What's your step-by-step recipe to get from $1-100M in B2B SaaS global sales? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Paul Holland, General Partner at Foundation Capital, on Quora:

Step 1: Align yourself with an outstanding product in an exciting market.

Step 2: Repeat.

At least that's how it played out in my operating career, two out of the two startups I worked with. At Pure Software with Reed Hastings, he had invented this magical product, Purify, and the product-market fit was nearly immediate. In that case, getting from 1-100 wasn't a long process of probing the market opportunity, and doing lots and lots of iterations. That was one where we had a solution that was a hundred times better than anything else out there.

Pure had no real competition and deeply patented technology that we defended vigorously. I ran part of the go-to-market team, and we took the company from $1-100M in five years, which at the time was very, very fast. And the company was worth billions of dollars before it was bought by IBM.

At my second company, Kana, we grew even faster but for very different reasons. We didn't have a deeply technical solution. We were helping people, during the Web 1.0 era, who were already overwhelmed by electronic communications and needed an immediate solution. But the situation there was different from Pure. We didn't really have patentable technology. We had very, very good technology that was cleverly implemented by Mike Wolfe and his team, but we also had 12-venture-backed competitors.

The key success factor at Kana--and at some of the fast-growing startups, like Chegg and MobileIron, that I've worked with as an investor--was what I like to call the "Italian racecar-driver" analogy: you push the pedal all the way to the floor, rip off the rearview mirror, hang on to the steering wheel, and go as fast as you can and as far as you can. And that's how at Kana we went from a company that was worth $13 million when I joined, to later $9 billion. Find a high-velocity company and harness its energy.

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Published on: Aug 28, 2017