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Advice for SaaS Startups - from Investor Snita Balsara

by Lauren Thibodeau

SaaSCan recently sat down with Mars Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) Sr Investment Manager and Head of Community, Snita Balsara, to ask:

  • What short list of metrics should SaaS founders focus on in the early days

  • What values should SaaS startups target for each

  • What word of advice would you offer to SaaS startup founders and leaders

Snita and the MaRS IAF team highlight 8 key metrics founders should consider at the Seed stage:

  1. Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

  2. Monthly Growth Rate

  3. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

  4. Lifetime Value (LTV)

  5. Unit Economics Metrics, for example Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) Payback Period

  6. Conversion Metrics that show how customers are moving through the stages in the sales cycle.

  7. Runway

  8. Net Retention

She explains that of utmost importance at the Seed stage is seeing the repeatability or trend of Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR).

Snita also advises companies to analyze data in cohorts of time and by customer segment, and to look at the company holistically versus just at points in time.

In case you didn't know, Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) is one of Canada’s most active venture capital firms focused on early stage opportunities in B2B software, fintech and digital health. Since 2010, they have invested in 130+ companies across three core funds and delivered strong performance with consistency.

Some of their Canadian headquarted SaaS portfolio companies include:

Axonify - Axonify is the modern learning and communications solution for frontline employees that actually works. Employees love the fun, fast, personalized experience so much that 83% of them come back to train 2-3 times a week. The result? Behaviors on your frontline change in all the right ways to make a meaningful impact on your business results.

Ideal - Ideal is a talent intelligence system that enhances HR software to help teams make more accurate, efficient, and fair talent decisions. With this technology, Ideal accurately automates administrative tasks, as well as screens and matches talent - while also providing concrete, data-driven insights on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

MindBridge - The platform is the world’s first and only AI powered auditing solution that leverages advanced machine learning and AI techniques to augment human capacity and cope with the enormous amounts of financial data that exist within organizations.

Related Resources

  1. SaaSCan's Full Investor Metrics Research Report - Robust 77-page report on the metrics investors care about most from startup to early stage to later stage growth

  2. SaaSCan's Top 10 Metrics for SaaS Startups

  3. Klipfolio's MetricHQ - Robust metric definitions, formulas, and examples

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