What do all the unciorns which reached their $1B valuation fastest have in common?
In SaaS, they all have top-tier net revenue retention. Even, and even especially, if their customers are SMBs (which churn at a higher rate):
- PagerDuty, 139% net revenue retention. 5 Interesting Learnings From PagerDuty. And Congrats on the A+ IPO!! | SaaStr. And from SMBs!
- Slack, 143% net revenue retention. 5 Interesting Learnings From Slack. As It IPOs (er, Direct Lists). | SaaStr. And part SMBs!
- Zoom, 140% net revenue retention. 5 Interesting Learnings From Zoom. As It IPOs. | SaaStr. And mostly SMBs!
- Fastly, 130% net revenue retention. 5 Interesting Learnings from Fastly. As It IPOs. | SaaStr
- Twilio, 155% net revenue retention.
- Datadog. 146% net revenue retention at IPO.
- Okta. 119% net revenue retention. On the low end for the very top SaaS companies, but still basically 120%.
Companies like SurveyMonkey and Xero with lower dollar retention (100%) have done well, and become unicorns … but have grown more slowly: 5 Interesting Learnings from SurveyMonkey. As It Crosses $300m in ARR. | SaaStr and 5 Interesting Learnings from Xero. As It Crosses $650m in ARR. | SaaStr
The difference between 100% and 140% net account growth over a year is big. Over a decade it is profound.
Also, if you sell to tiny companies, 1 person shops, you can’t do that. Shopify’s net retention overall is only 100%. Most of its customers are still not just SMBs, but tiny. 1 person shops do go under, all the time. 140% may be tough there. But for Shopify Plus, its bigger customers? It’s 140%+ there, near as I can tell.
130%+ net retention, in any event, is doable for most of us, for all but the smallest SMBs. And that’s the magic in compounding revenue. Get “just” to $10m ARR, with 120%+ net revenue retention, and then boy, it kicks in. It’s just a huge boost in the medium and long term.
And really, if you get to $10m/100%+ growth/120%+ net revenue retention … you just can’t be stopped. You will be a unicorn. It is just a question of when.