Southern SaaS – It’s a wrap

lanyardSaaStr Annual is the biggest event in the B2B SaaS calendar each year.  ​​If you haven’t heard of it, or seen the rich content that flows out each year, you should. ​ With 12,000+ SaaS founders / execs / investors from all around the world attending each year in the hopes of powering up their journey to $100M ARR with less stress and more success, the reliable feedback is that the experience really does exceed the hype.

Kiwi SaaS players have been making the trek up to the Valley for a few years now, and as the interest grew, Callaghan Innovation jumped on board to spread the experience.  Having taken a group up to San Fran for the last two years, they had the idea of replicating some of the vibe for learning and connection right here down under.

Southern SaaS was born.

A whole day immersion in the SaaS business model with expert speakers plucked from their daily growth journey here in NZ or flown down under from the wide blue yonder, ~250 SaaS founders / execs packed into the top of the Auckland Museum yesterday with open minds and a thirst for actionable insights.

Highlights from the day:

  • Rich Mironov, Valley product guru, shared his wisdom with trademark humour and approachability. My moment of the session was Rich calling out that being a 7 year startup is not a claim to fame.  Something I hear repeated from international angels and VCs.  Our startup ecosystem here in NZ is not quick enough at killing off the unsuccessful and weak.  “Quick in, quick out.” Was his wise advice.
  • Marvin Liao, Partner at 500 Startups, delivered his 16 tips on pricing with that brutal honesty that Kiwi’s love.  “Discounting is STUPID and COWARDLY.  Don’t do it.”  He also pointed out that people put more effort into designing their interior office spaces than they do into pricing, a fact that rings a little too true!  “The moment you make a mistake in pricing, you’re eating into profit or reputation.”
  • Josh Robb: VP Engineering at current industry darling Pushpay was a shining example that everyone in the business needs to care about the performance of the business, not just their functional area.  If the business isn’t successful as a whole, there won’t be a product to build, or a customer to support or sell to.  The comment that stuck with me; when you’re growing fast and everything is on fire, “run to the fire that will kill you, and not the fire that won’t.”  You need awesome data and metrics to know the difference and to prevent those fires from happening again.
  • MC, David Downs was a delight, expertly guiding the energy and flow.
  • Topping it all off was the networking, sharing, and connections made.  As with all these types of things, knowing that others face the same challenges, or feeling like you have been able to share some of your own wisdom gained along the way with those just starting out, is the real value.

So with a notebook full of advice and expertise, the challenge is now to share the best bits with the team back at work and continue to drive forward as we grow towards that $100M ARR.

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