Why You Should Join a SaaS Peer Group - Alex Theuma - UserActive

Why You Should Join a SaaS Peer Group – Alex Theuma

This interview features Alex Theuma. Alex hosts The SaaS Revolution Show, which is what lead to what is now SaaStock. SaaStock is the biggest B2B SaaS Conference in Europe, with 5 major events every year with more events hosted locally too. In this interview, Alex shares with Peter why you should join a SaaS peer group and the benefits you can gain from doing so.

Transcription

[00:00:02] – Peter

Okay, so I’m here live talking with Alex Theuma from SaaStock. Hey, Alex, great to see you.

[00:00:09] – Alex

Hey, Peter, how’s it going? Good to see you. You’re in sunny Barcelona at the moment?

[00:00:14] – Peter

Yeah, that’s right. I’m in a cowork space. Little meeting room here in Barcelona. And you’re in London. Right?

[00:00:20] – Alex

Yeah, back in the office in old streets in London. London. But nice to be here. Not every day. I’m coming in once or twice a week at moment.

[00:00:30] – Peter

Great stuff. Great. So, yeah, we’ve known each other for quite a few years. I wanted to get you in and interview you just to find out a bit more about the things that you do because you’re so integral in the SaaS community with events and content and interviews and podcasts. It’s always great to catch up cheque in with what you’re doing. What’s the main thing that you’ve been working on since we’re kind of getting back into the offices in 2022?

[00:01:03] – Alex

Yeah, it’s funny. I laugh because I’m working on loads of things and maybe too many things. So the focus is is very split at the moment, which is not always ideal, but working on lots of good things. And something I’m spending a lot of my time on at the moment is the SaaStock Founder Membership, or SFM. This is something that was kind of born out of like 2020/2021 COVID the business having to adapt and think about how do we bring our value online to our customers, the, you know, founders that are going from zero to 10 million in revenue.

What we’re trying to build is the best support network for B2B SaaS founders globally. There are lots of SaaS communities out there and Facebook groups like your excellent one. We’re live streaming on it at the moment, and Slack channels and kind of different things that kind of really do help and add value to SaaS founders. But what we’re trying to build is much more from a support group perspective, where we’ve got curated peer groups. We help facilitate kind of networking and run specific events and programmes for the founders on an annual sort of basis, like an annual programme that they sign up for.

[00:02:13] – Alex

So a bit of work done into that ideation development. We launched the MVP kind of last year, now starting to see good traction. And this is something I believe it’s got huge potential as a founder. When you’re starting a new company or product or something like that, you really kind of feel that, okay, well, this has got great potential, can add lots of value. You get quite passionate about this, or you’d hope you do. And it’s something that I kind of really believe will succeed in getting lots of good feedback on and just needs to get to the point where we can start to scale it. And that’s my ambition this year with the SaaStock Founder Membership.

[00:02:52] – Peter

Fantastic. Yeah. I remember when you were starting that. I know. I’ve been to the SaaStock, your in person events in Dublin before and some of the European ones, I’ve always thought they were fantastic events. And it’s nice that we had in a way, obviously we had kind of a difficult period of adapting, but it’s quite great to see that you’ve come out of it with this new offering as well on a membership group that actually is very relevant and serves founders even outside of the pandemic situation. I wonder, who do you think are the best fit founders for this group and what can they expect most of them to get out of it?

[00:03:36] – Alex

Yeah, we recently opened it up to pre-revenue founders up to ten k MRR. That particular segment was previously excluded when we launched last year as we wanted to kind of test with founders at the entry level was ten k MRR and probably the sweet spot. What we’re seeing is founders anywhere between 500K ARR to a million. But we have founders all the way up to 8 million ARR within the group. And second-time founders, founders with exits, first-time founders with totally green and no experience and really kind of figuring out how to build a SaaS business for the first time.

So the commonality is that everybody’s a B2B SaaS founder. They’re all on that journey from zero to 10 million revenue. And wherever you sit on that journey, you can learn from those that are a few steps ahead, but you can also give back to those that are a few steps kind of behind. But we will curate and segment and place you into groups that really kind of makes sense for you. So if you’re over 10 million revenue, it’s not for you sort of yet. But yeah, that’s kind of where we’re aiming for.

[00:04:42] – Alex

And I think the big part of that statistics, and you might have seen on the SaaS website and also I think we got it from Darren Harness who wrote scaling up that 4% of businesses, b to b businesses get to 1 million in revenue. Right. So it’s a very hard thing to get to 1 million in revenue. 96% of businesses die before they get there and then 0.4% gets 10 million in revenue. So even more difficult. So we want to help improve those odds, right? And by bringing people together, by giving them network and giving them knowledge and support and hopefully we can change those statistics, make them a little bit better reading, a little bit less depressing.

[00:05:23] – Peter

Great. Yeah, that sounds like there’s a lot of value in there. How can people check that out, apply or join?

[00:05:30] – Alex

Where do they if they go to saas.com? We start our architect’s main website and you’ll see on the header menu there’s a scaling founders toolkit. Click on that, you’ll see the SaaS founder membership. And that will take you through the exact URL at the top of my head. But it will take you through. If you come to the saas.com, you’ll find the membership no problem.

[00:05:50] – Peter

Great. And speaking of saastock.com, of course you’re relaunching the flagship event that you do, so I know you’re planning to do that this year on October.

[00:06:02] – Alex

Yeah, exactly. So SaaStock has always been in October in Dublin, although obviously the last two years we’ve kind of run it online. We’ve not been able to do it in Dublin because of this thing called COVID, unfortunately. But it looks like the world is moving on now in 2022, and we’ve got so much more confidence that it’s actually going to be taking place. And, you know, the confidence is not just coming from us, but, you know, our customers as well. Everybody’s really excited because by October 2022, it would have been technically three years since our last SaaStock and Dublin conference.

And you were at the last one and spoke at the last one and it was one of my favourite SaaStock conferences of the ones that we’ve done, and yeah, I mean, I really can’t wait to be back in person. We’re looking to bring 5000 SaaS founders, execs investors from probably more than 80 different countries together in Dublin for the week of activities. And I think it’s going to be certainly my highlight of the year. I think hopefully many other people’s highlight of the year. It might be a little bit emotional, kind of coming back into seeing all our friends and family and SaaS family together again.

[00:07:14] – Alex

I think there’d be a lot of fun, a lot of long days, nights, hangovers, all of that. And, yeah, I can’t wait. I want to kind of fast forward to October, but at the same time, we got so much to do that if I did that, it would be a shit note in October. So we need all of these months to kind of make it the best that we can.

[00:07:35] – Peter

Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it, so I think it’s going to be fantastic to just be back there. For me, it’s always an intense three days of learning, just a tonne, meeting so many people. I love the trip to Dublin every year, so for me it’s a highlight and I’m looking forward to joining. And anyone else working in SaaS with your founders or execs or wanting to learn more, connect with the industry. I really highly recommend SaaStock. I think that’s my favourite conference, basically, that I go to every year. Yeah, and nice. I’ve seen it grow from when you started it, so I also feel that kind of affinity with it, of seeing how it’s developed over the years and getting bigger and bigger and growing.

[00:08:18] – Alex

Yeah, we met before SaaStock was even a thing when we started doing the London SaaS meets up and then it was like, Where am I going with this? And SaaStock was, then let’s do the SaaS conference since pre-SaaStock, and then we’ve seen it grow from 700 Founders in Dublin event to more of a global thing. And this year, 5000 founders in Dublin in October. You’ve seen it grow and it’s been pretty good.

[00:08:51] – Peter

Looking forward to the next one. And one of the things that I’ve always perceived as quite a valuable asset in the SaaStock event is the way that you have the investor tables and you’ve got a whole area for early stage SaaS companies, all right up to A and B, series A and B, looking for investment fundraising. And I think during another great thing that came out of COVID was your ability to try and facilitate that and move that online as well. So I believe you’ve launched a service around this event, is that right?

[00:09:29] – Alex

Yeah, that’s right. This was actually like an idea we had. I think it was even like pre-COVID, the idea was kind of forming about this and we were kind of thinking about it. What should we do? Obviously, at SaaStock, we’re really well known to, let’s say, be at the intersection of founders and investors and we bring them together at our conferences. And let’s say the magic happens. Obviously, there’s a bit of organisation there, but thousands of meetings happen, deals get done, and deal flow gets created. And so if you’re in SaaS, all the SaaS VCs are there.

But then when the conference is not running, and especially during COVID when founders didn’t have the ability to go to a conference to meet with VCs, what were the options? And we thought about, well, look, a big part of our value is bringing these investors and founders together. But now how do we do that? And can it just be through virtual conferences? So we developed this idea of Introduce, which is effectively a bit of an online marketplace. It’s a platform two-time founders come in. If you’re looking to raise anything from Pre-Seed all the way to sort of series B, I would say you can create a free profile on Ventroduce and you get listed in the marketplace.

[00:10:49] – Alex

And then if your company your thesis kind of matches to an investor that’s on the network on the other side, then the investor can request intros and have a call and see where that goes. So really it’s a service free for founders and hopefully we’ll help them raise money and keep the lights on and really ties in with the mission of SaaStock. And that’s only about six months old at the moment. And building a two-sided marketplace notoriously one of the most challenging kinds of things to do. So we’re still like, you know, figuring out a lot of things there, but we’re on a weekly basis, maybe doing something like, you know, ten to 15 VC introductions to SaaS startups.

And for us, you know, that’s providing value to the community and helping companies raise money. So even if we help a few SaaS companies a month raise capital. We’re doing something that we’re really passionate about. So, yeah, if you’re looking to raise for your SaaS anything from Seed through to series B, you can go to Ventroduce.com, which is powered by SaaS stock and create your free profile. You’ll need a few things to kind of get it set up, but yeah, it should be fairly straightforward and hopefully we can help you raise on that step of your journey.

[00:12:05] – Peter

Cool. So that’s Ventraduced, that’s like venture and introduce, right?

[00:12:11] – Alex

It is the combination of those words, but it’s spelt ventroduce.com. So ventroduce perfect.

[00:12:25] – Peter

That sounds good. There’s always this theme running through all the things that you do. It’s like bringing value to the SaaS community. So it’s great to see all the different offerings that you have. Each one of them brings value to SaaS founders in the various stages of where they are in that kind of business lifecycle. Is that from an ethos or mission that you have to support SaaS businesses? Support SaaS founders?

[00:12:51] – Alex

Yeah. It’s a good question. If we look at the origins of SaaStock, what I was doing initially, and I kind of stumbled into it, right? So there wasn’t in 2015, there wasn’t this kind of I woke up one morning and I want to help SaaS founders grow their businesses, right? I was sort of dabbling in doing blogs and sort of content in the SaaS space, and I was learning a lot. And then I was seeing that actually, the content that I’m creating and putting these events together were really helping those. And at the time, because there wasn’t as much as there is now, right?

There wasn’t this kind of saturation of SaaS content and podcasts and events and so on. So we were quite early in that space and it really, really benefited and helped everybody that was kind of participating. So then I kind of felt with the feedback from everybody that was coming to the events or listening to the podcast or reading the newsletter and saying, hey, look, this is really helping me, impact me and helping the business. And that was the biggest reward over anything financial and so on.

[00:14:00] – Alex

From that, I was like, okay, well, what I’m doing actually makes a real difference and I want to continue to do that. People came to the SaaStock conference. I met one guy, he’s got a 200-person company in Belgium. And he said, well, I learned more in two days at SaaStock than I did in the whole year of running my business, right? And I’m like, wow, this sort of thing, it’s like, this is why we do what we do and why we get out of bed every day.

So it was just that natural evolution of Taylor. Everything that we do needs to be along that mission, making a real difference and deciding, does it do it or not. And it’s just something that I guess we’ve kind of fallen in love with and are passionate about and helping founders. So, yes, it wasn’t like I woke up out of bed and decided to kind of do it one day, but it just happened and it just kind of felt right and was very rewarding and just kind of felt like there’s something that I was kind of meant to do.

[00:14:57] – Peter

That’s fantastic. I love the way that developed and that you really identified with it and have done a really great job producing all of the things that you’ve been doing. So, yeah, thanks for the great work and everything you’ve been doing. I’ve really enjoyed all the events, the content, the podcasts and everything. So, yeah, keep up the great work and thanks for joining me on the live chat today, Alex. Really enjoyed it.

[00:15:22] – Alex

Thanks, Peter. Yeah, it doesn’t feel like work, so that makes it much easier, but I appreciate the sentiment, but yeah, no, thanks so much for having me and likewise, love what you do with the group and great. You’re also a valued member of the community and looking forward to seeing you. Well, hopefully in Barcelona first, but then Dublin as well in October.

[00:15:42] – Peter

Brilliant. Yeah, definitely, I’ll be there for sure. So, yeah, I’ll see you in person then.

[00:15:47] – Alex

Okay.

[00:15:48] – Peter

Cheers, Alex.

[00:15:49] – Alex

Thanks, Lisa.

Final Words on Why You Should Join a SaaS Peer Group

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Sarah Stratton

Sarah manages the social media at UserActive as well as other marketing activities. She also writes blog content for UserActive.

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