2015

The Innovator's Dilemma for SaaS Startups

Tom Tunguz

See also: Innovator’s Solution for SaaS Startups. There’s a familiar path now to SaaS companies that start in the SMB (small-to-medium business) part of the market. Over time, they seem to inevitably begin serving larger customers. Box, Hubspot, Zendesk and among many others have exhibited this pattern. Why does this happen? I believe we’re seeing Clay Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma at play.

The problem with month-over-month growth rates

The Angel VC

Most fundraising decks contain a slide with a chart that looks roughly like this: Chart #1 Or this: Chart #2 I’ve also seen charts that look like this: Chart #3 Or this: Chart #4 Chart #3 and #4 are good for a LOL (or a “WTF!”,

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Avoiding Poor SaaS Customer Alignment

Chaotic Flow

When I’m not completely absorbed with my agile marketing software startup , I do a bit of SaaS consulting on the side.

Let Your Prospective Customers Know "This Solution is for You"

Practical Advice on SaaS marketing

I'm guessing that at some point before you built your software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, you thought about who might need this kind of product. Maybe you figured it out through market research, your own personal experience and frustration, or a flash of inspiration.

Need Remote Learning NOW? Get Online Quickly & Easily With This Can’t-Miss Guide

Remote learning is becoming more important than ever. Whether you’re scrambling to get your eLearning launched, or need to upgrade to meet increased demand, this guide will eliminate the guesswork so you can find your perfect LMS!

Retention Marketing Tips from Taylor Swift

ReSci

Whether or not you're a fan of sugary pop princess Taylor Swift's music, one thing can't be denied: the woman is a pro at retaining her customers. Did I say customers? I meant fans. Or Swifties, as they prefer to be called. Swift has always been canny about building her brand, and….

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Intern stories: What I learned about what makes WePay successful

wepay

On my last day at WePay, I took a final snapshot of the office on my way out, reminiscing everything that had happened. Saying goodbye has never been this hard.

Why You Need a Disclaimer In Your SaaS Agreement?

Aber Law Firm

I have always thought that disclaimers were good things to add to SaaS agreements, but this very recent case demonstrates that they really can make a difference in a legal dispute. By the way, a disclaimer is a statement regarding things you are not liable for.

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Take Rates for B2B Marketplaces

Software Platform Consulting

The two questions I’m most often asked are: 1. How do you keep your hair looking so lush and luxurious? How much can a B2B Marketplace or Multi-Sided Platform charge for its services? Some folks call this the platform’s “take rate” ).

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The evolution of the SaaS landing page

The Angel VC

When you look at the landing pages (or homepages or marketing sites, however you want to call them) of today's SaaS companies, they usually look quite beautiful. They typically have a clean, simple and friendly look, with very little text and a lot of images or videos.

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Debt Financing Fuels Your Growth - on Your Terms. Zero Dilution.

The landscape of startup financing is changing. Learn why SaaS founders are turning to debt capital options like revenue-based financing.

Introducing Jenny Buch, Talent Manager at Point Nine

The Angel VC

Once a startup has released the first version of its product, raised some funding, started to get the word out and is getting some traction, the biggest challenge almost always becomes hiring.

By the time you're at $2-3M in ARR, you need a VP of Sales who's done it before

The Angel VC

For most SaaS startups, the VP of Sales (along with the VP of Marketing) is one of the most crucial hires they need to make. Unless you have a no/low touch sales model and you're growing virally (a.k.a.

The 3 Ways Culture Enables Startups to Scale

Tom Tunguz

While culture may seem an ambiguous and fuzzy concept, strong cultures are the best way for leaders to manage their companies throughout their evolution. One founder/CEO described his company’s rapid growth to several hundred employees in just a few years this way. First, I was one of a few founders. As we grew, I became a manager of people. Then a manager of managers. And now I’m a manager of managers of managers.

6 things to pre-empt 90% of Due Diligence

The Angel VC

The founder of a portfolio company recently asked me what kind of numbers and other material he'll need when he goes into his next round of fundraising. He wanted to make sure that when he starts talking to new potential investors, he'll have answers ready to most of the questions he'll be asked.

Driving Discovery and Experimentation in your Organization

Speaker: Teresa Torres, Product Discovery Coach, Product Talk, David Bland, Founder and CEO, Precoil, and Hope Gurion, Product Coach and Advisor, Fearless Product LLC

If you want to build what matters, you can't move forward blindly. But to make progress, you can't let things slow to a crawl while you focus resources on gathering data. This is where continuous discovery and experimentation come in. Join Teresa Torres (Product Discovery Coach, Product Talk), David Bland (Founder, Precoil), and Hope Gurion (Product Coach and Advisor, Fearless Product) in a panel discussion as they cover how - and why - to build a culture of discovery and experimentation in your organization.

Announcing Point Nine Capital III

The Angel VC

Today we’ve announced Point Nine Capital III, our new €55M fund. Investors in PNC III include institutional investors like Horsley Bridge Partners , Sapphire Ventures , Flossbach von Storch and Vintage Investment Partners as well as a number of highly successful Internet entrepreneurs.

A simple tool to improve your 2016 planning

The Angel VC

In my last post I wrote about the problem with month-over-month growth rates. One of the issues I talked about was that when your revenue plan numbers are based on a constant m/m percentage growth figure (i.e.

The Data Behind the Rule of 40%

Tom Tunguz

In “The Rule of 40% for a Healthy SaaS Company,” Brad Feld shared a simple rule of thumb growth investors often apply to judge the attractiveness of a $50M business. “The 40% rule is that your growth rate + your profit should add up to 40%.” ” I was curious if this theory were broadly true, applicable for growth stage companies Brad mentioned, but also early stage companies.

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Announcing our investment in ChartMogul

The Angel VC

The big guy who's lifting Nick is Michael Hansen, Zendesk's first employee and a co-investor in ChartMogul As reported by TechCrunch, we’ve led a seed round in ChartMogul. We’re thrilled about the investment.

The Magic of Intent: Start Knowing The Goals of Your Users

Speaker: Terhi Hanninen, Senior Product Manager, Zalando, and Dr. Franziska Roth, Senior User Researcher, Zalando

It's important to know your users - what are their preferences, pain points, ultimate goals? With user research and usage data, you can get a great idea of how your users act. The tricky part is, very few users reliably act the same way every time they use your product. Join Terhi Hanninen, Senior Product Manager, and Dr. Franziska Roth, Senior User Researcher at Zalando, as they explain how they were able to reach a new level of user understanding - by taking their user research and segmenting their users by point-in-time intent. You'll leave with a strategy to change how your product team, and organization at large, understands your users.

What makes fundraising so stressful?

The Angel VC

Hyper-growth in SaaS

The Angel VC

Following his well-received guest post about cohort analysis , here comes another guest post from my colleague Nicolas. Enjoy! Status Quo From an investor’s perspective, SaaS companies have a lot to love: High gross margins, predictable (recurring) revenues and capital efficient operations.

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8 Customer Discovery Questions to Validate Product Market Fit for Your Startup

Tom Tunguz

When I was a PM at Google, we conducted customer research often to understand our customers’ opinions on AdSense. In 2005, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft were vying to win dominant share of advertising pages across large publishers. Customer knowledge, both qualitative and quantitative, informed product development, and that research became a key part of AdSense’s success.

Are You Present?

Tom Tunguz

Last week, I was chatting with an old friend who after I told her how busy and ragged I sometimes felt, she asked me, “Are you present?” ” To which I immediately replied, “At work?” ” And she laughed, and said, “I meant at home, but I have my answer!”

Encouraging Innovation in an Established Product Culture

Speaker: Richard Cardran, Chief Creative Officer and VP Strategy, HIA Technologies

Innovation is both a process and an outcome. The best way to begin innovating your products is by innovating your internal process. We'll explore the challenges, solutions, and hands-on techniques for becoming a successful "agent of change" within a well-established product culture. We'll examine the importance of UX and user-centric feature analysis, the adaptation of Agile Methodologies to the creative process, as well as a way to drive successful culture change for setting expectations and winning approvals with cross-functional stakeholders. Innovation and Leadership go hand in hand. Join Richard Cardran, Chief Creative Officer and VP Strategy, HIA Technologies, as we assess some case studies to see how to lead with a clear strategy well-defined tactics, and an unbiased understanding of the fundamental question: "why are you innovating?"

Sales Funnel Optimization for SaaS Startups

Tom Tunguz

There’s a magical property to the classic sales funnel SaaS startups use to evaluate the effectiveness of their go-to-market organizations: an increase in effectiveness at any stage of a sales funnel cascades through to the end funnel. But improvements to the early parts of the funnel are more important than those later in the funnel, because they meaningfully improve key SaaS metrics like cost-of-customer acquisition and pay-back period.

A closer look at the 6 things to pre-empt 90% of Due Diligence

The Angel VC

Since last week's post about 6-7 things to pre-empt 90% of Due Diligence was liked/shared/retweeted quite a bit, I'd like to follow up with some additional details on what exactly SaaS Series A/B investors will look for when you supply them with the data and material that I've mentioned.

The importance of doing reference checks (1(2)

The Angel VC

This is a guest post by Jenny Buch, who recently joined us as a Talent Manager. It's the first in a series of two posts. The second one will appear here soon.

Why (most) SaaS startups should aim for negative MRR churn

The Angel VC

If you've followed my blog for a while, you know that I have a bit of an obsession with churn. Having significant account churn doesn't necessarily have to be a big problem and can't be avoided completely anyway. MRR churn sucks the blood out of your business though.

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Embedding Operational Reports: Everything Product Managers Should Know

Speaker: Dean Yao, Sr. Director of Product Marketing, Logi Analytics

Businesses are run with analytics - but companies continue to struggle with interpreting, analyzing, and distributing data. Operational reports help get information to the people who need it most, in formats they understand, and in a timeframe that matters. Join the webinar to learn how embedding operational reports can give your users a precisely formatted, ready-to-analyze view of their operational activities. World-class software teams are embedding operational reports to empower end users with interactive data visualizations, detailed information, and highly precise formats that can be shared via email, PDF, print, or online.

How Faster Sales Cycles Become a Competitive Advantage

Tom Tunguz

Sales cycles, the time from acquiring a lead to closing an account, vary quite a bit by industry, product type, and price point. But universally speaking for startups, shorter sales cycles are better. Maintaining a short sales cycle is a competitive advantage for several important reasons. First, faster sales cycles accelerate the discovery of a repeatable sales process. Different sales approaches must be tested: which role to sell to? which pitch (cost or value)?

The Compounding Returns of Content Marketing

Tom Tunguz

A few weeks ago, I joined Mike Volpe, CMO of Hubspot, on the Growth Show where we had a great time talking about a few SaaS topics. A few listeners to the podcast picked a line from that podcast that I think is a really important point for content marketing. I said, “Content is one of the few forms of marketing that has a compounding return.”

In God we trust, all others bring references

The Angel VC

In the last few weeks I talked to two entrepreneurs who both recently made a hire that didn't work out. In both cases I asked how the reference calls went, and in both cases the answer was that they hadn't done any before hiring the candidate.