I have nothing profound to add, but let me share what I see happening in SaaS post-Covid:
- Office life will vary based on the age of the company:
- Older tech companies (Google, Amazon, etc) want most folks to go back to the office and in fact, are leasing tons of additional space.
- Top-quality San Francisco large startup office space is already tight again, with multiple offers again on larger spaces. So many SaaS companies raising $50m+ do want an A+ HQ in SF Bay Area. How they use it may vary, however.
- Newer startups will break into (1) distributed-only (far more of them), (2) hybrid with 2–3 days a week into the office, and (3) some will startup together and try to stay that way and will be office-first, but remote OK.
- The CFO will win and folks in the office will have to cram into even less space. “Floating desks” and the like in the end mean even less square footage per employee. Employees lost space when we went from offices to open floorplans. And now, they’re losing it again.
- In-person customer visits will still matter, but will often happen later in the sales cycle. More Zooms will be done at first, and in-person visits will still happen, but more often later in the sales process. Folks will still show up for bigger deals to seal the deal. Not everyone. Fewer than before will fly out for $250k, $500k, $1m+ deals. But folks that do show up for the bigger deals will close more of them.
- VCs will continue to do first meetings on Zoom, and VC fundraising is permanently changed and will look more like it has since Covid than before. Middle and final meetings will again happen in person (and did all during Covid), but net net the faster pace of VC fundraising will continue. Founders will continue to “do the rounds” in SF Bay Area, Miami in person (for hedge funds and later rounds), etc. But first meetings will rarely be in person anymore.
- SF will remain the HQ of SaaS, but SaaS will continue to be much more global than before Covid. The SF Bay Area will remain the spiritual center of SaaS, with the HQs of Salesforce, Okta, Twilio, Adobe, Google, and so many other Cloud leaders. The majority. But Covid accelerated trends that were already happening, with massive amounts of capital to B2B companies in Europe and India. The U.S. will continue to attract the most capital and the most startups. But the rest of the world has grown up so much more, that you don’t have to be in the U.S. anymore, let alone the SF Bay Area.
- Every tech company will now hire the best almost anywhere. This is perhaps the most disruptive change. The war for talent is now truly global.