Spearheading SaaS in 2023:
A closer look at this year’s industry thought-leaders

Despite economic uncertainty on the horizon and businesses having to review their strategy, there’s one thing experts can say for sure: SaaS is preparing to experience a significant phase of growth. 

As more businesses move to cloud-based solutions and new opportunities open up in SaaS, it’s projected that SaaS will grow from 2022’s figure of $251.17B to an astronomical $883.34B by 2029 (Fortune Business Insights)… that’s a compound annual growth rate of 19.7%! 

There are several entrepreneurs in particular who are making a significant impact and moving the dial forward in SaaS. Using a combination of strategic thinking, technical expertise, and strong business acumen, the following have taken their SaaS companies to new heights and shown what it is to thrive in today’s competitive market.


Sarah Ellenbogen 

  • Title: Co-Founder & CEO
  • Company: Digiphy
  • Founded in: 2021
  • Based in: Los Angeles, California
  • Raised: A total of $3.6M over four rounds (Pre-Seed)

A 15-year Youtube and Google veteran, Sarah co-founded Digiphy in spring 2021 with the goal of making customer data collection easier, quicker, and more enjoyable. 

With digital ads fighting for (and losing out on) customer attention, Sarah’s solution with Digiphy is clear: those collecting zero-party data are on the winning team. Crowned by Fast Company as a World Changing Idea of 2022, Digiphy’s ‘always-on’ QR and storyline builder allows users to effortlessly create digital experiences that bridge the physical to digital: delivering useful and engaging information directly to consumers that accelerates sales, captures valuable data and insights, and increases trust. 



Christina Gilbert

  • Title: Co-Founder
  • Company: OneSchema
  • Founded in: 2021
  • Based in: San Francisco, California
  • Raised: A total of $6.4M over two rounds (Seed)

A Google alumna and product manager with a background in computer science, Christina co-founded OneSchema in 2021 with the goal that no human should ever have to manually clean a spreadsheet again. 

An embeddable CSV importer, OneSchema saves product and engineering teams from having to write new lines of code to manually resolve errors. As a result, their embeddable tool has dramatically improved customer activation and import completion rates. 

Less than two years since its creation, OneSchema has been listed in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for enterprise technology, won Product Hunt’s Product of the Year, and was crowned a 2023 High Performer by G2.



Nikita Gupta 

  • Title: Co-Founder & CTO
  • Company: Symba
  • Founded in: 2017
  • Based in: San Francisco, California
  • Raised: A total of $2.9M over four rounds (Seed)

A long-term entrepreneur, Nikita launched Girls Who Code in Ithaca, NY while at Cornell and was heavily involved with Women in Computing. She has previously worked at Apple, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Martha Stewart, and a few startups as a software engineer.

An internship management platform, Symba’s easy-to-use enterprise SaaS tool helps companies streamline their internship program, saving them time and money. Their software enables employers to train interns, facilitate project workflows, measure performance, and build meaningful relationships. In this way, Symba provides oversight and transparency into internship programs and supports companies with real data to track their recruitment processes.

Recently awarded Forbes 30 Under 30 in Enterprise Technology and a Halcyon Fellow, Nikita is an integral part of Symba’s all-female founding team. 



Aydin Senkut

  • Title: Founder & Managing Partner
  • Company: Felicis Ventures
  • Founded in: 2006
  • Based in: San Francisco, California
  • Raised: A total of $2.1B across 8 funds

An original “super-angel” investor, Aydin was named to Forbes’ Midas Lists every year from 2014 to 2021, and was also named among the New York Times’ Top 20 Venture Capital investors in years 2016 – 2019. Aydin is well-known as an early backer of a number of iconic companies including Adyen, Shopify, Pluralsight, Credit Karma, Fitbit, Rovio, Meraki, Guardant Health and Soundhound. He was the first Product Manager at Google before starting Felicis Ventures.

Felicis Ventures invests in seed through Series C stage companies across multiple sectors and industries, and currently manages over $2B in capital across 8 funds. The firm is an early backer of 40+ companies valued at more than $1B, and has had more than 90 of its portfolio companies acquired or go public.



Isabelle Winkles

  • Title: Chief Financial Officer
  • Company: Braze
  • Founded in: 2011
  • Based in: New York, New York
  • Raised: A total of 175.1M over 9 rounds (Series E)

With over 20 years of experience in finance leadership roles, Isabelle joined Braze as their CFO in 2020 having been Chief of Staff to the CFO at Cognizant. Prior to that she spent 18 years at Morgan Stanley, where—following the financial crisis—she established and led finance teams to support strategic business decisions in the context of evolving global regulatory landscapes. Her extensive knowledge and understanding of the financial market has led to many successes in her roles; most recently Braze’s highly anticipated and successful IPO in November 2021. 

A customer engagement platform, Braze powers customer-centric interactions and drives growth with their data-driven cross-channel solution. They’ve seen incredible growth in recent years, citing a 2022 financial year-end revenue figure of $70.4 million – up 64% year-over year, driven by new customers, upsells, and renewals.

Braze was named a Leader in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Marketing Platforms and was recognized as one of Inc Magazine’s 2019 Best Workplaces.



Meghan Keaney Anderson

  • Title: VP Marketing
  • Company: Jasper AI
  • Founded in: 2021
  • Based in: Austin, Texas
  • Raised: A total of $131M over 3 rounds (Series A)

Meghan has over 20 years of marketing experience having acted as CMO at The Wanderlust Group and VP at Hubspot (where she was for nearly 10 years!) before starting as VP Marketing at Jasper AI in 2022. 

Founded just over two years ago, Jasper AI already has over 100 thousand paying customers (including those from Canva, Zendesk, Klarna, HelloFresh, Zoom and more) – and it’s no wonder why. With the release of ChatGPT, AI is set to be a soaring hot topic in 2023. 

Meghan previously taught at Boston University and has led keynotes on topics ranging from storytelling through data to SEO, as well as leading The Growth Show podcast. With currently over 10k+ followers on twitter, Meghan shares all things AI with her community:



Tope Awotona

  • Title: Founder & CEO
  • Company: Calendly
  • Founded in: 201
  • Based in: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Raised: A total of $350.6M over 2 rounds (Series B)

An all-in-one meeting lifecycle platform, Tope founded Calendly with the vision of simplifying scheduling for everyone without the back-and-forth emails. With his strategic direction, the platform has grown and evolved to over 10 million monthly users across 116 countries in the ten years since its conception.

Prior to Calendly, Tope spent the majority of his career in enterprise software sales, working for companies such as IBM, Perceptive Software, and Dell Technologies, in addition to launching a series of startups. He is the recipient of the 2021 Atlanta Business Chronicle Most Admired CEO Award and 2019 Comparably Best CEOs award.



Cynthia Savard Saucier

  • Title: VP UX
  • Company: Shopify
  • Founded in: 2004
  • Based in: Ontario, Canada
  • Raised: A total of $122.3M over 4 rounds (Series C)

Cynthia’s passion and forté lie in a field that is not always fully understood: she creates smart, emotional connections between companies and users. Co-Author of Tragic Design and user experience extraordinaire, Cynthia has been using her strategic design, ergonomics and problem solving skills at Shopify for the last 8+ years – all of which have led to her broad recognition as a leading expert on multi-platform interface design.

A leading global commerce company, Shopify’s platform and services are engineered for reliability and delivering a better shopping experience for consumers around the world. The business powers millions of companies in more than 175 countries and is trusted by brands such as Allbirds, Gymshark, PepsiCo, Staples, and more.



Chris Walker

  • Title: Founder & CEO
  • Company: RefineLabs
  • Founded in: 2018
  • Based in: Austin, Texas
  • Raised: N/A

A serial entrepreneur, Chris founded Refine Labs to challenge the things companies were doing that weren’t buyer centric, as well as the ‘best practices’ that he believed weren’t working. Determined that if he was going to change the way B2B marketing was done, he would have to do it himself. Refine Labs was founded in 2019 under that premise – and they are now changing the way B2B companies go to market. Fueled by marketing execution at scale, Refine Labs uses real data from real customers to create demand strategy and research for their clients. 

Previously, Chris led marketing at two B2B firms where he built the foundation of his unique perspective on demand generation. Chris also hosts the State of Demand Gen podcast where he chats with today’s top B2B leaders to share tangible advice and tactics to over 15,000 marketers.



Cathy Gao

  • Title: Partner
  • Company: Sapphire Ventures
  • Founded in: 2011
  • Based in: San Francisco, California
  • Raised: A total of $9B across 14 funds (Oversubscribed second fund)

A high-impact investor and board member, Cathy has been recognized by the Venture Capital Journal as a Rising Star and by Silicon Valley Business Journal as a Woman of Influence. Prior to Sapphire Ventures, Cathy was an investor at AXA Venture Partners where she invested in enterprise software. She started her career at Blackstone and TA Associates and was an operator at Gusto, joining shortly after the Series B. 

Sapphire Ventures is a venture capital firm with offices in Menlo Park, San Francisco, Austin, and London, and is considered one of the world’s premier venture capital firms. Cathy is renowned for being incredibly founder-focused, a real thought partner, and a true champion through the ups and downs of building a rapidly scaling business.



Susan Kuo

  • Title: Co-founder
  • Company: Singular
  • Founded in: 2014
  • Based in: San Francisco, California
  • Raised: A total of $50M over four rounds (Non-equity Assistance)

Singular, a marketing intelligence platform, unifies marketing analytics, giving marketers actionable insights from previously siloed data. Susan’s extensive background in mobile ad tech, analytics, and gaming was integral in the creation of Singular.

Before founding Singular, she held senior leadership roles at Onavo and InMobi. As an active member of the mobile community, she serves on the advisory board for several mobile-focused startups. Susan helped Onavo grow from the bottom up into a multi-million-dollar SaaS firm. Now a team of 200+, with customers including LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter who use Singular for their marketing analytics.



Nina Vellayan

  • Title: CEO
  • Company: Engageware
  • Founded in: 2000
  • Based in: Tewksbury, Massachusetts
  • Raised: N/A

Nina is an accomplished, dynamic senior-level executive with a 20-year track record of successful strategic and tactical leadership in high-paced organisations within the SaaS AI-powered B2B and B2C software and payments industry.

As CEO, Nina’s visionary approach and effective leadership style will further propel Engageware’s ability to scale to meet market demand as the company reports record-annual recurring revenue and profitability.

Prior to joining Engageware, Nina held multiple senior-level executive positions within financial, payments and software technology organizations. Nina’s previous leadership roles include CEO, Xeeva; CEO of FrontStream Payments; COO of Official Payments (Nasdaq: OPAY); and divisional President at Sallie Mae (Nasdaq: SLM).


Arlan Hamilton

  • Title: Founder & Managing Partner
  • Company: Backstage Capital
  • Founded in: 2015
  • Based in: Los Angeles, California
  • Raised: A total of $41M across two funds

Backstage Capital is a seed investment fund that backs overachieving, underrepresented startup founders. Arlan made history by making the cover of Fast Company as the first Black woman who is not an entertainer or athlete.

Arlan built this nearly $30M fund to prioritise entrepreneurs of colour and LGBTQ+. Arlan has invested in over 200 startups and also runs Runner, a labour marketplace that connects startups with operations people looking for part-time work. To date, it has supported over 100 hires.

Arlan also runs her own podcast and Youtube channel – Your First Million Podcast – and has over 1,000 subscribers.


David Potter

  • Title: Co-founder
  • Company: Curu
  • Founded in: 2016
  • Based in: Denver, Colorado
  • Raised: A total of $3M over seven rounds (Seed)

Curu enables lenders to open more accounts by showing users the actions necessary to meet eligibility for their financial goals.

David is a Gates Scholar, having received the full-ride ‘Bill Gates’ Millennium Scholarship. David has used this opportunity to give back to the Techstars community by serving as a Techstars Chapters Board Member for the Colorado Chapter. In this role, David connects the Techstars family and helps expand the community while always exploring ways to increase the value of events and resources. 



Immad Akhund

  • Title: CEO & Founder
  • Company: Mercury
  • Founded in: 2019
  • Based in: San Francisco, California
  • Raised: A total of $152.2M over nine rounds (Secondary Market)

Immad is the co-founder and CEO at Mercury – a unicorn company worth over $1.6bn. Prior to founding Mercury, Immad was the CEO and co-founder at Heyzap, a mobile developer tools company, which sold for $45m in 2016. He is an active investor in Silicon Valley and has invested in 100+ seed-stage startups including Airtable, Substack, and Rappi.


We’re back bigger, better, BOLDER!



SaaStock 2022 blew our expectations out of the water. The energy, networking and connections, 8000+ meetings… it was EPIC. This October? We’re kicking it up a notch (BIG time!). We’re bringing bigger names to the stage, introducing more networking opportunities, a ton more partners and ALL the craic (that’s Irish for ‘a HELL of a good time’!).

  • 3 day in-person conference
    • Where we bring together the highest Concentration of SaaS decision-makers
  • 6,000+ Attendees (600+ SaaS-focused Investors and 120+ world-class speakers)
    • We facilitate human connections, not just meetings
  • Actionable Content for every company stage
    • Hand-picked speakers who’ve proven themselves to be world class leaders, trendsetters and disruptors in SaaS. 

SaaStock attendees, speakers and sponsors include the likes of ProfitWell by Paddle, SalesScreen, Jasper, Point Nine Capital, G2, G-P, ChargeBee, Connected Capital, Accel, Intercom and more.     

Limited tickets available.