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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 center 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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The Official SaaStr Podcast: SaaS | Founders | Investors
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Jul 10, 2020

Decacorns ($10B+ valuation) are everywhere in SaaS, despite the downturn.  SaaStr CEO Jason Lemkin discusses what the new landscape of SaaS means for you in 2020. 

Jul 9, 2020

Chris O'Neill (Google, Evernote) shares his lessons from previous downturns and how to chart a new course for growth in today's changing market.

Jul 6, 2020

Neha Sampat is the Founder and CEO @ Contentstack, a modern content management system bringing business and tech teams together to deliver personalised, omnichannel experiences. Atypical in our world, but Neha scaled the business to well over $1M in ARR before raising funding. Now Neha has raised over $31M from the likes of Insight Partners and Illuminate. Prior to Contentstack, Neha was the Founder and CEO @ Built.io and before that spent 10 years as the Founder and CEO @ Raw Engineering, building a leading digital transformation consultancy.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How did Neha make her way into the world of SaaS and content management systems having previously built a digital transformation agency?
  • How the heck did Neha scaled Contentstack to over $1M in ARR without raising capital, whilst being based in the Bay? What were the signals that made Neha realise she had a scalable software business? What did Neha look for in her first seed round investors? How did that profile change when she went out to raise the Series A?  
  • How has being a sommelier helped Neha break the glass ceiling of business? What are some lessons Neha has learned in terms of build true and genuine relationships with customers beyond the transaction? What are the counter-intuitive strategies Neha has found works when it comes to motivating remote teams?
  • Why did Neha decide to build out so much of the tech team well outside of the Bay in a town outside of Mumbai? Does Neha believe the future of tech is in the valley or decentralised?  

Neha’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. Neha’s biggest strength and biggest weakness as a leader?
  2. What does Neha believe that many around her do not?
  3. The biggest obstacle to the success Neha has achieved?

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

Neha Sampat

Jul 2, 2020

Startups can get messy. Especially in growth. David Sacks (Yammer, PayPal) shares how to navigate from 50-500 employees.

Jul 1, 2020

Kurt Muehmel is the Chief Customer Officer @ Dataiku, the platform democratizing access to data and enabling enterprises to build their own path to AI in a human-centric way. To date, the company has raised over $146M in funding from some of the best in the business including ICONIQ, Firstmark, Battery Ventures and CapitalG to name a few. As for Kurt, he joined the company over 5 years ago and has risen from AE to VP EMEA to VP Sales Engineering to today as Chief Customer Officer. Before Dataiku, Kurt spent 5 years at Deloitte as a Manager advising primarily European public authorities on sustainable development policies.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Kurt made his way into the world of enterprise SaaS with Dataiku having started his career at Deloitte in Paris?
  • What does it take to go from 0-1 in implementing both AI and data science disciplines in 20th-century companies? Where do many go wrong with their first steps? How can one assist them in the right way? How does Kurt feel about services revenue? At what stage or ratio does it become too much? 
  • How does Kurt approach the challenge of change management? What does great change management look like? Where do so many go wrong? How can content be used to efficiently scale change management practices? How does one need to engage different teams for effective change management? 
  • How does Kurt think about the right pricing mechanism for the customer today? How does one find a mechanism that does not disincentivize the customer with usage? How does Kurt feel about discounting? To what extent is Kurt and Dataiku willing to engage with pilots and POCs? Where do many go wrong here? 

Kurt’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. Biggest challenge of Kurt’s role with Dataiku today?
  2. What does Kurt know now that he wishes he had known when he entered the world of SaaS?
  3. Who does Kurt look up to in the world of customer experience? Why?

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

Kurt Muehmel

Jun 26, 2020

Ready to hire your first VP Sales?  But haven’t done it before? SaaStr CEO, Jason Lemkin shares his interview checklist. 

Jun 25, 2020

Aileen Lee is a U.S. seed investor. A venture capital investor, she is the founder of Cowboy Ventures. Lee coined the often-used Silicon Valley term unicorn in a TechCrunch article "Welcome To The Unicorn Club: Learning from Billion-Dollar Startups."

In this episode of the SaaStr podcast, Aileen and SaaStr Founder Jason Lemkin take a deep dive on how Aileen finds deals, her tips for a winning pitch, and the state of VC in 2020. 

Jun 23, 2020

Julie Herendeen is the CMO @ PagerDuty, the real-time operations platform ensuring less downtime and fewer outages, meaning happier customers and more productive teams. Prior to their IPO in 2019 PagerDuty raised funding from some of the best in the business including Accel, a16z, Baseline, Bessemer and Harrison Metal to name a few. As for Julie, prior to PagerDuty she was Vice President of Global Marketing @ Dropbox. Before Dropbox Julie was CMO @ Lookout and before Lookout, Julie enjoyed VP roles at both Yahoo and Shutterfly. If that was not enough, alongside her role at PagerDuty today Julie is also an angel with Broadway Angels and a Board Member @ Hubspot. 

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Julie made her way from the world of consumer into the world of enterprise and came to be CMO @ PagerDuty today? What were some of Julie’s biggest lessons from her time as VP Global Marketing at Dropbox?
  • Does Julie believe that marketing should be held accountable to a number tied directly to revenue? How does Julie believe sales and marketing should work in unison? How can sales be involved in pipeline generation meetings? Should AEs make themselves responsible for sourcing new leads also? What does the ideal handoff look like? 
  • How does Julie see the best marketing and product teams working together? What can marketing do to collect the most valuable data to inform product decisions? In what forum should they be relayed to product teams? How should product and marketing leaders interact most efficiently? 
  • How does Julie think about the relationship of customer success and marketing? Does Julie agree that with the increasing amount of marketing content used post-sale, marketing is doing much of the work of CS? Where does Julie see many going wrong when investing heavily into thought leadership and content marketing?

Julie’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. Which marketing leader does Julie most respect and why?
  2. What would Julie most like to change about the world of SaaS today?
  3. What is the optimal relationship between the CEO and the CMO?

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

Julie Herendeen

Jun 19, 2020

Given that so many VC pitches are over Zoom now, we thought it would be worth sharing the things it’s easy to get wrong when pitching investors.

Pitching VCs is like anything.  You’ll get better at it over time.  Later, you’ll even get great at it.  Once you know how it works, it’s not even that hard to knock it out of the park.

But until then, so many founders make unforced errors.   Rookie errors.  Here are 16 that you can easily avoid / fix right now today.

Jun 18, 2020

On today's episode, Christoph shares his five tips for fundraising during a pandemic. 

  1. Have a clear COVID-19 assessment 
  2. Start with an extra-long "long list"
  3. Disqualify ruthlessly
  4. Have a killer deck 
  5. Build trust remotely 

Christoph has invested in more than 20 SaaS startups and lives and breathes SaaS, everything from “A as in AI-enhanced B2B software” to “Z as in Zendesk”. Christoph co-founded Point Nine Capital in 2011.

Before that, he co-founded two Internet startups (DealPilot.com in 1997 and Pageflakes in 2005). In 2008 he became an angel investor and discovered Zendesk, Clio, FreeAgent – and his love for SaaS.

Jun 11, 2020

On this episode of the SaaStr podcast, our CEO, Jason Lemkin, chats with Zapier CEO, Wade Foster, on Distributed Teams and Building a Cloud Product.

Zapier is a global remote company that allows end-users to integrate the web applications they use. Although Zapier is based in Sunnyvale, California, it employs a workforce of 250 employees located around the United States and in 23 other countries.

Jun 9, 2020

David Politis is the Founder & CEO @ BetterCloud, the company that helps IT discover, manage and secure the digital workplace. To date, David has raised over $186M in funding with BetterCloud from the likes of Accel, Warburg Pincus, Greycroft, Flybridge and Dropbox to name a few. Before founding BetterCloud, David was an early employee of Cloud Sherpas (acquired by Accenture), where he led the company to become the leading cloud services partner to SMB worldwide. Prior to Cloud Sherpas, David was a founding employee and General Manager of Vocalocity (acquired by Vonage), which he grew into one of the top providers of cloud PBX technology.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How David made his way into the world of SaaS and came to found BetterCloud? How has David seen the rate of cloud adoption within enterprise over the last 5 years? Has it been faster or slower than he thought? 
  • People often suggest operators are suited to certain stages of a company lifecycle, does David agree with this? What are the leading indicators an individual is struggling to scale? How does one communicate that to them effectively? How does David think about the decision to move an individual to another role vs release them? 
  • What does radical transparency really mean to David? How does the ability to have radical transparency within your org change when the org is 10 people vs 100 people? What are the biggest challenges of scaling transparency? From a meeting structure view, what can leaders do to encourage transparency? 
  • How does David feel about the method of OKR setting? How has his mindset changed towards OKRs? What does the decision-making process look like for deciding which OKRs to focus on? What OKRs do they focus on at BetterCloud? How does one know when they need to change their OKRs?

David’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What would David most like to change in the world of SaaS?
  2. How has David seen himself emerge and develop as a leader?
  3. What is the biggest challenge of David’s role within BetterCloud today?

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

David Politis

Jun 4, 2020

Mark Suster is a managing partner at Upfront Ventures, the largest venture capital firm in Los Angeles, and a prominent blogger in the startup venture capital world.

In this episode of the SaaStr podcast, he shares his learnings on the current landscape of funding in the time of Coronavirus, including:

  • Valuation and compression 
  • Forecasting market trends
  • The slowdown in VC
  • His best advice for surviving the downturn and raising a round of funding 
Jun 2, 2020

Michael Katz is the Founder & CEO @ mParticle, the customer data platform for brands leading the customer data revolution with clients from Airbnb to Spotify to Postmates. To date Michael has raised over $120m in funding with mParticle from GV, Social Capital, Greylock, Bain Capital Ventures and a friend of the show in Zach Coelius. 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 on the board of Brightline and a mentor with Techstars.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Michael made his way into the world of SaaS and enterprise SaaS having founded and IPO’d an adtech business previously?
  • Why did Michael make the move to CRO 8 months ago? How does Mike think about when is the right time to hire your first CRO? How does this hire correlate to your hiring in sales enablement? What are the different CRO profiles Mike has seen? How does Mike advise founders on those that work best for early-stage?
  • Why does Mike believe that playbooks are for suckers? What is the reasoning for the reductionism towards the power of the playbook? How does Mike think about the relationship between playbooks and predictability? 
  • How does Mike make sales data really actionable within the company? What is the right way for founders to do post-mortems on won and lost deals? What is the right way to structure their sales pipeline? Who should be involved in analysing this data? What can be done to incentivize sales to be accurate in their sales data?
  • Why does Michael believe that most sales meetings are unproductive? What is the right way to structure your sales meeting? Who should be brought into the meeting other than the sales team? How does Michael advise sales reps to maintain customer relationships post-sale? Where do many go wrong here? 

Michael’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What would Michael most like to change about the world of SaaS?
  2. What is the hardest element of Michael’s role today with mParticle?

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

May 28, 2020

These are unique times. In some ways, we can use our playbooks, make adjustments, and in other ways, things are very different. What isn’t likely to be very different is that recurring revenue … recurs. This is the bedrock of SaaS.

Hear how Slack CEO, Stewart Butterfield, is adapting to change and his advice on how to take care of your team and customers. 

May 26, 2020

Christine Trodella is Head of Americas for Facebook’s Workplace product, the communication tool that connects everyone in your company, through Groups, Chat, Rooms and Live video broadcasting. Prior to Workplace, Christine was Head of America’s for Facebook’s Audience Network and before that spent 5 years as a Group Director across multiple different sales and account teams within Facebook’s mid-market channel. Before Facebook, Christine was an Executive Director @ WebMD and before that spent close to 3 years in media sales at Yahoo. 

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Christine made her way into the world of SaaS as part of a non-SaaS company and how that led to her leading Americas for Workplace by Facebook?
  • What have been the biggest benefits of scaling a SaaS company within a non-SaaS company? What are the biggest challenges or misalignments of scaling Workplace within Facebook? What have been some of the core and early mistakes the team made in their strategy to build out the Workplace sales and marketing machine? 
  • What have been Christine’s biggest lessons on what it takes to sell really effectively to some of the largest enterprises in the world? What do CIOs most want in pricing? How does Christine think about the pricing problem of having a variable pricing mechanism without disincentivizing usage? How does Christine think about and approach discounting?
  • Does Christine believe remote is the new normal? What really interesting data have Christine and the Workplace team seen since the world has move to work from home? How has behaviour changed on the platform with the rise of remote work? 

Christine’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What would Christine most like to change in the world of SaaS?
  2. When I say success, who is the first person that comes to Christine’s mind?
  3. What is the biggest challenge of Christine’s role within FB today?

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

Christine Trodella

Lower your burn by leveraging AI to claim R&D tax credits for a flat fee. Cash on hand is more important than ever, CrossBorder Solutions helps you keep more of your money. See why AI is the rational choice, request a demo today. [crossborder.ai/20]

May 21, 2020

Leveraging survey data from 66+ enterprise SaaS companies, Matt Garratt, Managing Partner of Salesforce Ventures shares the landscape of how businesses are shifting their sales & GTM strategies to react to today's uncertain times. Adnan Chaudhry, SVP of Sales at Salesforce then provides actionable takeaways on how to refocus your sales teams, engage with customers, adjust your sales comp and how you can properly forecast in today's new landscape.

May 19, 2020

David Spinks is the Founder @ CMX, the premier network for community professionals. In 2019, CMX was acquired by Bevy, where David now serves as the VP of Community. Bevy is a customer-to-customer community management platform, building products that brands use to build, grow and manage their community event programs, both virtual and IRL for companies like Slack, Twitch, Salesforce, Atlassian, and Duolingo. Prior to CMX, David founded 2 prior startups centred around different forms of community building and before that was Community Manager in the early days of LeWeb the largest tech/startup conference in Europe.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How David made his way into the world of SaaS and came to found CMX? Why David believes that community is so central for all SaaS companies today?
  • How does David advise teams on expectation setting around virtual events? How ambitious should they be? What big mistakes does David often see in the early days of the planning? How does this differ if you have an existing cohort of users vs are starting new with no audience?  
  • How dependent is the success of the community on the platform it is hosted on? What is the ideal size for Slack, Telegram and Whatsapp communities? Should the host seed the discussion or allow it to be natural? How important is it to establish a handbook of expected actions and behaviours? Should you cull members who are inactive? 
  • What does David believe separates good from great when it comes to discussion groups? What innovative strategies has David seen work when it comes to bringing a virtual event to life? What is the right amount of people in that discussion group? What is the core role of the moderator for the group?

David’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. Biggest misconception around virtual events?
  2. Virtual events: Permanent tide change or purely in the COVID world?
  3. What has been David’s favourite virtual event? Why?

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

David Spinks

Lower your burn by leveraging AI to claim R&D tax credits for a flat fee. Cash on hand is more important than ever, CrossBorder Solutions helps you keep more of your money. See why AI is the rational choice, request a demo today. [crossborder.ai/20]

May 14, 2020

Hear from Michelle Zatlyn, co-founder and COO of Cloudflare. Michelle started the company during an economic downturn in 2009. Now, Cloudflare runs one of the world's largest networks that helps make the Internet more secure, fast, and reliable, with a market cap of more than $6B. Despite the challenges of uncertainty, money not flowing, and a generally dark mood, she was able to do it and learned a lot along the way. In this talk, Michelle will share how she made her business idea come to life and some lessons learned that can help other entrepreneurs—from solving a real, meaningful problem, to communicating in a crisis, prioritizing when there's a true lack of resources, and more.

May 11, 2020

Bridget Gleason is the Head of Sales and Customer Success @ Tidelift, the company providing managed open source, backed by maintainers. Tidelift has raised over $40M from some of the best in the business including Foundry Group and General Catalyst. As for Bridget, she has the most incredible track record. Before Tidelift, Bridget was VP of Sales @ Logz.io and before that was VP of Corporate Sales @ Sumo Logic where she drove ARR up by a record 237%. Prior to SumoLogic, Bridget was VP of Sales @ YesWare where she increased MRR per rep by 450%. Finally, before YesWare, she was VP of Sales @ Engine Yard, where she tripled monthly recurring revenue, over the course of her 3+ year tenure, in 3 key leadership roles.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Bridget made her way into the world of SaaS and Sales and came to be Head of both Sales and Customer Success at Tidelift?
  • Why does Bridget believe the best starting point for customer success is “company culture and value”? How does company culture impact the quality of customer success? In practice, what can one do to improve it? Who has done this well? How does value drive customer success forward? 
  • How does Bridget think Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs drives the roadmap for customer success? What core elements does it change? Where do most teams go wrong in implementing the role out of their CS strategy? When should one hire their first CS rep? What should that hire look like from an experience perspective?
  • How does Bridget advise her CS reps the best ways for them to build trust with their clients? What works? What does not work? Does Bridget believe CS teams should be involved in the upsell process? Does that endanger the element of trust?

Bridget’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Bridget know now that she wishes she had known when she entered the world of SaaS?
  2. What would bridget most like to change about the world of SaaS today?
  3. What is the most challenging element of Bridget’s role with Tidelift?

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

Bridget Gleason

Lower your burn by leveraging AI to claim R&D tax credits for a flat fee. Cash on hand is more important than ever, CrossBorder Solutions helps you keep more of your money. See why AI is the rational choice, request a demo today. [crossborder.ai/20]

May 7, 2020

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Hear from Garry Tan, co-founder and managing partner at Initialized Capital, about how to protect your business during a crisis. He'll cover remote work, team management, sales, marketing, product development and more.

May 6, 2020

Jessica Lin is a Co-Founder and General Partner @ Work-Bench, one of New York’s leading early-stage enterprise funds with a portfolio including the likes of Cockroach Labs, X.ai, Dialpad, VTS and Catalyst to name a few. Prior to Work-Bench, Jessica was a Learning and Development Manager at Cisco Systems, where she worked with the Engineering organization on Agile transformation, innovation and culture. Jessica is actively involved with the education and workforce development community in New York City and as chair of the Industry Advisory Board at Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow.

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Jessica made her way from learning Swahili into the world of enterprise and into the world of venture with the founding of Work-Bench?
  • How should founders expect to see their new business pipe be impacted by COVID? What does Jessica believe is the right way to do proper pipe reviews? What specific elements does Jessica really double click on in reviews? Where does Jessica find managers and founders do pipe reviews wrong?
  • What does Jessica believe is the right way for sales reps to engage with new customers during this time? What is the right tone to adopt that achieves both empathy and a business objective? How should sales teams and CS respond to requests for discounts? What should be the compromise with discounts? 
  • What specific and deliberate things can startups do not just to prevent churn but also to increase usage and upsell? Does Jessica agree with the rule of thumb that in enterprise, on an annual basis, 95% of your customers should retain? What other strategies has Jessica seen work really well for retention?

Jessica’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What would Jessica most like to change about the world of SaaS?
  2. What is the hardest element of Jessica’s role today with Work-Bench?
  3. The NYC ecosystem, pros and cons?

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

Jessica Lin 

Lower your burn by leveraging AI to claim R&D tax credits for a flat fee. Cash on hand is more important than ever, CrossBorder Solutions helps you keep more of your money. See why AI is the rational choice, request a demo today. [crossborder.ai/20]

Apr 30, 2020

The true test of marketers. Are you a revenue driver or a cost center? You cannot afford to be the latter. Marketing leaders must focus their teams on the areas that will drive revenue while they cut costs - the biggest impact for the business. Join TripActions CMO Meagen Eisenberg at SaaStr Summit as she highlights her approach to ensuring Marketing delivers on its mission-critical role even in times of uncertainty or crisis.

Apr 29, 2020

Navin Chaddha is the Managing Director @ Mayfield who just last month announced $750M in new funds split across their core and select funds. As for Navin, under his leadership Mayfield has raised over $2.2Bn in new funds and he has backed some of the best of the last decade including Poshmark, Lyft, Hashicorp, CloudGenix and more. During his career Navin has invested in 50 companies, 17 have gone public, 20 have been acquired. Prior to VC, Navin was an entrepreneur where he co-founded or led 3 startups, all of which had successful exits with one being acquired by Microsoft. 

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How did Navin make his way into the world of venture from successfully founding and exiting 3 businesses? What made him take the jump into investing full-time from being an EiR?
  • How does Navin expect the B2B landscape to be impacted by COVID-19? How does Navin advise B2B founders to think about how renewals will be impacted? How does Navin advise founders to think through how to approach the topic of discounting with their customers? In what situations does Navin agree to provide discounts to customers?
  • How does Navin foresee the B2C landscape to be impacted? How does Navin advise founders to think through the level of aggression with which they pursue traditional marketing channels, now with much lower CACs? Will these CACs remain low priced? How does Navin expect company pricing to change over the next few months?
  • How has Navin seen himself evolve and change as a board member over the last decade? What have been his major moments of learning? What advice would he give to new board members joining their first boards? What can board members do to build a relationship of trust and intimacy with their founders? What works? What does not?

Navin’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What does Navin know now that he wishes he had known when he entered the world of venture with Mayfield in 2004?
  2. What is the hardest element of Navin’s role with Mayfield today?
  3. What would Navin most like to change about the world of venture? Why?

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

Navin Chaddha

Apr 23, 2020

Romain Lapeyre is CEO of Gorgias. Gorgias is the leading help center on the Shopify platform, and that gives them a pulse into a large segment of SMBs in particular. They have almost 2,500 customers in segments both struggling (fashion, luxury), and growing (electronics, etc.). They are coming up on $10m ARR but aren’t there quite yet, so a lot like a lot of you, or where you’ll be soon enough.

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