Everybody Lies: SaaS Revenues in the Inc. 5000

Every non-public SaaS company lies about their ARR.  It’s sort of like how consumer internet companies all lie about their user numbers.  Maybe they fudge bookings in there.  Or they lean forward.  Or quote where they’ll be in a quarter or two.  In any event, everybody lies, even if the answers are generally directional correct.

Perhaps the one exception is when they are silly enough to try to win the meaningless Inc. 500 / 5000 awards.  Generally, audited or reviewed financials must be submitted, so I assume they are in the ballpark of correct.

Learnings for this year, for 2011 GAAP revenue (Inc. rates them on 3-Year Growth – a slightly strange metric for start-ups at all different stages), for SaaS and SaaS-ish startups:

[note, the higher they are on the list, the faster they are growing on a % basis YoY]

  • #7 AdRoll.  $12.4 in 2011 GAAP revenue.
  • #8 Acquia.  $21.8m in 2011 GAAP revenue.  Not too shabby – an exception to the rule, perhaps.
  • #72 Rocketlawyer.  $14.2m in 2011 GAAP revenue.
  • #78 Marketo.  $32.9m in 2011 GAAP revenue.
  • #99 SugarSync.  $11.3m in 2011 GAAP revenue.  A fraction of Box, but they are a player at a true eight figures in revenue last year.
  • #172 Pardot.  $7.4m in 2011 GAAP revenue.  Room at the bottom in marketing automation, with them presumably hitting eight figures this year.
  • #264 Jainrain.  $3.4m in 2011 GAAP revenue.
  • #314 HubSpot.  $28.5m in 2011 GAAP revenue.  Ouststanding performance — but again about 20% less than I’d expect from the PR.  Consistent with thesis.
  • #543 oDesk.  $25.8m in 2011 GAAP revenue.  Thought this would be about $50m.
  • #557 SEOmoz.  $11.4m in 2011 GAAP revenue.  Boy, there is just so much money in marketing.
  • #563 Demandware.  $56.5m in 2011 GAAP revenue.  Wow.
  • #667 Bazaarvoice.  $64.5m in 2011 GAAP revenue.  Marketing, marketing, marketing.
  • #806 Coupons.com.  $91.1m in 2011 GAAP revenue.  Who would have thought?
  • #923 YouSendit.  $39.3m in 2011 GAAP revenue.
  • #1129 BigMachines.  $49.8m in 2011 GAAP revenue.
  • #1272 Bronto Software.  $17.2m in 2011 GAAP revenue.
  • #1848 Intaact Technology.  $20.3m in 2011 GAAP revenue.
  • #2298 SAVO.  $25m in 2011 GAAP revenue.
  • #2744  TRUSTe.  $10.3m in 2011 GAAP revenue.
  • #2802 VerticalResponse.  $24.1m in 2011 GAAP revenue.
  • #2987 Bullhorn.  $33.6m in 2011 GAAP revenue.  HR is hard.
  • #3781 Dairy.com.  $8.2m in 2011 GAAP revenue, but only up from $5.7m in 2008.
  • #4563 Accolo.  $7.6 million in 2011 GAAP revenue.  See:  HR is hard.  Do  marketing SaaS start-up instead.

I wish everyone would try to win this award.

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