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.
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
8 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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