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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: July, 2016
Jul 29, 2016

Today we bring you one of the highlights from SaaStr Annual 2016 with Jason Lemkin talking to Kirsten Helvey,  COO of Cornerstone Ondemand, a cloud-based learning and talent management solutions provider. in the episode Kirsten discusses her 11 years of experience with rising up in the ranks from employee #30 to her current position in the company, which is now 1500-strong, it is a phenomenal scaling story and so many insights nuggets of wisdom from Kirsten here.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

Why you should always be thinking about building, no matter the scale?

Why we should all stop talking about company culture?

Why you should forget the MBA and take a psychology degree?

How to give direct and consistent feedback with employees in order to get the most out of them?

Why we should focus more on upsell and less on customer acquisition?

How to build, integrate and scale a customer success team into a 1,500 person organisation?

You can follow us on Twitter here:

Jul 25, 2016

David Yuan is a General Partner at Technology Crossover Ventures, where he has enjoyed no less than 4 IPOs and 5 acquisitions. Some of David’s investments include the likes of Facebook, Linkedin, Exact Target (acq by Salesforce), Splunk and many more incredible companies. He also sits on the board at Act On, App Nexus, Merkle and Site Minder and is an advisor to Pinterest. Pior to TCV, David had stints at JP Morgan and Bain & Company.

In Today’s Episode with David You Will Learn:

  1. How did David make his way into the investing world in 2000?
  2. How has David seen the evolution of SaaS revenue multiples over the last decade?
  3. How can VCs balance the drive for profitability with their need for big wins over a short 5-7 year investment cycle?
  4. How does David approach investing cadence in correlation to market cycles? Does his strategy alter according to down-turns and booms?
  5. Why does David find the monetisation models of the consumerisation of SaaS to be the most exciting?
  6. Does David agree that the original hires might not be the hires as the stages progress? How can founders transition them out without a lack of respect and gratitude?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jul 22, 2016

Today we bring you a highlight from SaaStr Annual 2016 featuring a conversation between Hubspot's Dharmesh Shah and SaaStr's own Jason Lemkin. Prior to founding HubSpot in 2006, Dharmesh was founder and CEO of Pyramid Digital Solutions, which was acquired by SunGard Data Systems in 2005. In addition to co-authoring “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs”,Dharmesh published HubSpot’s Culture Code, which has garnered over 2.5 million views on SlideShare. Named an Inc. Founders 40 in 2016, he is an active member of the Boston-area entrepreneurial community, an angel investor in over 60 startups, and a frequent speaker on startups and inbound marketing.

In Today's Episode wth Dharmesh You Will Learn:

  • What were the biggest growth catalysts in the scaling of Hubspot from Day 1 to IPO?
  • What were the biggest mistakes made and lessons learnt by Dharmesh and the team throughout the journey?
  • How does Dharmesh think about churn? How does he define pre-churn?
  • What is the customer happiness index and how can it be implemented?
  • How can founders inform prospects their product is a must have not a nice to have?
  • Why has the SMB space been so difficult for so long? Why is that changing now?
  • Why Dharmesh and Hubspot focus on consumer behaviour not consumer feedback?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jul 18, 2016

Allison Pickens carries the customer success torch as the VP of Customer Success & Business Operations at the category leaders, Gainsight. Allison’s organization @ Gainsight includes all post-sales functions: CSMs, Support, Onboarding, Services, and Operations. Prior to Gainsight, she started her career in management consulting for Fortune 500 companies while at Boston Consulting Group and later worked in private equity investing at Bain Capital.  Allison decided that she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work at Gainsight when Bain Capital led the Series B.

In Today’s Episode With Allison You Will Learn:

1.) So let’s start with managing customer churn and I think the first and most important thing is assessing what is regrettable vs non-regrettable. How do you approach this?

  • What is the internal post mortem?
  • How do you identify why they churned?
  • Is there a blame game that follows? How do you instill ramifications but not fear?
  • How do you then look to fix the original problem that caused the churn?

2.) To do the above we need to have a great customer success team so iw ant to talk about the process of building this out and with CS being a new category this is an aspect a lot of founders are addressing at this time. So starting with the obvious?

  • When do you need a customer success team?
  • Where in the organization should the team sit?
  • What's the playbook for rolling it out?
  • How big does the team need to be? Does this vary on sector or funding availability?
  • What are the levels of seniority within the team?
  • What's your budget? How do you account for the costs of your team?
  • What teams sit within the customer success umbrella?

60 Second Saastr produced by Nick Mehta:

What surprises you most about customer success now vs a year ago?

Importance of fast iterating team?

Fave SaaS material, book, blog, podcast?

What element of the journey have you found most challenging?

Carrying the CS torch? What is it like do you feel the pressure?

3.) Now I want to finish today by discussing the segmentation of your customer base, so at what point in the company's life do you begin segmenting the customers?

  • Why is it important to segment customers?
  • How do you decide the best way to segment them?
  • Should these segments align with the sales team?

 

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jul 15, 2016

Cindy Padnos is the Founder and Managing Partner at Illuminate Ventures where she focuses on all things Enterprise/B2B cloud and mobile computing sectors. Prior to founding Illuminate in 2009, she was one of three investment professionals at Outlook Ventures responsible for committing the firm’s $140 million fund. Cindy also has extensive experience in the world of operations, where she founded and sold one of SaaS’ first on demand startups in the form of Vivant.

In Today’s Episode with Cindy We Discuss:

  • How Cindy made her way into the world of SaaS and later SaaS investing?
  • Why does Cindy think SaaS is a democratiser for entrepreneurship?
  • Is the proliferation of Sales and Marketing tools not a challenge for startups in terms of competing for the same VC dollars?
  • Is it easier or more challenging for startups to raise VC funding today than in previous years? If so, why?
  • How does Cindy assess product market fit with her portfolio companies? When is the right time to put pedal to the metal?
  • What does Cindy make of the Micro VC market at the moment? How prominent are party rounds? Will we see consolidation?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jul 11, 2016

Fred Stevens-Smith is the Co-Founder & CEO @ Rainforest QA, which if you listened to 20VC with Byron Deeter, you will remember he discussed them and their amazing trajectory. So for QA first, it is essentially QA as a service making it fast and easy to test your webapp in multiple browsers and they are backed by some of the best as we said there Byron Deeter @ Bessemer, our own Jason Lemkin, Y Combinator, previous guest Kris Duggan @ Betterworks and Marc Benioff just to name a few. As for Fred he is the man at the helm as Co-Founder & CEO and absolutely smashing it I might add. In the show Fred mentions his favourite reading material to be Jason Lemkin and Aaron Ross’s new book From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hypergrowth Companies Create Predictable Revenue and if you have not read that, that is a must and can be found here!

In Our Discussion with Fred You Will Learn:

  • How did Fred come to found Rainforest QA? What was his origin story to YC?
  • How did Fred look to establish the pricing model with Rainforest? Why does Fred believe most software companies undervalue their software?
  • What are the challenges of going upstream? How does it affect product? Sales cycle?
  • Does Fred agree with Mark Organ that in a new category, the company CEO must be the category CMO? How much of a role does content play in Rainforest QA’s education funnel for customers?
  • Why does Fred believe you should spend the most time with your best people? Similarly, the least amount of time with your worst people?
  • How has Fred gone about building out the sales team? What did Fred look for in sales reps and Heads of Sales?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jul 8, 2016

Quang Hoang is the Co- Founder @ Birdly, Birdly are convinced by the power of messaging within organizations, they decided to build a broader service that connects your favorite business softwares to messaging apps. It is this vision that has led to them being named one of the hottest startups from YC Winter 2016 batch and has led to funding from some of the best in the industry including our own Jason lemkin, Slack, previous guest Nicolas Dessaigne and prestigious french investors Alven Capital and Partech Ventures.

In Today’s Episode with Quang We Discuss:

  • How did Quang come to found Birdly? What was the a-ha moment?
  • What did Quang learn from pivoting to Birdly? What is it important for founders to consider before a pivot?
  • How does Quang approach the challenging topic of a business model for bots?
  • Why does Quang believe that the whole pricing model for SaaS will change?
  • What were the main benefits of the YC experience and how did it impact his fundraising?
  • When is the right time for European startups to make the move to SF? How important is it to be close to your customers?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jul 4, 2016

Christoph Janz is the Co-Founder and the Managing Partner @ Point Nine Capital, one of Europe’s best early stage venture funds and Christoph himself specializes in all things SaaS at Point Nine and has made more than 20 SaaS startup investments. Prior to Point Nine, Christoph co-founded two Internet startups and in 2008, became an angel investor and discovered Zendesk, which was his first angel investment. Also if you would like to congratulate Jason for the raising of the incredible new SaaStr Fund then you can click here to send him a congratulations tweet.

In Today’s Episode with Christoph We Discuss:

  • How did Christoph make his way into the world of early stage SaaS investing?
  • When should startups consider making the move to the US? Is it always necessary?
  • How important is it for SaaS startups to have a local US investor? What are the benefits?
  • Where are there talent gaps in European SaaS? What can European founders do to find those experienced VPs of Sales and Marketing?
  • Question from Jason: What made Zendesk seem like such a winner and what did that teach you?
  • Where does Christoph see the next wave of the consumerisation of SaaS?
  • Is it harder to get funded as a SaaS startup in today’s environment than in previous years?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jul 1, 2016

Matt Garratt currently runs Salesforce Ventures with the mandate to build out salesforce’s ecosystem of partners with equity investments. Matt has led key strategic investments at Salesforce in companies such as former guests Gainsight, and Invoca as well as Anaplan and Insidesales.com just to name a few. Prior to salesforce Matt was a VP at the prestigious SaaS investor Battery Ventures. Also in the show today we mention Jason Lemkin and Aaron Ross new book From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hypergrowth Companies Create Predictable Revenue and if you have not read that, that is a must and can be found here!

In This Episode With Matt You Will Learn:

  • How Matt made his entry into the world of VC and came to run Salesforce Ventures?
  • What did Salesforce do right to give Matt the ability to formalise the fund? What did Matt learn in the less formal stages of investing?
  • What are the benefits that startups receive from being portfolio companies of Salesforce Ventures?
  • How does matt view Salesforce Ventures in the early stage investing landscape? Does Matt like to co-invest with other prominent funds?
  • How does M&A work within Salesforce Ventures? Are you willing to sell to your competitors?

If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented you can follow us on Twitter here:

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