Dear SaaStr: What Successful Startups Were Launched While The Founders Worked 9 to 5?

I’m not aware of any huge successes in SaaS that were active side projects while the founders worked at different companies.

But there are a bunch that were side projects at the same company:

  • Mailchimp was a side project while the founders ran a web-design agency. There are many start-ups born out of agenies and consultancies. It can be a tough transition, but it’s pretty common.
  • Hootsuite was also a web-agency spin-off.
  • Slack was an internal tool built when the company was a gaming company. It took off.

Mailchimp is perhaps the most interesting one to me because they took their time until 2007 to go all-in. But once they did, growth accelerated. Dramatically.

When this model works, it takes longer. And there’s often some tough choices about leaving an agency or other prior business or project behind.  But you have to, to go big.…

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