The Top 15 SaaS Influencers revealed

A small influential group hold sway on an entire industry

There’s a small, exclusive and highly influential number of people who are setting the standards and best practice for the entire SaaS industry. So who are they?

When we were developing the CloudKPI algorithms, which automatically formulate key SaaS metrics within our solution we engaged with hundreds of SaaS leaders, writers and investors to see what metrics and which formulations lead the way. From these we have chosen our own CloudKPI Top 15 SaaS Influencers, people we think are leading the leaders. They’re not necessarily running SaaS companies (some so do and some have in the past) but they are all big thinkers on what is the future for SaaS. Understandably, with the largest concentration of SaaS companies based in California, many are located in and around Silicon Valley, but other regions are beginning to catch up.

Byron Deeter

What you need to know

Byron Deeter is one of the most important thought leaders/investors in SaaS and cloud-based technologies in the US. Author of the annual Bessemer ‘State of the Cloud’ reports (alongside Kristina Shen and Anna Khan) and Bessemer’s ‘10 Laws of Cloud Computing’ Byron provides insights into industry trends, valuations, and benchmarks.
He leads BVP’s cloud computing practice and has invested in ServiceTitan, Glnt, Gainsight and SendGrid and others.

Twitter: @bdeeter Followers: 12.5k

CloudKPI favorites: State of the Cloud; State of SaaS 2018

Reid Hoffman

What you need to know

Reid Hoffman is an internet entrepreneur, VC at Graylock Partners and author. Hoffman is a former CEO, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn and Executive VP at Paypal, as well as sitting on numerous boards including Airbnb. Investments include Chairman Mom, Blockstream and Airbnb among others. Reid writes about a broad range of subjects from entrepreneurship, civics to intellectual life. Many of his posts focus on leadership and highlights include 4 Lessons to Prevent your Startup from becoming the next Theranos, How I work and How Studying Philosophy helped him become a better Entrepreneur. and the Future of Work. A true cloud-based tech Renaissance man. (you heard it here first folks)
Twitter: @reidhoffman Followers: 511k

CloudKPI favoritesGrowth Lessons from the Downfall of TheranosThe Future of Work

Christopher Janz

What you need to know

Christopher Janz has been seminal in defining the formulation of SaaS metrics and establishing best practice used by SaaS leaders and investors to scale, track performance and establish benchmarks. He co-founded Point Nine Capital and has invested in more than 20 SaaS start-ups including Zendesk, Clio and FreeAgent. According to Christopher he lives and breathes SaaS, everything from “A as in AI-enhanced B2B software to Z as in Zendesk”. He co-founded DealPilot.com and Pageflakes. He’s       the author of the fantastic “SaaS Funding Napkin” which provides a matrix of key requirements by investment stage (seed and upward) SaaS companies should meet before being deemed investible www.saasnapkin.com

Twitter: @chrija Followers: 24.5K

CloudKPI favorites: The Angel VC: A KPI dashboard for early-stage SaaS startups; The SaaS Funding Napkin

Lauren Kelley

What you need to know

Lauren Kelley, Founder and CEO of OpexEngine, the definitive source of benchmarking data for SaaS. She is former CEO of Synopia Inc and senior VP of ww Sales at the Art Technology Group. She has many detailed posts on subjects including CAC and the Difficulty in Calculating it, what SaaS Boards are Thinking and how SaaS Companies Count their Customers. You’ll find most of Lauren’s posts on LinkedIn and her website.

Twitter: @OPEXEngine Followers: 11.1k

CloudKPI favorites: SaaS Benchmarking; Why CAC Matters

 

David Kellogg

What you need to know

David Kellogg is former CEO of Host Analytics, SVP/GM at Salesforce, CEO MarkLogic and CMO Business Objectives. He has worked in various capacities with ClearedIn, FloQast, GainSight, MongoDB, and Tableau. David’s blog is an analytics-focused deep-dive into data-driven strategies based on his vast experience in scaling SaaS businesses. Be prepared to put your thinking cap on, but you will walk away a lot wiser and with the knowledge of how to implement what you will have learned. Astute questions such as, “When should my growing start-up be Rule of 40 compliant?” – rather than assuming the rule applies at all times and in all scenarios. David explains all, lucidly.

Twitter: @kellblog Followers: 10.9k CloudKPI favorites: SaaS Metrics; Ten Non-Obvious Things About Scaling SaaS

 

Nathan Latka

What you need to know

Nathan Latka Podcast Top Entrepreneurs is one of the best available sources of private SaaS benchmarking data, along with  David Skok’s SaaS benchmarking survey. Nathan asks tough questions and manages to get answers from CEO’s who can’t believe he asked (full disclosure, CloudKPI has featured, but only because we’re worth it!) and that they answer! His podcasts give answers to the many questions around ARR growth rates, tipping points and tips to accelerate growth, ‘pivots and pains’ and so, so much more. If you need inspiration take a listen to this treasure trove of real-life experiences in scaling a SaaS business.
Twitter: @NathanLatka F

ollowers: 70.1k

CloudKPI favorites: How Ignoring CAC Works for <$100m ARR, David Barrett ExpensifyInterview Bernadette Nixon, Alfresco’s CEO

 

Jason Lemkin

What you need to know

If you don’t know Jason Lemkin, you don’t know SaaS. Jason is founder and CEO of the most important get together in the SaaS annual calendar, SaaStr, a three-day SaaS love-in. Jason continues to expand the SaaStr footprint with similar events in Europe and the Far East. The event gathers together the most important founders, leaders, investors and innovators on the planet,   sharing insights, best practice and personal SaaS journeys. Jason’s blogs and tweets are SaaStr on steroids, shared by a 500k community. By following Jason you can continue to love and learn well after the events are over. His pithy comments and personal observations come from his own experience as a founder and senior executive with companies including Adobe.

Twitter: @jasonlk Followers: 62.8K

CloudKPI favorites: What 3 mistakes did you make in your SaaS that you wish you could go back in time and fix, to accelerate growth?; State of SaaS with Tomasz Tunguz 2018

 

Mark MacLeod

What you need to know

Mark MacLeod was CFO of some of the most successful SaaS companies yet (FreshBooks, Shopify, Tungle) and as a SaaS investor, Mark knows exactly how important metrics are in driving growth. He’s a former GP with Real Ventures where he led investments in SaaS companies including Unbounce before he founded Sure Path Capital to guide start-up founders on how to fund, grow and exit.

Twitter: @markmacleod Followers: 12K


CloudKPI favorites: 
Platforms and Exit Strategy; Takeaway from Mindbody Acquisition

 

Nick Mehta

What you need to know

Nick Mehta, CEO Gainsight, writes extensively on customer success in both his book ‘Customer Success’ and his blog mehtaphysical.com Highlights include ‘Managing Customers throughout their Lifecycle’ and ‘14 Things We Learned From 800 Survey Responses’. Nick is another entrepreneur who is generous with his time, sharing his knowledge, helping his fellow entrepreneurs.

Twitter: @mrmehta Followers: 11.1k

CloudKPI favorites: The Right Financial Metric for Customer Success; Creating a New Industry Category: Customer Success

 

David Skok

What you need to know

 

David is one of a small number of SaaS entrepreneurs and investors who are setting the global SaaS metrics formulation “standards” for how SaaS companies measure, grow and benchmark their success. David has earns his stripes and credibility in writing about SaaS as both a founder, publisher of the annual private SaaS benchmarking survey with the KBCM Technology Group (formerly Pacific Crest Securities) and as an investor. Before joining Matrix Partners he founded four companies. Successful exits as a      VC include: HubSpot, JBoss, AppIQ, Tabblo, Netezza, Diligent Technologies, CloudSwitch, TribeHR, GrabCAD, OpenSpan and Enservio.

Twitter: bostonvc Followers: 51K

CloudKPI favorites: 2018 SAAS Private Survey Results – Part 1; Managing Customer Success to Reduce Churn

Hiten Shah

What you need to know

Hiten Shah is an investor and entrepreneur (founded Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics, Quick Sprout and FYI). He is as passionate about SaaS as he is about sharing his knowledge to help others be successful. His blog Hitenism feels like a series of highly accessible case studies because they are practical, directly applicable and based on his vast and recent experiences. His honesty and direct approach is refreshing and sometimes a little scary because he keeps on reminding you to go back and do the important stuff, like validating your ideas FIRST before hiring your sales team.

Twitter: @hnshah Followers: 221.5K

CloudKPI favorites: How to Build a Brand From Nothing; The 3 -Step Marketing Framework for a Startup

 

Harry Stebbings

What you need to know

Harry is the founder of The Twenty Minute VC podcast which claims over 100,000 listeners He’s a regular contributor to Techcrunch and works with SaaStr founder Jason Lemkin to build out their content platform. His podcasts are engaging as they are interesting. He covers topics from start-ups to VCs. The word on the grapevine (boom, boom!) is that he’s prone to

a mojito or three. Allegedly.

Twitter: @harrystebbings Followers: 15.2K

CloudKPI favorites: Learning to Love the Art of Sales as a Technical Founder; Talking Fin Analytics with Co-Founder Fin, Sam Lessin

 

Claire Suellentrop

What you need to know

Claire Suellentrop is a writer, broadcaster and blogger who works with SaaS businesses to help them achieve sustainable growth. Former Director of Marketing and #2 employee at Calendly, she is co-founder of Uselist.io and Forget the Funnell both of which  are focused on scaling SaaS sales and marketing. Claire’s blogs help companies get inside customers’ heads and to use those insights to create compelling landing pages, high-converting websites, smooth signup flows and sticky onboarding experiences. Claire is author of ‘Websites that Convert’.

Twitter: @clairesuellen Followers: 3.8K
CloudKPI favorites: The Customer Research Process; How to Truly Understand your Customers

 

Tomasz Tunguz

What you need to know

Thomas Tunguz is a former Googler who was product manager for Google’s social media monetization team, including the Google-MySpace partnership. He managed the launches of AdSense into six new markets. He co-founded Perquimans Systems and is currently principal with Redpoint Ventures where he focuses on SaaS investment. Previousl investments include Looker, Kustomer and Electric Imp. Thomas is co-author of ‘Winning with Data’ that explores the cultural changes big data brings to business and shows how to adapt an organization to leverage data to maximum effect. His regular blogs cover a wide range to SaaS related guides, tips and insights and he is particularly strong on what investors seek in metrics.

Twitter: @ttunguz Followers: 71.3K

CloudKPI favorites: Why Your Startup Doesn’t Invest Sufficiently in its Differentiator; Why Fast Learning Curves are so Important to Startups

Tien Tzuo

What you need to know

 

Tien Tzuo is a subscription evangelist who founded Zuora in 2007. His easy to remember book title, “Subscription”, is seen by many as the definitive guide on how to succeed in the subscription economy, a term he coined. Tien says the world is moving away from products and toward services. Billions of digital consumers increasingly favor access over ownership which he believes will see subscriptions based business continuing to grow at an explosive rate. Follow his blogs and tweets for clever insights and practical advice around customer success. He’s a straight-talking guy, easy to follow and is someone who really knows what he’s talking about.

Twitter: @tientzuo Followers: 6.8K

CloudKPI favorites: The “cancel my subscription” bill; The Subscription Economy

 

CloudKPI is an analytics solution specifically designed for SaaS companies. Sitting on top of existing solutions (financial, CRM etc) it automatically formulates, visualizes and reports on SaaS cross-business metrics for investors and C-level decision makers.