Before launching your own startup, try the waters and explore the environment first. While the experiences of existing SaaS startups might completely differ from yours, doing some initial research will help you avoid making others’ mistakes.
According to 2018 SaaS market report, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model is a trend that’s here to stay. By 2021, the SaaS solutions industry is expected to grow by $76 billion. Because of this steep growth, most American vendors have started adopting cloud technologies and aligning them with their products. This prompted the birth of the new concept –XaaS, a term that literally means “anything as a service.” The XaaS model can apply to software, platforms, and infrastructure, granting companies maximum business agility during product development.
So, what’s all the buzz about? Embracing SaaS is economically profitable. First and foremost, the model saves lots of maintenance effort – there’s no hardware to regularly repair. Software products are also relatively easy to maintain thanks to incremental backups and quick system check-up capabilities. Unlike SaaS software, which is easily accessible via a Wi-Fi network, on-premise solutions are usually way more expensive on the setup.
In this article, we consider the most successful consumer and enterprise SaaS startups of 2021 – the companies worth studying if you’re a fan of SaaS or just want to explore this fascinating domain and find an outlet for your own ideas.
Top SaaS startups of 2021
Picking ten successful SaaS startups to watch is a hard row to hoe. But we gave it the old college try. The main criteria we took into account when compiling the list were innovativeness, growth rate, and the future perspectives each of these top SaaS companies has. We also looked at awards and competitions that recognize new SaaS startup ideas, such as Product Hunt, Fast Company’s list of Most Innovative Companies, and more.
CEO: Garrett Moon
Founding year: 2014
Founded in 2014, CoSchedule has over 9,000 clients and is used in 100+ countries around the world. The service is a pro-level solution that helps enhance marketers’ jobs. Basically, it’s a platform where marketers can create roadmaps, schedule, collaborate, and promote projects. You’ll find CoShedule on G2 Crowd’s list of the Best Products for Marketers 2020. It’s also been named the fastest-growing startup in North Dakota.
As CoSchedule founder Garrett Moon reveals, the startup’s rapid prosperity is due to their use of the one-metric-that-matters (1MTM) framework while growing the product. For CoSchedule, 1MTM embraced focus and discipline. By specifically targeting traffic and audience, the product quickly gained traction. In the company’s four years of existence, it has raised $2.5 million in funding. And it doesn’t seem like they will stop there.
CEO: Oleksandr Kosovan
Founding year: 2017
Setapp is a subscription service for Mac apps developed by in 2017 by Olesandr Kosovan, the founder and CEO of MacPaw. The platform bundles together over 140 different apps for Mac. Most of the apps are productivity-related. They include Ulysses for writing, MindNode for brainstorming, AnyTrans for file transfer, and many more. Subscribers get access to all this for the flat fee of $9.99 per month.
Often referred to as Netflix for apps, Setapp has 30,000+ paid customers. It became particularly prominent following the announcement of Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ – subscription services conceptually identical to Setapp.
CEO: Michael Mandek, Vadim Belobrovka
Founding year: 2011
CompStak is a platform focused on Commercial Real Estate (CRE). It gives you an accurate overview of lease and sales comparables—a company’s same-store sales compared to the previous year. The SaaS operates on a crowdfunding model and is a helpful asset for property experts, investors, brokers, and appraisers. The company was described by Forbes as the one introducing more high-quality M&A practices in 2017, and it continues growing.
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CEO: Alex Gorbansky
Founding year: 2012
For the last few years, we’ve been obsessed with all-in-one solutions. As technology becomes smarter, it’s easier to build software that handles lots of tasks – especially if it relates to organizational activities. One of the rising stars among B2B SaaS startups is Docurated, a sales enablement platform designed for enterprise. From customizing and sharing content to revenue measurement, the platform can fully manage an organization’s workflow.
In total, Docurated has raised $5+ million in funding and is quickly expanding throughout the world. The lesson to learn: automation and multitasking lay at the core of B2B SaaS startups in 2021.
CEO: Martina King
Founding year: 2008
FeatureSpace is a world-known SaaS product specializing in adaptive behavioral analytics. The platform tracks and detects anomalies in behavioral data to help organizations prevent fraud. Implementing the latest AI trends to facilitate system security, the company is clearly a model many strive to follow.
In 2018, the company was honored with Industry Achievement Award at the annual Card and Payments event. That same year, they raised $25 million in funding. According to FeatureSpace CEO Martina King, these investments will be used to partner with payment processors around the world and distribute the company’s solutions to new markets.
CEO: Dragos Ivanov
Founding year: 2018
Netcrumb is a handy website creator that requires no coding. In just a few clicks, you’ll build a fully functional WordPress website for $29—the cost of a WordPress theme. If you’re starting your first SaaS product, Netcrumb is a great story to follow. The company’s founder, Dragos Ivanov, started with a small budget that he used to outsource an app from Bucharest, and his story was full of ups and downs. It’s all recorded in a series of Medium posts, with cost estimation and useful lessons — go check it out.
While Netcrumb is still very young, it’s too early to say whether a solution can be successful in the long run. But it’s a superb example of how you can drum up some interest for the product by telling your story.
CEO: Rita Selvaggi
Founding year: 2012
Thanks to its efforts in fostering innovation in the world of B2B SaaS companies, AktivTrak will certainly continue drawing public attention in 2021. This startup centers around a unique team behavior analytics platform. The solution is free and can be used to control organizations of any size, including those that manage remote departments. Without violating employee privacy, AktivTrak cleverly tracks workplace activities and provides suggestions on how to optimize operations.
Crunchbase ranks the company as one of the most promising SaaS startups in 2021. Its success is easy to justify. AktivTrak earns $4 million in annual revenue and received $20 million in a recent funding round. As workplace processes continue to increase in sophistication, a robust tool for automatic control could prove a life-saver for many businesses.
CEO: Tobias Lutke
Founding year: 2004
Despite widening beliefs that e-commerce has begun to fail, there are several big SaaS players who don’t seem like they will be out of the game anytime soon. Shopify is one such startup. The leading e-commerce platform of the world, its impact on 2021 will be huge. Shopify is designed to allow merchants from small and medium-sized companies to set up and manage their stores.
In 2018, 1 billion merchants used Shopify’s services. This year, the company’s revenue is expected to hit $1 billion. Huge. For those who still have faith in e-commerce or aim to implement a similar solution, Shopify is definitely the best startup to learn from.
CEO: Marc Alringer
Founding year: 2005
Universal demand for web and mobile development services is growing every year, and 2021 won’t be an exception. As a result, a huge number of startups focusing on development services have appeared on the stage with solutions ranging from dedicated teams to project management supervision.
Yet Seamgen is the company that has earned the web/mobile development spotlight in 2021. Based in San Diego, Seamgen builds high-quality software for startups and enterprises using its very own fully automated SaaS platform.
CEO: Kate Bradley Chernis
Founding year: 2014
One more time: 2021’s SaaS stars will be all-in-one platforms. The more tasks software can effectively complete, the more chances it has to stand out. Lately is another good example of a successful SaaS multitasker. Focused on organizational goals, it provides companies with one-stop solutions for content management, communications, analytics, and much more.
Over 10 rounds, Lately has raised $2.5 million in funding. It continues to attract investors’ attention (so it should definitely attract yours as well).
Learning from world-class SaaS startups
As a business model, SaaS is a clear shortcut to success. SaaS products are easy to set up and maintain and are much more affordable than on-premise hardware. While exploring the patterns of successful SaaS features, we recommend focusing on a set of criteria particularly valuable to you. The must-haves are:
A set of unique characteristics (when compared to competitors).
Cost of design and maintenance versus revenue predictions.
Managing expectations of your target buyer.
Now, you’re good to go. Hopefully, this list of B2B and B2C SaaS companies will help you figure out how to create and deliver value via software development in 2021 – smart and fuss-free.
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