After our post on January 26th we got several great comments about the cost of starting a SaaS company. It definitely takes a commitment to build a true SaaS company, especially when you consider some the following facts about the 15 public companies that I tracked in my high level analysis:
- Average Start-up Capital Required: $44M
- Average Time Required from Start-up till IPO: 7 years
- Average Capital Required per Year till IPO (Burn): $6.8M
- Average IPO Proceeds: $76M
- Additional Capital Raised After the IPO: $243M
- Average Total Capital Raised: $363M
- Average Market Capitalization: $1,262M
- Companies Who are Profitable: 8
The costs of getting a SaaS start-up off the ground are substantial but only about half of the firms we tracked actually started out as a pure SaaS company. These other Cross-Over firms started out as either Application Service Providers (ASP’s) or were traditional On-premise ISV’s that move to SaaS through a combination of organic migration or through a series of acquisitions. Companies like Concur, Kenexa, Taleo and Ultimate Software have all transitioned to SaaS from an on-premise heritage.
The shortest time to go from start-up phase to an IPO was 4 years and the longest was 13 years. Most of the firms we tracked were founded between 1997 to 1999, which was prior and during the Internet Bubble.
When these firms went public they raised a range between $30M (LivePerson and Ultimate Software) to over $150M (DealerTrack and NetSuite), but on average they raised about $75M. All the firms then went on to do additional capital raises from $32M (LivePerson) up to $750M (DealerTrack) but on average each raised $243M! The total capital raised, when considering both pre IPO, IPO and post IPO capital raised, these firms raised between $100M (LivePerson and Ultimate Software) to close to more than $500M (DealerTrack, Salesforce.com and SuccessFactors).
After going public, this SaaS market basket of companies have done well as a group. The majority of the firms are profitable, which makes for solid cash flow performance, revenue visibility and overall stability of the company’s stock, for the real SaaS firms.
The most valuable company, based on their Market Cap is Salesforce.com at more than $8B and there are at least 4 other SaaS firms with valuations over $1B (Blackboard, Concur, NetSuite and SuccessFactors). When comparing the amount of capital raised to the market valuation, the 5 best performing firms are Salesforce.com (.09), Ultimate Software (.13) , Concur (.19), RightNow (.22) and LivePerson (.31).
This year, as the economy improves, promises to launch a few new SaaS IPOs and we will continue to track this core group as well as a larger group of Hybrids and Cross Overs and will periodically report back with our findings.