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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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Now displaying: 2020
Aug 6, 2020

From strategies in recruitment and team building to sales tactics, these leaders from Salesforce, nCino, and Vlocity, will discuss the top tips for moving beyond horizontal SaaS and building a billion-dollar SaaS company.

Aug 3, 2020

Chen Amit is the Founder & CEO @ Tipalti, the only global payable automation platform that scales with you and now remitting $5Bn annually across 3M suppliers. To date, Chen has raised over $146M with Tipalti from the likes of Oren Zeev, Dan Rose, Mike Chalfen and then Greenspring, Truebridge and 01 Advisors to name a few. Previously, Chen was CEO of Atrica, acquired by Nokia-Siemens. He also was co-founder and CEO of Verix. At ECI Telecom, Chen founded its ADSL business unit and led it from inception to $100 million in annual sales. 

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Chen made his way into the world of SaaS and came to found the leader in account payables with Tipalti?
  • Why does Chen believe so much of his success is derived from saying no to customers? How does Chen determine which customer feedback to ingest vs to reject? If rejected, how can startups do this in a polite and respectful way? How can startups give the appearance of a large company to enterprises?   
  • Given the infinite supply of capital, how does Chen think about unit economics? How does Chen think the right way to calculate LTV is? Where do many go wrong? What can we learn from Amazon when it comes to LTV? How does Chen advise founders to think about annual dollar churn? 
  • How does Chen think about optimising pricing models today? How can SaaS companies have variable pricing mechanisms without disincentivizing usage? How does Chen think about aligning revenue scale to your customers? How can this be done? What are the benefits?  

Chen’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. What is the hardest element of Chen’s role today with Tipalti?
  2. What would Chen most like to change in the world of SaaS today? 
  3. What does Chen believe that most around him disbelieve? 

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

Jul 30, 2020

Therese Tucker breaks through the dogma behind what it takes to build a successful tech company. With stories based on the founding of BlackLine — to the company’s successful IPO – you’ll learn the most common myths behind success and why they may be holding you back.

Jul 28, 2020

Pete Kazanjy is the Co-Founder @ Atrium, the startup providing proactive, always-on insights for sales operations, managers, and leaders. Stop asking questions. Start getting answers. Alongside Atrium, Pete is also the Founder of Modern Sales Pros, a community of 15,000 focused on sales operations and sales management. Pete is also the author of Founding Sales, the canonical writing on early-stage startup sales. Prior to founding Atrium, Pete founded TalentBin, culminating in their exit to Monster Worldwide in February 2014. Finally, before TalentBin, Pete founded Honestly.com building the world's first professional reputation clearinghouse and raising funding from CRV and First Round in the process. 

 In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

  • How Pete made his way into the world of SaaS and how he came to be one of the leading figures on sales operations and management that he is today?
  • Why do founders have to sell the product themselves at the start? When is the right time to hire their first sales reps? What profiles should founders look for in these first reps? What are the most common mistakes founders make when hiring their first reps? How should they structure their comp plans?   
  • How do the best onboard their sales reps? What can be done to minimise ramp time of new reps? How is the documentation used most effectively? How can sales calls be used for new rep onboarding? How does Pete think about optimising payback period on a per rep basis? 
  • What are the leading indicators that a sales rep is successful? What are the core metrics founders should measure to determine the effectiveness of their reps and sales teams? How does this differ between SMB and enterprise? What are the challenges with enterprise given the long sales cycles? 

Pete’s 60 Second SaaStr:

  1. Hardest element of Pete’s role today with Atrium?
  2. What would Pete most like to change in the world of SaaS?
  3. What sales leader does Pete most respect and 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

Pete Kazanjy

Jul 23, 2020

Despite the global pandemic, seed investing remains hyperactive amongst VCs. Satya Patel of Homebrew shares his expert advice on how to raise seed capital in 2020. 

Jul 17, 2020

Whether you've just raised your first round or are in hypergrowth mode, here are the 10 things SaaStr CEO and Founder, Jason Lemkin, wishes his board and investors had told him. 

Jul 16, 2020

Keith Rabois (Paypal, Linkedin, Square) and SaaStr Founder Jason Lemkin talk about the landscape of SaaS & Cloud fundraising and valuation in 2020. 

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

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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]

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