Equity Shot: What's next for the startup software market

Alex Wilhelm and Natasha Mascarenhas
·2 min read
Equity Podcast icon

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

Natasha and Danny and Alex and Grace noticed last week that we had a bevy of software-as-a-service (SaaS) stories that we wanted to chat about. So we decided to break them out into their own episode.

What came out of the conversation is a mix of optimism, sarcasm and healthy doubt regarding what's next for SaaS. SaaS matters, as it is an incredibly popular business model for startups, a way to generate high-margin recurring incomes. Indeed, it's almost the default method for revenue generation amongst startups today.

But precisely what SaaS is, and how it works, appear to be moving targets.

This piece by our own Danny Crichton, for example, digs into a trend that he has noticed in the broader software space, namely startups taking a single task, or feature, and providing it in a manner that ascribes to best practices. For example, online checkout tech has been around since the dawn of the internet. And yet Rapyd and Fast and Checkout.com and others are raising oceans of capital to provide checkout solutions to other companies. Why? They offer best practices-like services.

From there we talked about the inclusion of humans into software, which isn't a radical concept but has new weight considering the information-overload world in which we live. The whole concept of having an Airtable hotline to answer each and every random question we have seems like music to our ears... what about yours?

And finally we discussed the growing use of on-demand pricing over traditional SaaS. Danny asked if this is really something new, which we discussed. Perhaps we're seeing more on-demand pricing in modern software companies thanks to not only the success of companies like Snowflake, but also growing ranks of API-delivered startups.

Overall it was fun to niche down to a single theme, something we rarely get to do on the main show. Expect more of this from us in the following months!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST and Thursday afternoon as fast as we can get it out, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts.