Updated on by Daniel Twigg
Since its emergence as a viable software model, SaaS has redefined the software landscape. As a result, the shift to the Cloud has lowered the barriers for budding software entrepreneurs to build and commercialise exciting new products. This has created new markets that cater to nearly any market, or niche, you can think of.
A quick search for “SaaS” on LinkedIn lists over 44,000 companies registered on their site. While that is a huge number, the real figure is likely far higher. G2 Crowd lists over 142,000 SaaS software products available to review and Gartner has estimated over 250,000 SaaS companies to be in existence.
New technical developments keep opening new doors for companies to explore and lay roots.
So, whether it’s Fintech, Blockchain, AI or whatever the next big market is, new SaaS companies will rush to be one of the first to productise it and become a pillar of the niche. The speed by which a SaaS startup can prototype and can get a product out into the wild is only increasing.
With a variety of new tools and methodologies to aid in building SaaS startups, as well as their products. We wanted to take a look at 5 pieces of the puzzle that are accelerating the market, changing working practices and making software development more agile.
Infrastructure – Customisable Cloud Hosting Options for SaaS Startup
The growth of Cloud technologies has given software development teams far more options when it comes to setting up the backbone of their application. For instance, hosting heavyweights such as AWS, Google Cloud and Azure are vying for your service. As a result, you’ll achieve a solid uptime within affordable reach.
Each of these Cloud behemoths has an array of tools and services available, allowing you to construct an architecture around your platform’s usage. As well as flexible pricing options available which can achieve the balance of performance vs server costs. Which has never been so attainable. Each also has incentive programmes for start-ups meaning that often costs can be absolutely minimal at the outset.
Where Are The Buyers? – SaaS Review Websites
Given the now astonishingly high number of SaaS Startup platforms available, as a buyer how do you decide on which one to use? A free trial is typically available but, people don’t have time to test out every platform in a vertical market. As a result, this has led to the emergence of SaaS-centric review websites.
Potential customers and stakeholders can take a top-down view of a vertical market or niche. SaaS-centric review websites allow users to compare features, pricing and direct experiences through reviews. This helps them narrow down their shortlist of candidates as well as frame their potential experience.
This range of services has been growing, with staple sites including Capterra, GetApp and G2 Crowd allowing users to compare thousands of applications against each other.
As a SaaS Startup, these sites offer several opportunities. Firstly, it gives you a relatively low-cost way to get in front of your audience, with several offering their own Pay Per Click advertising service to ensure you are seen.
Secondly, they allow you to take a view of your vertical market’s landscape. It allows you to accurately craft your own ‘space’ in the market and to keep this under ready review.
Exposure to your potential end-market is therefore accelerated, albeit differentiation becomes harder.
Freedom To Focus On The Core – Why Build Everything?
The times when every feature in an application had to be built in-house are long gone. There are many things you need to manage and deliver, a SaaS platform that lies outside of your core product.
- You’ll need to be able to bill your customers – to do so, you’d use a service such as Stripe or Chargebee.
- As well as provide customer support and ticketing services to users, but why build that from scratch when services like Zendesk can do everything you need out of the box?
- You’ll also need to connect to one or more of the plethora of other SaaS applications out there and therefore integration is no different.
So, why use your stretched development resources to build out integrations when you can simply connect to one service? This service can give you access to hundreds more SaaS platforms. An embedded iPaaS has enabled SaaS startup(s) to develop their own solution further, without having to compromise on connectivity or the experience they want to offer their users.
Therefore, if you’re looking to build your own behemoth, standing on the shoulders of giants certainly isn’t a bad tactic to get you there in a shorter time than ever.
Location, Location, Location – Remote and Co-Working for SaaS Startup
Sooner or later early stage SaaS companies have to grow their team. The manner by which they do this has been revolutionised in recent years. This is because teams are no longer a centralised concept. Gone are the days when renting dedicated office space is a necessity to be considered a legitimate company. A Cloud company can have a dispersed, multi-national, workforce all, ironically, enabled by other Cloud applications.
Founders also have other options. For instance, if they want to create a centralised team rather than hiring office space they can opt for setting up shop in a co-working space. These offer lower overhead costs and increased scalability, despite what it feels like We-Work has not existed that long.
The global growth in co-working locations brings opportunities for teams to be built amongst tech hubs in cities around the world. Fun fact; Cyclr has been built and based in co-working spaces since day one.
This new pillar of the sharing economy gives founders a far more economical way of building their team, adding to their subscription when a new team member starts or when they need meeting rooms or additional equipment.
Talk To Me – Communication Platforms
It’s not only remote SaaS startup teams that need dedicated platforms to keep in touch and on task. An email has all but been replaced by many teams for performing particular tasks. Whether it’s using Slack for internal communications or sprint planning platforms for managing development.
Face-to-face communication doesn’t have to be shirked either. Video chat services, such as Zoom, allow teams to talk things out as if they were in the same office. It’s not just teams that these platforms bring together, they also bring you closer to your users.
Whether through embedded chat platforms like Intercom or Drift, or even support platforms like Zendesk. It has never been easier to speak with your clients and leads.
Finally, video chat also opens the door to performing live demos, user interviews and even commercial discussions. This is done without either party having to worry about locational logistics or travel expenses.
All in all, we now have both a physical and virtual ecosystem available to us. These help us prototype products, build products, get products to market and scale our teams.
Although easier than ever to now ‘get going’ it is however harder to differentiate and scale. Not just getting going but then keeping the lights on.