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The2021State
ofIndependentSaaS
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
FROM THE TEAM AT
This report was produced with the generous support of our partners, Hey and Stripe.
Introduction  2
1.	 The Founders  3
Key Insights  4
Quantity 5
Prior Company  6
	 Peak Revenue  6
Demographics 7
	 Gender 7
	 Race 7
	 Age 7
Working Hours  8
2.	The Companies  9
Key Insights  10
Headcount 11
Funding 12
	 Funding Rounds  12
Funding Amount  13
Funding Sources  14
Idea Origin  15
Idea Validation  16
First Paying Customer  17
3.	Pricing  18
Key Insights  19
Time Structure  20
Lowest Monthly Tier  21
Free Trial  22
Credit Card Up-front  23
Forever-free Plan  24
Setup Fee  25
4.	SaaS Metrics  27
Key Insights  28
MRR 29
Recent Growth Rate  30
Visitor to Trial with Credit Card  31
Visitor to Trial without Credit Card  32
Trial-to-Paid with Credit Card  33
Trial-to-Paid without Credit Card  34
Revenue Churn  35
Lifetime Value  36
5.	Marketing  38
Key Insights  39
Customer Roles  40
Ideal Customer  41
Advertising Payback  42
	 Google Ads  43
	 Social Media Monthly Ad Payback
  by Platform  44
6.	Growth  45
Key Insights  46
Founder Count vs. Growth  47
Prior Peak vs. Growth  48
Founder Hours vs. Growth  49
Ideal Customer  50
Monthly Price vs. Growth  51
Forever-free vs. Growth  52
Credit Card vs. Growth  53
Lifetime Value vs. Growth  54
NPS Score vs. Growth  55
Funding vs. Growth  57
Funding Amount vs. Growth  58
	 Thank You  59
	 Appendix: Methodology  60
INTRODUCTION
Welcome to the second annual State of
Independent SaaS!
For nearly a decade MicroConf has helped
startup founders grow faster through access
to world-class experts, and the world’s most
trusted community of ambitious, bootstrapped
and mostly bootstrapped founders. MicroConf
has become the mothership for founders like
yourself looking to learn and share strategies,
tactics, advice, and inspiration.
The beauty of creating this second report is
our ability to draw comparisons from one
year to the next. While the overall structure
is very similar to last year, you’ll notice we’ve
drawn comparisons wherever the data
deviated to a point that it became interesting.
In addition, we’ve mixed up the visuals in
many areas from simple bar and pie
charts to now include word clouds and
micro-infographics. The idea is to optimize
the presentation of this information to help
you understand it at a deeper level. This
all lines up with our mission to help you be
successful, faster.
WHYGATHERANDSHARETHISDATA?
This journey is difficult, and as founders we
are often forced to make difficult decisions
with incomplete information. The goal of this
report is to provide our industry with rules
of thumb, and provide you with the data you
need to make better decisions as you grow
your company.
After introducing the first report in 2020,
the world experienced major turbulence as
a result of COVID-19. This 2021 report helps
us quantify how the world of Independent
SaaS responded to new economic and
business norms.
In the pages that follow, you’ll see a number
of data points that reflect a changing world;
and many more that show the consistency
and persistence of independently-funded
SaaS founders.
Onward!
ROB AND THE MICROCONF TEAM
1. TheFounders
In this section we look at the founders who
run these SaaS companies. How many
started each company, prior startups they’ve
launched, and demographic information.
KEY INSIGHTS
EXPECTED
· 56% of respondents are single founders.
More than 90% are one- or two-founder
teams. This lines up with our experience
of the independent SaaS space.
· Virtually identical to last year, 6 in 10
founders have started a prior company.
· Diversity continues to be an issue, but
the numbers are slowly improving: 13% of
founding teams include a non-male
founder (up from 11% last year) and 23%
include a non-white founder (up from 21%).
UNEXPECTED
· Only 25% of founders work a “standard”
40-49 hour week. Almost half work 10-39
hours, presumably by choice (4-Hour
Workweek style) or due to a day job.
· Overall, founders worked fewer hours
per week this year. One might attribute this
to the remote schooling caused by
COVID-19, with many parents needing
to effectively homeschool their children
during their workdays.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  5
1.1 THE FOUNDERS
2.77%
Four +
5.21%
Three
35.67%
Two
56.35%
One
Howmanyfoundersstartedyourcompany?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  6
1.2 THE FOUNDERS
60.07%
Yes
Atyourpreviouscompany,what
wasthepeakmonthlyrevenue
achievedatanytimeduringyour
company'soperation?
None	12.91%
Less than $9,999 / mo 	 37.09%
$10,000 – $29,999 / mo	 21.15%
$30,000 – $99,999 / mo 	 12.91%
$100,000 – $249,999 / mo	 8.52%
$250,000 – $999,999 / mo 	 4.67%
$1,000,000 +  / mo	 2.75%
39.93%
No
Beforefoundingyourcurrentcompany,
didyoustartapriorcompany?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  7
1.3 THE FOUNDERS
Demographics
Amongthefoundersof
yourcompany,whichofthe
followingagecategories
arerepresented?
Under 18 years old	 0.14%
18–19 years old	 0.28%
20–29 years old	 12.10%
30–39 years old	 47.46%
40–49 years old	 30.67%
50–59 years old	 8.39%
60+ years old	 0.96%
Amongthefoundersof
yourcompany,whichofthe
followingracialcategories
arerepresented?
White	87.09%
Indian or South Asian	 7.95%
Latin American or Hispanic	 5.13%
Asian	4.64%
Middle Eastern	 4.30%
Black orAfrican-American	 2.32%
Other	2.15%
Native Hawaiian or other 	 0.66%
Pacific Islander	
American Indian orAlaskan Native	 0.50%
Amongthefoundersof
yourcompany,whichofthe
followinggendercategories
arerepresented?
Male	96.37%
Female	12.05%
Non-binary	0.99%
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  8
1.4 THE FOUNDERS
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Less than
10 hours
10 to 29
hours
30 to 39
hours
40 to 49
hours
50 hours
or more
2020
2021
Inatypicalweek,howmanyhoursdoyou
personallyworkonyourcompany?
2. TheCompanies
This section covers the companies themselves,
including: team size, funding, idea validation,
and more.
KEY INSIGHTS
EXPECTED
· Independent SaaS companies tend to
have low headcounts, with 37% having no
employees and another 37% four or fewer.
This speaks to the early-stage of many
respondents, but also to the capital
efficiency of SaaS.
· 14% of respondents have raised at least
one round of funding, up from 12% last
year. This is in-line with observations that
funding is becoming more accessible to
bootstrappers through founder-friendly
alternatives like MicroConf’s TinySeed
accelerator and Indie.vc.
· The largest group of founders (38%) built a
prototype or MVP to validate their idea. This
feels in-line with common startup advice,
though one might argue this number could
easily be higher.
UNEXPECTED
· Less than half of these SaaS business ideas
came from a problem the founder was
facing, while 22% built to solve a problem
a customer or client was experiencing, and
12% to remedy an experience at the
founder’s day job.
· Validation is on the rise! Only 16% of founders
did not validate their business idea before
building, down from more than 30% last year.
· Only 4% used a landing page “smoke test”
to validate, a tactic that was once popular
due to mentions in The 4-Hour Workweek
and Start Small, Stay Small.
· Approximately 23% of respondents have
been running their business for 5-10 years
(down from over 25% last year). This is
still longer than expected given the relative
newness of SaaS, and the high chance a
startup fails in its first one or two years.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  11
2.1 THE COMPANIES
40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
None
(sole employee)
1 to 4 5 to 19 20 to 49 50
or more
Inadditiontoyou,howmanyfull-time
orcontractemployeescurrentlywork
atyourcompany?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  12
2.2 THE COMPANIES
85.69%
No
14.31%
Yes
Howmanyfundingroundshas
yourcompanyraised?
One	75.95%
Two	11.39%
Three	6.33%
Four + 	 6.33%
Haveyouraisedfundingforthiscompany?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  13
2.3 THE COMPANIES
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
Less than
$100,000
$100,000
to $499,999
$500,000
to $999,999
$1,000,000 +
Sinceyourcompany’sfounding,howmuch
outsidefundinghaveyouraised?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  14
2.4 THE COMPANIES
Founding
team's household
resources
Friends
& Family
Traditional
Angels
Indie
Funding
Venture
Capital
Accelerator Debt Other
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Whichofthefollowingbestdescribes
thesourceorsourcesoffunding?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  15
2.5 THE COMPANIES
22.10%
A problem my customers or
clients were experiencing
10.67%
A problem a friend or
relative was experiencing
8.24%
Research
0.19%
I purchased
this business
1.50%
Other
12.55%
An experience
at my day job
44.76%
A specific problem
I was experiencing
Whichofthecategoriesbelowbest
describeshowyoudevelopedtheidea
forthisproduct / company?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  16
2.6 THE COMPANIES
I didn't validate
before building
Asked my
audience
Built a
prototype
or MVP
I copied a
competitor
I pre-sold
the product
I purchased
this company
Landing page
smoke test
Verbal
commitments
Other
40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Whichbestdescribeshowyouvalidated
youroriginalbusinessidea?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  17
2.7 THE COMPANIES
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Less than
1 year ago
1 to 2
years ago
2 to 3
years ago
3 to 5
years ago
5-10
years ago
More than
10 years ago
Whendidyoulandthefirstpayingcustomer
foryourcurrentproduct / company?
3. Pricing
In this section we look at everything pricing,
including topics like: monthly vs. annual,
pricing tiers, free trials, and more.
KEY INSIGHTS
EXPECTED
· 83% of companies offer monthly or annual
pricing (or both).
· Last year we predicted the practice of not
asking for a credit card before a free
trial was on the rise, and this year’s report
confirmed it. This year, 78% of companies
with a free trial did not require a credit
card up-front (up from 73% last year).
· We also expected to see evidence that free
trials are on the rise, which was confirmed
by the 71% of companies that offered them
this year, up from 64% last year.
· Similarly with forever-free plans, this year
27% of companies offer one vs 20% last year.
UNEXPECTED
· More than 6% offer metered pricing, and
almost 5% offer pay-as-you-go.
· 4 in 10 companies have their lowest monthly
pricing tier under $30. Less than 1 in 10 have
their lowest tier above $250.
· 1 in 4 companies charges a setup fee to start
using their software.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  20
3.1 PRICING
4.49%
Pay-as-you-go
2.29%
Other
2.29%
Revenue share
6.60%
Metered
35.67%
Annually
46.75%
Monthly
Whichofthefollowingbestdescribesthe
pricingtimestructureofyourproduct?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  21
3.2 PRICING
45%
40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Free $1 to $29 $30 to $99 $100 to $249 $250 to $499 $500 or more
Whichofthefollowingbestdescribes
thepricingplanforyourbaseorlowest-cost
pricingtieronamonthlybasis?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  22
3.3 PRICING
71.23%
Yes
28.77%
No
Doyouofferafreetrialforyourproduct?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  23
3.4 PRICING
78.40%
No
21.60%
Yes
Whenapotentialcustomerregistersfora
freetrial,doesyourcompanyrequestacredit
cardnumberinordertostartthetrial?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  24
3.5 PRICING
72.95%
No
27.05%
Yes
Doyouofferaforever-freeplan?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  25
3.6 PRICING
74.48%
No
25.52%
Yes
Doyouchargeasetupfee?
4. SaaSMetrics
This section dives into the companies’ SaaS
metrics. Data like: monthly recurring
revenue (MRR), growth rates, trial to paid
conversion rates, and more.
KEY INSIGHTS
EXPECTED
· 15% of companies have flat revenue,
neither growing or declining. This is down
from 20% last year.
· The most common month-over-month
growth rate is 1-9%, with more than 45%
falling into this bucket.
UNEXPECTED
· Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) skewed
earlier-stage this year, with quite a few more
respondents under $5k MRR than last year.
· 7% of founders don’t know their month-
over-month growth rate.
· 36% of companies who offer a free trial don’t
know their visitor to trial conversion rate.
This number continues to be surprisingly
high (though it’s down from 40% last year).
· Nearly 15% of founders don’t know their
trial to paid conversion rate (up from 10%
last year).
· 13% of companies report net negative revenue
churn (up from 10% last year). Nearly 1 in 5
companies report churn under 1%!
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  29
4.1 SAAS METRICS
Less than
$1,000
$1,000
to $4,999
$5,000
to $14,999
$15,000
to $29,999
$30,000
to $49,999
$50,000
to $99,999
$100,000
to $249,999
$250,000
to $999,999
$1,000,000 +
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
2020
2021
WhatisyourMonthlyRecurring
Revenue(MRR)?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  30
4.2 SAAS METRICS
Negative 0% 1% to 4% 5% to 9% 10% to 19% 20% to 39% 40% or more Don’t Know
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Whatbestdescribesyourcompany’saverage
Month-Over-Month(MOM)growthrateover
thepast3months?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  31
4.3 SAAS METRICS
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Less than 1% 1% to 2% 3% to 5% 6% to 10% 11% to 20% 20% or more Don’t Know
Ifyouofferafreetrialandaskfora
creditcardupfront,whatpercentageofyour
website’suniquevisitorsstartatrial?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  32
4.4 SAAS METRICS
40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Less than 1% 1% to 2% 3% to 5% 6% to 10% 11% to 20% 20% or more Don’t Know
Ifyouofferafreetrialanddon’taskfora
creditcardupfront,whatpercentageofyour
website’suniquevisitorsstartatrial?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  33
4.5 SAAS METRICS
1% to 9.9% 10% to 19.9% 20% to 39.9% 40% to 49.9% 50% to 59.9% 60% + Don’t Know
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
2020
2021
Forprospectsthatstartafree-trialwitha
creditcardup-front,whatpercentagebecome
payingcustomers?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  34
4.6 SAAS METRICS
Less than 1% 1% to 5.9% 6% to 10.9% 11% to 15.9% 16% to 19.9% 20% to 29.9% 30% + Don’t Know
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Forprospectsthatstartafree-trialwithouta
creditcardup-front,whatpercentagebecome
payingcustomers?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  35
4.7 SAAS METRICS
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Net Negative
Churn
0% to 0.9% 1% to 2.9% 3% to 5.9% 6% to 9.9% 10% to 14.9% 15% + Don’t Know
Overthepast3months,whatwasthe
averagemonthlyrevenuechurn?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  36
4.8 SAAS METRICS
Less than $249 $250 to $499 $500 to $999 $1,000
to $1,999
$2,000
to $4,999
$5,000 + Don’t Know
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
2020
2021
Whichofthefollowingbestdescribesyour
averageCustomerLifetimeValue(LTV)?
5. Marketing
This section covers several topics around
marketing, including: ideal customers and
the top advertising platforms.
KEY INSIGHTS
EXPECTED
· Nearly half of companies indicate their
ideal customer is a business with less than
50 employees.
· 41% of companies don’t advertise.
· Half of companies that advertise run ads
on Google or Facebook.
UNEXPECTED
· 8% of companies sponsor events.
· Only 2.4% of companies that advertise use
online display ads (down from 4% last year).
Only 2.5% advertise on Twitter (down slightly
from 3% last year).
· Almost 40% of companies that advertise
report a 1-4 month payback on their Google
and Facebook ad spends.
· More than 25% of companies don’t know
their payback period for either ad network.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  40
5.1 MARKETING
Founders / CEOs
Operations and Support
Developers / IT
HR
Accounting
Marketing
Freelancers / Agencies
Admin Staff
Consumers
Aspiring entrepreneurs
Sales
Other
Whatarethemostcommonroles
yourcustomershold?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  41
5.2 MARKETING
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Aspiring
Entrepreneurs
Businesses
(1 to 9)
Businesses
(10 to 49)
Businesses
(51 to 249)
Businesses
(250 +)
Consumers Government Non-profits Other
Whichofthefollowingcategories
bestdescribestheidealcustomerfor
yourcompany?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  42
5.3 MARKETING
We don’t run ads
Google AdWords
App store Ads
Event sponsorship
Other
Facebook Ads
LinkedIn Ads
Offline Ads
Online display advertising
Twitter Ads
Other online advertising
Whatadvertisingactivitiesdoyou
believehavethebiggestimpacton
growingrevenue?
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  43
5.4 MARKETING
40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Less than
1 month
1 to 4
months
5 to 8
months
9 to 17
months
18 +
months
Don’t Know
2020
2021
GoogleAdsMonthlyPayback
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  44
5.5 MARKETING
45%
40%
35%
30%
25%
20%
15%
10%
5%
0%
Less than
1 month
1 to 4
months
5 to 8
months
9 to 17
months
18 +
months
Don’t Know
SocialMediaMonthlyAdPayback
byPlatform
6. Growth
This section looks at how several factors
correlate to revenue growth. Recall that
correlation does not equal causation. Just
because two factors move in lock-step, does
not mean that one is causing the other.
KEY INSIGHTS
EXPECTED
· In line with expectations, in general the
larger the business a startup is selling to,
the faster the revenue growth.
· For the most part, higher prices and higher
lifetime value both correlate strongly with
faster growth.
· Companies that raised more funding grew
faster. One can imagine this is the case for
several reasons:
· Companies that are growing faster
have the ability to raise more money.
· More funding can translate to a larger
team size, with more people focused
on growing the business.
· Founders who raise funding focus on
faster growth, whereas founders who
self-fund may elect not to.
· There is a strong correlation between more
hours worked by a founder and stronger
revenue growth.
UNEXPECTED
· More founders correlate with higher growth,
except for a substantial dip with 4+ founders.
· Free trial vs. no trial and free plan vs. not
have little correlation with revenue growth.
· We found either very little, or unexplainable,
correlations with Net Promoter Score (NPS),
churn, and growth.
· Asking for a credit card before a trial has
little correlation with revenue growth.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  47
6.1 GROWTH
$2,500
$2,000
$1,500
$1,000
$500
$0
One Two Three Four +
MRR
Growth
/
Month
FounderCountvs.Growth
One would likely expect more growth with more
founders. Perhaps the drop off above three founders
shows the challenges of communicating with a larger
team early in a product’s life.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  48
6.2 GROWTH
$3,500
$3,000
$2,500
$2,000
$1,500
$1,000
$500
$0
None $1,000
to $9,999
$10,000
to $29,999
$30,000
to $99,999
$100,000
to $249,999
$250,000
to $999,999
$1,000,000 +
MRR
Growth
/
Month
PriorPeakvs.Growth
Few surprises here. In general, the more money
a founder’s prior company made, the faster their
next company grew.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  49
6.3 GROWTH
$2,000
$1,500
$1,000
$500
$0
Less than
10 hours
10 to 29
hours
30 to 39
hours
40 to 49
hours
50 hours
or more
MRR
Growth
/
Month
FounderHoursvs.Growth
These results show a pronounced correlation of faster
growth with more founder hours worked. This could be
because more hours means they ship faster, or because
successful companies that are growing quickly motivate
their founders to invest more of their time.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  50
6.4 GROWTH
$2,000
$1,500
$1,000
$500
$0
Consumers Aspiring
Entrepreneurs
Businesses
(1 to 9)
Businesses
(10 to 49)
Businesses
(51 to 249)
Businesses
(250 +)
MRR
Growth
/
Month
IdealCustomer
This data generally fits common MicroConf wisdom that
if your customers are larger companies, your growth rate
will be faster. This is usually because larger companies
are less price sensitive and churn far less often than
consumers or small enterprises.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  51
6.5 GROWTH
$3,000
$2,500
$2,000
$1,500
$1,000
$500
$0
Free $1 to $29 $30 to $99 $100 to $249 $250 to $499 $500 or more
MRR
Growth
/
Month
MonthlyPricingvs.Growth
These results imply higher price points correlate with
faster growth, most noticeably with monthly price points
above $500 growing 2-5× faster than the others. We see
a curious dip around $250-499 (which also happened
last year), and that the existence of a free plan correlates
with slightly higher than baseline growth.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  52
6.6 GROWTH
$1,500
$1,200
$900
$600
$300
$0
Free Trial Only Forever-Free Plan
Yes No Yes No
MRR
Growth
/
Month
Forever-Freevs.Growth
The data implies an almost inconsequential increase in
growth rate between companies that do and do not offer
a forever free plan. Likewise, slightly faster growth from
companies with a free trial.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  53
6.7 GROWTH
$1,500
$1,200
$900
$600
$300
$0
Yes No
Do you ask for a Credit Card to start a trial?
MRR
Growth
/
Month
CreditCardvs.Growth
These results imply that asking for a credit card before
a trial has little impact on a company’s growth rate.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  54
6.8 GROWTH
$2,000
$1,500
$1,000
$500
0
Less than
$249
$250
to $499
$500
to $999
$1,000
to $1,999
$2,000
to $4,999
$5,000
to $9,999
$10,000
or more
MRR
Growth
/
Month
CustomerLTVvs.Growth
Intuitively, a higher customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
is correlated with faster growth.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  55
6.9 GROWTH
1 to 19 20 to 39 40 to 59 60 to 79 80 to 99 100 +
$2,500
$2,000
$1,500
$1,000
$500
$0
MRR
Growth
/
Month
NPSScorevs.Growth
I should also note that we looked at churn rate vs.
NPS and found little correlation. Meaning higher NPS
did not translate into noticeably lower churn, contrary
to intuition.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  57
6.10 GROWTH
$1,800
$1,500
$1,200
$900
$600
$300
$0
Yes No
MRR
Growth
/
Month
Fundingvs.Growth
Not surprisingly, companies that raised funding grew
a little over 1.5× faster than those who did not.
The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  58
6.11 GROWTH
Less than
$100,000
$100,000
to $499,999
$500,000
to $999,999
$1,000,000 +
$5,000
$4,000
$3,000
$2,000
$1,000
$0
MRR
Growth
/
Month
FundingAmountvs.Growth
Following up on the previous correlation, the more
funding a company raises the faster it grows. A couple
likely explanations: having more funding allows you to
grow faster, and companies that are growing faster are
able to raise more funding.
Thank you for checking out the second
annual State of Independent SaaS! I hope
it serves you well on your entrepreneurial
journey.
To stay in the loop on next year’s State of
Independent SaaS report and find out more
about the world’s most trusted community
of bootstrapped and mostly bootstrapped
SaaS founders, head to MicroConf.com.
ROB AND THE MICROCONF TEAM
APPENDIX:
METHODOLOGY
OVERVIEW
Since 2011 MicroConf has helped startup
founders grow faster through access to
education from world-class experts,
and the world’s most popular community
of ambitious, non-venture track startup
founders. MicroConf has become the
mothership for founders looking to learn
and share strategies, tactics, advice, and
inspiration.
The purpose of this survey and report is
three-fold:
1. 
to gather critical information on the
behaviors, attitudes and “firmagraphics”
of participating members;
2. 
statistically analyze the collected
data and
3. 
organize and interpret the results in
a final report, covering topics from idea
validation to marketing approaches to
SaaS benchmarks, and more.
The founders who completed the survey receive the Marketing
Extras bonus section of this report, not immediately available
to the larger community.
RESEARCHDESIGN
A web-based survey was sent to nearly 25,000
startup founders in MicroConf’s database.
The survey was conducted between
October 6, 2020 and October 21, 2020. Only
those founders who were over 18, currently
operating a company that was generating
revenue, and charging recurring fees for their
software were able to complete the survey.
In total, 673 respondents participated in the
survey, with 534 individuals completing
the survey. On average, it took respondents
15 minutes to complete the survey.
The distribution of responses in each
question is presented in this report as well
as an analysis of the relationship between
company strategies and growth where
appropriate.
Special thanks to Brittany Ortiz for her hard work analyzing
the data for this report. Thanks to Vanda Marasan for her
exceptional visual design work on this report.
Thankyou!
Copyright © 2021 MicroConf. All rights reserved.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
FROM THE TEAM AT

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Micro Conf 2021 - The State of Independent SaaS Report

  • 2. This report was produced with the generous support of our partners, Hey and Stripe.
  • 3. Introduction  2 1. The Founders  3 Key Insights  4 Quantity 5 Prior Company  6 Peak Revenue  6 Demographics 7 Gender 7 Race 7 Age 7 Working Hours  8 2. The Companies  9 Key Insights  10 Headcount 11 Funding 12 Funding Rounds  12 Funding Amount  13 Funding Sources  14 Idea Origin  15 Idea Validation  16 First Paying Customer  17 3. Pricing  18 Key Insights  19 Time Structure  20 Lowest Monthly Tier  21 Free Trial  22 Credit Card Up-front  23 Forever-free Plan  24 Setup Fee  25 4. SaaS Metrics  27 Key Insights  28 MRR 29 Recent Growth Rate  30 Visitor to Trial with Credit Card  31 Visitor to Trial without Credit Card  32 Trial-to-Paid with Credit Card  33 Trial-to-Paid without Credit Card  34 Revenue Churn  35 Lifetime Value  36 5. Marketing  38 Key Insights  39 Customer Roles  40 Ideal Customer  41 Advertising Payback  42 Google Ads  43 Social Media Monthly Ad Payback   by Platform  44 6. Growth  45 Key Insights  46 Founder Count vs. Growth  47 Prior Peak vs. Growth  48 Founder Hours vs. Growth  49 Ideal Customer  50 Monthly Price vs. Growth  51 Forever-free vs. Growth  52 Credit Card vs. Growth  53 Lifetime Value vs. Growth  54 NPS Score vs. Growth  55 Funding vs. Growth  57 Funding Amount vs. Growth  58 Thank You  59 Appendix: Methodology  60
  • 4. INTRODUCTION Welcome to the second annual State of Independent SaaS! For nearly a decade MicroConf has helped startup founders grow faster through access to world-class experts, and the world’s most trusted community of ambitious, bootstrapped and mostly bootstrapped founders. MicroConf has become the mothership for founders like yourself looking to learn and share strategies, tactics, advice, and inspiration. The beauty of creating this second report is our ability to draw comparisons from one year to the next. While the overall structure is very similar to last year, you’ll notice we’ve drawn comparisons wherever the data deviated to a point that it became interesting. In addition, we’ve mixed up the visuals in many areas from simple bar and pie charts to now include word clouds and micro-infographics. The idea is to optimize the presentation of this information to help you understand it at a deeper level. This all lines up with our mission to help you be successful, faster. WHYGATHERANDSHARETHISDATA? This journey is difficult, and as founders we are often forced to make difficult decisions with incomplete information. The goal of this report is to provide our industry with rules of thumb, and provide you with the data you need to make better decisions as you grow your company. After introducing the first report in 2020, the world experienced major turbulence as a result of COVID-19. This 2021 report helps us quantify how the world of Independent SaaS responded to new economic and business norms. In the pages that follow, you’ll see a number of data points that reflect a changing world; and many more that show the consistency and persistence of independently-funded SaaS founders. Onward! ROB AND THE MICROCONF TEAM
  • 5. 1. TheFounders In this section we look at the founders who run these SaaS companies. How many started each company, prior startups they’ve launched, and demographic information.
  • 6. KEY INSIGHTS EXPECTED · 56% of respondents are single founders. More than 90% are one- or two-founder teams. This lines up with our experience of the independent SaaS space. · Virtually identical to last year, 6 in 10 founders have started a prior company. · Diversity continues to be an issue, but the numbers are slowly improving: 13% of founding teams include a non-male founder (up from 11% last year) and 23% include a non-white founder (up from 21%). UNEXPECTED · Only 25% of founders work a “standard” 40-49 hour week. Almost half work 10-39 hours, presumably by choice (4-Hour Workweek style) or due to a day job. · Overall, founders worked fewer hours per week this year. One might attribute this to the remote schooling caused by COVID-19, with many parents needing to effectively homeschool their children during their workdays.
  • 7. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  5 1.1 THE FOUNDERS 2.77% Four + 5.21% Three 35.67% Two 56.35% One Howmanyfoundersstartedyourcompany?
  • 8. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  6 1.2 THE FOUNDERS 60.07% Yes Atyourpreviouscompany,what wasthepeakmonthlyrevenue achievedatanytimeduringyour company'soperation? None 12.91% Less than $9,999 / mo 37.09% $10,000 – $29,999 / mo 21.15% $30,000 – $99,999 / mo 12.91% $100,000 – $249,999 / mo 8.52% $250,000 – $999,999 / mo 4.67% $1,000,000 +  / mo 2.75% 39.93% No Beforefoundingyourcurrentcompany, didyoustartapriorcompany?
  • 9. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  7 1.3 THE FOUNDERS Demographics Amongthefoundersof yourcompany,whichofthe followingagecategories arerepresented? Under 18 years old 0.14% 18–19 years old 0.28% 20–29 years old 12.10% 30–39 years old 47.46% 40–49 years old 30.67% 50–59 years old 8.39% 60+ years old 0.96% Amongthefoundersof yourcompany,whichofthe followingracialcategories arerepresented? White 87.09% Indian or South Asian 7.95% Latin American or Hispanic 5.13% Asian 4.64% Middle Eastern 4.30% Black orAfrican-American 2.32% Other 2.15% Native Hawaiian or other 0.66% Pacific Islander American Indian orAlaskan Native 0.50% Amongthefoundersof yourcompany,whichofthe followinggendercategories arerepresented? Male 96.37% Female 12.05% Non-binary 0.99%
  • 10. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  8 1.4 THE FOUNDERS 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Less than 10 hours 10 to 29 hours 30 to 39 hours 40 to 49 hours 50 hours or more 2020 2021 Inatypicalweek,howmanyhoursdoyou personallyworkonyourcompany?
  • 11. 2. TheCompanies This section covers the companies themselves, including: team size, funding, idea validation, and more.
  • 12. KEY INSIGHTS EXPECTED · Independent SaaS companies tend to have low headcounts, with 37% having no employees and another 37% four or fewer. This speaks to the early-stage of many respondents, but also to the capital efficiency of SaaS. · 14% of respondents have raised at least one round of funding, up from 12% last year. This is in-line with observations that funding is becoming more accessible to bootstrappers through founder-friendly alternatives like MicroConf’s TinySeed accelerator and Indie.vc. · The largest group of founders (38%) built a prototype or MVP to validate their idea. This feels in-line with common startup advice, though one might argue this number could easily be higher. UNEXPECTED · Less than half of these SaaS business ideas came from a problem the founder was facing, while 22% built to solve a problem a customer or client was experiencing, and 12% to remedy an experience at the founder’s day job. · Validation is on the rise! Only 16% of founders did not validate their business idea before building, down from more than 30% last year. · Only 4% used a landing page “smoke test” to validate, a tactic that was once popular due to mentions in The 4-Hour Workweek and Start Small, Stay Small. · Approximately 23% of respondents have been running their business for 5-10 years (down from over 25% last year). This is still longer than expected given the relative newness of SaaS, and the high chance a startup fails in its first one or two years.
  • 13. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  11 2.1 THE COMPANIES 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% None (sole employee) 1 to 4 5 to 19 20 to 49 50 or more Inadditiontoyou,howmanyfull-time orcontractemployeescurrentlywork atyourcompany?
  • 14. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  12 2.2 THE COMPANIES 85.69% No 14.31% Yes Howmanyfundingroundshas yourcompanyraised? One 75.95% Two 11.39% Three 6.33% Four + 6.33% Haveyouraisedfundingforthiscompany?
  • 15. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  13 2.3 THE COMPANIES 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Less than $100,000 $100,000 to $499,999 $500,000 to $999,999 $1,000,000 + Sinceyourcompany’sfounding,howmuch outsidefundinghaveyouraised?
  • 16. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  14 2.4 THE COMPANIES Founding team's household resources Friends & Family Traditional Angels Indie Funding Venture Capital Accelerator Debt Other 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Whichofthefollowingbestdescribes thesourceorsourcesoffunding?
  • 17. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  15 2.5 THE COMPANIES 22.10% A problem my customers or clients were experiencing 10.67% A problem a friend or relative was experiencing 8.24% Research 0.19% I purchased this business 1.50% Other 12.55% An experience at my day job 44.76% A specific problem I was experiencing Whichofthecategoriesbelowbest describeshowyoudevelopedtheidea forthisproduct / company?
  • 18. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  16 2.6 THE COMPANIES I didn't validate before building Asked my audience Built a prototype or MVP I copied a competitor I pre-sold the product I purchased this company Landing page smoke test Verbal commitments Other 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Whichbestdescribeshowyouvalidated youroriginalbusinessidea?
  • 19. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  17 2.7 THE COMPANIES 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Less than 1 year ago 1 to 2 years ago 2 to 3 years ago 3 to 5 years ago 5-10 years ago More than 10 years ago Whendidyoulandthefirstpayingcustomer foryourcurrentproduct / company?
  • 20. 3. Pricing In this section we look at everything pricing, including topics like: monthly vs. annual, pricing tiers, free trials, and more.
  • 21. KEY INSIGHTS EXPECTED · 83% of companies offer monthly or annual pricing (or both). · Last year we predicted the practice of not asking for a credit card before a free trial was on the rise, and this year’s report confirmed it. This year, 78% of companies with a free trial did not require a credit card up-front (up from 73% last year). · We also expected to see evidence that free trials are on the rise, which was confirmed by the 71% of companies that offered them this year, up from 64% last year. · Similarly with forever-free plans, this year 27% of companies offer one vs 20% last year. UNEXPECTED · More than 6% offer metered pricing, and almost 5% offer pay-as-you-go. · 4 in 10 companies have their lowest monthly pricing tier under $30. Less than 1 in 10 have their lowest tier above $250. · 1 in 4 companies charges a setup fee to start using their software.
  • 22. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  20 3.1 PRICING 4.49% Pay-as-you-go 2.29% Other 2.29% Revenue share 6.60% Metered 35.67% Annually 46.75% Monthly Whichofthefollowingbestdescribesthe pricingtimestructureofyourproduct?
  • 23. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  21 3.2 PRICING 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Free $1 to $29 $30 to $99 $100 to $249 $250 to $499 $500 or more Whichofthefollowingbestdescribes thepricingplanforyourbaseorlowest-cost pricingtieronamonthlybasis?
  • 24. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  22 3.3 PRICING 71.23% Yes 28.77% No Doyouofferafreetrialforyourproduct?
  • 25. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  23 3.4 PRICING 78.40% No 21.60% Yes Whenapotentialcustomerregistersfora freetrial,doesyourcompanyrequestacredit cardnumberinordertostartthetrial?
  • 26. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  24 3.5 PRICING 72.95% No 27.05% Yes Doyouofferaforever-freeplan?
  • 27. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  25 3.6 PRICING 74.48% No 25.52% Yes Doyouchargeasetupfee?
  • 28.
  • 29. 4. SaaSMetrics This section dives into the companies’ SaaS metrics. Data like: monthly recurring revenue (MRR), growth rates, trial to paid conversion rates, and more.
  • 30. KEY INSIGHTS EXPECTED · 15% of companies have flat revenue, neither growing or declining. This is down from 20% last year. · The most common month-over-month growth rate is 1-9%, with more than 45% falling into this bucket. UNEXPECTED · Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) skewed earlier-stage this year, with quite a few more respondents under $5k MRR than last year. · 7% of founders don’t know their month- over-month growth rate. · 36% of companies who offer a free trial don’t know their visitor to trial conversion rate. This number continues to be surprisingly high (though it’s down from 40% last year). · Nearly 15% of founders don’t know their trial to paid conversion rate (up from 10% last year). · 13% of companies report net negative revenue churn (up from 10% last year). Nearly 1 in 5 companies report churn under 1%!
  • 31. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  29 4.1 SAAS METRICS Less than $1,000 $1,000 to $4,999 $5,000 to $14,999 $15,000 to $29,999 $30,000 to $49,999 $50,000 to $99,999 $100,000 to $249,999 $250,000 to $999,999 $1,000,000 + 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 2020 2021 WhatisyourMonthlyRecurring Revenue(MRR)?
  • 32. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  30 4.2 SAAS METRICS Negative 0% 1% to 4% 5% to 9% 10% to 19% 20% to 39% 40% or more Don’t Know 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Whatbestdescribesyourcompany’saverage Month-Over-Month(MOM)growthrateover thepast3months?
  • 33. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  31 4.3 SAAS METRICS 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Less than 1% 1% to 2% 3% to 5% 6% to 10% 11% to 20% 20% or more Don’t Know Ifyouofferafreetrialandaskfora creditcardupfront,whatpercentageofyour website’suniquevisitorsstartatrial?
  • 34. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  32 4.4 SAAS METRICS 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Less than 1% 1% to 2% 3% to 5% 6% to 10% 11% to 20% 20% or more Don’t Know Ifyouofferafreetrialanddon’taskfora creditcardupfront,whatpercentageofyour website’suniquevisitorsstartatrial?
  • 35. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  33 4.5 SAAS METRICS 1% to 9.9% 10% to 19.9% 20% to 39.9% 40% to 49.9% 50% to 59.9% 60% + Don’t Know 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 2020 2021 Forprospectsthatstartafree-trialwitha creditcardup-front,whatpercentagebecome payingcustomers?
  • 36. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  34 4.6 SAAS METRICS Less than 1% 1% to 5.9% 6% to 10.9% 11% to 15.9% 16% to 19.9% 20% to 29.9% 30% + Don’t Know 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Forprospectsthatstartafree-trialwithouta creditcardup-front,whatpercentagebecome payingcustomers?
  • 37. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  35 4.7 SAAS METRICS 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Net Negative Churn 0% to 0.9% 1% to 2.9% 3% to 5.9% 6% to 9.9% 10% to 14.9% 15% + Don’t Know Overthepast3months,whatwasthe averagemonthlyrevenuechurn?
  • 38. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  36 4.8 SAAS METRICS Less than $249 $250 to $499 $500 to $999 $1,000 to $1,999 $2,000 to $4,999 $5,000 + Don’t Know 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 2020 2021 Whichofthefollowingbestdescribesyour averageCustomerLifetimeValue(LTV)?
  • 39.
  • 40. 5. Marketing This section covers several topics around marketing, including: ideal customers and the top advertising platforms.
  • 41. KEY INSIGHTS EXPECTED · Nearly half of companies indicate their ideal customer is a business with less than 50 employees. · 41% of companies don’t advertise. · Half of companies that advertise run ads on Google or Facebook. UNEXPECTED · 8% of companies sponsor events. · Only 2.4% of companies that advertise use online display ads (down from 4% last year). Only 2.5% advertise on Twitter (down slightly from 3% last year). · Almost 40% of companies that advertise report a 1-4 month payback on their Google and Facebook ad spends. · More than 25% of companies don’t know their payback period for either ad network.
  • 42. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  40 5.1 MARKETING Founders / CEOs Operations and Support Developers / IT HR Accounting Marketing Freelancers / Agencies Admin Staff Consumers Aspiring entrepreneurs Sales Other Whatarethemostcommonroles yourcustomershold?
  • 43. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  41 5.2 MARKETING 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Aspiring Entrepreneurs Businesses (1 to 9) Businesses (10 to 49) Businesses (51 to 249) Businesses (250 +) Consumers Government Non-profits Other Whichofthefollowingcategories bestdescribestheidealcustomerfor yourcompany?
  • 44. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  42 5.3 MARKETING We don’t run ads Google AdWords App store Ads Event sponsorship Other Facebook Ads LinkedIn Ads Offline Ads Online display advertising Twitter Ads Other online advertising Whatadvertisingactivitiesdoyou believehavethebiggestimpacton growingrevenue?
  • 45. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  43 5.4 MARKETING 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Less than 1 month 1 to 4 months 5 to 8 months 9 to 17 months 18 + months Don’t Know 2020 2021 GoogleAdsMonthlyPayback
  • 46. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  44 5.5 MARKETING 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Less than 1 month 1 to 4 months 5 to 8 months 9 to 17 months 18 + months Don’t Know SocialMediaMonthlyAdPayback byPlatform
  • 47. 6. Growth This section looks at how several factors correlate to revenue growth. Recall that correlation does not equal causation. Just because two factors move in lock-step, does not mean that one is causing the other.
  • 48. KEY INSIGHTS EXPECTED · In line with expectations, in general the larger the business a startup is selling to, the faster the revenue growth. · For the most part, higher prices and higher lifetime value both correlate strongly with faster growth. · Companies that raised more funding grew faster. One can imagine this is the case for several reasons: · Companies that are growing faster have the ability to raise more money. · More funding can translate to a larger team size, with more people focused on growing the business. · Founders who raise funding focus on faster growth, whereas founders who self-fund may elect not to. · There is a strong correlation between more hours worked by a founder and stronger revenue growth. UNEXPECTED · More founders correlate with higher growth, except for a substantial dip with 4+ founders. · Free trial vs. no trial and free plan vs. not have little correlation with revenue growth. · We found either very little, or unexplainable, correlations with Net Promoter Score (NPS), churn, and growth. · Asking for a credit card before a trial has little correlation with revenue growth.
  • 49. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  47 6.1 GROWTH $2,500 $2,000 $1,500 $1,000 $500 $0 One Two Three Four + MRR Growth / Month FounderCountvs.Growth One would likely expect more growth with more founders. Perhaps the drop off above three founders shows the challenges of communicating with a larger team early in a product’s life.
  • 50. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  48 6.2 GROWTH $3,500 $3,000 $2,500 $2,000 $1,500 $1,000 $500 $0 None $1,000 to $9,999 $10,000 to $29,999 $30,000 to $99,999 $100,000 to $249,999 $250,000 to $999,999 $1,000,000 + MRR Growth / Month PriorPeakvs.Growth Few surprises here. In general, the more money a founder’s prior company made, the faster their next company grew.
  • 51. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  49 6.3 GROWTH $2,000 $1,500 $1,000 $500 $0 Less than 10 hours 10 to 29 hours 30 to 39 hours 40 to 49 hours 50 hours or more MRR Growth / Month FounderHoursvs.Growth These results show a pronounced correlation of faster growth with more founder hours worked. This could be because more hours means they ship faster, or because successful companies that are growing quickly motivate their founders to invest more of their time.
  • 52. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  50 6.4 GROWTH $2,000 $1,500 $1,000 $500 $0 Consumers Aspiring Entrepreneurs Businesses (1 to 9) Businesses (10 to 49) Businesses (51 to 249) Businesses (250 +) MRR Growth / Month IdealCustomer This data generally fits common MicroConf wisdom that if your customers are larger companies, your growth rate will be faster. This is usually because larger companies are less price sensitive and churn far less often than consumers or small enterprises.
  • 53. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  51 6.5 GROWTH $3,000 $2,500 $2,000 $1,500 $1,000 $500 $0 Free $1 to $29 $30 to $99 $100 to $249 $250 to $499 $500 or more MRR Growth / Month MonthlyPricingvs.Growth These results imply higher price points correlate with faster growth, most noticeably with monthly price points above $500 growing 2-5× faster than the others. We see a curious dip around $250-499 (which also happened last year), and that the existence of a free plan correlates with slightly higher than baseline growth.
  • 54. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  52 6.6 GROWTH $1,500 $1,200 $900 $600 $300 $0 Free Trial Only Forever-Free Plan Yes No Yes No MRR Growth / Month Forever-Freevs.Growth The data implies an almost inconsequential increase in growth rate between companies that do and do not offer a forever free plan. Likewise, slightly faster growth from companies with a free trial.
  • 55. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  53 6.7 GROWTH $1,500 $1,200 $900 $600 $300 $0 Yes No Do you ask for a Credit Card to start a trial? MRR Growth / Month CreditCardvs.Growth These results imply that asking for a credit card before a trial has little impact on a company’s growth rate.
  • 56. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  54 6.8 GROWTH $2,000 $1,500 $1,000 $500 0 Less than $249 $250 to $499 $500 to $999 $1,000 to $1,999 $2,000 to $4,999 $5,000 to $9,999 $10,000 or more MRR Growth / Month CustomerLTVvs.Growth Intuitively, a higher customer Lifetime Value (LTV) is correlated with faster growth.
  • 57. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  55 6.9 GROWTH 1 to 19 20 to 39 40 to 59 60 to 79 80 to 99 100 + $2,500 $2,000 $1,500 $1,000 $500 $0 MRR Growth / Month NPSScorevs.Growth I should also note that we looked at churn rate vs. NPS and found little correlation. Meaning higher NPS did not translate into noticeably lower churn, contrary to intuition.
  • 58.
  • 59. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  57 6.10 GROWTH $1,800 $1,500 $1,200 $900 $600 $300 $0 Yes No MRR Growth / Month Fundingvs.Growth Not surprisingly, companies that raised funding grew a little over 1.5× faster than those who did not.
  • 60. The 2021 State of Independent SaaS  58 6.11 GROWTH Less than $100,000 $100,000 to $499,999 $500,000 to $999,999 $1,000,000 + $5,000 $4,000 $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $0 MRR Growth / Month FundingAmountvs.Growth Following up on the previous correlation, the more funding a company raises the faster it grows. A couple likely explanations: having more funding allows you to grow faster, and companies that are growing faster are able to raise more funding.
  • 61. Thank you for checking out the second annual State of Independent SaaS! I hope it serves you well on your entrepreneurial journey. To stay in the loop on next year’s State of Independent SaaS report and find out more about the world’s most trusted community of bootstrapped and mostly bootstrapped SaaS founders, head to MicroConf.com. ROB AND THE MICROCONF TEAM
  • 62. APPENDIX: METHODOLOGY OVERVIEW Since 2011 MicroConf has helped startup founders grow faster through access to education from world-class experts, and the world’s most popular community of ambitious, non-venture track startup founders. MicroConf has become the mothership for founders looking to learn and share strategies, tactics, advice, and inspiration. The purpose of this survey and report is three-fold: 1. to gather critical information on the behaviors, attitudes and “firmagraphics” of participating members; 2. statistically analyze the collected data and 3. organize and interpret the results in a final report, covering topics from idea validation to marketing approaches to SaaS benchmarks, and more. The founders who completed the survey receive the Marketing Extras bonus section of this report, not immediately available to the larger community. RESEARCHDESIGN A web-based survey was sent to nearly 25,000 startup founders in MicroConf’s database. The survey was conducted between October 6, 2020 and October 21, 2020. Only those founders who were over 18, currently operating a company that was generating revenue, and charging recurring fees for their software were able to complete the survey. In total, 673 respondents participated in the survey, with 534 individuals completing the survey. On average, it took respondents 15 minutes to complete the survey. The distribution of responses in each question is presented in this report as well as an analysis of the relationship between company strategies and growth where appropriate. Special thanks to Brittany Ortiz for her hard work analyzing the data for this report. Thanks to Vanda Marasan for her exceptional visual design work on this report.
  • 63. Thankyou! Copyright © 2021 MicroConf. All rights reserved. IN PARTNERSHIP WITH FROM THE TEAM AT