With the Future of SaaS Festival around the corner, we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce a few of our speakers, to give you a pre-event insight into their presentations.

This week we’d like you to meet Edward Keelan, Investment Director at Octopus.

Edward will be outlining how to make your SaaS company attractive for investment. But first, he took the time to answer some questions about starting a SaaS business, new technology, and where he sees the industry in the next 12 months.

Q: Hi Edward, welcome to Future of SaaS! First off, can you please provide us with a few details about your festival talk?

A: The talk will cover both the fundamentals of what we look for in a SaaS business and also some advice on where you can really shine and get ahead of the average pitch.

Q: Can you give us a sneak peek of one of the metrics you outline in your talk?

A: The importance of revenue retention and why investors spend so much time talking about it and analyzing it.

Q: For anyone considering starting a SaaS business, what top tips do you have?

A: Price the product on the value you are generating for the customer and not the cost of delivering it. If you don’t know what the value you are delivering is then it’s important to speak with potential customers and find out before going any further.

Q: What’s the most rewarding aspect of what you do?

A: Working with passionate founders that are open to listening to advice which then ultimately leads to their business success.

Q: How far has the SaaS industry come in terms of equal opportunities?

A: It’s something that wasn’t really spoken about even five years ago but companies are now starting to understand the benefit and responsibility of creating diverse teams and it’s something we actively encourage. Technology, in general, is still very male-dominated but hopefully, that will start to change.

Q: What’s the one app you couldn’t live without?

A: Audible – as someone that’s busy between work and a young family I’ve no time to read and so the only time I get to discover books is through audiobooks whilst doing the washing up!

Q: What’s your 'must read’ recommendation for someone starting out in business?

A: There are so many books on starting a business that it’s hard to choose, so I’ll avoid the obvious answers. A book that I read recently and really changed the way I thought about leadership was The Captain Class by Sam Walker. It takes a look at what makes a great leader through the eyes of the most successful sports teams. I believe many of the lessons would be useful for business leaders to help them understand that they don’t need to be the star of the show in order to create a successful team. The most important element of building a successful team is knowing how to get the most from the people around them.

Q: What’s your SaaS prediction?

A: Companies are going to start to realize they have too many SaaS subscriptions and there’s going to be pressure on internal sponsors within companies to demonstrate real ROI. Those SaaS businesses that are not truly integrated into a company’s ways of working, and those which are not measuring customer engagement and success will start to churn as customers start to look at ways of reducing their annual SaaS spend. The knock-on impact may be higher rates of churn for those “nice to have” tools which may also impact SaaS valuations in the mid to long term.

Q: What do you think will be the main SaaS trend over the next 12 months?

A: Product-led growth will become an even more important part of the sales process for SaaS companies. CTOs and other senior managers will be less inclined to buy when they can’t get a feel for how the product demonstrates ROI. This will mean traditional consultative selling will become even more difficult and inefficient.

Q: What sort of new SaaS tech can we expect in 2021?

A: We are already starting to see the development of SaaS tools to enable a more distributed workforce. Companies are only starting to understand what the “new normal” will be and as that develops new tools will start to emerge that facilitate these hybrid workforce management models both for blue and white-collar workers.