The Metrics SaaS Investors Care About Most
By Lauren Thibodeau, Daniel Sussman, and Gianni Bennardo
The primary audience for this report is Canadian headquartered SaaS startup and scaleup founders, CXOs and leaders, especially those interested in securing additional capital in the foreseeable future. This report will also be valuable to anyone interested in learning more about which SaaS metrics are most noteworthy at different stages of SaaS company maturity, and why.
SaaSCan’s mission is to empower Canadian SaaS startups and scaleups to succeed at home and on the world stage through credible, Canadian-focused SaaS metric research, set in a global context. This report specifically has three goals:
To elevate your knowledge about the metrics that matter most to investors and lenders at each stage on the journey without you having to go out and do that digging yourself.
To showcase a variety of SaaS investors and lenders on both sides of the border, to help you expand your perspective and network. We’ve linked to their websites in this report, and if we can support you with a warm introduction, please contact us via www.SaaSCan.ca.
To expand your awareness of the range of incredible SaaS companies headquartered in Canada. We’ve included hyperlinks to the subset of portfolio companies highlighted by investors and we encourage you to check them out.
This is a qualitative research report based on almost two dozen investor and lender interviews conducted between January and April 2021. Both Canadian and US investors are included, and they range from pre-revenue angel investors to SaaS-focused growth lenders to large cap private equity investors. Qualitative investor and lender profiles are supplemented with a light quantitative analysis and observations to reveal key themes.
As shown in the heat map below, metrics related to retention and churn were consistently called out by investors across all stages as key metrics to focus on. What varied by stage were the target values investors expected for retention and churn.
In terms of metrics that varied most by stage, those related to founder commitment, product usage and value, customer and revenue acquisition, and cash were more often mentioned by investors focused on startups than early or later stage growth.
Metrics related to growth and profitability increased in importance for early stage investors and capital efficiency entered the equation.
Investors focused on later stage growth called out metrics related to profitability and voice of the customer feedback more often compared to earlier stage investors.
Metric Mentions by Stage
This heat map divides the number of times a metric in each category was mentioned in a specific stage by the total number of mentions in that stage. The darker the cell, the more times investors called out this type of metric at a given stage.
To enable you to evolve your metrics dashboard as your SaaS company matures, we have organized insights from investor interviews into the SaaSCan Metrics Maturity Model. The model covers stages from Startup through Later Stage Growth across four dimensions: overarching objective, the questions to ask yourself, the key metric types investors recommend you track, and expected metric performance.