Dear SaaStr: How many employees does a SaaS company have at 100M ARR?

It used to be about 500.  At peak of Unicorn Mania in 2021, it was often closer to 1000, with Unicorns raising so much more private capital than before.  Today, it’s like closer to 400-500 again.  In fact, you really need to be able to get to $200m ARR with 700 employees or so to get to cash-flow positive these days:

The New Normal: 700 Employees at $200,000,000 in ARR

Tomasz Tunguz did a great analysis here a ways back on public SaaS companies: Revenue per Employee Benchmarks of Billion Dollar Companies

“Way back in 2013, the typical average revenue per employee was about $190k to $210k per year … Salesforce (CRM) and LinkedIn (LNKD) were much closer to the average range while other darlings like WorkDay (WDAY) and Tableau (DATA) were close to $100k.”

What’s changed since a lot of those companies IPO’d is most SaaS companies raising $370m+ before IPO’ing (!). More on that here:

All that capital is being used to hire more folks ahead of growth. 1000 employees at $100m in ARR (i.e., $100k per employee) is not uncommon today. (In my own investments, 800 is the most efficient at $100m in ARR).

Ultimately though, that’s not sustainable. The average SaaS company employee, fully burdened, costs much more than $100k a year.

Let’s look at a few companies when they IPO’d:

So $250k-$300k per employee, probably that’s where you need to end up in SaaS. You can just wait longer to get that efficient if you are growing at Unicorn+ rates, and/or are well funded. Because there’s so much more capital available to those few.

But in the end, you probably need to end up at about $300k per employee or close to it to truly be profitable or at least cash-flow positive.

You can also use this to back into the revenues for a lot of private companies. More on how here: How to Figure Out Your Competitors’ Revenues in About 70 Seconds | SaaStr

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