Share this post

The inspiration for this article on 15 SaaS Superheroes came straight out of Mary Meekers 2015 Internet Trends report.  Its a MEGA 196 slide presentation, that called out 14 SaaS Companies in particular, as a band of internet companies that are not only transforming enterprise software for the better but transforming the way we work. Holy atomic pile! Did you just say 14 SaaS Companies? Aren’t there 15 SaaS Superheroes on this list? Read on and find out.

kapow1

But First, here’s a special announcement by Aaron Levie, CEO of Box in this tweet that had more retweets than I can do one armed pushups in one go after a 3 course meal:

Thanks Aaron!

Let’s get on with it and take a look at these 15 SaaS Superheros and Enterprise Internet Entrepreneurs to see what it is that they have transformed and why they are so bloody good at what they do in order to earn the SaaS Superhero title, legacy and some fancy face wear. Here we go:

1 Stewart Butterfield

Stewart Butterfield

You might know him as: CEO of Slack

Superhero name: Captain Communicate

Justice League: Business Communications Alliance

Super Power: Ability to Reduce Internal Material Traffic Internally A.K.A Time Saver

How Superhero got his Power: Building and Selling Flickr to Yahoo

Villain: Email/Semi Inflexible Messaging Tools.

Will Captain Communicate Save the world?: From an overloaded inbox of pointless emails? Yes!

2 Jack Dorsey

Jack-Dorsey

You might know him as: CEO of Square and Interim CEO of Twitter

Superhero name: Blue Bird or The Dual CEO

Justice League: Fighting Offline Payments and long form communication.

Super Power: Allowing Merchants to accept credit card payments via their existing smartphone or tablet and to run a sophisticated point of sale system. Also the ability to run two companies at once.

How Superhero got his power: Co-founding Twitter

Villain: Processing of offline payments

Will Blue Bird Save the World?: First he has to decide what to do with Twitter

3 Patrick and John Collison

John_and_Patrick_Collison_Stripe

You might know them as: Founders of Stripe

Superhero names: The Limericks

Justice League: Online Payments federation

Superpower: They Can dramatically reduce payment integration time for developers and allow them to take advantage of modern APIs, compared with time required to deploy traditional merchant accounts.

How Superheroes got their Power: Founding and Selling Auctomatic for $5 Million

Villain: The difficult to set up process of online payments

Will The Limericks Save the world?: By Improving online payment process, the world will have more confidence and patience to shop online.

4 Josh James

Josh-James

You might know him as: Founder of Domo

Superhero name: Double J

Justice League: The Department of Business Intelligence

Superpower: Ability to make data easier to read for Execs

How Superhero got his power: Taking Omniture Public and Selling it to Adobe for $1.8 Billion

Villain: The Data Overload or is that Data Overlord?

Will Double J Save the world?: The world’s businesses/execs should become smarter, taking companies from 99 problems to none. Quite possibly.

5 Tom Gonser

tom-gonser

You might know him as: Founder of Docusign

Superhero name: The Father of E-Signature

Justice League: Digital Transaction Management Division

Superpower: Ability to reduce transaction costs and improve transaction times. Also ability to make your desk cleaner with reduced amounts of paper.

How Superhero got his power: Started as a Solutions Development Executive at Apple in 1986 and founded first startup, NetUPDATE in 1998.

Villain: Paper Filled Offices

Will The Father of E-Signature Save the world?: – Already helping the world get business done faster and with tidier desks.

6 Eoghan McCabe

eoghan-mccabe

You might know him as: CEO of Intercom

Superhero Name: Designer-Man

Justice League: Fellowship of Customer Intelligence

Superpower: Ability to use in app messages to improve customer engagement

How Superhero got his power: Previous Stints as Founder/CEO of Contrast and Exceptional

Villain: Disconnected Point Solutions

Will he save the world?: From bad design and poor customer engagement, almost certainly.

7 Nick Mehta

Nick_Mehta

You might know him as: CEO of Gainsight

Superhero Name: Dr Success

Justice League: The Confederation of Customer Success

Superpower: An ability to improve Net Revenue Retention.

How Superhero got his power: Selling LiveOffice to Symantec for $115 Million

Villain: Churn and transactional sales.

Will Dr Success save the world?: Churn reduction of 50% for companies is end of level boss, villain thwarting, world saving ROI. Take that Churn

Zap

 

8 Anthony Brydon

Anthony-Brydon

You might know him as: CEO of Directly

Superhero Name: General On-Demand

Justice League: Band of On Demand Customer Care Brothers and Sisters or BODCCDS

Superpower: Can reduce customer support times and improve customer satisfaction

How Superhero got his power: Co-Founding Visible Path, later sold to Hoovers division of Dun and Bradstreet

Villain: In-House Support Centre

Will General On-Demand Save the world?: From frustration of waiting to speak to someone in support? Looks like it.

9 Parker Conrad

parker-conrad

You might know him as: CEO of Zenefits

Superhero name: The Human Resource Avenger

Justice League: Axis of Human Resources

Superpower: Managing $700Million + in annual benefits programs across 48 states vs traditional brokers that typically work within a single state.

How Superhero got his power: As Co-Founder of Wikinfest/SigFig

Villain: Paper Files and Insurance Brokers

Will The Human Resource Avenger Save the world: On his way to saving the US, that world can wait.

10 Frederic Laluyaux

Frederic-Laluyaux

You might know him as: CEO of Anaplan

Superhero name: Mister Fantastique

Justice League: The Enterprise Planning and Performance Brigade

Superpower: Improving ROI for customers that have replaced legacy planning solutions and spreadsheet based processes

How Superhero got his power: A 10-year career at SAP

Villain: Microsoft Excel

Will Mister Fantastique Save the world?: If he killed Excel Mister Fantastique would save my world at least.

11 Daniel Chait

daniel-chait

You might know him as: Founder and CEO of Greenhouse

Superhero name: The Iron Recruiter

Justice League: The League of Recruitment

Superpower: Improve’s time-to-hire & decrease’s overall hiring costs

How Superhero got his power: Co-Founding and Selling Lab49, a strategy, design and consulting firm

Villain: Poorly optimised, reactive, talent acquisition processes.

Will The Iron Recruiter Save the world: AirBNB, Uber and Pinterest are already customers. Looks promising.

12 Daniel Yanisse

daniel-yanisse

You might know him as: CEO of Checkr

Superhero name: The Engineer

Justice League: Background Checks Squadron

Superpower: Reducing background checks turnaround time

How Superhero got his power: Career as a Software Engineer at Cisco, Mogreet and deliv.

Villain: Manual, time-consuming background screenings.

Will The Engineer Save the world?: En-route to protecting us From evil people and evil drivers as we speak.

13 Keith Kitani

keith-kitani

You might know him as: CEO of Guidespark

Superhero name: Professor Kitani

Justice League: Employee Knowledge and Training Coalition

Superpower: Reduce Human Resources support time and increase employee benefits plan participation

How Superhero got his power: Running SaaS Products and businesses since 1999, including Adobe Systems first SaaS business.

Villain: Static hard copy manuals

Will Professor Kitani Save the world?: The Human Resources world will become a better place and he can make a huge difference to employee onboarding

14 Larry Gadea

larry-gadea

You might know him as: The CEO of Envoy

Superhero name: The Prodigy

Justice League: Visitor Management Crew

Superpower: Making Visitor Registry a better experience

How Superhero got his power: Larry’s been programming since he was 8 years old. Interned at Google, former Infrastructure Engineer at Twitter.

Villain: Paper based Sign in Sheets at offices! Urgh!

Will The Prodigy Save the world?: Over 1 Million visitors checking in across 1,000 companies since May 2013, and freshly armed with $15 Million from Xaviers School of Gifted Youngsters AKA Andreessen Horowitz, reception desks worldwide are to be transformed for the better.

15 You – Insert Face here

you_are_the_hero

You can be the next SaaS Superhero. Take some inspiration from the 14 Superheroes on this list, read about them, research their companies, learn what they did to get to where they are today. That will only help you understand what it takes. SaaS Superhero success is not an overnight thing. Some of these superheroes are on their 2nd or 3rd startup. Some have been working for decades to be where they are today. All SaaS Superheroes share common Superhero traits of working super hard, having expertise in their respective fields, having entrepreneurial instincts and having great vision to find a problem and solution to that problem that will transform the way we work. Find a painful prior problem that needs to be solved in the work place. Apply the Superhero traits. Wear the mask.

And remember…

With great SaaS super power, comes great responsibility – Uncle Ben

by Alex Theuma

*Thanks to Mary Meekers Internet Trends report for the inspiration and much of the data used for this list

In this article