SaaS founders and innovators share their story! ChartMogul's SaaS Open Mic podcast talks to the most inspiring innovators behind high-growth subscription businesses, identifying key components of their success. ChartMogul helps thousands of businesses use data to understand their customers and reach sustainable growth.
This interview is with one of my most-requested guests and someone who’s had an outsized influence on my thinking about SaaS metrics and the wider SaaS industry.
David Skok is a former entrepreneur turned VC, who founded four companies before he turned his focus to investing. He’s now General Partner at Matrix Partners.
David was thinking about SaaS metrics before I was even starting out on my career. His industry-defining post, SaaS Metrics 2.0 is the go-to reference for entrepreneurs and VCs alike, and serves as a guiding light for anyone who has a need to understand the principles and measurements behind a SaaS business.
This conversation was recorded at this year’s SaaStock conference in Dublin, where I was super excited to sit down with David in the SaaStock podcasting studio.
There’s so much in here for anyone building or growing a SaaS business, we dive deep on certain metrics and measurements, we talk about why some metrics are only useful at specific stages of growth, and what’s relevant for businesses in 2019.
Receptive is a SaaS company helping businesses build better products by collecting and acting on customer feedback more effectively. Hannah Chaplin founded the company, along with her co-founder Dan, back in 2015. Like many other B2B SaaS products, Receptive began its life as a project inside of an existing organization that was eventually spun out into a full-scale business. Hannah and Dan found that they'd struck a chord with businesses that were really struggling with capturing, prioritising and acting on customer feedback to try and answer a critical question: What should we build?
If you’ve ever thought about bootstrapping your own side project to meaningful revenue and scale, this episode is for you. Today I’m talking to Maxime Berthelot of Buffer and PixelMe.
PixelMe was conceived next to a pool in Bali, but this is not a digital nomad story — both founders are based in France. In fact, Maxime didn’t even quit his day job as Product Manager of Growth at Buffer. Yet the pair have managed to validate their concept and reach $5K in monthly recurring revenue.
I spoke with Max about:
Validating the product without writing code
Hacking his way to those
first few paying customers
The radical transparency at both Buffer and
Balancing time on his side project with his primary job
…and much, much more!
we all know that SaaS companies should be collecting customer feedback. But how you should actually manage, process, quantify, categorize and action that feedback data is far from simple. Especially when you’re operating at scale. Canny Co-Founders Sarah and Andrew left their jobs at Facebook to bootstrap Canny as a SaaS business, because they believe there was a better way to handle customer feedback and feature requests.
When Max Seelemann and his team at Ulyssess announced their pivot to a subscription model in August 2017, they knew it would cause some controversy among users and the wider tech industry. In fact, Max wanted to create a wave in the industry and the operation was poised to make the most of any resulting publicity.
One of the biggest barriers to SaaS businesses going truly global from day one is localization. That is, the process of adapting your product to meet the language and cultural requirements of a specific target market. Vasco Pedro is Founder and CEO of Unbabel, a company helping businesses go global from day one through both AI and human-powered translation as a service.
Welcome back to this new season of SaaS Open Mic! In this first episode I'm talking to Claire Suellentrop and Georgiana Laudi of Forget The Funnel -- both strong proponents of a more holistic approach to modern SaaS marketing.
David Cancel, CEO of Drift is a product person through and through. He’s no stranger to growing a SaaS business, formerly working as CPO at HubSpot after his startup Performable was acquired by the Marketing giant. David firmly believes that the experience of buying business software is lagging far behind the experience we’ve all come to expect from consumer shopping. David and I chatted about his vision of the future of Sales and Marketing software - and how Drift fits into this. (hint: it involves chat bots).
Feedback culture doesn't just happen. In startups feedback is rarely given focus from day one. So how can an established team nurture processes and attitudes towards feedback that make the difference between a desirable company and one you shouldn't touch with a bargepole? Feedback, and the culture surrounding it, is one of the biggest contributors to a company’s desirability, from a recruiting standpoint. But after some quick research, it occurred to me that the act of developing good feedback processes is almost always under-invested in, especially with early stage startups. Per Fragemann has made it his mission to improve feedback and feedback culture in business, with a business he started called Small Improvements.
For most SaaS startups, there comes a point when expansion to new markets seems like the logical path to faster growth. Arun Mani is Managing Director for Freshdesk's efforts in Europe, and his approach and philosophy towards this (and career growth in general) is something we should all pay attention to.
Whether by design or by chance, Zapier has found itself at the center of the unbundling of SaaS and rise of API-based solutions. Enabling code-free integrations between over 800 apps (including ChartMogul), it's clear why this is the case -- Zapier empowers employees across the world to scale their output and effectiveness to new levels. I spoke to Co-Founder and CEO Wade Foster to understand what made him pursue this way back in 2011.
Mikita Mikado started out on his entrepreneurial career, selling berries he’d picked in his home Belarus, and now runs PandaDoc, a Series-A funded SaaS business in San Francisco. Clearly there’s a LOT that happened between those two points of Mikita’s life. I joined him to try and understand some of the things he’s learned along the way. In our discussion, we cover: - How activities from his youth translate to his business today - How his long-term business relationship with co-founder Serge works successfully, and how the complement each other - Why he’s so passionate about making business transactions and contracts less painful - What metrics are important to the team at PandaDoc, and how they’re actionable - The books he’s learned the most from (which you can find on blog.chartmogul.com)
As a consumer, an increasing proportion of my digital life can be attributed to subscriptions. Photo editing, movie watching, music listening, ebook reading, blog hosting… and plenty more. But what about subscriptions for physical products? This is the realm of Berlin-based Grover. I paid a visit to their HQ, to chat to Thom Cummings (CMO) and Michael Cassau (CEO) and dig a little deeper.
Looking back at Sharon’s experience, it’s clear that nurturing communication in communities, groups and movements is the underlying theme of her career. This conversation goes deep on the pricing strategy for Mobilize. Sharon and her team have a very clear vision for how the subscription pricing should be structured, with each plan targeting a specific company profile, with a very clear understanding of their set of needs.
Introducing: Jukely Founder, Bora Celik. Jukely is a subscription for going to concerts. For a monthly fee you can go to unlimited live concerts — even every night of the week, if you can handle such a schedule. The music events scene is a tough segment to crack — many startups have tried and failed along the way, trying to use technology to change the way people consume live music. So why is Jukely equipped to succeed where others haven’t? I took away a lot from this conversation that can be applied to any subscription business — SaaS included. Bora has a thirst for constantly experimenting and adapting the product — which he sees as a constant work-in-progress.
Webflow is a fascinating product in the SaaS space, partly because it’s commonly associated to a current trend in the industry towards consolidation. I wanted to probe a bit more on this topic, and also understand Bryant’s approach to building, marketing and selling a product that targets multiple user personas.
Tope Awotona, Founder and CEO of Calendly is big on Focus, and it’s clear that this has played a big part in launching his product to the world. Tope moved from a background of Enterprise Sales in businesses like IBM, Perceptive Software and EMC to solve a problem that was close to his heart in those roles: Scheduling. I Spoke to Tope about why the freemium SaaS model has been key to the product’s success so far, how the most important acquisition channel for Calendly is the product itself, and how he manages feedback from customers, among other things.
Typeform is one of europe’s hottest SaaS businesses, after raising a $15M Series A in 2015. And moving into a beautiful, expansive new office space this year. I wanted to get some insights from David into his thinking around user experience (UX) as a concept, and how the team at Typeform are pushing beyond this into what is referred to as Human Experience. HX spans much wider than UX, and goes at least some of the way towards capturing the complete experience a person encounters when interacting with a brand or company. The Typeform team have published some excellent content around this, showing that they're really pushing the boundaries of current product thinking.
Go to the website of London-based Connect Ventures and the first thing you’ll see is three statements: They invest early. They are product focused. They are hands on. But what drives this approach to investing in young startups? I spoke to Managing Partner Pietro Bezza to find out.
Alex Theuma is the man behind the online community SaaScribe, as well as a new B2B SaaS-focused conference called SaaStock, which will take place for the first time this September. So why did Alex move from the world of B2B sales to growing a community — starting from nothing?
Jameson, now a subscription box pioneer, set out to build his first subscription box business (Conscious Box) purely out of interest and product potential. Yet some years later, he's crafted a formula for subscription box success, and reaps the benefits of a recurring-revenue-based lifestyle business.
Alex is a driving force of the Paris startup scene, having founded several startups himself and worked at the capital's startup builder eFounders before moving onto new projects. I wanted to really understand why he decided to create B2B rocks, as well as his vision for the future of the conference.
Emeric of Agorapulse dives deep on measuring social media performance and interaction for businesses and his experience with the problems in the space. If you want to understand the performance of your social media efforts, start here!
Word of mouth is one of the oldest forms of marketing there is. It’s also the most effective. But in today’s world, when customers are other companies, what is it really worth? And how are B2B businesses making the most of it? Read this full article and many more at http://blog.chartmogul.com. Narrated by Annie Musgrove Produced by Ed Shelley & Annie Musgrove Music by Podington Bear
I sat down with Szymon Klimczak, CMO of LiveChat - A SaaS-based live chat and helpdesk product for businesses. LiveChat was founded in 2002 and has a somewhat remarkable story of pivots, organic growth and selling SaaS before SaaS was really a "thing".
In this episode of SaaS Open Mic, I visited the headquarters of Blinkist - a consumer-focused SaaS business in Berlin, who have recently raised Series A investment and are pioneering in the learning app space.
This week I sat down for a chat with Murat, who left a career in design to grow his app prototyping platform, Marvel. Marvel began as a side project, but gained enough traction since launch to rapidly grow into a full-scale business.
This week I spoke to Bjoern - Founder of Ivyleads, a simple solution for managing and nurturing sales leads. We chatted about his early YCombinator experience, constant involvement in side projects and focus on design.
I grabbed a 20-minute chat with Nikos (@moraitakis), to discuss a range of SaaS-related topics: - How Workable was started (in Greece) and eventually moved to Boston - SaaS Metrics and measurement in a high-growth environment - Customer Churn characteristics – Dealing with a high amount of “sleeper” accounts that eventually reactivate - Pausing vs. cancelling subscriptions, and the perceived difference for customers - The economics of a SaaS business past initial traction stage, and the difficulty of capturing/balancing other business costs - LTV, Payback Period and how to make them useful