So everyone knows Salesforce, founded in 1999, originally to manage your salesforce.

But there’s another SaaS leader that almost everyone in B2B software also uses also founded in 1999 — to manage their events.

Cvent.  It’s still around, too.  A lot of it is a bit old, and hard to use, and expensive.  But after taking a hit from lockdown, it bounced back, IPO’d for the second time via a SPAC, and today is at $650,000,000 in ARR, growing 20%, with a health 21% EBITDA margin.

And its founder … is still CEO even today.

And Cvent may be acquired for $4 Billion, a premium to its current $3.6 Billion market cap.

Let’s take a look at 5 Interesting Learnings:

#1.  Managed to Make the Most of Virtual Events.  While the overall category of Virtual Events software is in a funk, Cvent did OK.  Or at least, the revenue they categorized as “virtual” did.

#2.  Two Related Products Are Key to Growth.  70% of Cvent’s revenue comes from its events software. but 30% comes from its so-called “Hospitality Cloud” which is really a marketplace for event services.  The marketplace side took a bigger hit from the events shutdown during Covid (and also has lower gross margins), but is still a material contributor.  But it includes interchange and other payments revenue with relatively low margins (see more in Point #4).

#3.  NRR has Bounced Back to 116% — Higher Than Pre-Covid.  Cvent’s NRR understandably took a hit when Covid shut down most events, but it’s bounced back even higher than in 2019.

#4.  Only 60% Gross Margins.  Cvent’s margins are pretty low for a SaaS company.  They have interchange revenue from their Hospitality Cloud and also lower margin on-site events revenues, so it makes sense.  Still, 60% is at the edge of being a software company.  It’s low, and lower than a year ago.

#5.  86% of Revenue from North America.  A bit surprising, considering events are global.

And a few other interesting learnings:

#6.  Not Profitable Due to Stock-Based Compensation Expenses, But Generating Material Cash-Flow: 20%+ “Adjusted EBITDA”.  Even after 24 years, Cvent isn’t truly profitable, but stock expense and some other charges aside, it does generate significant cash.

#7.  Events, trade-shows and IRL meetings are 24% of B2B marketers’ spend.  Events are a ton of work, tiring, and expensive.   But they work.  The best ones are where the buyers and customers go.  So B2B marketers spend 24% of their budgets on events.

Cvent.  Is it our favorite events software at SaaStr for our own events?  Well … no.  It’s a bit dated, expensive, and hard to use.  Frankly, none of the software in this category is that great.

But they never quit, and have been the Gold Standard in the enterprise for many years.  And while not a true rocketship — they haven’t crossed $1B in ARR even after 24 years — they never stopped, IPO’ing, getting acquired by Vista, and then IPO’ing again.

And even today, 24 years later, are putting up solid growth numbers and lots of free cash flow at $650,000,000 in ARR.

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