Building the Foundation for Growth in SaaS – Matt Straz, CEO of Namely + David Skok, GP at Matrix (Video)
Earlier this month, we kicked off the SaaStr Speaker Series in NYC at Work-Bench’s beautiful office in Union Square with Matt Straz, CEO of Namely, and David Skok, General Partner at Matrix Partners. Both were highly rated speakers at the SaaStr Annual this year, so we were excited to have them join us for a more intimate session on Building the Foundation for Growth in SaaS.
Given the hundreds of founders from NYC that came out for the SaaStr Annual in February, we knew the SaaStr community was strong here, but the turnout exceeded our expectations. With over 200 people present, the energy level was high and you could feel the excitement in the room about the growing SaaS ecosystem in NYC.
Below are 4 takeaways from the conversation with Matt and David, but check out the video of the entire conversation below for even more great learnings.
1. Don’t build for an acquisition. From the beginning of Namely, Matt made a pledge to his employees that he would not sell the company. It helped set the tone and culture early on to think big and take risks vs. incrementally optimizing for an acquisition.
2. Always be raising. Matt from Namely said his mantra was “Always Be Raising.” Even if he had just closed a round, he would ask existing investors for intros to the next investors he wanted to target, so he could start building the relationships, share the vision for the company and start to create momentum for the next round.
3. As a CEO, visit customers in person. Early on at Namely, they focused on customer acquisition in NYC, so Matt could easily visit 2-3 customers per day. Even with a sales director and multiple SDR’s on the team, Matt made sure to meet with customers himself to understand what they cared about, why they bought Namely, what they want to see in the product, etc. Visit customers early and often!
4. Growth in bookings is more important than growth in ARR. David talked about the importance of growth in bookings as a key metric he looks for. As you start to see product market fit and early signs of a scalable and repeatable sales process, you should be able to invest more capital to accelerate the rate of customer acquisition, which will show in MoM bookings growth. You can still have linear MoM growth in ARR with flat bookings but if things are working, double down and accelerate growth.
Stay tuned for future SaaStr speaker series events on the East Coast!