SaaS Startups are a very special type of startups. An analysis of the ~400 startups that have been invested by the top VCs in Spain show only ~10% could be considered SaaS. While eCommerce, Marketplaces and Social Networks startups are much more prevalent.
Because of this, the type of investors that look and understand SaaS startups with their complex sales cycles and metrics are only a subset of the overall investment community.
I have put together a preliminary list of who to look for in terms of funding for SaaS startups that will be updated as I come across new interesting investors. It only covers institutional investors, there are many angels investing in SaaS, here we focus on VCs.
Spain. We start with the funds that invest in SaaS in Spain, it is categorized based on the number of their investments that are SaaS and the knowledge they put out that is SaaS related:
- Nauta is the “SaaS Champion” in Spain. With 11 SaaS investments at ~1/3 of its portfolio SaaS related, it looks like a good bet for anything SaaS.
- AVC has made 8 SaaS investments and is also the king of exits, with Reviewpro, Userzoom and Zyncro under its belt.
- Adara, Sabadell, JME and Bankinter have less SaaS investments (3-6 each) but they keep a large percentage of SaaS focused (~1/3) so they should understand it well.
- Seaya and Kibo have 3 each although with a lower percentage over their overall portfolio (10-20%). However, they each have an interesting reason to consider them. Seaya’s focus on marketplaces is very complementary with SME SaaS, as marketplaces can turn into SaaS as Restaurantes.com or Miora show.
- K-Fund has recently made 3 SaaS investments and it is putting out the best SaaS content by far on its blog.
- Inveready has a fund focused mainly on SaaS from its different vehicles. So even though it has a wide variety in its portfolio it has some of its partner
- Caixa has a substantial number of SaaS investments but given the very broad nature of their portfolio it is a small percentage.
- The successful founders of Olapic, Luis Sanz, Jose del Cabo and Pau Sanabria have put together a fund to invest in SaaS founders like themselves.
Europe. There are some SaaS focused VCs in Europe:
- Point Nine Capital. Based in Berlin they invest in SaaS throughout Europe. They already have some winners in their portfolio like Zendesk. They start investing in the “pre-A” round and then move through the whole growth of the company.
- 83 North. Based in London and Tel Aviv. 83 North takes advantage of the Israel-Europe connection and has nearly 20 companies in its portfolio.
- Notion Capital. Based in London, more than 20 SaaS focused companies in their portfolio. They invest in Seed and Round A
- Atomico. While Atomico goes beyond SaaS it does have some SaaS focused partners like Teddie Wardi
- Surepath Partners. Based in London it is not a fund, but rather a financial advisor focused on the sector.
- Other SaaS focused funds are Partech (e.g. Brandwatch), Paua Ventures (e.g. Pipedrive) , Project A Ventures and RTA Ventures (e.g. Typeform and Point Nine Capital)
USA. There are SaaS focused VCs in the US. Given SaaS is typically relatively easy to globalize they should be considered. First, because they can really bring large sums to bear and secondly because they can offer great knowledge. The usual suspects are:
- Bessemer. With close to 400 companies in its portfolio it has its share of SaaS startups (e.g. Shopify, Eloqua). It also has the laws of SaaS to its credit.
- Red Point. Home to Tomasz Tunguz, one of the foremost knowledge creators in SaaS. It has more than 40 SaaS companies in its portfolio with some great ones like Twilio, Zendesk, Zuora, Looker, Concur and Heroku
- Index. More than 50 SaaS companies with some great ones like Hortonworks, Dropbox, Slack, Zendesk and Trello.
- Insight. 40 SaaS investments including Zenefits, Exact Target, New Relic, Shopify and Qualtrics.
- Scale. With more than 25 SaaS investments including Box, Docusign and Hubspot
- Matrix. With more than 30 SaaS investments including Hubspot and Zendesk, and the one an only David Skok of Forentrepreneurs.
- Accel. At 125 SaaS companies in its portfolio, Accel is second only to Salesforce Ventures in number. It has many SaaS success stories like Slack, Qlik, Dropbox or Atlassian. Philippe Boteri takes care of Europe
- SaaStr Fund. Even if it is small by US size (80 million) and does 4-5 investments a year. SaaStr Fund is Jasom Lemkin’s fund, and Jason Lemkin is one of the preeminent voices on SaaS startups.
Corporate. Corporate VCs are also an important in the SaaS world as there are some SaaS giants. They can give you money, strategic positioning and even an exit:
- Salesforce. Salesforce Ventures is the grand daddy of all corporate venture funds focused on SaaS with more than 150 companies invested, all SaaS focused
- Workday. Workday Ventures has a much smaller program than Salesforce, it focuses mainly on machine learning. Spanish companies are lucky enough that Ignacio Vilela is part of the team.