Why do founders keep coming back every year to SaaStock Dublin? What’s the pull, what’s the appeal, what’s the addiction?
I’ve been asking myself this question since I first joined the conference back in 2016, as an attendee, not as an employee. Since then, like some die hard SaaStock fans, I’ve attended every conference edition.
There was definitely something special about it compared to other conferences in the European market (I’m not biassed at all), and that feeling has obviously been shared by SaaS founders across the globe.
Is it the content, is it the high concentration of VCs, is it the networking opportunities with the other SaaS founders, or is it Dublin as a city?
Most of the founders don’t come for any singular reason but actually an entire menu of value-adds, and impact generating features.
In 2019, Conor O’Loughlin, CEO and Founder of Glofox, (who met his series A VCs at SaaStock back in 2017), called it the ‘Disneyland for SaaS Companies’.
I mean I couldn’t have said it better myself and I definitely think this captures how founders feel when they come to SaaStock – excitement, fun, and a sense of belonging.
- Relationships – this is where he met Chrisitan Owens, Founder of Paddle, whom he sold Profitwell to for $200 million.
- Highest concentration of SaaS companies in Europe
- It’s fun – mixing friendships, business and a bit of R&R
The relationships founders build on their journey is evidently essential to how fast they grow, and the direction they go in. Having such a high concentration of SaaS companies in one place is clearly a big factor in founders’ decisions to return each year.
When you think about the founder journey from ideation, to first hire, to first 10 customers, first 100 customers, first raise, 2nd raise, 3rd raise, scaling, growth, pain etc so much of this is impacted by who else you take on that journey. Events are obviously a great place to meet new customers, potential investors, potential co-founders or future business partners.
Sarvana Kumar, the bootstrapped founder and CEO of Kovai.co, attended the conference in 2018, seeking to gain market validation for one of his businesses. He had over 60 quality conversations with other founders, and soon realised that he had an in-demand product.
Customers, Business Development
SaaS sells to SaaS, SaaS buys from SaaS. We all know this to be true so it’s no surprise that so many founders attend the conference with a pipeline goal or target. In some cases they also like to have a booth and bring their team to facilitate further revenue and growth opportunities. This can be where the magic happens and reasons why Godard Abel CEO of G2, Chrisitan Owens Founder of Paddle, and Des Traynor Founder of Intercom, attend the conference while also having a brand presence.
Nick Franklin, Founder of Chartmogul, said that “The audience at SaaStock is so targeted. The scale allows us to meet with customers face-to-face and get access to our target market”. Speaking with other SaaStock attendees it is definitely a shared reason for coming back…SaaS sells to SaaS and as such SaaStock is a great place to generate opportunities and acquire customers.
Josh Lee, CEO & Founder from Swit generated over 300+ MQLs and signed up 200 companies to their platform.
VCs, Investors, and more VCs
When you think about it, Founders sometimes need to reach out to over 150+ VCs and angels, have 100+ meetings, and spend up to 6 months trying to find the right investors. SaaStock is really solving a major pain point for founders that are raising, or looking to build their VC network.
IMHO, one of the biggest value adds of the conference is the fact that we have cracked the networking code and as such help founders meet VCs. Founders literally can’t believe how many VC meetings they get at each of our events – almost completing 1/3 of their entire investment journey in two days.
Mads Weddrkopp, Founder of QuickOrder, and now CEO at Dreaminfluence, was raising in 2019. He had zero VC network, little time, and a lot of pressure. The best investment he made was attending SaaStock as he had back to back meetings for two days with potential investors.
James from Zephr had 20+ investor meetings across two days and met their seed investors.
Trengo CEO and Founder Patrick Meutzner, met 30+ investors. They have since gone on to raise $40m, scaling to 100+ employees.
Don’t Forget Content and Learning
I think we can mostly agree that content is still a major part of events, and will likely always have a place, although the focus has shifted slightly since the pandemic.
Most attendees objectives are very networking focused – investors, customers, co-founders, new hires….but lets not forget the impact that live content can have.
Firstly the SaaStock content way, and how we differentiate from our competitors, is that the person on stage should only be a few levels of the person in the audience. This is so the content is relevant and something the attendees can actually relate to. We don’t want too many “how I grew my SaaS to 1000000000000000 ARR in two weeks”.
What we are trying to achieve is something deeper for the attendee – where they can actually walk away and implement the learnings to their business. So the two things you might see are relatable and actionable content.
Benoit De Nayer, Founder and CEO at Actito now scaling past $50m ARR, said he “learnt more in two days than in one year of running his business”.
Trengo CEO Patrick Meutzner (yes the same guy as above) got back the week after SaaStock and they changed their revenue model and implemented optimization tools, allowing them to expand and grow internationally.
Derry Holt, CEO and Founder of OneUp Sales (been to every SaaStock since 2018), created special departments as part of framework from Dan Martell – they are still alive in the business today.
Niko from Blendr (sold to Qlik), implemented a monthly value-add newsletter for SaaS businesses, after learning a framework during a growth marketing workshop.
I think it’s safe to say that SaaStock offers an unrivalled experience for SaaS founders in Europe – whether your goal is networking, investment, learning, or just a bit of fun – there is something for everyone.
Grab a ticket here to start your own SaaStock journey.