Redefining the Business of Software



Below are the slides from my talk at Business of Software today and links to all the resources I’ve referred to.


Back in 2003 I’d developed an investment thesis entitled, “Everything as a Service”. Based on this, I was lucky enough to back a great team to start a company called Demandware (NYSE: DWRE). Demandware was the first company to build a best-of-breed SaaS eCommerce platform — offering retailers the ability to focus on their core competence of merchandising, not infrastructure and software. Today the company has a market cap of a couple of billion dollars, and is a rapidly growing, public company.

This isn’t an accident. Demandware was built around a great team that was uniquely qualified to address a multi-billion dollar problem. They focused on building a Repeatable, Sustainable, Valuable, Predictable business. Joining me in telling this story is Scott Dussault, formerly the CFO of Demandware who helped take the company from it’s early days through IPO, to share some of the key SaaS learnings.

So how can you build a business to take advantage these learnings? Below are some of the resources I touch on during my talk to help you get started:


Building a Compelling Value Proposition

Building a Highly Valued Business (Model)

Turning Products into Companies (Friction free, SLIPPERY Products)


THE SECOND CLOUD FRONT – An incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs

But Demandware was built during the era of the first Cloud Front – TRANSITIONING to the cloud. The second Cloud Front is already upon us and it’s going to be 10x bigger and more impactful. [2014 Future of Cloud survey results]

As an example of a company that is taking advantage of the second cloud front, we talked briefly about another investment, Acquia, that has become the fastest growing software company. Again it’s not an accident. They too are built on some of the same principles outlined above.

Yet as always, with humility, I’m clear entrepreneurship is a unique journey for every entrerpreneur and opportunity. So I look forward to hearing your learnings we can collectively draw on for the future. Please share in the comments below.

My slides are embedded below:


Bonus – Transitioning to SaaS

One of the questions Mark asked me about is the challenge of transitioning to SaaS. Given it was a bigger topic than we have time to address in an already full agenda, I volunteered to bring a case study forward. Here is the link to the post – entitled “successfully transitioning to saas”.



Of course we never have enough time to answer all your questions so either tweet them to @mjskok or leave them in the comments below or in any comment areas on the site. look forward to our mutual learning, so bring your thoughts and questions for all entrepreneurs to benefit!