SaaStr Europa - global opportunities and challenges for SaaS

Last week, SoftwareDevTools took part in what has been described as a turning point for the Software as a Service (SaaS) industry in Europe, even though we are not based in that continent we do have many clients in Spain, Germany & Sweden. Working with platforms such as Atlassian and Freshworks is one of the clear advantages that both platforms provide to developer teams such as SoftwareDevTools, an open opportunity to offer your solutions to an international market.

SaaStrEuropa conference

It began to be clear for us since our first participation in Atlassian Summit Barcelona, that Europe is changing and focusing on consuming cloud-based applications. Barcelona was a great experience, we felt the energy and the enthusiasm that companies have for cloud-based solutions which is what we provide in our integrations such as our Agile Retrospectives app, Standup bot, Scrum Poker app and Freshdesk Power-up.

That is the reason we had to be in SaaStr Europa this past Friday and interact with SaaS peers, but also talk openly about the challenges we are facing and what it means to be global. We had some great conversations that we will be covering in the following blog posts.

More than 1800 people gathered at the Hotel Le Grand in downtown Paris, where Jason Lemkin and Christoph Janz from PointNine Capital kicked off the event with a discussion on how the SaaS landscape has taken shape these couple of years in Europe and globally.

If you would have guessed 5 years ago that building a SaaS solution would be equivalent of launching internationally, no one would have agreed with you - Jason Lemkin - SaaStr founder.

One of the general partners of PointNine Capital firm which has been investing these last couple of years in platforms such as Zendesk, Algolia, Chartmogul and Delivery Hero just to name a few. He sees that IPO’s have become rarer and companies are staying private longer which for venture investors is a challenge they need to be aware of. The upside is that there are more companies being built on top of SaaS platforms than ever before and revenue has gone up for established platforms such as Atlassian and Shopify to list some examples.

Every day more people adopt SaaS solutions in the SMB category and this is something that will fuel growth for the next batch of companies that will become the Atlassian - Christoph Janz - General Manager of PointNine Capital.

On the upscale Jason Lemkin thinks there will be more SaaS IPO’s to come, check out his tweet:

SaaS an international platform for developers.

It was the late 90’s when the founder of Salesforce pitched many Venture Capital firms in Silicon Valley and did not believed in the 10 billion dollar company he was about to build. For many of us that have grown with cloud solutions such as Dropbox, Trello, Skype, Gmail and many more that have offered their solutions on the cloud. Corporations lagged in the adoption of these type of solutions but they have slowly been impregnating their process and are now a big part of their competitive advantage.

Cloud applications have offered a scaling solution to platforms that normally would need co-location services and which rely on hardware in order to scale, which is expensive and most importantly sometimes have downtime plus maintenance costs associated with them. For platforms that are cloud-based they offer all of the advantages of an on-location solution and also provide integrations that can help improve a business process by 2x to 5x their current performance.

For those that are building solutions on platforms such as Stride, Salesforce, Freshservice, Box, Dropbox, Jira, Confluence, Freshdesk, Slack, Github or Bitbucket, it is a great opportunity that we are now experiencing with many corporations looking into the cloud to solve their current challenges in a very competitive landscape where digital transformation is part of the equation to stay on top of their respective industries.

This poses a challenge, which many SaaS Startups and companies are facing, engaging with large corporations that have a different sales cycle than SMB’s and also they need better compliance; for example now that GDPR is required in every SaaS company that sells to citizens and organizations based in the European Union, now every app in the Atlassian or Freshdesk must comply with it or face the consequences of being left out of the contract.


Some great piece of information that Andy Triba from Think 3 talked about is that 70% of Founders have a 15-year lifespan and they spend it on an average of 2 Startups in those years. Which is really significant. Because most of them will not get a third or fourth chance. For those of us that are working in medium and large organizations, this can be applied as well, people do not normally spend more than 4 years in a tech company. So the roles of diversity and retention of key employees are playing an important role to keep an organization competitive and releasing innovative solutions to the market.

He suggests a time-based portfolio for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, who can be involved in developing and delivering solutions to problems they are passionate about, making Startups more robust with people engaged on the problem. This will improve their chances of survival and also not every company will be billion dollar venture.

There are many more themes we will be discussing, so make sure to follow us on our LinkedIn page and Twitter for those updates.

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Claudio Cossio

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