So 2023 was a weird year.  2021 was nuts, with crazy growth and crazy multiples.  In 2022, revenue growth held up for many leaders, but share prices and multiples cratered.  And 2023?  It was mixed actually, even if startups didn’t seem to get a breather, it wasn’t so bad for most public SaaS leaders.

On the debit side:

  • Growth at public SaaS companies fell to all-time lows, averaging just 16%
  • Public ARR multiples remained low, at 6x, for the second straight year
  • Late stage VC fell dramatically, outside of AI investments
  • Start-ups failed, and/or saw much tougher times.  Many in impacted categories saw growth fall to 0%.

And yet … it wasn’t all bad, for the bigger guys:

  • The median SaaS and Cloud stock was up 41% in 2023! per Jamin Ball’s great summary below
  • The Top 10 in SaaS saw their stock price up 136% on average!
  • And everyone got much, much more efficient.  Most SaaS leaders flipped to cash-flow positive, for many, for the first time.

Now yes, these jumps in stock prices in many cases are following big drops in 2022, and in many cases, the gains in efficiency came in part from layoffs.  So not all as gold and golden as it looks.

Still, an odd year.  Everyone got a lot, lot fitter.  Eveyone did more with less.  And even as growth slowed, the best were rewarded with huge jumps in their share prices.

Honestly, it’s hard to predict what 2024 will really bring.

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