1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6… Wow too many to count! This is our 7th interview starring a European VCs investing in SaaS. Today, we chose Audrey…
Audrey joined Ventech in 2011 and is in charge of its Seed Pocket — €100K to €500K investments in very early stage startups — and Series A or B rounds in different sectors. In Paris, she’s also the co-director of Girls In Tech, an association that promotes women working in the Tech industry.
Created in 1998
Offices: Paris, Munich, Helsinki & Shanghai
Investment focus: investments from €5M to €10M in Series A and B companies in the Internet, Mobile, Software (SaaS, Cloud, Open Source) and Hardware sectors. Ventech also invests between €100K and €250K through its seed program. In the SaaS industry, Ventech focuses on companies with €100–120K of MRR.
Investment thesis: Since 1998, we have built an international platform over many years of active innovation-financing. The portfolio CEOs get support from Ventech’s multiple offices and the leverage of a broader network all over the world.
Assets Under Management: > €400M
European SaaS portfolio: Augure, Botify, Speexx, StickyAds, Bonitasoft, Intercloud, Crossengage, TellMePlus and DialOnce.
Insights from Audrey Soussan
Why do you invest in SaaS?
Compared to traditional software companies, the SaaS model decreases sales cycles, enables easy upsell, brings recurring revenues and facilitates internationalization, as well as scaling up!
And, the most amazing thing with SaaS is that if a company knows how to build the right sales machine, they can generate predictable revenue.
What makes a good VC for a SaaS startup?
For me, there are four main criteria:
- A VC with experience in SaaS
- An international VC because SaaS can “easily” be scaled internationally
- A KPI-driven VC who dives deep into conversion funnels, churn, cost of customer acquisition etc.
- A VC who knows how to build a successful sales process
What investment trends do you foresee for 2020 in the SaaS industry?
I expect a lot of things! Firstly, a constant increase in the number of traditional software players building cloud-based versions. Think of Talend, which only shifted last year from traditional on-premise licensing!
At the same time, I predict that the number of SaaS vendors with pure self-service distribution (like Dropbox) will grow significantly. These players will have to be very innovative in terms of online customer acquisition, so it’s likely that new online marketing channels dedicated to the SaaS industry will emerge.
I also foresee other trends such as security packages sold together with SaaS licences, more interactions between SaaS vendors through APIs & integrations and the development of the Chinese SaaS market.
Finally, I also wonder if SaaS multiples will stay as high as they are at the moment in private markets — there may well be a downward correction of valuations.
Do you consider yourself to be in competition with U.S. VCs for SaaS startups?
In my job at Ventech, not really. Very few Europe-based SaaS startups can raise from U.S. VCs in the early stages. Having said this, increasingly, they can expand very quickly to the U.S. through local incubators such as TechStars, Ycombinator and 500startups.
However, our goal at Ventech is to help them grow internationally (either starting from European growth or going directly to the U.S. when the market makes it possible) and then attract U.S. funds.
What’s the n°1 SaaS startup that you’d like to have in your portfolio?
Salesforce. They have incredible sales execution and manage a huge amount of valuable data. This is really useful in building a whole ecosystem of products and services.