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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: January, 2017
Jan 30, 2017

Tien Tzuo is the Founder and CEO @ Zuora, one of the fastest growing SaaS companies that has been at the forefront of the rise of subscription business models. They have funding from some of the best in the business including the likes of Benchmark, Sequoia, Redpoint and Marc Benioff, just to name a few. As for Tien, before Zuora, Tzuo was one of the 'original forces' at salesforce.com, joining as employee number 11. In his 9 years at salesforce.com, served in numerous different roles including as Chief Marketing Officer for two years, and most recently as Chief Strategy Officer.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Tien make his way from being an early employee at Salesforce to founding Zuora?
  • What were the big takeaways for Tien from seeing the meteoric rise of Salesforce? How has that experience moulded his running and strategy with Zuora today?
  • What does Tien see as the fundamental benefits of a subscription model? What products and services does it work best for? What are the keys to assembling this model successfully?
  • Tien has previously referred to scaling as ‘the climb’. How does he approach this analogy What was the most challenging element of scaling for Tien? How did he overcome it?
  • Tien has previously said that market strategy is the $100m question all founders must ask. So how does Tien approach go to market? What are the fundamentals to think when considering different go to market options?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. Biggest mentor and how the relationship came about?
  2. What does Tien know now that he wishes he had known in the beginning?
  3. Highlight of the Zuora journey so far?

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

Tien Tzuo

 

Jan 27, 2017

Lexi Reese is the Chief Customer Experience Officer at unicorn startup, Gusto and is one of the top female executives in Silicon Valley. Lexi’s passion for serving customers was sparked by her early career in microfinance as a public policy advocate with ACCION International—giving loans to people living in poverty to start their own ventures. She later worked at Google for eight years, most recently serving as Vice President of Programmatic Sales and Strategy globally. Lexi also started the Cambridge AdWords team for Google's small business organization. Now at Gusto, Lexi ensures that Gusto is continuously going above and beyond to serve all customers.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Lexi make her way from the world of Google and Facebook to SaaS with Gusto?
  • What were the biggest takeaways from spending 8 years at Google and seeing the immense hyper-growth there? How has Lexi applied those learnings to Gusto today?
  • How does Lexi look to put the ‘customer first’ thesis into practice? What does this look like in reality and from day 1?
  • How can one maintain such high levels of customer service with an ever increasing customer base? How can one insert elements of repeatability to make this easier?
  • Question from Hunter Walk: How do you fundamentally measure customer satisfaction? What benchmarks do you calibrate against to consider success?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Lexi know now that she wishes she had known in the beginning?
  2. Most challenging aspect of Lexi’s role?
  3. Question from Tien @ Zuora: How do you look to avoid the hype culture that pervades the valley?

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

 

Jan 23, 2017

Eric Yuan is the Founder & CEO @ Zoom, the video and web conferencing service that just last week raised $100m in venture funding from Sequoia Capital. Prior to founding Zoom, Eric was Corporate Vice President of Engineering at Cisco, where he was responsible for Cisco's collaboration software development. As one of the founding engineers and Vice President of Engineering at WebEx, Eric was the heart and soul of the WebEx product from 1997 to 2011. Eric proudly grew the WebEx team from 10 engineers to more than 800 worldwide, and contributed to revenue growth from $0 to more than $800M. Eric is a named inventor on 11 issued and 20 pending patents in real time collaboration.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Eric make his way into the world of SaaS? What was a-ha moment and founding story of WebEx?
  • How does Eric think about building products, customer first? What does that mindset and approach look like What are the main questions to ask? What are the challenges in doing so?
  • How should one approach growth with startups? Is growth ever in need of control? If so, what can be done to control growth? How can this be done without angering investors?
  • Eric has said before that founders must ‘spend more and burn less’. What does he mean by this? What does that look like in reality? What should be the main focus?
  • Does Eric agree with the notion that founders always undersell? How does Eric approach the situation of leaving money on the table? What are the challenges of doing so?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Eric know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. Eric’s Fave SaaS Reading Material?
  3. Biggest advice to SaaS founders?

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

Eric Yuan

Jan 20, 2017

Jason Lemkin is the Founder and VC @ SaaStr, or more accurately put Jason is a 2x founder, 1x VC, and constant SaaS enthusiast. He led or sourced the first VC investments in many leading enterprise/SaaS start-ups, Greenhouse.io, Pipedrive, Algolia, Talkdesk, RainforestQA, Automile, and more. He is also an advisor or smaller investor in Showpad, FrontApp, Influitive, BetterWorks, and other SaaS leaders. Jason has co-founded two successful start-ups selling to the enterprise.  Before SaaStr and VC investing, he was CEO and co-founder of EchoSign, the web’s most popular electronic signature service, from inception through its acquisition by Adobe Systems Inc. He then served as Vice President, Web Services at Adobe, where he oversaw the growth of EchoSign and Adobe Document Services to $50,000,000 in ARR in 2012 and $100,000,000+ ARR in 2013. Prior to EchoSign and Adobe, he co-founded one of the only successes in nanotechnology, NanoGram Devices, which was acquired for $50m just 13 months after founding. Other than SaaS he is like me, no known hobbies.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Jason make his way into the world of SaaS and come to be Founder and VC @ SaaStr?
  • ACV: What levels of ACV and characteristics suggest potential for a unicorn? How does Jason look to help founders attain higher ACVs? Why is stay focused horrible advice with regards to increasing your ACV with differing customer demands?
  • Does Jason believe that founders always undersell? What advice would Jason give to founders that are nervous to ask for more? What customer response would excite Jason and what would make him concerned?
  • Jason has previously said that ‘founders have to be 110% committed to sales’. What does this mean? How does this look when assessing a founder? Should founders be happy to pay their sales hires more than them? How quickly should the payback period be on these reps?
  • Jason has also previously said that some founders financials are ‘simply ridiculous’. What makes him say this? What financials are fundamental to have very accurately pin pointed? Why is 100% gross margin impossible?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. Why does Jason like it when startups have clients that are not in tech?
  2. What does Jason know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  3. What should SaaS founders look for in their investors?
  4. Why does Jason only invest out of the SaaStr community?

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

Jan 16, 2017

Jason Lemkin is the Founder and VC @ SaaStr, or more accurately put Jason is a 2x founder, 1x VC, and constant SaaS enthusiast. He led or sourced the first VC investments in many leading enterprise/SaaS start-ups, Greenhouse.io, Pipedrive, Algolia, Talkdesk, RainforestQA, Automile, and more. He is also an advisor or smaller investor in Showpad, FrontApp, Influitive, BetterWorks, and other SaaS leaders. Jason has co-founded two successful start-ups selling to the enterprise.  Before SaaStr and VC investing, he was CEO and co-founder of EchoSign, the web’s most popular electronic signature service, from inception through its acquisition by Adobe Systems Inc. He then served as Vice President, Web Services at Adobe, where he oversaw the growth of EchoSign and Adobe Document Services to $50,000,000 in ARR in 2012 and $100,000,000+ ARR in 2013. Prior to EchoSign and Adobe, he co-founded one of the only successes in nanotechnology, NanoGram Devices, which was acquired for $50m just 13 months after founding. Other than SaaS he is like me, no known hobbies.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Jason make his way into the world of SaaS and come to be Founder and VC @ SaaStr?
  • ACV: What levels of ACV and characteristics suggest potential for a unicorn? How does Jason look to help founders attain higher ACVs? Why is stay focused horrible advice with regards to increasing your ACV with differing customer demands?
  • Does Jason believe that founders always undersell? What advice would Jason give to founders that are nervous to ask for more? What customer response would excite Jason and what would make him concerned?
  • Jason has previously said that ‘founders have to be 110% committed to sales’. What does this mean? How does this look when assessing a founder? Should founders be happy to pay their sales hires more than them? How quickly should the payback period be on these reps?
  • Jason has also previously said that some founders financials are ‘simply ridiculous’. What makes him say this? What financials are fundamental to have very accurately pin pointed? Why is 100% gross margin impossible?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. Why does Jason like it when startups have clients that are not in tech?
  2. What does Jason know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  3. What should SaaS founders look for in their investors?
  4. Why does Jason only invest out of the SaaStr community?

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

Jan 13, 2017

Leo Widrich is the Founder & COO @ Buffer, the Simple and powerful social media scheduling, publishing & analytics. They have raised funding from some of the best including Scott and Cyan Banister, Hubspot’s Dharmesh Shah, Hiten Shah and Eric Ries just to name a few. Now in today’s talk with Leo he breaks down his and the Buffer teams Top 10 Learnings in Growing to 10m ARR.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • What are the 3 questions Leo asks his customers to understand them best? When is the right time to ask them? How should you follow up from this?
  • How to experiment with weekly masterminds? How do masterminds work? When is the right time to do them? What is important to remember in entering a mastermind?
  • How does Leo assess pricing structure? Why does he think it is important to experiment with different pricing? How do you do so without losing customers or trust?
  • Why does Leo advise startup founders to get advice from mentors with conflicting opinions? Why is this important and how should a decision be reached?

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

Leo Widrich

Jan 9, 2017

John Barrows is essentially the Godfather of Sales. We often have VPs of Sales from tech titans on the show but who trains those VPs and sales reps to be the best in the world at sales? That is where John Barrows comes in, with clients including Dropbox, Box, Marketo, Twilio and many more, John has amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience allowing him to provide the most proactive sales tips and strategies to optimise the sales process. If you have not checked out his blog, that really is a must and can be found here.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did John make his way into the world of SaaS and more specifically sales optimisation?
  • What are the key points all reps must cover in their first calls with new leads? Why is expectation setting so crucial?
  • Why does John believe the best client to rep relationships are those that are equal? How can reps continue to provide value with every interaction?
  • In the case of leads going dark, how can sales reps engage with the lead to ensure conversion? What words must be avoided and how should this conversation be structured?
  • How can sales reps perfect the balance of being direct and being rude? How important is a summary email? What is the optimal structure and how should sales reps follow up on summary emails?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. The most common question asked to John by VPs of Sales?
  2. What are the benefits of Top Down prospecting?
  3. Do execs need structure?

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

John Barrows

Jan 6, 2017

Michael Driscoll is the Co-Founder and CEO @ Metamarkets, the startup that provide interactive analytics for programmatic marketing. They have raised over $38m in VC funding from our good friends at Data Collective, Founder Collective, IA Ventures and more incredible investors. As for Michael, prior to Metamarkets, he started two other companies: Dataspora, a life science analytics company (acquired by Via Science in 2011), and CustomInk.com, an early pioneer in e-commerce. Fun fact: Michael is also a founding Partner of the previously mentioned VC fund, Data Collective.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How did Michael make his way from data lover to Silicon Valley SaaS Founder?
  • Why does Mike believe in the inherent value of customer focus and product focus? What are the measurable benefits of being so specialised?
  • Why does Mike believe it is so hard to be a cost leader in software? What are the fundamental challenges? What role does open source play in this?
  • How does Mike view the alignment of the sales and the engineering team? Is it possible to have a harmonious relationship between the two?
  • What should SaaS startup founders look for in potential seed investors? How can they determine whether they have these qualities? What should they look at in particular?

60 Second SaaStr

  • Mike’s fave productivity tools?
  • What most companies are doing wrong in their approach to data science?
  • What does Mike know now that he wishes he had known at the start?

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 Driscoll

Jan 2, 2017

Auren Hoffman is best known for being the former CEO and Founder @ LiveRamp, the leading data onboarder that was acquired by Acxiom for $310m. Today’s talk focuses on the 5 core lessons Auren took from that incredible journey with LiveRamp. Auren was also an angel investor and board member at BrightRoll, prior to it’s $610m acquisition by Yahoo. Today, he is the CEO at SafeGraph, the startup that is unlocking the world’s most powerful data so that machines and humans can answer some of society’s toughest questions.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • What is Auren’s thesis towards hiring all round athletes as opposed to position players? When do it make sense to do either? What stage of the company is right for which persona?
  • What are the two different types of sales personas? At what type of company should you hire a relationship driven sales team and then what type of company for a product driven sales team?
  • Why does Auren believe you should target a very small niche of the market? What are the benefits of such focus? How can you sell such a small market to VCs?
  • How does Auren perceive the future of enterprise software? How has the rise of bottoms up sales affected the SaaS environment? How many more SaaS companies and buyers of SaaS are there today, compared to 10 years ago?

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

Auren Hoffman

Algolia the robust search API that allows developers to integrate lightning fast, typo-tolerant search into their SaaS product. Out of the box, Algolia offers developers a powerful platform for building great search experiences. By owning the entire stack from engine to server, Algolia free up development teams to focus on adding intuitive search that delights users. This is perfect for existing search teams looking to spend less time on maintenance and infrastructure management and more time on user experience. For small SaaS teams, Algolia is a great investment on top of your existing stack that requires no specialist engineers. And you can learn more about how Algolia helps SaaS Scale Search and get started on their 14-day Free Trial at Algolia.com/SaaStrPodcast



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