20 SaaS investors and advisers you can learn from at SaaStock

2 Sep 2016

Got SaaS? Need investment? SaaStock might give you some tips.

Billed as the first European B2B SaaS conference, SaaStock comes to Dublin on 22 September, bringing with it an agenda packed with SaaS investors and expert advisers.

Across two stages in the RDS, keynotes, interviews and panels will hash out all things SaaS, promising delegates will leave with a playbook of how to build a category-leading B2B SaaS business.

Judging by the number of investors in the line-up, tips on pitching and securing investment will no doubt be dispensed from the stage. Here are the sessions where you’ll pick them up.

Inspirefest 2017

Christoph Janz, Point Nine Capital

SaaS metrics that drive decisions, 3.30pm, Playbook Stage

Christoph Janz is the managing partner at Point Nine Capital, an angel VC firm based in Berlin, which has a global portfolio. The company’s primary investment focus is on SaaS and online marketplaces. It specialises in very early-stage investment, with a first-in, last-out policy.

Point Nine Capital has backed globally recognised brands like Couchsurfing, as well as a number of SaaS ventures, including home services software provider Jobber ($1m seed and $8m Series A), accounting software firm Candis (€1.75m seed) and customer support platform Zendesk.

Philippe Botteri, Accel

Investing in EUnicorns, 10.35am, Playbook Stage

Philippe Botteri is a partner at Accel (formerly Accel Partners), the VC behind some of biggest names in Silicon Valley and, indeed, the wider tech sector. An early and growth-stage backer, the fund counts Facebook, Dropbox, Slack, Spotify, Etsy and Groupon within its impressive portfolio.

Botteri’s focus at Accel is on SaaS, enterprise and marketplace businesses, leading Accel’s $6m investment in Hassle.com, among others. Other SaaS companies on the Accel roster include Hootsuite, Prezi and AdRoll.

Stacey Bishop, Scale Venture Partners

Scaling your SaaS – insights from the unicorns and a ‘soonicorn’, 1pm, Playbook Stage

Stacey Bishop is a partner at Scale Venture Partners, a VC fund investing in tech companies with a focus on cloud infrastructure or SaaS, and in companies making exits.

Scale Venture Partners has invested in a large number of SaaS companies, including HubSpot, Wrike and Box. Bishop led a $16m Series C investment in HubSpot, and was involved with a subsequent $32m Series D. She has also led investments in Vitrue ($17m), Demandbase ($15m), Sailthru ($20m), Extole ($14m), Aviso ($15m) and Lever ($20m).

Alex Ferrara, Bessemer Venture Partners

Genius or luck? What it takes to build a successful SMB SaaS business, 11.30am, Playbook Stage

Alex Ferrara is a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, an American venture capital firm with a global portfolio and a broad purview that takes in SaaS, among a broad range of tech and bricks-and-mortar investments.

Supporting companies at all stages from seed to growth, Bessemer Venture Partners boasts some Silicon Valley heavy hitters (including Pinterest, which the company supported at every stage from an initial $10m Series A) and smaller start-ups.

Bessemer Venture Partners has funded a number of SaaS companies, including Skype, TeamViewer, Box and Toast.

Jos White, Notion Capital

Building a category-leading SaaS business in Europe – how we did it, 10.05am, Playbook Stage

London-based Notion Capital specialises in investing in B2B SaaS and cloud services at seed and Series A stage, with a focus on areas including fintech, cybersecurity, human capital management and big data. Companies Notion Capital has invested in include Trustev, Glow and TradeShift, among others.

Jos White is a partner at Notion Capital and co-founded the firm in 2009. Prior to that, he co-founded three businesses – RBR Networks, Star and MessageLabs – that all went on to be acquired.

Conor Stanley, Tribal.vc

SaaS VC landscape: Raising capital in Europe, 5pm, Playbook Stage

Investing in Irish start-ups at seed and Series A stage, Tribal.vc was founded in 2014 by Conor Stanley, Tadhg O’Toole and Barry Mulligan.

The company specialises in enterprise SaaS across fintech, marketing, adtech, sales, CRM, security and analytics. Companies that are currently part of the Tribal.vc portfolio include Barricade, PageFair and NewsWhip, while prior investments of the founders include Intercom, Boxever and Phorest.

Prior to his role with Tribal.vc, Stanley was co-founder and the CEO of web agency Clearscape.

Sitar Teli, Connect Ventures

SaaS VC landscape: Raising capital in Europe, 5pm, Playbook Stage

Sitar Teli is managing partner at London-based Connect Ventures, which invests in early-stage internet and mobile start-ups. Previous investments include Hitch, Marvel and Info.gram.

Focusing on early-stage investments in both consumer and B2B companies, Teli was previously with Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures, where she led their Series A round in SoundCloud. She has experience with content, gaming and e-commerce start-ups.

Elizabeth Yin, 500 Startups

The data-driven marketing playbook, 2.30pm, Playbook Stage

Elizabeth Yin is a partner at San Francisco-based 500 Startups, a $250m VC fund and start-up accelerator that employs 125 people in 20 countries. It has so far invested in over 1,500 start-ups.

Prior to joining 500 Startups, Yin started LaunchBit, an adtech company that she sold two years ago. She now runs the Mountain View accelerator for 500 Startups, a regular four-month programme offering investment of $100,000 net of fees (or $125,000 gross) for 5pc of participant companies.

Alex Kayyal, Salesforce Ventures

Engineering your sales team for hyper growth, 12.30pm, Playbook Stage

Alex Kayyal is Europe head of Salesforce Ventures, the investment arm of Silicon Valley cloud giant Salesforce.com.

Last year, Salesforce Ventures revealed it had $100m available to invest in European start-ups. Focusing on the next generation of enterprise technology companies, it now has 150 firms in its portfolio.

Kayyal began his career in investment banking with Merrill Lynch, where he advised on IPOs and M&A transactions. Prior to Salesforce, he helped establish a venture growth firm and also founded his own start-up.

Will Prendergast, Frontline Ventures

Don’t f**k up: Scaling into the US, 2.55pm, Operator Stage

Will Prendergast is a founding partner with Frontline Ventures, a community-focused fund for innovative entrepreneurs. Based in Dublin and London, Frontline invests in start-ups across Europe.

As an investor, Prendergast has spent the last decade focused on software and the internet and, prior to that, worked at NCB Venture Capital. He has led investments in a wide range of software companies including AMCS, Brite:Bill and ePubDirect. He is a member of the Society of Kauffman Fellows, a network of more than 200 venture capital professionals in leading firms around the world.

Mike Chalfen, Mosaic Ventures

Saas VC landscape: Raising Capital in Europe, 5pm, Playbook Stage

With $140m, three highly influential investors established a fund to offer start-ups significant funding for Series A investment in 2014 as as part of a new venture, Mosaic Ventures.

Based in London and led by Mike Chalfen, Simon Levene and Toby Coppel, Mosaic Ventures invests not only in SaaS companies, but also in AI and deep-learning European start-ups. One of its largest fundings to-date saw it invest $7m in German fertility app company Clue last October.

Ophelia Brown, LocalGlobe

Investing in EUnicorns, 10.35am, Playbook Stage

Founded by the father-son combo of Robin and Saul Klein, LocalGlobe has been very active in early-stage funding for SaaS start-ups in Europe in 2016 alone. Its most recent investment saw it contribute $2.7m in seed funding for Verifly, the on-demand insurance company for drones. It has also invested $3.4m in Echobox, an AI platform for the world of online publishing.

General partner Ophelia Brown joined the company earlier this year from Index Ventures. Ahead of her appearance at SaaStock, LocalGlobe has described Europe as a place that is producing some “next-gen SaaS superstars”.

Gil Dibner, AngelList

Saas VC landscape: Raising capital in Europe, 5pm, Playbook Stage

Gil Dibner has been a professional VC for over a decade, targeting early-stage technology companies in Israeli and Europe. He is now a venture syndicate lead through AngelList.

Unlike some of the other funders on this list, the AngelList syndicate is a VC crowdfunding platform of over 200 experienced tech investors that has already contributed $3bn in start-up exits in 2016 alone. This was largely down to the recent sale of Dollar Shave Club, which raised money using AngelList, but SaaS investments remain one of the syndicate’s largest collective of funders totalling nearly 400.

James Wise, Balderton Capital

Saas VC landscape: Raising capital in Europe, 5pm, Playbook Stage

Founded as a spin-off VC funding firm from Benchmark Capital in 2007, Balderton Capital operates from London with a focus on early-stage online start-ups, particularly those with SaaS. It’s one of the largest VC funders in Europe, with funds totalling $2.3bn. Among Balderton’s most recent major SaaS investments is $2.75m in the French telephony start-up, Aircall.

One of the firm’s youngest investors, James Wise, spoke earlier this year of a lack of diversity among VC firms in Europe and elsewhere, citing many that follow on older, outdated ways of investing.

Siraj Khaliq, Atomico

5 key moves that got a billion-dollar exit, 2.30pm, Operator Stage

Investing in tech companies, Atomico is a 10-year-old firm founded by Niklas Zennström, co-founder of Skype. With stakes in major businesses such as Rovio, Supercell – and Skype, obviously – Atomico operates out of London, with teams in São Paulo, Beijing and Tokyo.

Its most recent activity is a collaboration with the former hosts of Top Gear, investing in a $5.5m round to fund Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond’s Drivetribe platform.

Atomico’s early investment in Hailo, and subsequent place on the board of the company, has seen it laud the taxi app’s recent merger with MyTaxi.

Michiel Kotting, Northzone

Investing in EUnicorns, 10.35am, Playbook Stage

With seven separate funds, Northzone has invested in 118 companies to date, nine of which have gone to IPO. Founded in 1996, the company currently has offices in London, Stockholm, Oslo and New York.

One of its more eye-catching investments is Spotify, which it backed as long ago as 2008. Fintech start-up iZettle, which is helping to revamp the banking system, is another notable inclusion on its current portfolio.

More recent activity saw Northzone lead a €4m round in Zervant while, in July, it upped its investment in MarketInvoice.

Norman Fiore, Dawn Capital

Investing in EUnicorns, 10.35am, Playbook Stage

London-based Dawn Capital is a venture fund focused on SaaS and fintech, with a portfolio of around two-dozen companies. It sports stakes in the likes of Fan Duel, Autobutler, iZettle and Sticky – the last of which is an online, biometric eye-tracking analytics company.

2015 was a busy year for Dawn’s SaaS interests, with investments made in Customer.io, Automile, Collibra, Conversocial and LeadDesk.

Michelle Williamson, Kommol

Hiring – The Pain and the Gain: Growing from 10-100 employees in 24 months or less, 12.05pm, Operator Stage

Kommol is an executive search firm that specialises in finding talent for venture-backed start-ups in B2B cloud, from seed to Series B. The stated aim of the company is to find the best talent that your business can attract, with the aim of accelerating a business’ growth and investment potential from round to round. Among the London-based company’s partners and clients are Triptease and Digital Shadows.

Michelle Williamson co-founded the firm in 2011 with Chris Tottman. Prior to that, she worked in various roles in the areas of finance, recruitment and executive search.

Mark MacLeod, SurePath Capital Partners

Achieving meaningful exits in SaaS, 5.30pm, Operator Stage

Founded by Mark MacLeod back in 1999, SurePath Capital Partners provides financial advisory services in the technology sector, offering venture coaching, as well as both fundraising and exit advice.

SurePath recently released an interesting index tool, which tracks the overall market performance of 42 publicly traded technology companies in the small and mid-size business market.

“Small business is the backbone of our economy,” says the company, claiming its roots are deeply entrenched in serving owner-managed businesses.

Founders A/S

Founders A/S doesn’t have any speakers participating in SaaStock but, as one of the sponsors, it is expected there will be people from the company in attendance.

Based in Denmark, Founders is owned and financed by Kirkbi Invest, William Demant Invest and Bestseller. The company states it does not have a specific industry focus but rather that its sole purpose is to “lead portfolio companies to sustainable, profitable growth”. Companies Founders is involved with include Kontist, Dixie and PipeTop.

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