Bootstrapping a SaaS company requires profitable growth. We went and found some of the most profitable bootstrapped SaaS companies so you could analyze how they’ve done it.
Some of the founders manage against metrics like revenue per employee. The target? $600k or higher. They won’t hire new team members until new hires add enough revenue to get back to $600k in revenue per employee. Other founders manage to a payback period of 3 months or less. Some of the most successful bootstrapped SaaS companies have instant payback periods. They upsell items like consulting, books, and event tickets to immediately recover their customer acquisition cost (CAC) so they can then re-invest it immediately. Call it a “fast money flywheel”.
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83 of the fastest growing companies that also have the most revenue have a clear expansion revenue strategy. On average, sales reps are selling plans where starting contract value is $4,606.
Those same companies employ 1,678 sales reps that carry a quota. The most common compensation plan used by these companies is a 1:5 ratio of sales rep on target earnings (OTE) to quota. Meaning if a rep can earn $200k in base and commissions, quota target for that year is set at 5x, or $1m in new ARR closed.
If you’re going to build a high growth SaaS company, you need to figure out how to scale with quota carrying sales reps.
We can measure this a variety of ways. Which company has the most revenue per employee? What about dollars in revenue compared to dollars raised? What about time, which founder went from $0 to $10m the fastest?
Looking deeper at dollars in revenue compared to dollars raised, bootstrappers take the cake because they self fund (denominator zero). When we look at companies that have raised at least $1m, Actito is the clear winner generating $21m in revenue, growing 100% yoy, on just 1m raised ($.05 dollars raised for every $1 of revenue).
Omnisend comes in a close second with $.08 dollars raised for every dollar of revenue. Doing $19m as of December 2020. Proposify gets honorable mention with $0.46 dollars raised (3.25m) for every dollar of revenue ($7m).
The worst performers here are companies like YayPay with $3.68 dollars raised ($14m) per dollar of revenue ($3.8m). Many of the worst performers just did a round of funding and haven’t had a chance to deploy to drive growth yet. That makes this data less valuable but still illustrative.