Scaling SaaS and Financing Growth
In February, a group of leading SaaS investment companies came together to host an exclusive event for over 100 Vancouver-based SaaS leaders.
The event kicked off with a sales masterclass delivered by popular Silicon Valley growth expert, Jacco van der Kooij from Winning by Design. It also included interactive panel sessions with investment experts from BMO, Boast.AI, iNovia Capital, TIMIA Capital, F*NANCE, and legal experts, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, and concluded with valuable networking time.
Sales as a Science Masterclass
Jacco vanderKooij, Founder, Winning By Design
Jacco’s energetic session (fuelled by his contagious enthusiasm and a dash of Redbull) discussed the challenges of technology’s “superstar” sales culture and suggested a paradigm shift towards a more sustainable “science” sales culture.
Organizations that have a superstar culture are precarious because when the superstar leaves the company or underperforms, the tools, skills, process, and everything else topples. A science culture reverses the pyramid and fixes process problems instead of people problems.
Source: Winning by Design
Jacco went on to describe how the risk in sales relationships has flipped from the consumer to the vendor with the evolution of the recurring revenue model. Why then, has the way we sell and reward sellers not evolved to reflect this new status quo?
He then discussed how no one sales process (consultative, challenger, etc.) will be effective—instead we need an end to end methodology that spans the entire organization, not just sales. And most importantly, you need to measure each stage of your process to ensure clarity, accountability and iterative improvements to increase revenue.
Source: Winning by Design
In fact, Jacco demonstrated how businesses can double their revenue by moving the needle by just 10% across 7 of these key metrics or key moments in the buyer journey.
Financing Growth Panel Discussion
- Moderator: Steph Sharp, Founder, F*NANCE
- Martha Martindale, Partner, Osler
- Eric Grice, Director, Business Development, Boast.AI
- Hugues Lalancette, Head of Growth, iNovia Capital
- Mike Walkinshaw, CEO and Board Member, TIMIA Capital
- Mike Montian, Technology & Innovation, BMO
- In the same way you build a product strategy, you should build an investment strategy
- Are you building a $7M company, a $75M company, or a $750M company? Depending on your goal, your investment strategy will differ.
- Switching capital structure is expensive and distracting for your business so be wary of how your capital is structured in the early days to minimize the risk of changes down the line.
- Common shares all the way thorough can keep things simple.
- Recurring revenue businesses are valuable. There is value in the metrics—you can secure against MRR. For a long time, Canadian banks were not giving enough credit (literally!) to these businesses—and US banks still aren’t.
- Canadian Revenue Agency audits approximately 25% of SR&ED businesses. If you have SR&ED, ensure your documentation and time tracking are in order—these are two areas the CRA examines.
- Venture-backed companies are defined by their growth. Velocity is key. If this is not a fit for your business, consider other options. Doubling employees and revenue is not sustainable for all companies.
- Pros and cons of VC:
- Can help you avoid mistakes they’ve seen other startups make
- Assist in knowledge-sharing across companies
- Will limit your control—VC board seat, mandatory metrics, restrictions
- No interest in paying off your friends and family—know what you are getting into and be prepared to live with your decision regardless of what happens with your company down the road
- If there’s a grey zone exit, middle management will get nothing
If you’re interested in speaking with any of our panelists, please reach out to them on LinkedIn.
Stephanie Sharp took the mic and went through a workshop about where to find and deploy financing.
Finance is about people. Investors and bankers provide financing based on characteristics of both the business and the management team.
You can get financing from 3 key areas: debt (loans), equity (shareholders) or cash flow from operations.
There are more options for financing than ever before. You need to structure your financing to get optimal return.
Financials tell a story. What story do yours tell?
Does your story seem to match the type of financing you are looking for?
Whose story matches their financing best?
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