Not-so-Fictional SaaS Co. – Year 1 to 3 Recap
• From $1.1M to $9.4M
• But it took 20 sales people
• Expansion revenue offset by churned revenue
• Quick Ratio hovering around 2
• High Gross Churn & Positive Net Churn
• $1M/month of burn!
Vanity Metrics Suggest Series B Likelihood > 90%
Underlying Metrics Suggest
How do we make sense of this?
• Product-market fit happens one customer at a time one
month at a time.
• Mostly ignored any product-market fit metrics
• Churn/Expansion/Contraction MRR is a lagging indicator
of product-market fit
• How could you have seen it? By focusing on a leading
indicator of the MRR decision...
Find your North Star
• MRR is the price that the customer pays, the North Star is the
value that they get.
• Your North Star measures the value you deliver!
North Star Metric: For example - DAU/MAU
What Company is this?
M1 M2 M3 M4 M5 M6 M7 M8 M9 M10M11M12M13M14M15M16M17M18M19M20M21M22M23M24M25M26M27M28M29M30M31M32M33M34M35
What’s a good or bad North Star?
• Bad: Mostly measuring price paid as opposed to value
• MRR, paid seats
• Good: Measures value delivered in bulk
• MAU, DAU, messages sent
• Better: Unquestionably indicates Product Market fit has
been reached with the customer
• Number of users with L28>=16
• Messages sent w/in 30 days of signup
# of file actions
# of Customer Interactions
User App - Pairs
Apps signed onto per DAU
Apps monitored per user
Other North Star Metrics
Value Delivered > Price Paid (MRR)
• Understand your MRR growth accounting
• Even though it’s likely a lagging indicator
• Focus on value delivered, not price paid or the
efficiency of the sales machine that got them to pay
• Find your North Star
So What Happened to Not-So-
Fictional SaaS Co. Over Time?
What does this mean?
• New Revenue barely makes up for your churned revenue
• Lack of new funding require sacrifices - product development
• Less competitive product means it becomes harder to add new
customers and more churn
• Hard to retain talent
• And you enter a vicious cycle…