I was lucky to catch up with one of my very favorite SaaS founders, René Lacerte, CEO Bill.com.  Bill.com has become an SMB powerhouse, with 120,000+ customers and a 6B+ market cap.  All while selling at a $2k ACV!

The convo is here, and my Top 10 Learnings below:

#1.  You can’t rush a network.  Bill.com had to develop a network that today has millions on vendors processing bills and payments on it.  But they couldn’t rush it.  So they let folks use the platform the way they wanted, from paper checks to fax and more.

#2.  You can’t always rush a fintech product.  The payments / fintech side of Bill took a decade to come together.  It was much more than adding an API, especially at scale.  René cautioned folks to understand the regulatory and fraud elements of doing payments are significant.  But it paid off.  SInce IPO, they’ve grown to a stunning 50% of Bill’s revenues.

#3.  Channels matter in SMBs, too.  But each one is different.  Bill.com has a direct sales force, even at $2k ACV.  And a self-service component.  And also 2 bigger channels — accountants and banks.  But there 2 channels are very different.  Banks are a longer-term play, and a bit of a whale hunt.  But the accountant channel is high volume, SMB play.  As they were scaling, René put the accounting channel on quotas to grow the number of Bill.com customers at each accounting firm.

#4. There are 6m SMBs that buy SaaS software.  René really simplified this.  There are 6m customers out there just in SMB.  Go find them.  Even at 120,000 customers today, Bill.com is just getting going.

#5.  Virtual credit cards have radically changed spend management.  Bill.com bought Divvy for $2B+, but the whole category of next-gen spend management software for SMBs wasn’t really practical before the relatively recent development of true virtual credit cards.

#6.  It took until “Series I” for Bill to IPO.  It’s a huge success story, but not an overnight one.  15 years, the vast amount of market cap and value growth happened around Year 13.

#7.  Loving an unloved niche is a superpower.  Rene loves accounting and accounting software.  It’s in his blood.  And he notes few others really do.

#8.  NRR up to 124% — from SMBs.  This truly is stunning from SMBs. The keys both are adding more payments and services (like international transfer and payments), but also more seats.  Even in SMBs, they can get more folks at a small business approving and paying on Bill.

#9.  A good acquisition expands the TAM.  René sees the $2b+ acquisition of Divvy truly expanding their TAM.  Once you trust a vendor for one core product, you’ll likely buy more from them.

#10.  Word-of-mouth scales forever.  Like HubSpot and more, Bill still gets a large percent of its new customers from word-of-mouth.  That’s the magic in SMB SaaS.  Over-invest in it.

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