7 episodes

Cloud Returns covers ALL types of software investing, whether seed, venture capital, growth equity, private equity, debt, and the public markets.

Our target audience: SaaS investors AND operators raising capital that listen to SaaStr, Twenty Minute VC (20VC), The Logan Bartlett Show, or Thoma Bravo’s Behind the Deal and still want to learn even more.

Cloud Returns | A SaaS Investing Podcast Cloud Ratings

    • Business

Cloud Returns covers ALL types of software investing, whether seed, venture capital, growth equity, private equity, debt, and the public markets.

Our target audience: SaaS investors AND operators raising capital that listen to SaaStr, Twenty Minute VC (20VC), The Logan Bartlett Show, or Thoma Bravo’s Behind the Deal and still want to learn even more.

    Diamond Innabi - SaaS M&A 101: Selling Your Software Company

    Diamond Innabi - SaaS M&A 101: Selling Your Software Company

    Our Guest: Diamond Innabi is a Principal at Software Equity Group (SEG), a boutique M&A advisory firm headquartered in San Diego that focuses on B2B vertically focused software and SaaS companies.

    Episode Topics:
    Understanding the full cycle - from prep to closing - of selling your company.When should CEOs engage with an investment banker or consider an M&A path?Common mistakes that founders, CEOs, and boards make during the M&A process.Diamond's advice to founders who are interfacing with potential acquirers.Overview of SEG’s 20 Factor Valuation Scorecard.Difference between strategic buyers and private equity firms in terms of acquisition criteria. Diamond elaborates on the 2023 M&A Report: “The higher-than-usual volume of low multiple deals is a result of from negative transaction catalysts like evaporating cash runway, challenging debt dynamics, competitive concerns, or investors opting to exit their lower-performing assets to focus on high performers.”Factors influencing premium valuations for select companies.Resources:
    https://softwareequity.com/research/ 
    https://softwareequity.com/company-valuation-formula/
    https://softwareequity.com/research/saas-ma-buyers-perspectives
    About Cloud Returns by Cloud Ratings:
    Cloud Returns covers ALL types of software investing, whether seed, venture capital, growth equity, private equity, debt, and the public markets.
    Our host - Matt Harney - is active on Twitter @saasletter and writes "SaaSletter", an investing-oriented SaaS newsletter on Substack.

    https://cloudradio.cloudratings.com/
    https://twitter.com/SaaSletter
    https://www.saasletter.com/
    About Cloud Ratings:
    Cloud Ratings is a customer outcomes-focused, data-driven software research analyst firm. We exist to allow organizations to make more confident, lower-risk software purchasing decisions.

    Our Cloud Ratings Category Reports combine user reviews with verified vendor data to impartially identify leading software products. Recent report examples include: Board Management Software, Account-Based Marketing Software, Cap Table + Equity Management Software, Lead Routing Software, and Sales Training + Onboarding Software.

    Built upon investigative customer interviews, our True ROI Reports quantify and provide 3rd party validation of a software product’s business value.

    https://cloudratings.com/

    • 32 min
    Paul Stansik of ParkerGale Capital - An Operating Partner’s POV on Value Creation

    Paul Stansik of ParkerGale Capital - An Operating Partner’s POV on Value Creation

    Our Guest: Paul Stansik is the Private Equity Operating Partner at ParkerGale Capital, a B2B focused private equity firm, buying profitable technology companies from founders.

    Episode Topics:
    Paul and PartnerGale Capital's investment criteria.What does an operating partner do?A brief overview of Paul's weekly sales playbook at PartnerGale Capital.Approach to gaining a deeper understanding of a business's dynamics.Paul elaborates: "Always scrubbing the pipeline means never scrubbing the pipeline."Assessing the “sales machine” of a target investment during due diligence..Paul’s view on the impact of AI on sales and marketing.An overview of ParkerGale's hiring playbook.Realities and challenges of building teams in the middle market.
    Resources:
    Paul Stansik’s Substack: https://hellooperator.substack.com/
    The Weekly Sales Metrics Playbook 
    Hiring Playbook Slides: How We Hire At ParkerGale 
    "What CEOs Should Expect From Their Sales Leader" 
    "AI’s Impact on Sales + Marketing" 
    About Cloud Returns by Cloud Ratings:
    Cloud Returns covers ALL types of software investing, whether seed, venture capital, growth equity, private equity, debt, and the public markets.
    Our host - Matt Harney - is active on Twitter @saasletter and writes "SaaSletter", an investing-oriented SaaS newsletter on Substack.

    https://cloudradio.cloudratings.com/
    https://twitter.com/SaaSletter
    https://www.saasletter.com/
    About Cloud Ratings:
    Cloud Ratings is a customer outcomes-focused, data-driven software research analyst firm. We exist to allow organizations to make more confident, lower-risk software purchasing decisions.

    Our Cloud Ratings Category Reports combine user reviews with verified vendor data to impartially identify leading software products. Recent report examples include: Board Management Software, Account-Based Marketing Software, Cap Table + Equity Management Software, Lead Routing Software, and Sales Training + Onboarding Software.

    Built upon investigative customer interviews, our True ROI Reports quantify and provide 3rd party validation of a software product’s business value.

    https://cloudratings.com/

    • 46 min
    Dave Yuan - Vertical SaaS Investing Playbook

    Dave Yuan - Vertical SaaS Investing Playbook

    Our Guest: Dave Yuan is the Founder of Tidemark, a growth equity firm focused on helping companies scale. With over 20 years of experience, Dave has invested in twelve companies that have gone public, eight that have been acquired.

    Episode Topics:
    Dave and Tidemark’s investment criteria.Ideal qualities for vSaaS founders.Dave's viewpoints on overspending in R&D, product risk, and product development in vertical SaaS.What does good multi-product sequencing look like?Is AI an opportunity, neutral, or a threat in vertical SaaS? The supply/demand imbalance between private investors and scaled vertical SaaS companies.A framework for determining when to raise more capital or pursue a capital-efficient path.What SaaS company does Dave admire the most?Dave’s learnings from starting a new fund.
    Resources:
    Tidemark Vertical SaaS Knowledge Project: https://www.tidemarkcap.com/vskp
    Tidemark 2024 Vertical SaaS Benchmark Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5CFVSHQ
    About Cloud Returns by Cloud Ratings:
    Cloud Returns covers ALL types of software investing, whether seed, venture capital, growth equity, private equity, debt, and the public markets.
    Our host - Matt Harney - is active on Twitter @saasletter and writes "SaaSletter", an investing-oriented SaaS newsletter on Substack.

    https://cloudradio.cloudratings.com/
    https://twitter.com/SaaSletter
    https://www.saasletter.com/
    About Cloud Ratings:
    Cloud Ratings is a customer outcomes-focused, data-driven software research analyst firm. We exist to allow organizations to make more confident, lower-risk software purchasing decisions.

    Our Cloud Ratings Category Reports combine user reviews with verified vendor data to impartially identify leading software products. Recent report examples include: Board Management Software, Account-Based Marketing Software, Cap Table + Equity Management Software, Lead Routing Software, and Sales Training + Onboarding Software.

    Built upon investigative customer interviews, our True ROI Reports quantify and provide 3rd party validation of a software product’s business value.

    https://cloudratings.com/

    • 38 min
    Akash Bajwa - AI + Software Investing in 2024

    Akash Bajwa - AI + Software Investing in 2024

    Our Guest: Akash Bajwa is an investor in fintech and B2B SaaS at Earlybird Venture Capital, a European venture capital firm with 2 billion Euros in assets under management (AUM).

    Episode Topics:
    Akash and Earlybird’s investment criteria Areas in early-stage native AI that Akash and Earlybird are excited aboutAkash discusses the unique skill sets needed for native AI founders.Is building an AI-focused business similar to the well-established SaaS playbook?Akash’s views on investor returns if gross margins decrease to 50% in AI-driven software.How are software pricing models going to evolve in an AI world?Methods for assessing a founder's execution ability during early-stage fundraising.Akash’s views on vertical software and implications of AI lowering barriers to software creation.Akash's view on AI's capital intensity +  its implications of this for investors.
    Resources:https://substack.com/@akashbajwa
    https://www.earlybird.com/
    About Cloud Returns by Cloud Ratings:
    Cloud Returns covers ALL types of software investing, whether seed, venture capital, growth equity, private equity, debt, and the public markets.
    Our host - Matt Harney - is active on Twitter @saasletter and writes "SaaSletter", an investing-oriented SaaS newsletter on Substack.

    https://cloudradio.cloudratings.com/
    https://twitter.com/SaaSletter
    https://www.saasletter.com/
    About Cloud Ratings:
    Cloud Ratings is a customer outcomes-focused, data-driven software research analyst firm. We exist to allow organizations to make more confident, lower-risk software purchasing decisions.

    Our Cloud Ratings Category Reports combine user reviews with verified vendor data to impartially identify leading software products. Recent report examples include: Board Management Software, Account-Based Marketing Software, Cap Table + Equity Management Software, Lead Routing Software, and Sales Training + Onboarding Software.

    Built upon investigative customer interviews, our True ROI Reports quantify and provide 3rd party validation of a software product’s business value.

    https://cloudratings.com/

    • 46 min
    Nick Tippmann - Vertical SaaS Operator -> Investor

    Nick Tippmann - Vertical SaaS Operator -> Investor

    Our Guest: Nick Tippman, former Chief Marketing Officer at Greenlight Guru, a category-leading provider of regulatory software for the MedTech vertical. He is now an angel investor, investing in exceptional Vertical/SMB SaaS, AI, Fintech, and B2B Marketplace founders and companies at the pre-seed/seed stage alongside other leading investors.

    Episode Topics:
    Nick’s current investment criteria for a vertical SaaS company.Nick’s minimum TAM + how he looks at take rates.How important are fintech and payment opportunities in evaluating vertical software markets?How embedded APIs - like embedding payroll into your app - are changing opportunity sets for seed-stage vertical SaaSWhat constitutes founder market fit?Nick’s advice on effectively demonstrating founder-market fit in a pitch deck.Nick’s views on the increased venture capital flow into niche vertical markets.The impact of Generative AI in breaking through to categories that have been resistant to digital transformationIs AI an opportunity, neutral, or a threat? Eli Dukes Question: What's the primary challenge in vertical SaaS: Is it GTM or product? Why?How to assess founders and their teams' product management skills in this changing landscape?Understanding operator funds + Nick’s perspective as a Limited Partner (LP) in 11 funds.Nick’s recommendations and tactical advice for potential emerging managers.Resources:
    Eli Dukes Vertical SaaS Substack - https://verticalized.co/
    Nick’s Google Doc - “Ultimate List of 37+ VC & PE Firm Theses & Market Updates on Vertical SaaS”
    About Cloud Returns by Cloud Ratings:
    Cloud Returns covers ALL types of software investing, whether seed, venture capital, growth equity, private equity, debt, and the public markets.
    Our host - Matt Harney - is active on Twitter @saasletter and writes "SaaSletter", an investing-oriented SaaS newsletter on Substack.

    https://cloudradio.cloudratings.com/
    https://twitter.com/SaaSletter
    https://www.saasletter.com/
    About Cloud Ratings:
    Cloud Ratings is a customer outcomes-focused, data-driven software research analyst firm. We exist to allow organizations to make more confident, lower-risk software purchasing decisions.

    Our Cloud Ratings Category Reports combine user reviews with verified vendor data to impartially identify leading software products. Recent report examples include: Board Management Software, Account-Based Marketing Software, Cap Table + Equity Management Software, Lead Routing Software, and Sales Training + Onboarding Software.

    Built upon investigative customer interviews, our True ROI Reports quantify and provide 3rd party validation of a software product’s business value.

    https://cloudratings.com/

    • 47 min
    Co-Founder and CEO of Bigfoot Capital: Debt for the SaaS Masses

    Co-Founder and CEO of Bigfoot Capital: Debt for the SaaS Masses

    Our Guest: Brian Parks is the Co-Founder and CEO of Bigfoot Capital, a non-venture debt lending firm, that provides growth and bridge debt facilities to SaaS companies with $2+ million in annual recurring revenue. 

    Episode Topics:
    Current access to capital environment - “2/3 of equity investors and lenders expect to be more active over the next 12 months”Disconnects after the failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB)Unique financing opportunities after disruptions like SVBWhat are the table stakes - like data rooms and timelines - for non-venture-backed software company founders when raising debt capital?Bigfoot’s core loan investment criteria (loan size, typical revenue size, and facility size)Brian expounds on “being frivolous with equity” quote - “I'm anti-frivolity with equity and think a lot of people are extremely frivolous with their equity, selling too much of their company too early."Brian’s perspective on the changing dynamics of whether to bootstrap + the increasing presence of VC in typically bootstrapped categories Understanding Bigfoot’s underwriting - lending three to six times MRR - from a credit support perspectiveThe absence of equity warrants in Bigfoot's lending model
    Resources:https://bigfootcap.com/
    https://bigfootcapital.substack.com/ 
    https://bigfootcapital.substack.com/p/capital-provider-sentiment-survey-17d
    https://calendly.com/bigfoot
    About Cloud Returns by Cloud Ratings:
    Cloud Returns covers ALL types of software investing, whether seed, venture capital, growth equity, private equity, debt, and the public markets.
    Our host - Matt Harney - is active on Twitter @saasletter and writes "SaaSletter", an investing-oriented SaaS newsletter on Substack.

    https://cloudradio.cloudratings.com/
    https://twitter.com/SaaSletter
    https://www.saasletter.com/
    About Cloud Ratings:
    Cloud Ratings is a customer outcomes-focused, data-driven software research analyst firm. We exist to allow organizations to make more confident, lower-risk software purchasing decisions.

    Our Cloud Ratings Category Reports combine user reviews with verified vendor data to impartially identify leading software products. Recent report examples include: Sales Engagement Software, Sales Conversation Intelligence Software, Sales Compensation Software, and Digital Sales Room Software
    Built upon investigative customer interviews, our True ROI Reports quantify and provide 3rd party validation of a software product’s business value.

    https://cloudratings.com/

    • 38 min

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