Notes from the Zendesk IPO Filing

Zendesk, one of the hottest and fastest growing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies just filed their S-1 to go public. Zendesk makes help desk software for support teams to interface with customers in an efficient manner. Zendesk started at the same time as Pardot back in 2007, so I have a sense of nostalgia watching our respective…

Notes from the Box S-1 IPO Filing

The much anticipated Box S-1 IPO filing was just released and it’s filled with a ton of interesting data. Box was co-founded by Aaron Levie, purveyor of the some of the most astute 140 character quips Twitter has ever seen (see 10 Awesome Startup Tweets from Box’s Aaron Levie). Another reason the S-1 is so…

The Difference Between a 3x and 10x Multiple for SaaS

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) valuations continue to be high, and I believe they’ll be cut in half over the long run. Now, some SaaS companies, even in our current climate, trade in the 2-3x revenue multiple range (see Constant Contact). As startups pitch institutional investors, the inclination is to shoot for the big valuations, as that’s human…

SaaS Company Valuations Will be Cut in Half

Earlier today Jason Lemkin tweeted that a 50-70% correction is coming to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies: Dude, there's no bubble in SaaS. But a 50-70% correction is coming. My next blog post.— Jason M. Lemkin (@jasonlk) March 18, 2014 I agree. Last week Fred Wilson wrote a post The Bubble Question about it where he attributes…

Evaluating the Purity of a SaaS Business

Recently I was talking to an entrepreneur that has sold his last company and is actively looking for a new business to either start or join. As we got to talking, it became clear that his goal is to get involved with a pure Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), as opposed to a tech-enabled business service where there’s…

SaaS Company Valuation Premiums

Valuation is one of the favorite topics of conversation when it comes to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies. While normal companies might be valued at 4-6x their profits, unprofitable fast-growing SaaS companies are often valued at upwards of 10-14x revenue (e.g. see ChannelAdvisor trading north of 12x revenue net of cash on hand). Jason Lemkin, a partner…

Custom Work to Win SaaS Deals

As a follow-up to Balancing Desire for Full Paying Customers with the Need for Discounting, I was asked about doing custom work to win a deal. For example, statements like “I’m very interested in your product but it has to do X before I’d buy it” are common from prospects. For Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), this is even…