Advice by SaaS Startup Founders

Some advice that Saas startup founders would give to their younger selves.

On doing it again

  • genuinely create value for society, it's more sustainable and rewarding in long run
  • you don't have to go "nuclear big" to be successful
  • read and apply "The Mom test", learn how to scale following a customer-based approach

On pitching and selling

  • start by providing professional services before a product - generate early revenue, validate idea, build early relationships
  • Hone writing skills - good writing (influence) is an invaluable marketing tool
  • sell before building - generating hype is an artform to master (Product Hunt, Itch, etc.)
  • allocate time towards expanding network - attend networking events, within company, etc.


  • focus on distriboution & discvery - rely less on tech, unless it's revolutionary
  • distinguish whether goal is to be "rich" or "king" - rich = raising outside capital at risk of reduced equity and control, king = bootstrapping and maintaining control
  • be careful of VCs - can lose control and focus on business
  • right amount for seed - building and validating business plan doesn't require that much money
  • set aggressive ARR for first year - 500k ARR, path towards raising Series A
  • only hire non-founder until PMF - prevents premature scaling and pressure of managing a team

On picking partners/co-founders

  • keep in touch with old friendships - already built trust
  • find co-founder with B2B sales background - can help you close deals
  • hand over marketing to specialists - someone who can diagnose and prescribe the best solution, instead of presenting marketing strategies
  • hire part-time bookkeeper within 01mARRthenhirehDirectorofFinance(0-1m ARR - then hireh Director of Finance (1-5m) to manage AR/AP, audits, ASC 606, financial modelling, key revenue benchmark. After >$5m, hire CFO.
  • it takes 7 months to fully recruit someone - 1 month for interview, 3 months to leave old job, 3 months to ramp up to speed
  • create strategy for recruiting people + evaluate performance - hiring legal, financial is easier due to industry guardrails, hiring sales and marketing is harder
  • get product off ground != scaling business - most are only needed for a certain phase of time

On looking for what's working

  • time and money is usually better spent on ads - hn draw organic traffic, but they just want freebies, ads can help you target and have more reach, increasing conversion rate
  • keep on trying - problem often lies in skill gap or tweak in strategy, don't compare to employed friends, it's not freedom