How to Invest in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

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Back in 2000, if you were filing your taxes with Intuit’s TurboTax, you would buy its software on a compact disc, download the software onto your computer, and input your data into the program. With changes to the tax code every year, you had to cycle through the process annually.

The advent of cloud computing has changed all of that. These days, you can use TurboTax software without downloading anything, updates to the company’s systems are made in real time, and all of your data is stored for you on Intuit’s servers.

This is an example of software-as-a-service — or SaaS. The model has transformed the relationship between a customer and a company’s software: where once owning the software on site was key, it is now the ability to access the software that truly matters. As more companies, both new entrants and existing software providers, gravitate toward the SaaS model, it’s also becoming an increasingly popular area of focus for investors.

Below, we’ll dive into SaaS and discuss why it’s so advantageous — to companies, to their customers, and to their investors. We’ll also tackle the unique metrics that will help you measure the strength of an SaaS company’s business and discuss the risks any potential investors ought to be aware of.

What is software-as-a-service or SaaS?

Perhaps the best way to start is to define software. Put simply, it is any program that can be run on a computer. That online calculator, the Word document you’re working on, and the weather app you check daily are all examples of software. In order for those to work, someone had to create the computer code to make them function.

If that still seems fuzzy, think of it this way: software is usually juxtaposed against hardware. Hardware is the physical computer or smartphone that you own. You can hold hardware in your hands. Software includes all the programs or apps that you use on a device — no physical product to speak of.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies have taken advantage of cloud computing in order to provide access to software and stored data from any device with an Internet connection. Cloud computing, which makes SaaS possible, is the practice of using offsite servers to house and handle large computing tasks and making all of the relevant information available on demand via the internet.  – Read more

Software-As-A-Service Market Boom: A Blessing in Disguise for Salesforce

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If the history of customer relationship management (CRM) had to be revisited, Salesforce would definitely be a chapter which one cannot afford to miss. The contribution of the organization and most importantly, its CRM product amplifying the abilities of back offices in enterprises across the globe deserves a special mention. The platform can be seamlessly integrated with existing processes and can elevate their capabilities. The introduction of the product was a huge respite for payroll team members for the convenience it ushered in their routine activities. The software platform is touted as the best in the world and embraced by many organizations worldwide for their customer relationship management activities. Several media reports have stated that the CRM platform has been largely embraced by organizations looking to get rid of the inefficiencies of the age-old pen-and-paper system. The recent times have seen an increase in the adoption of Salesforce due to the rising awareness of the advantages of Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms. Salesforce continues to be the go-to name among organizations transitioning from a legacy environment to the cloud. In the current climate of digitization and data explosion, which has been occurring at an exponential rate, adoption of cloud infrastructure has become inevitable for most businesses. Thus, SaaS has become a term that has got techies worldwide raving today.

A report published by research giant Gartner stated that SaaS is the largest segment of the cloud market today and industry veterans and experts predict that sales are expected to rise by 22 percent to around $73.6 Billion later this year. In the past couple of years, Microsoft had a large role to play in the rapid growth of the SaaS market, with its suite of collaboration, CRM and enterprise application software contributing to this significant change. Adobe, SAP, IBM, and Cisco are other organizations that are largely responsible for this change, or rather the large fluctuation in numbers. The rising popularity of the cloud model and the SaaS approach has undoubtedly been a catalyst in enhancing the growth of Salesforce and increasing the number of users of its CRM tool. – Read more

 

Blissfully grabs $3.5 million seed investment to help companies get their SaaS in gear

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Blissfully, a New York City startup that helps companies understand their SaaS usage inside their organizations, announced it has received a $3.5 million seed round.

The investment was led by Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. Hubspot, Founder Collective, and several unnamed pre-seed investors also participated. They got a $1.5 million pre-seed investment, bringing the total so far to $5 million, according the company.

Company co-founder and CEO Ariel Diaz says Blissfully actually helped him and his co-founder solve a problem they were having tracking the SaaS usage at their previous startups. Like many companies, they were using spreadsheets to track this information and they found it was untenable as the company grew beyond 30 or 40 people. They figured there had to be a better way, so they built one.

Their product is much more than simply a database of the SaaS products in use inside an organization. It can integrate with existing company systems like single sign-on tools such as Okta and OneLogIn, financial reporting systems and G Suite login information. “We are trying to automate as much of the data collection as possible to discover what you’re using, who’s using it and how much you are spending,” he said. – Read More