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Matthew O'Riordan

Matthew O'Riordan

1 month ago

Trends in SaaS Funding from 2016 to 2022

More on Entrepreneurship

SAHIL SAPRU

SAHIL SAPRU

19 days ago

Growth tactics that grew businesses from 1 to 100

Source: Freshworks

Everyone wants a scalable startup.

Innovation helps launch a startup. The secret to a scalable business is growth trials (from 1 to 100).

Growth marketing combines marketing and product development for long-term growth.

Today, I'll explain growth hacking strategies popular startups used to scale.

1/ A Facebook user's social value is proportional to their friends.

Facebook built its user base using content marketing and paid ads. Mark and his investors feared in 2007 when Facebook's growth stalled at 90 million users.

Chamath Palihapitiya was brought in by Mark.

The team tested SEO keywords and MAU chasing. The growth team introduced “people you may know

This feature reunited long-lost friends and family. Casual users became power users as the retention curve flattened.

Growth Hack Insights: With social network effect the value of your product or platform increases exponentially if you have users you know or can relate with.

2/ Airbnb - Focus on your value propositions

Airbnb nearly failed in 2009. The company's weekly revenue was $200 and they had less than 2 months of runway.

Enter Paul Graham. The team noticed a pattern in 40 listings. Their website's property photos sucked.

Why?

Because these photos were taken with regular smartphones. Users didn't like the first impression.

Graham suggested traveling to New York to rent a camera, meet with property owners, and replace amateur photos with high-resolution ones.

A week later, the team's weekly revenue doubled to $400, indicating they were on track.

Growth Hack Insights: When selling an “online experience” ensure that your value proposition is aesthetic enough for users to enjoy being associated with them.

3/ Zomato - A company's smartphone push ensured growth.

Zomato delivers food. User retention was a challenge for the founders. Indian food customers are notorious for switching brands at the drop of a hat.

Zomato wanted users to order food online and repeat orders throughout the week.

Zomato created an attractive website with “near me” keywords for SEO indexing.

Zomato gambled to increase repeat orders. They only allowed mobile app food orders.

Zomato thought mobile apps were stickier. Product innovations in search/discovery/ordering or marketing campaigns like discounts/in-app notifications/nudges can improve user experience.

Zomato went public in 2021 after users kept ordering food online.

Growth Hack Insights: To improve user retention try to build platforms that build user stickiness. Your product and marketing team will do the rest for them.

4/ Hotmail - Signaling helps build premium users.

Ever sent or received an email or tweet with a sign — sent from iPhone?

Hotmail did it first! One investor suggested Hotmail add a signature to every email.

Overnight, thousands joined the company. Six months later, the company had 1 million users.

When serving an existing customer, improve their social standing. Signaling keeps the top 1%.

5/ Dropbox - Respect loyal customers

Dropbox is a company that puts people over profits. The company prioritized existing users.

Dropbox rewarded loyal users by offering 250 MB of free storage to anyone who referred a friend. The referral hack helped Dropbox get millions of downloads in its first few months.

Growth Hack Insights: Think of ways to improve the social positioning of your end-user when you are serving an existing customer. Signaling goes a long way in attracting the top 1% to stay.

These experiments weren’t hacks. Hundreds of failed experiments and user research drove these experiments. Scaling up experiments is difficult.

Contact me if you want to grow your startup's user base.

Sammy Abdullah

Sammy Abdullah

21 days ago

R&D, S&M, and G&A expense ratios for SaaS

SaaS spending is 40/40/20. 40% of operating expenses should be R&D, 40% sales and marketing, and 20% G&A. We wanted to see the statistics behind the rules of thumb. Since October 2017, 73 SaaS startups have gone public. Perhaps the rule of thumb should be 30/50/20. The data is below.

30/50/20. R&D accounts for 26% of opex, sales and marketing 48%, and G&A 22%. We think R&D/S&M/G&A should be 30/50/20.

There are outliers. There are exceptions to rules of thumb. Dropbox spent 45% on R&D whereas Zoom spent 13%. Zoom spent 73% on S&M, Dropbox 37%, and Bill.com 28%. Snowflake spent 130% of revenue on S&M, while their EBITDA margin is -192%.

G&A shouldn't stand out. Minimize G&A spending. Priorities should be product development and sales. Cloudflare, Sendgrid, Snowflake, and Palantir spend 36%, 34%, 37%, and 43% on G&A.

Another myth is that COGS is 20% of revenue. Median and averages are 29%.

Where is the profitability? Data-driven operating income calculations were simplified (Revenue COGS R&D S&M G&A). 20 of 73 IPO businesses reported operational income. Median and average operating income margins are -21% and -27%.

As long as you're growing fast, have outstanding retention, and marquee clients, you can burn cash since recurring income that doesn't churn is a valuable annuity.

The data was compelling overall. 30/50/20 is the new 40/40/20 for more established SaaS enterprises, unprofitability is alright as long as your business is expanding, and COGS can be somewhat more than 20% of revenue.

Muthinja

Muthinja

2 months ago

Why don't you relaunch my startup projects?

Open to ideas or acquisitions

Failure is an unavoidable aspect of life, yet many recoil at the word.

I've worked on unrelated startup projects. This is a list of products I developed (often as the tech lead or co-founder) and why they failed to launch.

Chess Bet (Betting)

As a chess player who plays 5 games a day and has an ELO rating of 2100, I tried to design a chess engine to rival stockfish and Houdini.

While constructing my chess engine, my cofounder asked me about building a p2p chess betting app. Chess Bet. There couldn't be a better time.

Two people in different locations could play a staked game. The winner got 90% of the bet and we got 10%. The business strategy was clear, but our mini-launch was unusual.

People started employing the same cheat engines I mentioned, causing user churn and defaming our product.

It was the first programming problem I couldn't solve after building a cheat detection system based on player move strengths and prior games. Chess.com, the most famous online chess software, still suffers from this.

We decided to pivot because we needed an expensive betting license.

We relaunched as Chess MVP after deciding to focus on chess learning. A platform for teachers to create chess puzzles and teach content. Several chess students used our product, but the target market was too tiny.

We chose to quit rather than persevere or pivot.

BodaCare (Insure Tech)

‘BodaBoda’ in Swahili means Motorcycle. My Dad approached me in 2019 (when I was working for a health tech business) about establishing an Insurtech/fintech solution for motorbike riders to pay for insurance using SNPL.

We teamed up with an underwriter to market motorcycle insurance. Once they had enough premiums, they'd get an insurance sticker in the mail. We made it better by splitting the cover in two, making it more reasonable for motorcyclists struggling with lump-sum premiums.

Lack of capital and changing customer behavior forced us to close, with 100 motorcyclists paying 0.5 USD every day. Our unit econ didn't make sense, and CAC and retention capital only dug us deeper.

Circle (Social Networking)

Having learned from both product failures, I began to understand what worked and what didn't. While reading through Instagram, an idea struck me.

Suppose social media weren't virtual.

Imagine meeting someone on your way home. Like-minded person

People were excited about social occasions after covid restrictions were eased. Anything to escape. I just built a university student-popular experiences startup. Again, there couldn't be a better time.

I started the Android app. I launched it on Google Beta and oh my! 200 people joined in two days.

It works by signaling if people are in a given place and allowing users to IM in hopes of meeting up in near real-time. Playstore couldn't deploy the app despite its success in beta for unknown reasons. I appealed unsuccessfully.

My infrastructure quickly lost users because I lacked funding.

In conclusion

This essay contains many failures, some of which might have been avoided and others not, but they were crucial learning points in my startup path.

If you liked any idea, I have the source code on Github.

Happy reading until then!

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Michael Le

Michael Le

5 months ago

Union LA x Air Jordan 2 “Future Is Now” PREVIEW

With the help of Virgil Abloh and Union LA‘s Chris Gibbs, it's now clear that Jordan Brand intended to bring the Air Jordan 2 back in 2022.
The “Future Is Now” collection includes two colorways of MJ's second signature as well as an extensive range of apparel and accessories.

“We wanted to juxtapose what some futuristic gear might look like after being worn and patina'd,”
Union stated on the collaboration's landing page.

“You often see people's future visions that are crisp and sterile. We thought it would be cool to wear it in and make it organic...”

The classic co-branding appears on short-sleeve tees, hoodies, and sweat shorts/sweat pants, all lightly distressed at the hems and seams.
Also, a filtered black-and-white photo of MJ graces the adjacent long sleeves, labels stitch into the socks, and the Jumpman logo adorns the four caps.
Liner jackets and flight pants will also be available, adding reimagined militaria to a civilian ensemble.
The Union LA x Air Jordan 2 (Grey Fog and Rattan) shares many of the same beats. Vintage suedes show age, while perforations and detailing reimagine Bruce Kilgore's design for the future.
The “UN/LA” tag across the modified eye stays, the leather patch across the tongue, and the label that wraps over the lateral side of the collar complete the look.
The footwear will also include a Crater Slide in the “Grey Fog” color scheme.

BUYING

On 4/9 and 4/10 from 9am-3pm, Union LA will be giving away a pair of Air Jordan 2s at their La Brea storefront (110 S. LA BREA AVE. LA, CA 90036). The raffle is only open to LA County residents with a valid CA ID. You must enter by 11:59pm on 4/10 to win. Winners will be notified via email.



Stephen Rivers

Stephen Rivers

3 months ago

Because of regulations, the $3 million Mercedes-AMG ONE will not (officially) be available in the United States or Canada.

We asked Mercedes to clarify whether "customers" refers to people who have expressed interest in buying the AMG ONE but haven't made a down payment or paid in full for a production slot, and a company spokesperson told that it's the latter – "Actual customers for AMG ONE in the United States and Canada." 

The Mercedes-AMG ONE has finally arrived in manufacturing form after numerous delays. This may be the most complicated and magnificent hypercar ever created, but according to Mercedes, those roads will not be found in the United States or Canada.

Despite all of the well-deserved excitement around the gorgeous AMG ONE, there was no word on when US customers could expect their cars. Our Editor-in-Chief became aware of this and contacted Mercedes to clarify the matter. Mercedes-hypercar AMG's with the F1-derived 1,049 HP 1.6-liter V6 engine will not be homologated for the US market, they've confirmed.

Mercedes has informed its customers in the United States and Canada that the ONE will not be arriving to North America after all, as of today, June 1, 2022. The whole text of the letter is included below, so sit back and wait for Mercedes to explain why we (or they) won't be getting (or seeing) the hypercar. Mercedes claims that all 275 cars it wants to produce have already been reserved, with net pricing in Europe starting at €2.75 million (about US$2.93 million at today's exchange rates), before country-specific taxes.

"The AMG-ONE was created with one purpose in mind: to provide a straight technology transfer of the World Championship-winning Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 E PERFORMANCE drive unit to the road." It's the first time a complete Formula 1 drive unit has been integrated into a road car.

Every component of the AMG ONE has been engineered to redefine high performance, with 1,000+ horsepower, four electric motors, and a blazing top speed of more than 217 mph. While the engine's beginnings are in competition, continuous research and refinement has left us with a difficult choice for the US market.

We determined that following US road requirements would considerably damage its performance and overall driving character in order to preserve the distinctive nature of its F1 powerplant. We've made the strategic choice to make the automobile available for road use in Europe, where it complies with all necessary rules."

If this is the first time US customers have heard about it, which it shouldn't be, we understand if it's a bit off-putting. The AMG ONE could very probably be Mercedes' final internal combustion hypercar of this type.

Nonetheless, we wouldn't be surprised if a few make their way to the United States via the federal government's "Show and Display" exemption provision. This legislation permits the importation of automobiles such as the AMG ONE, but only for a total of 2,500 miles per year.

The McLaren Speedtail, the Koenigsegg One:1, and the Bugatti EB110 are among the automobiles that have been imported under this special rule. We just hope we don't have to wait too long to see the ONE in the United States.

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

3 months ago

What is headline inflation?

Headline inflation is the raw Consumer price index (CPI) reported monthly by the Bureau of labour statistics (BLS). CPI measures inflation by calculating the cost of a fixed basket of goods. The CPI uses a base year to index the current year's prices.


Explaining Inflation

As it includes all aspects of an economy that experience inflation, headline inflation is not adjusted to remove volatile figures. Headline inflation is often linked to cost-of-living changes, which is useful for consumers.

The headline figure doesn't account for seasonality or volatile food and energy prices, which are removed from the core CPI. Headline inflation is usually annualized, so a monthly headline figure of 4% inflation would equal 4% inflation for the year if repeated for 12 months. Top-line inflation is compared year-over-year.

Inflation's downsides

Inflation erodes future dollar values, can stifle economic growth, and can raise interest rates. Core inflation is often considered a better metric than headline inflation. Investors and economists use headline and core results to set growth forecasts and monetary policy.

Core Inflation

Core inflation removes volatile CPI components that can distort the headline number. Food and energy costs are commonly removed. Environmental shifts that affect crop growth can affect food prices outside of the economy. Political dissent can affect energy costs, such as oil production.

From 1957 to 2018, the U.S. averaged 3.64 percent core inflation. In June 1980, the rate reached 13.60%. May 1957 had 0% inflation. The Fed's core inflation target for 2022 is 3%.
 

Central bank:

A central bank has privileged control over a nation's or group's money and credit. Modern central banks are responsible for monetary policy and bank regulation. Central banks are anti-competitive and non-market-based. Many central banks are not government agencies and are therefore considered politically independent. Even if a central bank isn't government-owned, its privileges are protected by law. A central bank's legal monopoly status gives it the right to issue banknotes and cash. Private commercial banks can only issue demand deposits.

What are living costs?

The cost of living is the amount needed to cover housing, food, taxes, and healthcare in a certain place and time. Cost of living is used to compare the cost of living between cities and is tied to wages. If expenses are higher in a city like New York, salaries must be higher so people can live there.

What's U.S. bureau of labor statistics?

BLS collects and distributes economic and labor market data about the U.S. Its reports include the CPI and PPI, both important inflation measures.

https://www.bls.gov/cpi/