SaaS Leaky Bucket

One of the bigger challenges for SaaS startups that start to scale is the leaky bucket. Of course, a leaky bucket is one where whatever goes in the top comes out the bottom (not much of a bucket). With SaaS, leaky bucket is a reference to high churn rates such that it’s hard to fill up the bucket (grow the customer base) because existing customers are leaking out the bottom (churning or not renewing).

Four years ago, Josh James, founder of Omniture, which was acquired by Adobe for $1.8 billion, tweeted that before they sold Omniture, they’d sign 1,200 new customers and lose 800 customers every month, making it really hard, and costly, to grow:

A critical component of successful SaaS companies is low churn rates and high existing account expansion such that even if the company didn’t sign any new customers in a year, the business would still grow as the up-sells would be larger than the lost customers. Entrepreneurs would do well to ensure that they don’t have a leaky bucket.

What else? What are some more thoughts on the SaaS Leaky Bucket?

One thought on “SaaS Leaky Bucket

  1. David,

    What would you consider an acceptable monthly churn rate (customers and revenue). When would you consider it too high? Do these numbers change as the company matures?

    Alex

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