FinTech gets the award for the Most Exciting Thing to Happen in SaaS in January. ICYMI, a gaggle of Reddit retail traders mounted a David v. Goliath campaign against hedge fund managers and short-sellers, using digital stock brokerage Robinhood and its SaaS-based, mobile first, and apparently highly-addicting app. The drama unfolded over the bottom half of January, with lawsuits galore, and winners and losers not shaking out until just recently (spoiler alert: Wall Street always wins). The entire sordid affair just goes to show how powerful cloud-based software really is to fuel commercial innovations like Robinhood, promising one thing with its gamification approach to investing, all the while shielding underlying institutional and operational complexity from the user.
Moving on, it wouldn’t be a SaaS monthly roundup without a massive IPO to talk about. This month’s winner is (drumroll please) … Qualtrics! The company began trading shares on January 28th, and closed its first day up 51% at $45.50 per share with a valuation of $27.3 billion.
The enormous size of SaaS IPOs surprise exactly zero people paying attention to the outsized growth the SaaS market continues to enjoy. Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), a market research firm based in Milford, Mass., and a division of TechTarget, reported that “Cloud adoption has nearly doubled over the past five years,” and forecasts that “78% of organizations will use [cloud] infrastructure as a service in 2021, compared with 42% in 2017. The report goes on to say, “As for applications still residing on premises, respondents said nearly eight out of 10 are destined to move to the cloud.” The moral of the story is, SaaS will continue to be a Top Conversation in Tech for the foreseeable future. Our own data analysis shows that in January 2021, SaaS ranked as the #28 conversation topic out of 177 topics tracked, and in a Y/Y comparison SaaS was up 49% in mention-volume (growing from 22,199 stories to 33,029).