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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, 2018
Jan 29, 2018

Mark Mader is the CEO @ Smartsheet, the company that allows firms the best way to plan, track, automate and report on work. To date, they have raised over $105m in funding from some of the best in the business including Insight Venture Partners. Prior to Smartsheet, Mark served as senior vice president of global services for Onyx Software, leading the consulting and customer operations teams in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Due to this success, in 2015, he was recognized as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Technology for the Pacific Northwest.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • Why Mark’s being disrupted by Salesforce led to his entry into the world of SaaS and how he came to be CEO @ Smartsheet?
  • How does Mark think that startups should approach hiring across market cycles? What have been some core lessons Mark has learnt in frothy markets and the war to win “hot talent”? How does Mark think about “paying up” for certain candidates? How flexible should startup founders be on moving their compensation bands?  
  • Why does Mark believe that too many people over index culture fit? How does Mark look to balance between raw IQ and culture fit? How does Mark look to really stress test someone’s ability to perform a role, pre-hire? Where do most startups go wrong in their early hiring processes?
  • How does Mark think about creating a structured framework for giving employee feedback? Why do people overestimate the importance of the feedback itself? What else should they be focusing on?
  • In terms of providing that feedback, how does Mark assess the importance of output? How does Mark look to balance the complicated elements of output vs input? Is it really all about activity?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Mark know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. Management upscaling is the most important role of CEO?
  3. When is a stretch VP a stretch too 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

Mark Mader

Jan 22, 2018

Fred Shilmover is the CEO and co-founder of InsightSquared, one of Boston’s premiere tech startups paving the way in the sales intelligence space. Throughout the InsightSquared journey, Fred has raised over $25m in VC funding from the likes of DFJ, Bessemer, Salesforce and Atlas Venture. Prior to founding InsightSquared, Fred was a corporate development associate with Salesforce Ventures and before that he held several key roles at Bessemer Venture Partners including associate and Director of IT. He is also a board member of TUGG, an organization that brings together tech entrepreneurs with social enterprises that support at-risk youth.  

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Fred made his way into the world of SaaS, hustled his way to being a VC with Bessemer and then came to found InsightSquared from Boston?
  • Why does Fred strongly argue that it is easier to start with SMB and move to enterprise than enterprise down? What are both the technical and personnel considerations of the decision? Why is it the product manager’s job to lose complexity as slowly as possible?
  • Why does Fred disagree and state that CAC/LTV is not the guiding metric for SaaS startups? What are the core problems of CAC/LTV? What alternatives should founders consider as their guiding metrics? Where does Fred believe most founders go wrong when assessing their metrics? What metric keeps Fred up at night?
  • What does Fred believe are the fundamentals to successfully building an inside sales team from scratch? What is the lowest ACV that an inside sales team can justify? How does Fred look to create a culture of accountability and responsibility without the element of fear of not hitting quota?
  • Why does Fred go against conventional wisdom and suggest that customer success is the responsibility of the entire organisation? Why is this advantageous compared to a dedicated CS team? How does this mean both time and teams are allocated towards customer success?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Fred know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. What is the least discussed but most worthy topic in SaaS?
  3. What would Fred’s biggest advice to emerging SaaS founders be?

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

Fred Shilmover

 

 

Jan 15, 2018

Mike McDerment is co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the #1 cloud-based accounting software designed exclusively for service-based small business owners. Starting from his parent’s basement, Mike has grown Freshbooks to more than 10m users worldwide and raising over $75m in VC funding from the likes of Accomplice and Georgian Partners. Mike is also the co-author of Breaking the Time Barrier, downloaded more than 250,000 downloads since its release.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Mike came to enter the world of SaaS with the founding of Freshbooks from his parent’s basement?
  • Why does Mike disagree with the common notion of the “pivot”? How does Mike balance between realism when something is not working and vision?
  • From Mike’s conversation with USV’s Fred Wilson, what does he believe are the 3 most important roles of the CEO?
  • Why is the No 1 rule in SaaS, you do not replatform your software? What are the inherent dangers? How does it affect your ability to drive revenue? Where do most SaaS startups make big mistakes when replatforming?
  • Where are the inflection points in SaaS team scaling? What is the biggest challenge at 20 people? How does collaboration change when your team hits 40 people? How can one maintain seamless communication when one hits 80 people?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. Why is Mike so bullish on SaaS outside of Silicon Valley?
  2. How does being outside the Valley affect his ability to hire?
  3. What does Mike 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

Mike McDerment

Jan 8, 2018

Ross Mason is the Founder & VP of Product Strategy @ MuleSoft, one of the world’s leading software platforms making it easy to connect the world’s applications, data and devices. Following over $250m in VC funding from the likes of Lightspeed, Salesforce Ventures, Sapphire Ventures and NEA, MuleSoft then went public in March 2017, popping as much as 45% on it’s first day of trading. As for Ross, prior to MuleSoft, he was CEO of SymphonySoft, an EU-based company providing services and support for large-scale integration projects. Previously, Ross was Lead Architect for RaboBank and played a key role in developing one of the first large-scale ESB implementations in 2002.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Ross made his way into the world of SaaS with the founding of MuleSoft?
  • Why did Ross decide to move full time to the West Coast having started the company in Europe? What were the biggest challenges about the move to the US? What advice would Ross give to prospective entrepreneurs, looking to make the move? Where does Europe exceed the US and vice versa?
  • What does it really mean to be a SaaS platform? What 3 elements of a company benefit when a product unbundles into a SaaS platform? How does unbundling change the process for building products and services? How does unbundling change the ability to drive new revenue streams? How does unbundling change core operational elements of the business?
  • What does Ross mean when he says we are shifting from verticals into value chains? Does Ross believe it is even possible to own the entire customer lifecycle today, from start to finish?

60 Second SaaStr

  1. What does Ross know now which he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. How did it feel the day MuleSoft went public?
  3. What advice does Ross commonly hear being given that he most 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

Ross Mason

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