SaaStr Annual 2019 highlights scale and team building

February 11, 2019 Saas & Platforms
By Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist
By Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist



There were several themes that emerged from the sessions at SaaStr Annual 2019. The conference typically is a great venue for software platforms and ISVs to network, conduct business and celebrate what is now a $650B industry, according to Bessemer Venture Partners.

In our discussions and at the sessions we attended, one of the themes this year that stood out was around growth and scale. People were keen to talk about what happens after a company has achieved initial success. Not just getting past the startup phase and finding product-market fit, but what happens after you’ve had some initial sales success.

One of the top talks on the topic was from Karen Peacock, COO of Intercom, who specifically addressed ‘Scaling from $1M to $500M ARR: 5 Strategies to Drive Your Next Wave of Growth.’ Her most important point was to look at expanding your market. “What you thought was the finish line ($1M ARR) was just the starting line. You need to expand your market. How do you solve the problem you already solved for more customers? You can do it by vertical or by expanding downmarket or expanding upmarket.”

Another big tip from her was about finding your next big product. “It is probably right in front of you. What other important problems do your customers have and which could you solve well?

But watch what your customers DO not what they say. They’ll often tell you a problem which isn’t really what they need to have solved so look at what it is that is really troubling them.”

A final tip from her was, “this is the single biggest principle of building a platform – deliver value – first to customers, then to partners and only finally to you.”

Vlad Shmunis, founder, chairman and CEO of RingCentral, talked about building a billion dollar business from an idea and highlighted the people and how a companies need for employees changes as they grow. He used a personal example to highlight an important principle. “I had to fire my mother – it was bad. She was the bookkeeper and I needed a CFO.” He went on to explain, “everyone has to be a generalist in a small company and in a large company they have to be specialists and the best specialists and generalists aren’t necessarily the same people.”

Keith Rabois, managing partner Khosla Ventures, also talked about the importance of the right people. Quoting Vinodh Khosla, he said, “the team you build is the company you build. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is the people.”

You can see what we at WePay think about our team and our people by watching the video on our careers page.

About the author


Owen Linderholm, Senior Content Strategist

Owen Linderholm is Senior Content Strategist at WePay. He has previously held content and editorial roles at Yahoo, Microsoft, IDG and the BBC.

More blog posts by Owen Linderholm