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!”,

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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?"

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.

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.

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!”

Your 2-Part Metrics Audit for High-Value Products

Speaker: Sam McAfee, Product Development Consultant, Startup Patterns

You know what they say: what's measured improves. As product managers we're in a golden age of being able to get all sorts of metrics and run all sorts of experiments. But what are your measurements and analytics focused on? Are they really truly objective? Do they contribute to the ultimate vision of your product? And is everybody clear on that vision? Join Sam McAfee, Product Development Consultant, as he takes you through a two-part measurement audit. First, you'll learn how to make sure your measurements actually align with your product strategy. And second, you'll learn how to evaluate your culture of using measurements, so future experiments will more consistently provide high-value results.

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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Measure the Immeasurable: Beyond Vanity Metrics

Speaker: Sari Harrison, Product Management Instructor, Product School

As a product manager, it's your job to realize your product’s vision by executing your chosen strategy. It’s also your job to deliver value to the business. Ultimately, these two outcomes are aligned so the temptation is to focus primarily on business metrics. Doing this can cause you to lose focus on the real value you are trying to achieve, in favor of moving the vanity metrics such as launches and time spent. Join Sari Harrison, Product Management Instructor at Product School, as she explains how to use immeasurable success criteria along with your more standard KPIs to deliver products that don't just get used a lot, but deliver real value.