the only employee experience portal designed for the digital workforce. To date, Ray has raised over $27m in funding with Sapho from some real favourites of ours including Ray @ Caffeinated, Felicis, Uncork, Bloomberg Beta, Clark Landry and Howard Lindzon @ Social Leverage, just to name a few. Prior to founding Sapho, Fouad was the Chief Strategy Officer at CBS Interactive overseeing strategy, operations, partnerships, and M&A. At CBSi, Fouad structured deals with partners such as Yahoo, IAC, and Twitch and acquired premium brands such as TV Guide and Giant Bomb. Prior to CBSi, Fouad was a VC at Redpoint Ventures overseeing the firm’s LA office and helping establish a dedicated fund in Brazil. Fouad has previously founded three venture-backed companies – Marketing Technology Solutions (acquired), Liquid Light (acquired), and Hark.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Fouad made his way from the world of VC to the world of CBS and media to founding SaaS companies being a serial SaaS founder with his 4th company, Sapho?
  • What does Fouad mean when he says the role of the CEO is to be an “inspirational asshole”? Why is this role so crucial and how is it embodied both in the approach to inspiring a team and driving goals and decision-making? How does Fouad think about structuring decision-making internally? Where do so many go wrong in implementing a decision-making process?
  • Why is Fouad a believer that “it is about coaching and promoting rather than signal hiring”? What does Fouad really interpret as signal hiring? When does signal hiring work well? How does Fouad determine when a stretch VP is a stretch too far? What are the leading indicators? Does Fouad agree with Mariam Naficy that rotation of function is key to internal upscaling?
  • What does Fouad believe are the 2 fundamental benefits of “being old” in SaaS? How would Fouad respond to the suggestion that the rate of decay on experience has never been greater with Moore’s law effect on technology? Applied to hiring, how does Fouad think about the decision to hire a jack of all trades vs a specialist? When is the time to make the transition?  

Fouad’s 60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Fouad know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. A moment in Fouad’s business life that changed the way he thinks?
  3. What would Fouad most like to change in the world of SaaS today?

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

Fouad ElNaggar

Aug 6, 2018

Christoph Janz is the Managing Partner @ Point Nine Capital, one of Europe’s leading early stage funds with a portfolio that includes the likes of ZenDesk, Algolia, Delivery Hero, Revolut, Contentful and many more incredible companies. Before that, he co-founded two Internet startups (DealPilot.com in 1997 and Pageflakes in 2005). In 2008 he became an angel investor and discovered Zendesk, Clio, FreeAgent – and his love for SaaS. Christoph is also the writer of the phenomenal blog, The Angel VC, a must read for me.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Christoph made his way from serial founder to angel in ZenDesk to today, founding one of Europe’s most successful early stage funds in the form of Point Nine Capital?
  • Product market fit is one of the most used words in the industry, so wtf really is product market fit? What does product market fit look like in terms of metrics across the core disciplines: MRR, churn and conversion from free to paid?  
  • What is the hailed question that all Series A and B investors want to know? What does it take to make the graduation from Seed to Series A today? In terms of scaling, why does pouring fuel on the marketing fire not always equal more leads? How does Christoph view the role of outbound? Why is it such high hanging fruit? What is core to executing outbound successfully?
  • Point Nine did a comprehensive assessment of how founders view the fundraising process, what were the biggest elements founders dislike about the process? From now on, what is the thinking behind the strategy that Point Nine will always do their pro-rata in the Series A? How does this affect reserve allocation?  

Christoph’s 60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Christoph know now that he wishes he had known in the beginning?
  2. What does it take for European founders to make it big in the US?
  3. Most common mistakes CEOs make in the scaling process?

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

Christoph Janz

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