1. SaaS METRIC OF THE WEEK: Retention. Chartmogul's SaaS Growth Trends in 2023 report notes that retention strategies are now considered growth strategies. And last year, Companies with best-in-class retention grew at least 1.8x faster than their peers. Check out this other great ChartMogul article that outlines how to calculate, benchmark, and track retention (along with some good ol' fashioned strategies).
2. MARKET SIZING: The dreaded slide on everyone's pitch deck that is required to outline their business model and pricing. It's a Tech-ism that if the market is not huge, same with your startup. Understanding the nuances of TAM, TOM, and SOM is a great way to complete the slide, but get your TAM sorted first via this guide from Bling Capital on how to size a market (in 30 minutes!). Jason Lemkin has a great article on what to do if your TAM is too small for VCs.
3. VALUATIONS 1/2: How is it already Q4 2023? A first cut of Carta's State of Private Markets report for Q3 is out (PDF here): Valuations are on the rise or remain steady from Q2, particularly in Series D and E+ stages, although still below 2021 peaks. Median round sizes are mostly consistent, with notable growth at Series A. Q3 may show weaker venture activity than last Q; see below.
4. VALUATIONS 2/2: Take a deep read of this article from Janelle Teng, who does terrific work on valuations and the current disconnect between public and private markets. Carta's Q2 report painted a far from rosy picture of about a 1-in-5 raise being a down round. With rising down rounds and tougher fundraising conditions, demand vs supply for VC funding now sits at 2.9x (for late-stage startups) according to Pitchbook, which also estimates the current IPO backlog (just in the US) of 200 companies, which Bank of America estimates to be about ~$60B.
5. AI: This is kind of a "Valuations" addendum to the above posts. AI startups look to have snagged all the considerable valuations in Private Markets despite their current lack of revenues, as discussed by a recent panel at Tech Crunch Disrupt. Sequoia also recently published a great article on generative AIs showing rapid growth but poor retention.
6. MARKETING: With the '22/'23 move towards LeanOps and profitability, Marketers are facing increased expectations of optimizing spend-to-value to deliver profitable growth. According to this Gartner report, 75% of CMOs are now asked to do more with less. All marketers need to take a read - there is a significant need to optimize tech, align KPIs to business outcomes, and prioritize budgeting - because this is a triple whammy: Budgets are being reduced while marketing costs are rising, and returns are diminishing.
7. CRYPTO: It's been a while since I last mentioned anything Web3. AI has taken all of the energy out of Web3, and the crypto industry has fallen back to Q4 '20 levels ($2.1 B across 297 deals for Q3 2023) - over half of that still originates from US investors.
8. BAD DEVS: According to this survey from SauceLabs (provocatively titled "Developers Behaving Badly"), 67% admit to pushing code without testing. Amid 2023 layoffs, 70% used others' credentials to bypass security, and 75% avoided protocols - many of the issues lie in systemic pressures and unrealistic business expectations.
9. CLOUD 100: I referenced the Cloud100 a couple of months back, but the team at Bessemer Ventures always put on a good Cloud 100 show at SaaStr Annual each year, which happened last month. After a 50% drop in 2022 (they call the "SaaSacre"), BVP's Cloud Index rose 25%. Still, they note a move from rapid growth to profitability and efficiency (a 6:1 to 2:1 shift on revenue to valuation ratio). AI plays a pivotal role in this success.
10. CASE STUDY: This article showcases Hootsuite's effective content repurposing strategy. By converting existing material into many diverse formats unique to different platforms, Hootsuite maximizes its reach efficiently. Proactive content repurposing is an excellent brand approach to help Marketers with the 2023 challenges outlined in #6 above, sustained and capital-efficient engagement and reach.
POD OF THE WEEK: This is the video version of #9 above - the Cloud 100 for 2023 from Bessemer Ventures from the SaaStr Annual conference. Always a great watch.