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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: April, 2018
Apr 30, 2018

Jason Lemkin is the Founder @ SaaStr, the world’s largest SaaS event with over 20,000 of the world’s best SaaS founders and investors attending every year. Jason also invests from SaaStr’s debut $70m fund and has made prior investments in the likes of Algolia, TalkDesk, MixMax, Rainforest QA and many more incredible companies.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • When is the right time to hire your first sales rep? What characteristics must those sales have? Why does Jason believe it is impossible to poach a rockstar from another fast scaling startup? Should you then hire the stretch VP or the more experienced, potentially burnt out exec?
  • How does Jason think about aligning compensation to company objectives? Within the company, which functions serve as the best test areas for variable compensation? What must you be wary of when installing a system of variable compensation?
  • When is a stretch VP a stretch too far? What must a stretch Head of Sales have done to make him ready? What must a VP of Product done before to make him ready? What resources can you build around stretch VPs to provide them with additional support?
  • How does Jason think about the first time you spend to acquire customers? Why does Jason suggest just trying to make $1 for every $1 you spend? Why is it crucial to think of your marketing spend on a blended basis? How can you create alignment between the marketing teams number and the cadence of sales?  

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

 

 

Apr 23, 2018

Jon Lee is the Founder & CEO @ ProsperWorks, the #1 recommended CRM for G Suite. To date, ProsperWorks have raised over $85m in VC funding from the likes of True Ventures, Norwest, GV, Bloomberg Beta and more incredible names. As for Jon, prior to ProsperWorks, he started in investment banking at Merrill Lynch before moving to run a large operations team at Yahoo. Jon then founded Bazaar Advertising Solutions, a business self funded from a Palo Alto apartment that Jon scaled into a highly profitable $47m business in less than 2 years. Jon then sold Bazaar to Epic Media in 2006. Following the acquisition, Jon founded DNA Games, the number one casino simulation game on Facebook with more than 20 million players, ultimately acquired by Zynga in May 2011.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Jon made his way into the world of CRM having successfully founded and sold 2 prior business in the lead gen and gaming space? Why does Jon believe building a SaaS business is very much like building a gaming business?
  • How does on think about the scaling of company culture with the scaling of headcount? Where does Jon see the inflection points where this culture starts to break down? What does Jon mean when he suggests “the importance of a culture of innovation”?
  • Why does Jon believe it is so important to insert a culture of risk into the organisation? How does this risk mindset differ and look across different segments of the business? How does Jon aim to create a culture of risk and ambition without a fear of failure and not hitting targets?
  • Why does Jon think it is always better to start in SMB and move to enterprise? How does this decision change how one thinks about product roadmap? How does this change how one approaches traction building ahead of fundraising? What should one look to learn from rapid iteration and testing before moving to the enterprise market?   

60 Second SaaStr?

  1. What does Jon know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. What keeps Jon up at night?
  3. What is Jon’s favourite SaaS reading material?

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

Jon Lee

Apr 16, 2018

Chetan Puttagunta is a General Partner @ NEA, one of the world’s largest venture capital firms in the world with over $3Bn in their latest fund and a portfolio including the likes of Mulesoft, Jet.com, Uber, Houzz and many more incredible companies. As for Chetan, Chetan focuses on enterprise software and has made investments in MuleSoft, MongoDB, Elastic, Heap, just to name a few. Due to his phenomenal track record, Chetan has been named to GrowthCap’s Top 40 under 40 Growth Investors, Forbes 30 under 30 All-Star Alumni List, and Forbes’ 30 under 30 in Venture Capital. 

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Chetan made his from the world of leveraged buyouts to the world of enterprise VC investing with NEA?
  • Why does Chetan have such conviction with regards to open source companies today? Why does he feel the big question of “Can open source product multi-billion dollar companies” has been proven”?
  • How does Chetan think about the underlying business models of open source when comparing the likes of Red Hat with 85% gross margin to Hortonworks at negative gross margins? What does Chetan believe is a healthy ratio between professional services vs closed premium features? Does Chetan believe this is the end for per seat pricing in SaaS?
  • How does Chetan approach market sizing today when evaluating potential enterprise opportunities? Why does Chetan believe there is a mental trap in the VC requirement for large markets? How can founders present the niche market they are attacking, in an exciting enough way to satiate the investor appetite for large market?
  • Chatan has said before, “if you have conviction and vision, you should not be afraid to raise capital and go big”. Does every founder not have conviction and vision in the early days? How does Chetan determine when truly is the right time to pour fuel on the fire and raise that mega war chest?   

60 Second SaaStr?

  1. A moment in Chetan’s life that has changed the way he thinks about the world?
  2. Fave SaaS reading material?
  3. What does Chetan 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

Chetan Puttagunta

Apr 9, 2018

Rob Reid is the Executive Vice President & Managing Director @ Sage Intacct, the undisputed global leader serving finance teams of any size. With over 10,000 employees and and over 3m customers, their financial solutions generate over $2Bn in revenue. As for Rob, prior to Sage Intacct, Rob led Intacct over an incredible 8 year journey culminating in their, reported $850m exit to Sage in 2017. Before that he was CEO and President of LucidEra, a market leader for on-demand business intelligence. Prior to LucidEra Rob was group Vice President of industry leading Siebel CRM for Oracle, managing the SMB sector. Fun fact, over his phenomenal 30 year career, Rob has been involved with 8 startups, 7 of which have had successful exits.  

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How Rob made his way into the world of SaaS over 30 years ago from wanting to be in advertising and hating computer science?
  • As a multi-time CEO, how has Rob seen his role and understanding of what it takes to be a great CEO changed over the last 30 years? Does Rob agree that “management upscaling is the most important role a CEO can do”? What does Rob mean when he says, “the old school CEO approach is upside down and backward”? How should it be in that case?
  • Why does Rob believe that an executive team is like a boat of oarsman? What are the fundamentals to ensuring your executive team are aligned and working in tandem? Why is transparency across the organisation fundamental to both efficiency and culture? How does Rob think about internal promotion vs external hire when it comes to the exec team?
  • Why is Rob adamant that “cloud companies like never before have to be customer-centric”? What does this mean for thinking about optimising the structure of your organisation? How does one think about such high levels of customer success and touch points when serving the immense SMB landscape? How is this feasible? What have been Rob’s key learnings?  

60 Second SaaStr?

  1. Following many successful outcomes, what is Rob’s biggest splurge to date?
  2. Why does Greg Sands call Rob “The Big Fundamental”?
  3. What does Rob know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning of his career?

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

Rob Reid

Apr 2, 2018

Kolton Andrus is the Founder & CEO @ Gremlin, the failure as a service startup finds weaknesses in your system before they cause problems. To date, they have raised over $8m in VC funding from some of the best in the business including the likes of Mike Volpi @ Index Ventures and Mike Dauber @ Amplify Partners. Prior to Gremlin, Kolton was a Chaos Engineer at Netflix improving streaming reliability and operating the Edge services. Fun fact, Kolton also designed and built Netflix’s failure injection service. Before that he improved the performance and reliability of the Amazon Retail website. At both companies he has served as a ‘Call Leader’, managing the resolution of company-wide incidents.

In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

  • How a conversation in the hallway of a conference with a VC gave Kolton the confidence that he could leave the corporate world of Netflix and Amazon and start a startup?
  • What were Kolton’s biggest takeaways from seeing the first hand scaling of behemoths like Amazon and Netflix? How did they fundamentally alter how he views goal setting today? How does Kolton look to achieve the balance of ambitious goal setting without the team losing motivation if they do not hit the goals?
  • Why does Kolton believe that a decentralised workforce is merely an evolution in how we do business? What are the core fundamentals to achieving success in creating and scaling a remote workforce? What have been some of the biggest challenges in structuring the team this way?
  • What is the single biggest tip Kolton has for other founders in ensuring high conversion rates from trials? Where do most founders go wrong with this? Today, is engineering buy in the only necessity to succeed in a bottoms up sales world?  

60 Second SaaStr?

  1. What does Kolton know now that he wishes he had known at the beginning?
  2. If an investor can provide one thing, what is most important for Kolton?
  3. What are Kolton’s favourite SaaS reading materials?
  4. When is a stretch a stretch too far for a team member?

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

Kolton Andrus

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