In this episode of the Metrics that Measure Up podcast, we speak with Alex Theuma, the founder and CEO of SaaStock and the SaaS Revolution podcast.
Alex started his career as an enterprise sales professional, and identified his passion for SaaS as he started to write a blog on all things SaaS, called SaaScribe. SaaScribe quickly morphed into a community blog, and enabled Alex to build deep and broad connections across the SaaS ecosystem.
Based upon the community of SaaS entrepreneurs that developed, Alex identified the opportunity to launch a European SaaS event. Even though Alex was preparing to be a first time father in three months, Alex jumped head first into launching SaaStock and the first event in 2016 included 700 attendees from over 34 countries.
Alex's initial vision behind SaaStock remains consistent to today - to help SaaS founders grow and find success in their SaaS based entrepreneurial venture. The SaaStock Mission is to make a real difference to those participating in the SaaS industry across the world.
Being global was not part of the initial vision, as SaaStock was started to focus on SaaS founders across Europe. However, the first SaaStock event in Dublin attracted attendees from 34 different countries. With that as the backdrop, SaaStock expanded quickly to be the first global events company for SaaS founders with events in multiple countries around the world. As the event began to grow, Alex started to partner with communities, initially in Brazil to develop a global footprint. In fact, SaaStock started their global expansion by partnering the Brazil SaaS Forum and now has expanded to SaaStock LATAM.
Then, Alex expanded into Asia-Pacific. One material finding was that most SaaS companies in Asia-Pacific need to think globally early on to have a meaningful Target Addressable Market.
With the largest SaaS event competitor being headquartered in Silicon Valley, SaaStock initial decided to enter the US market with conferences in New York. Then in 2019 they identified the opportunity to hold an event in downtown San Francisco.
2020 brought the reality of needing to pivot from in-person events to virtual events, and was the catalyst for SaaStock Remote. True to their global vision, SaaStock remote could not be conducted just in the 8AM - 5PM US time. So, they pulled the time forward to start at noon in Europe to 10PM in Europe, allowing for European and US SaaS entrepreneurs all to attend. SaaStock Remote LATAM and SaaStock Remote APAC are being held as focused, dedicated virtual events for those specific geographies.
Even though 2020 was a down economic period due to the impact of COVID, the SaaS economy continued to thrive. Much like the larger, public SaaS companies, after an initial reaction to cut expenses in March, SaaS start-ups started to quickly emerge into hyper growth in 2H20. Hopin is an example of a European SaaS company that experienced hyper growth, which grew to a $2B valuation within 18 months of launching!
When I asked Alex which area of the world he saw the fasted growing for SaaS companies, he first answered that the SaaS world is becoming much flatter, and that San Francisco is not longer the only place to start a SaaS company. Alex did highlight Latin America as a force to be considered for great SaaS unicorns over the next few years.
If your goal is be a global SaaS company, this is a great listen!