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SaaS still growing?

about 1 year ago 5 mins read
Adam Schoenfeld
Adam Schoenfeld

This week we looked at 5,807 SaaS companies with $10M+ funding and sliced growth by category.

​*Do you target SaaS?* Filter them all at data.keyplay.io (free to start).

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Keyplay Lists ICP signals from Keyplay Lists

With multiple AND filters, you can go deeper on ICP like Drew Noel shared.

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Last week’s hiring and funding rankings surprised us.

We saw SaaS rank higher – above ecomm, marketplaces, media, and fintech – than we expected.

But if you take that at face value, sales will suffer.

Not all SaaS companies are in growth mode.

Very few are in buy-now mode.

To better understand the niche opportunities in tech, we looked at 6-month headcount change for companies with $10M+ in funding by secondary categories.

Top funded categories like Security & Compliance represent mission-critical technology needed to run a modern tech company.

That’s Tier 1.

Force multipliers like automation, AI, data, and collaboration tools make up the middle.

I summarized the top five SaaS categories on LinkedIn.

Keyplay Lists Data: Keyplay; Research: PeerSignal

1. Security & Compliance

If you want to sell upmarket, you’ll need to pass compliance audits.

2023 funding has been kind to cloud infrastructure, data, and compliance, which often overlap.

Once only considered critical for highly regulated industries and tech, Compliance & Security is now a non-negotiable past a certain stage.

Every company runs on tech.

Considering the need is evergreen, Security & Compliance is unsurprisingly garnering massive funding.

Saviynt and Wiz raised $205M in January and $300M in February, respectively.

In March, security unicorns OneTrust and Socure raised another $50M ($970M total) and $95M ($741.9M total).

Wiz: $900M (total funding)

Drata: $328.2M

DataGrail: $84.2M

Privado.ai: $17.5M

Sprinto: $11.4M

2. Gen AI

AI itself ranking lower (#11) is probably a reflection of last-gen AI companies, not the current Generative AI gold rush.

Demand for AI tools is certainly increasing, as reflected in recent search demand.

Generative AI is a small sample size, but rises to the top as expected.

In fact, Gen AI has produced five unicorns already this year – Anthropic, Adept, Character.AI, Cohere, and Runway.

That brings the total up to 13.

What’s more impressive is, on average, they’re taking 3.6 years to reach $1B valuations, nearly 2X faster than the average unicorn.

While US AI funding was actually down in Q1, total funding and average deal size increased in Silicon Valley, fueled by a few major deals to nearby Gen AI companies, according to CB Insights.

Jasper: $131M

Stability AI: $109.4M

Runway: $95.5M

Fathom: $60.9M

V7 Labs: $43M

💡 GTM insight

Both community and PLG are common go-to-market strategies in AI, with highly regulated industries like healthcare and finance being the exceptions.

Top AI companies often leverage video (especially product release and how-tos) as well.

3. Developer Tools

While “developer software" has climbed steadily since 2010, AI shows hockey stick growth that closely resembles fintech’s rise in 2016.

Imagine the demand for AI-integrated developer tools.

Many developer SaaS already incorporates AI – especially machine learning – in some way.

While we selected the examples below because of their hiring and funding growth, each also has AI messaging signals.

Docker: $435.9M

Postman: $433M

Anyscale: $259M

Builder.ai: ​​$195M

Retool: $141M

Fly.io: $40.5M

💡 GTM insight

Common to build communities on GitHub, Discord, and owned community ecosystems.

4. HR Tech

HR is not synonymous with recruiting, but some recruiting tech is still thriving.

When we scanned the HR tech companies with $50M+ And high headcount growth, we see a lot of hybrid HR and Finance tech.

That combo is particularly attractive to investors with Remote nearing $500M in total funding and Rippling passing $1B.

While HR tech’s ranking may seem counterintuitive in today’s market, the themes they serve – remote & hybrid work, pay equity, DEI, employee experience – are not.

Even if you are slowing growth, these things are very “why now” relevant and strategic.

Especially in tech.

Even if you cut your team 10%, you probably want to keep the best people happy, engaged, and well paid.

And while unemployment is still low tech employees recently laid off from remote jobs aren’t settling for lesser pay or flexibility.

Rippling: $1.2B

Remote: $496M

15Five: $94.1M

Brightside: $72.2M

Ashby: $34.5M

📈 Small but mighty risers to watch

Leapsome: $2.2M

Nectar: $4.9M

Does this reflect what you're seeing on the sales side?

Any industry-specific inbounds (or lack thereof) that surprised you this year?

Reply or join the conversation on LinkedIn.

I read all replies.

Best,

Adam & Camille

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