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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: September, 2018
Sep 24, 2018

Steve Newman is the Founder & CEO @ Scalyr, the startup that helps your devops team solve more problems in less time with log monitoring and analysis in seconds. Steve has raised over $27.5m in funding with Scalyr from many friends of the show including Susa Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Shasta and GV. As for Steve, prior to Scalyr, he was the Founder of Writely which was acquired by Google to become the little known, Google Docs. Before that he founded 2 prior startups, Ann Arbour Softworks (acq by Ashton-Tate) and BitCraft (acquired by Macromedia). If that was not enough, Steve also sat on the Technical Advisory Board at Box for over 3 years.   

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Steve made his way into the world of startups and SaaS over 30 years ago? What is the founding story with Scalyr and what was that a-ha moment?
  • Why does Steve believe that you should involve customers very early in the process of developing your narrative? Where does Steve see most startups go wrong when it comes to messaging? How does one structure the feedback mechanism? How does one determine between feedback you integrate and feedback you do not?
  • Why does Steve believe that you should not focus too much on numbers in the early days? What makes them deceiving at this stage? If not numbers, what should early stage founders be focusing on and measuring? Why does Steve believe that ARR is not the leading metric? What metrics should early stage SaaS founders really be prioritising?
  • How does Steve respond to PG’s “to scale, you have to do unscalable things”? What challenges and nuance does Steve present that founders must be wary of? How does Steve’s thinking here affect his view towards customisation? Why does manual input not put a cap on scalability? What are the parameters for manual involvement to be scalable?   

Steve’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Steve know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. Who does Steve believe is crushing it in the world of SaaS today?
  3. The hardest element about the move from tech co-founder to CEO?

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

 

Sep 17, 2018

Joe Chernov is the Chief Marketing Officer at Robin, the startup that simplifies scheduling, visibility and management of meeting rooms, desks and people in your workplace. To date, Robin have raised over £9m in funding from some of our dear friends in the form of BoldStart, Accomplice and FirstMark, just to name a few. As for Joe, prior to Robin he was the CMO @ Insight Squared where he led the transition from an email-driven leads model to an account-based marketing model that's tightly coupled with sales. Before InsightSquared, Joe was Head of Content Marketing at Hubspot where he increased blog traffic by more than 1M visits/month and increased leads by 40%. Finally, pre-Hubspot, Joe held VP of Marketing roles at Kinvey and Eloqua.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Joe made his way into the world of startups and SaaS marketing many years ago? What was Joe’s missed founding story and how does that affect his thinking today?
  • Does Joe believe that ABM is a paradigm shift in the way we approach marketing or another word for high ACV target sales? How can founders determine whether they have the right business, pricing and hiring strategy that will align with an ABM strategy? Is it the right decision to focus squarely on ABM? How should it play into your overall marketing portfolio?
  • Why does Joe believe we have seen a massive rise in SaaS conferences? How can a startup determine whether the conference strategy is the right strategy for them? Where does Joe see many startups going wrong when selecting this approach? Why does Joe believe you have to get comfortable with losing money in conferences? What are the determinants or leading indicators of a successful conference? What is the ideal composition in terms of attendance?
  • Why does Joe believe that marketing should be held accountable to a number that is directly tied to revenue? Why does Joe believe that Head of Sales and Head of Marketing should not be separate functions? What is it that leads Joe’s thinking when saying, sales and marketing are overlapping functions?  
  • What are the commonalities of the truly special CMOs? When is the right time to really consider adding the CMO to your exec team? What is the ideal relationship between the CMO and the CEO? What is the one question that will largely determine the strength of a potential CMO?

Joe’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Joe know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. Who does Joe believe is killing it in SaaS today and why?
  3. Advice Joe often hears in the world of SaaS that he actively disagrees with?

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

Joe Chernov

Sep 10, 2018

Michael Katz is the Founder & CEO @ mParticle, the customer data platform that integrates all of your data and orchestrates it across channels, partners and systems. To date, Michael has raised over $75m in funding with mParticle from the likes of Social Capital, Greylock Partner, GV, Battery Ventures and more great names. Prior to founding mParticle, Mike was the Founder & CEO @ Interclick, where he organically grew revenue to over $140m in 5 years. The company went public in 2009 and was acquired by Yahoo in 2012 for $270m, a 50% premium on existing share price. If that was not enough, Michael is also a board member at Adaptly and Brightline.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How did Michael make his way into the world of SaaS with the founding of Interclick? How did that translate to his founding and running of mParticle today?
  • How does Michael think about building a company and a category at the same time? In terms of resource allocation, if one is required to invest heavily into brand, how can this be done with a seed round? What were the most challenging elements of category creation for Michael with mParticle?
  • When it comes to selling to enterprise, how can startups look to meet and stand out in the sea of startups to the enterprise buyers of today? How can they look to build trust with those buyers? How much of a role do VCs provide in terms of providing legitimacy and validation to a startup?
  • Before Michael has said ‘multi-year deals are not good’, why does he hold this belief contra to most in the ecosystem? In which cases do they work well and is there nuance? How does Michael think about the element of deferred revenue and it’s subsequent effect on potential acquirers?
  • How does Michael think about pilot programs? If mainly selling to one market segment, should pilots within other segments be accepted? What conditions on signing must be set to ensure success on completion of pilot? How should pilot programs change and evolve over time with the company?

Michael’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Michael know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. Who is crushing it in SaaS right now? Why?
  3. Pros and Cons of building SaaS startup in NYC?
  4. Motto or quote that Michael most frequently reverts to?

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 Katz

Sep 4, 2018

Kyle Porter is the Founder & CEO @ Salesloft, the leading sales engagement platform delivering a better sales experience. To date, Salesloft have raised over $75m in funding from some of the best in the business including Emergence, Insight Venture Partners, Techstars and even LinkedIn. As for Kyle, he has led the team from 4 employees in 2014 to over 320 today where they have also been awarded Atlanta’s No 1 best place to work. Prior to founding Salesloft, Kyle was the Founder @ B2B camp, a conference focused on B2B revenue generating professionals. Before that he was Vice President of Marketing @ NanoLumens.

In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Kyle made his way into the world of SaaS and came to found Salesloft?
  • Kyle made the decision to pivot the product when it was at $7m in ARR, what was the thinking behind that? How does Kyle think about pivots more broadly? How does one know when it is truly not working? How long did it take Kyle to get the core Salesloft product to $1m in ARR?
  • With the pivot, what were Kyle’s core learnings on migrating from a prior product and platform to a new one? What were his big lessons on seeing the change in buyer persona? What does Kyle mean when he says “selling is hard but buying is even harder”?
  • Does Kyle agree with many CEO’s the most important role of the CEO is “management upscaling”? What elements does he find most challenging? What have been Kyle’s big lessons in the building out of his exec team? What is the fundamental element for a successful exec team to function?
  • Salesloft is in an immensely competitive space, what would Kyle’s advice be in standing out in an intensely competitive space? Where do many go wrong? What are the pros and cons of being in Atlanta and not SF? What advice would Kyle give to founders operating their HQs external to the core hubs?

Kyle’s 60 Second SaaStr

Is it important to have early champions? How does one get them?

How has having kids changed your perspective on work?

Tell me a moment in your life that has served as an inflection point and changed the way you think?

When I say success in SaaS who is the embodiment of this to you?

What does Kyle 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
Kyle Porter

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