6 things SaaS founders should keep in mind in 2014

The Angel VC

I hope you've had a great start into the new year, and I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous (and of course SaaSy ) 2014. Here are six things that I think SaaS founders should keep in mind in 2014. 3) Have a plan for 2014 Become clear on what you want to achieve in 2014 and what this means for your product roadmap, your marketing plan and your financial plan. Which additional ones do you think SaaS founders should pay attention to in 2014?

The 2014 Class of SaaS IPOs

Tomasz Tunguz

2014 has been a great year for SaaS companies. Third, the average SaaS IPO in 2014 raised 4 rounds of capital. The 2014 Class of SaaS IPOs show there are many different ways of building a business. By my count, 9 of them will have gone public. Meanwhile, SaaS companies in both the public and private markets continue to fetch premium valuations.

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How Will Digital Marketing Trends Influence 2014

Incredo

Your next question might be if there are any digital marketing trends that will influence 2014. The post How Will Digital Marketing Trends Influence 2014 appeared first on Incredo. Has the Internet changed so much over the years that the way info is shared is different than a couple of years ago? The answer to that question is YES! The aim has been placed on inbound techniques, rather than outbound techniques.

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Good VCs, bad VCs

The Angel VC

Inspired by Ben Horowitz’ excellent “Good product managers, bad product managers” post and Stefan Smalla’s “Good leader, bad leader” masterpiece I’ve tried to put together my thoughts on what I think makes a great venture capital investor. Thanks go to my colleagues at Point Nine Capital for their invaluable feedback, in particular Michael, Mathias and Rodrigo, who reviewed an early draft of this post and provided lots of great comments.

The Metrics-driven SaaS Business

Chaotic Flow

In 2014, we not only have a much better understanding of the financial levers that drive SaaS business success, we are on the verge of a metrics revolution in the way SaaS businesses are managed. My first serious lesson in the criticality of SaaS metrics was about six years ago when I was unexpectedly stumped in a board of directors meeting.

How the Fund Raising Market Will Evolve in 2014

Tomasz Tunguz

If the fundraising trends in Q1 continue for the year, VCs will raise twice as much capital in 2014 as 2013 ($36B vs $17B). Q2 will be an important bellwether to gauge the bullishness of the venture industry for 2014

The Metrics-Driven SaaS Business | Ebook

Chaotic Flow

The SaaS community has gained a solid understanding of SaaS financial metrics, as well as many of the operational principles required to achieve them. However, there has always been an obvious gap between what happens on the top line and what happens on the ground. This is about to change! The SaaS industry is maturing beyond simple, historical SaaS financial measures toward sophisticated operational measures in the form of new SaaS customer success metrics and predictive analytics.

The Promise of SaaS Customer Success Metrics

Chaotic Flow

Over the past few years, the SaaS community has gained a solid understanding of SaaS financial metrics, as well as many of the operational principles required to achieve them. However, there has always been an obvious gap between what happens on the top line and what happens on the ground. It’s one thing to claim that a 50% reduction in churn will result in a 2X increase in recurring revenue, but it’s quite another thing to make it happen.

SaaS Inside Sales Benchmarks Survey | Take It!

Chaotic Flow

As many of you may know, Trish Bertuzzi and the folks over at the Bridge Group publish a lot of great stuff on Inside Sales strategy and operations, including inside sales compensation benchmarks, lead development rep best practices, outbound selling strategies, and on an on. Their upcoming 2015 Inside Sales Metrics and Compensation report will feature expanded coverage and focus of SaaS inside sales benchmarks in an extra effort to service the SaaS community.

The SaaS Metrics Maturity Model

Chaotic Flow

Becoming a Metrics-driven SaaS Business is no easy task. It takes time, commitment and plenty of customers. However, the financial rewards of moving beyond standard SaaS financial metrics to SaaS customer success metrics and ultimately to sophisticated predictive analytics are significant. Each step toward SaaS metrics greatness builds upon the last.

Three more ways to build a $100 million business

The Angel VC

It seems like my recent post about five ways to build a $100 million business resonated very well with a lot of people. I also got some really good comments and suggestions, and so I'd like to follow-up with another post on the topic. Introducing: the Brontosaurus! A reader by the name of " Vonsydow" commented that another way to get to $100 million is by having 100 customers, each paying you $1 million per year, and mentioned Veeva as an example. Veeva's ACV is around $780,000.

Bluenose Enables the Metrics-driven SaaS Business

Chaotic Flow

We are witnessing a dramatic change in the way SaaS businesses are managed. While SaaS financial metrics , such as recurring revenue, acquisition cost, service cost, churn, growth and lifetime value have dramatically increased our understanding of the economics of SaaS businesses, they have proven inadequate for managing them. As useful as they may be, SaaS financial metrics look at the past, not the future.

It's a ZEN day!

The Angel VC

Today is a very special day for me as as an entrepreneur and investor. About an hour ago, Zendesk went public on the New York Stock Exchange. The last time I watched an IPO so carefully was when Shopping.com, the company that had bought my price comparison startup, went public – almost ten years ago. Here are a few visual impressions of my love affair with Zendesk, which began six years ago: Huge congrats and thanks to the entire Zendesk team – I couldn't be more proud of you guys!

3 Reasons We're in a Bubble. And 3 Reasons We're Not.

The Angel VC

In 2013, that number was $7B and in the first half of 2014 it reached $4.9B. In a Wall Street Journal interview that was published yesterday, Bill Gurley , General Partner at Benchmark and one of the smartest and most successful VCs of all time, said that the current environment reminds him of the tech bubble of the late 1990s: “Every incremental day that goes past I have this feeling a little bit more.

A toast to all the great ones that we've missed

The Angel VC

Picture taken by "nlmAdestiny" One of the things that inevitably happens when you're in the angel or VC investing business for a couple of years is that besides a hopefully healthy portfolio, you're also building a growing anti-portfolio. As far as I know, the term "anti-portfolio" has been coined by Bessemer.

How to manage and run a content marketing machine for your B2B SaaS company

Aaron Beashel

Content marketing can be an incredibly successful approach to customer acquisition for B2B SaaS companies. And there is a lot of content out there that can teach you how to do it effectively as well, with the likes of HubSpot, Marketo and Kapost all producing great content that’ll help you create a winning content marketing strategy for your company. However, I’ve found there is a lot less content around how to actually execute content marketing on a day to day basis.

Cohort Analysis: A (practical) Q&A [Guest Post]

The Angel VC

My colleague Nicolas wrote a great guide with tips and tricks on how to do cohort analyses which I'd like to share with the readers of this blog. Thanks, Nicolas, for allowing me to guest publish it here. Without further ado, here it is! - - - - - - - - - - At Point Nine we believe that the only way to get a real sense of user retention and customer lifetime is doing a proper cohort analysis.

A/B testing is like sex at high school

The Angel VC

A few days ago I went on record saying that A/B testing is like sex at high school. Everyone talks about it, not very many do it in earnest. I want to follow up on the topic with some additional thoughts (don't worry, I won't stretch the high school analogy any further). When talking to people about A/B testing I've noticed that there are four (stereo) types of mindsets which prevent companies from successfully using split tests as a tool to improve their conversion funnel.

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5 reasons to ditch the PDF eBook from your content marketing

Aaron Beashel

The PDF eBook has been a staple of content marketing for a very long time, and for good reason too. It’s a great lead or subscriber magnet to offer people, and when done right it can significantly increase the amount of leads you generate and help build your all important email list.

What really happens when you get featured in Buffer’s recommended content section

Aaron Beashel

I have to hand it to the guys at Buffer, the recommended content section was a genius play. Not only did they create a feature that has probably tripled product usage, but they created a content distribution channel that they can use to send content on a sharing rampage. I’d heard through a content marketing friend of mine that getting featured in their recommended section drives a ton of social sharing activity, and I was definitely intrigued by the idea.

Why your content marketing should be like a rock concert

Aaron Beashel

Late last month, I was fortunate to take some time off to head up to Splendour In The Grass in Byron Bay with a few friends. It was quite the event, with 40,000+ people all converging in one bigass field outside of Byron for 3 days of music and drinking. There were probably 100+ bands playing over the 3 days, and we went and saw a good number of them. Whilst always fun, the problem with this is that you end up going and seeing bands that you only partially like.

The Hail Mary Offer: How To Turn Bounces Into Customers

Aaron Beashel

You’ve worked so hard. You’ve written an incredible post. You know your audience will be delighted, as your post has heaps of actionable ideas on how they can make their lives better. You’ve even tweaked the headline to perfection. It grabs attention. It arouses curiosity. It’s got it all. You publish the post and get some good sharing activity and attention, but then you noticed in your analytics tool that nothing good actually happened.

How to use behavioural psychology to improve your content marketing

Aaron Beashel

I am a big fan of the Content Marketing being done by the guys over at Buffer. I think they create some great content and I have personally learnt a lot from them about happiness, productivity and other topics. Recently however, I was looking at their Open Blog and in particular the Content Marketing Report for April and found some of the statistics quite interesting. Here’s a rundown: 729,832 unique visitors. 962,389 total visits. 1,193,967 pageviews. 1,604 conversions.

Introducing: The One-Slide Update Deck

The Angel VC

When we start to work with a new portfolio company, one of the things we always suggest is that in addition to (sometimes lots of ) ad hoc communication via eMail, Skype, Basecamp, etc. we set up a standing meeting or call, at least during the first 9-12 months following our investment. Typically it's a one-hour monthly call, and the purpose of these calls is to get us updated and to talk through current issues.

Reflections on the early days at Zendesk (part 1)

The Angel VC

Yesterday I posted a brief review of Mikkel’s excellent book “Startupland”. For me, the book is also a good opportunity for some reflections and to share some thoughts in relation to Zendesk’s journey. The first date When I stumbled on Zendesk in 2008 I knew absolutely nothing about enterprise software, B2B or SaaS. I had always been a consumer Internet guy, having founded comparison shopping engine DealPilot.com back in 1997 and personalized homepage Pageflakes in 2005.

How to create a Growth Engine for your SaaS product

Aaron Beashel

These days we have more access to great information on marketing our SaaS products than ever before. People like Sean Ellis , Neil Patel , Chris Hexton , Peep Laja and many others choose to share their knowledge of online marketing via blog posts and eBooks and it is all available for us to learn completely free as long as we have the desire. But do you get the feeling that there is just so much you could be doing it’s hard to know how it all fits together to achieve that illusive ‘Growth’?

A framework for optimising your Growth Engine

Aaron Beashel

In a recent post on my blog titled 4 stages of growth hacking , I make the point that optimising your Growth Engine is often an overlooked step of the Growth process. Without having an optimised growth engine (particularly an optimised acquisition funnel & a low churn rate ) you will have a very difficult time scaling your growth either because you cannot find profitable channels or your high churn rate means you’ll hit a growth ceiling.

Reflections on the early days at Zendesk (part 2)

The Angel VC

This is part two of my post about the early days at Zendesk. The first part is here. Small, fragmented and no potential for differentiation As mentioned in the first part of this post, the seed round was only $500,000 and it was clear that we’d need much more money soon. That’s why Mikkel and I started to work on a pitch deck and a financial plan almost immediately after the closing of the seed round and started to pitch to VCs shortly thereafter.

Startupland – How three guys risked everything to turn an idea into a global business

The Angel VC

As some of you may know, my friend Mikkel , founder and CEO of Zendesk , wrote a book. It’s called “Startupland: How Three Guys Risked Everything to Turn an Idea into a Global Business” and you can learn more about it here. The hardcover version will be released in about two weeks, but the Kindle version just became available on Amazon and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a draft a few weeks ago.

2014 in the numbers – fun stats from the #P9Family

The Angel VC

So let me take the safer path, take a look back at 2014 and show you some stats from the Point Nine family of startups. It's that time of the year again, the blogosphere is full of reviews of the year that is coming to a close and predictions for the coming year. When it comes to predictions, I agree with Niels Bohr (or Mark Twain or various other people who the quote got attributed to): Prediction is difficult, especially about the future.

We ? vanity metrics ;-)

The Angel VC

Who ever said only startups love vanity metrics? Here's our revenge for all those misleading stats that we have to muddle through almost on a daily basis when startups pitch us! Yesterday I saw this post on the blog of Karlin Ventures. In response to a tweet by Paul Graham which was highlighted in Danielle Morrill's excellent Mattermark Daily newsletter, the guys at Karlin Ventures revealed the "days since last contact" numbers for their portfolio.

15 Ways Marketing Automation Can Maximize your Content’s ROI

Incredo

ROI is an accounting tool that is used to show actual or perceived future value of an investment or expense. In economic terms, some say that it is a way of considering profits in relation to capital invested. The purpose of ROI is to measure, per period, rates of return on money invested in an economic entity in order to decide whether or to undertake an investment.

6 Creative Ways to Use Vine for Social Media Marketing

Incredo

Vine is a mobile app that is a must for any small business that’s in social media marketing. Vine is owned by Twitter and it lets users generate and post petite video clips with the max length of 6 seconds. Not only can videos be shared, but they can also be embedded on socia l networking services like Facebook. Reveal your products —Vine can be used to reveal anything and everything about your product or service to your customers.

How Video Can Personalize Your Social Selling Cycle

Incredo

Using videos to boost your social selling cycle is one marketing tip that is important for your business if you want to succeed. However, there are some myths about video use: Videos are just for kids. It’s way too expensive. Videos are very complicated and difficult. Videos are only used for entertainment. It’s too time consuming. These are all just myths about video marketing and if you believe in the above, you will be really surprised after reading this article.

Three more ways to look at cohort data

The Angel VC

I've just added three new charts to my Excel template for cohort analysis. The first one shows the MRR development of several customer cohorts over the cohorts' lifetime: Each of the green lines represents a customer cohort. The x-axis shows the "lifetime month", so the dot at the end of the line at the bottom right, for example, represents the MRR of the January 2013 customer cohort (all customers who converted in January 2013) in their 9th month after converting.

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Four (more) things we look for in SaaS startups

The Angel VC

More than two years ago I wrote about what we look for in early-stage SaaS startups. Since then we've looked at hundreds of SaaS startups and have gained additional insights through the work that we've been doing with the SaaS startups that we have invested in. Therefore I thought it would be time for a follow-on post with some additional thoughts. In the original post I focused primarily on early metrics as an indicator of product/market fit and of a favorable CAC/CLTV ratio in the future.

Acquiring Customers Ain't Cheap

Practical Advice on SaaS marketing

It costs SaaS companies $1.07 in sales and marketing expense to acquire $1.00 in annual contract revenue. So says excellent research on the experience of SaaS companies, prepared by David Skok along with Pacific Crest Securities. The SaaS companies included in their survey spent, on average, $1.07 on sales and marketing to win a customer that would be worth $1 in annual contract value. Some might react with horror at that news. “To

SaaS Marketing is Not a Numbers Game

Practical Advice on SaaS marketing

"If we just dump enough names in the top of the funnel, some paying customers are bound to come out at the bottom of the funnel!" Wrong. This approach to customer acquisition - sucking in as many suspects as possible - is costly and inefficient. In other words, it's a very bad fit for software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies. For one thing, collecting all those names isn't free.

Does your SaaS startup have product/market fit?

The Angel VC

Product/market fit is a topic that I've touched on a few times on this blog. It's that extremely crucial but somewhat hard to define (and even harder to measure) step which every startup needs to cross as it goes from an idea to a product to a real, scalable business. It's also a very important concept for us at Point Nine Capital since we tend to look for some level of proof of product/market fit when we evaluate potential investments.

Benchmarking your SaaS startup

The Angel VC

People often ask me questions like: "How many people can I expect to sign up on my SaaS website?" "My My conversion rate is x% – is that good or bad?" "My My churn rate is x% – is that OK?" What kind of growth rates are VCs looking for?"