So don’t look now, but things are getting a smidge better in SaaS. It’s still tough out there for many, and selling is challenging. Goldman Sachs is now predicting the first re-acceleration in ACVs in years:
- Top Cloud and SaaS stocks are up 31% this year. Now they still are way down from their 2021 highs. But +31% is real.
- Top Cloud and SaaS stocks are trading at 15x ARR or more. And top quartile is approaching 10x ARR. Now this is nothing like the 2021 days. Nothing. But it’s way off the lows of earlier in the year.
- Inflation appears to be down, and interest rates have mostly peaked. We’re all macro experts in SaaS now! But inflation does seem to be way down in the U.S. at least, and interest rates appear close to the maximum.
- We’ll start to lap tougher times. Growth has slowed for almost all Cloud and SaaS leaders this year, but that also makes maintaining and even beating that growth next year much easier.
- Almost everyone has gotten much more efficient. The top startups all are more efficient and in many cases break-even. This will make them much more attractive in the current markets. Everyone got into better shape the past 12 months.
- And … there are a lot of really, really good SaaS companies ready to IPO. Let’s dig in there.
The bar for a good SaaS IPO is roughly $200m ARR, growing 30% or more, and hitting “The Rule of 40” — i.e., being pretty darn efficient if growing isn’t epic.
Just a few candidates:
It’s really just stunning how many really, really good SaaS companies are at $200m+ ARR. Some have had harder times the past 18 months than others, but all are more efficient.
I suspect a ton will IPO in 2H’14. The floodgates will open, and everyone will go out. And it will really feel like Good Times All Over Again. Why not 2023? It’s just too fast. Best case, you can IPO in 6 months. And you also need a few good ones to “go out” first to get the market excited. A Stripe and a Databricks doing strong IPOs first, for example, would get the markets excited again.
So the flood of strong SaaS IPOs is likely to not really kick off until later in 2024.
And times will be good again — except different. We’ll never be able to spend the way we spend in 2021. And multiples and market caps will be lower. Even trading for 10x ARR will be a challenge.
But watch for The Flood of Great SaaS IPOs to come later in 2024. It will be glorious. I’m excited for it. And proud to have led the seed rounds in several!