Described as Disneyland for SaaS professionals, SaaStock returns to Dublin this October where it will inform, entertain and educate 4,000 delegates from around the globe. Voxpro spoke with Emma Pearce, VP, Product & Strategy at SaaStock, to find out more about the global SaaS community and what we can expect from the event now in its fourth year.
Could you give us some background on how SaaStock came into being and its journey to date?
We founded SaaStock because the SaaS industry needed an unbiased space to come together, to connect and to create. It’s a place for the best and brightest to meet like minds, fuel their ambition and spark their imagination.
SaaStock was formed as a result of CEO Alex Theuma’s struggle to find an unbiased repository of information on the SaaS industry. Firstly, he created the SaaScribe blog to fill this gap and from there, he went on to start the podcast SaaS Revolutionaries. Following its initial success, he thought: “What can I do next to keep building the community?”
The first SaaStock was born in 2016 with 700 delegates in attendance. Since then, we have gone from strength to strength, expanding the operation globally – not only growing the flagship event in Dublin into Europe’s largest SaaS festival, but launching successful regional conferences in Latin America, Asia, the Americas and Australasia and expanding SaaStock locally through our series of evening meetups across the globe in over 20 cities.
How would you describe the global SaaS community?
I’d describe it as a community of passionate people from an industry that is transforming how businesses operate at a global level. The reason SaaStock works is because there is a willingness among founders and investors globally to share their lessons: stories of failure, the trials and tribulations of scaling a SaaS company, and their successes too. SaaStock isn’t one big pat on the back, it’s about insightful messages and stories from the trenches that resonate. If you like that sort of thing, we’re the conference for you.
How does Dublin compare with your other global locations for hosting the event? Why would you say it’s a good fit?
As an epicentre for many global and European SaaS companies such as Stripe, Zendesk and Intercom that host their EMEA operations out of the city, it was a natural fit for us. We knew launching our flagship event in Ireland’s vibrant capital would enable us to foster lifelong partnerships with the best in the business. Three years after the Brexit vote in the UK, the doors to Ireland Inc. are open wider than ever, as more tech multinationals see the reason why Ireland is often referred to as ‘the tech capital of Europe’.
What are the key themes being explored at this year’s event?
We’ve worked closely with SaaS leaders to identify the key trends driving the industry, which has helped us to curate an impactful agenda that will challenge and inspire attendees. We’ve broken down those insights into concrete themes. Among them are marketing and growth; sales and customer success. Company culture and how SaaS companies win the battle for talent is another topic we’ll look at, while we’ll also address other areas such as funding and investment, product, pricing, internationalisation and scaling operations. Of course, the ability to measure success is key to any SaaS company so we’ll explore the importance of metrics.
Which companies are you most excited to see represented?
Honestly, there are so many to choose from. Some of the standout speakers include Stripe’s chief operating officer Claire Hughes Johnson, Intercom co-founder Des Traynor and Kabbage co-founder Kathryn Petralia. Then there’s Survey Monkey’s chief marketing officer Leela Srinivasan and Aaron Ross, co-chief executive at Predictable Revenue to name but a few.
What would you say are the biggest challenges currently facing SaaS companies?
The main challenges facing SaaS companies relate to the problems that arise when scaling at speed. We’ll be addressing these topics at SaaStock and among them is the challenge of managing the internal impact of growth; how to best streamline your processes and implement key improvement initiatives; how to scale sustainably whilst maintaining profitability and retaining culture; and the challenge of having ultimate clarity on product positioning and market fit.
Any great SaaS company success stories that have come out of SaaStock that you can share?
There are quite a few but three individuals come to mind: Chris Wickson, Founder of Akkroo; Patrick Barnes, Co-Founder of Advocately; and Hannah Chaplin, Founder of Receptive – all of whom have been acquired in the last year by Integrate, G2 and Pendo, respectively. They will be joining us on the Growth Stage and will share their stories of building, scaling and selling their companies since they began their journey with us.
Phorest is another great SaaS success story of recent years. In 2018, the company sent 10 people from the team to SaaStock, which led to a meeting with their most recent investor. This year, Phorest will have 20 team members in attendance as their growth journey continues.
How do you see SaaStock growing in the years ahead?
We’re on a global mission – to spread the good SaaStock word far and wide. We’re growing our community with SaaStock local, and we’ll be back for year two of our standout conferences in Asia, Australasia, North America and Latin America.
SaaStock will take place in the RDS, Dublin on October 14-16. For further information on the speaker lineup and event schedule visit www.saastock.com
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