Today marks the One Year Anniversary of SaaStr. Our first post, on August 23, 2012 was Everybody Lies — Real SaaS Revenues in the Inc. 5000, where we looked at what some of the real revenues were for various SaaS companies.
Inc. just updated the list, and for me at least, the learnings are different from last year.
Before we get there — a big thank you to the SaaStr community. (Hopefully we will see you at the SaaStr Social on September 5th in Menlo Park with over 300 SaaS entrepreneurs and executives). We started off 12 months ago as a small experiment to share some of the learnings from going from $0m to $2m, then $2m to $10m, then $10m to $30m, and then beyond, in SaaS. The learnings I couldn’t find anywhere when I was doing it, when I was starting and trying to scale, so I felt if we could share it back, it might help a few kindred founders.
12 months later, I’m really proud of where we’ve gone together. We’ve expanded beyond our stand-alone blog and deeply engaged with the Quora community, becoming the #1 most followed B2B writer and blog there and one of the Top 25 writers on Quora across all categories (and we were named a Best Writer of 2012 by Quora). We’ve gotten terrific exposure through syndication of SaaStr.com at Enterprise Irregulars and CloudAve. And we’ve done some great collaborations with OpenView Labs and other leaders in the space. Now, we’re getting as many as 300,000 totally viewers per month on SaaStr across these various channels. Pretty cool. I think considering how narrow and tight our focus is, that’s pretty good.
With that, back to the Inc. 500/5000 awards. For any of you who remember from 12 months ago, the coveted Inc. awards, unlike almost any of the other Sort-of-Heard-of-It Awards you’ll try to get for your start-up — require you to submit audited financials to win. So even though everyone lies a bit in SaaS, maybe claiming their current ARR is their GAAP revenue, fudging a bit, inflating things 20-30% … the Inc. numbers sort of have to be real. The only hitch is they are last year’s (2012) GAAP revenues, not this month’s ARR. So depending on each company’s growth rate, it’s fair to assume their ARR is 50-100% (even 150% for the top performers) higher than the 2012 GAAP revenues reported below.
Let’s take a look and see what we can learn (and remember, the ranking is by 3 year YoY growth — not absolute revenues. Which is borderline meaningless in many cases, if your revenues were nominal 3 years ago):
- #12 AdRoll at $34.1 million in 2012 GAAP revenue. Wow, pretty good and an outstanding 15,065% 3-year revenue growth (helps if it was basically $0 3 years ago). This is strong performance not just in absolute terms but given that they got there in 3 years. AdTech is tougher than business process SaaS IMHO, but you can scale a lot faster if you hit it.
- #28 Kony at $51.1 million in 2012 GAAP revenue and going strong at 7,700% 3-year revenue growth rate. Wondering if Mobile Apps for the Enterprise are a big deal yet? From $0 to $51m in 3 years means the answer is a resounding Yes.
- #33 Zurple at $7.7 million in 2012 GAAP revenue and 7,112% 3-year growth. SaaS marketing services for Real Estate. Pretty solid winer for the Calsbad start-up community.
- #40 Phunware at $8.2 million and 6,527% 3-year growth. Mobile apps for brands / Enterprise customers again.
- #53 LabTech Software at $23.1 million and 5,208% 3-year growth. Mobile Device Management is just huge. My guess is they are #5 or #10 or whatever in the space. Sometimes, an epically large space creates room for more players than you might think. In a very large space, I think my learning is don’t overly fear competition. Just fear that you have your differentiation right.
- #68 ReTargeter at $6.5 million and 4,739% 3-year growth. An Adroll competitor with a terrific CEO. See #12 above.
- #72 Rocket Fuel at $106 million and 4,451% 3-year growth. Big-data ad tech buying. Wondering why they just raised that huge round? Wonder no more.
- #74 BidPal at $10.2 million and 4,323% 3-year growth. Charity fundraising SaaS. When some investor shoots from the hip and tells you there’s no money in selling to charities, tell them about BidPal, and that they have no idea what they are talking about
- #103 CashStar at $9.7 million and 3,414% 3-year growth. Mobile gifting for enterprises to deploy.
- #109 Acquia at $45.4 million and 3,131% 3-year growth. Up from $1.4m in 2009. Really this is pretty impressive results on top of Drupal.
- #110 Anxcient at $9.7 million and 3,116% 3-year growth. Cloud back-up, business continuity, DR. Very solid, wonder about the margins. Huge market potential. Reminds me of a key ARR indicator: if you have a Billboard on the 101, assume ARR is approaching $15-$20m.
- #111 Datto at $25.2 million and 3,101% 3-year growth. Adjacent to #110 Anxcient. Going from $786k revenue in 2009 to $25.2 million in ’12 is mighty impressive here. Assuming a $60m+ ARR today. Old lesson re-learned: Big Markets really help with Big Growth.
- #120 Puppet Labs at $8.8 million in 2012 GAAP and 2,975% 3-year growth. SaaS and software to manage multiple cloud environments. Pretty solid considering Puppet Enterprise was just launched 24 months ago — though as a team they started 8+ years ago. Shows you can start slow, find your place in the market, and then later, just explode. They then raised $45m over the last couple of years including $30 million from VMware in January 2013.
- #125 FuzeBox at $8.8 million in 2012 GAAP and 2,933% 3-year growth. Mobile-centric meetings. You think a space is over with WebEx and GoToMeeting plus 10,000 free guys, and then the space just changes and evolves, and new winners monetize something you thought might be going somewhere between 100% commoditized and 100% free with Google HangOuts, Skype, etc. etc.. To me this is pretty impressive.
- #149 Hudl at $14.1 million in 2012 GAAP and 2,535% 3-year growth. Video analysis for coaches, athletes, and recruiters. My lesson here? Before you dismiss a market as small, understand it. Clearly, sports is a huge market, and the tools for professional (and amateur) sports should be huge too thought of that way. Turns out, Hudl proves it is.
Let’s stop there for now.
Actually, I think my uber-learning from the Inc. 2013 list vs. the 2012 list: this is just more quantitative proof that SaaS continues to grow faster than ever. That SaaS is continuing to accelerate across the board. More and more verticals, more and more types of businesses (from SaaS for coaches to SaaS for HR training managers to SaaS for charities. etc. etc.) using more and more SaaS and web tools, more and more enterprise mobile scaling, more and more quickly.
2012 was a bit about how Everybody Lies. 2013 really is more about how Great SaaS Products, Across More and More Industries and Verticals, Are Scaling Faster Than Ever Before.