We're running a March Madness-style tournament to decide the top SaaS company of 2015. Here are the results after Round 1.
If you're unfamilar with the 2015 March SaaSness Tournament, these three links will give you everything you need to know. First, our Selection Sunday Tournament Announcement. Next, our breakdown of how the Tournament works. Finally, our profile of the entire March SaaSness Field.
The short version of March SaaSness is that we're running a tournament to decide the top SaaS company of 2015.
The participants: 64 SaaS industry leaders, seeded according to number of Twitter followers. The format: A massive, March Madness-style bracket. The scoring methodology: Popular vote, taken from 9am to 9pm EST the day of each match.
The Updated Bracket
2nd Round Matchups
2nd round matchups on the left side of the bracket will take place on Monday, March 23rd, starting at 9am EST. Matchups on the right side of the bracket will occur the following day, Tuesday, March 24th.
Voting will be open both days from 9am-9pm EST. As with the 1st Round, we'll be live updating the 'scores' (voting results) of all of our matchups on the Ambition Twitter account.
Monday Matchups - Region #1
Dropbox: Founded in 2007 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, Dropbox is the premiere cloud file sharing company of 2015. Its valuation as of January 2014: Roughly $10 billion dollars. Its Board of Directors: Home to former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Its Twitter following: In the millions. If there's a University of Kentucky of the 2015 March SaaSness Tournament, it's Dropbox. They are a powerful figure in the SaaS world, and they have legions of followers to call upon in any given matchup in this tournament.
Zapier: In less than 4 years, Zapier has quickly ascended in the ranks of the SaaS industry. A data integration and cloud computing platform, Zapier enables companies to integrate all of their most important apps (for example: Gmail + Mailchimp + Twitter) to maximize efficiency and centralize workflow. Ambition COO Brian Trautschold is a huge fan of Zapier and sees them as a potential dark horse in this year's tournament.
5) Tableau vs. 13) CharlieApp
Tableau: Approaching the 2 year anniversary of its May 2013 IPO, Tableau is an undisputed kingpin in the Business Intelligence sector of SaaS. A leader of the prominent tech scene that has emerged in its home base of Seattle, Tableau has been boasting 9-figure annual revenue ever since 2012.
CharlieApp: Relatively new to the SaaS scene, Charlie is a free tool that gives users important information about the participants in meetings they have scheduled. A free debriefing tool? We'll take it. Charlie just completed its seed round in October of last year, but is already making waves in the SaaS industry as a unique, value-adding solution that's free of cost and possesses tremendous potential.
ToutApp: One of the hottest SaaS companies entering this year's tournament, ToutApp is riding a wave of positive momentum that will hopefully carry over into its tourney performance. Fresh off a $15 million dollar Series B round, ToutApp and its colorful cast of leaders (Taweed Khader, better known as T.K., and Daniel Barber-Trenbath foremost among them) are perhaps the fastest-growing sales acceleration platform on the market and have potential to make a major splash in this year's tournament.
SilverPop: One of, if not the oldest SaaS companies in this year's tournament (at the ripe old age of 16), SilverPop is a venerable representative of both the Marketing Automation industry and the Atlanta tech scene. Acquired by IBM just under a year ago, SilverPop is most definitely a heavy-hitter in this year's tournament and one of the multiple Marketing Automation tools capable of making waves in the bracket.
LogMeIn: LogMeIn IPO'ed 5 years ago, which is an eternity in this tournament. The force behind remote connectivity tools like the omnipresent Join.me, LogMeIn is a lone wolf in this year's tournament, in terms of its sub-industry within SaaS. Akin to the Gonzagas and Davidson mid-majors of the actual NCAA tournament, LogMeIn is the industry stalwart representing an entire SaaS subset.
Infer: Fresh off a $25 Million Series B Round and backed by SaaS heavyweights such as Redpoint Ventures and Andreesen Horowitz, Infer represents the new vanguard of predictive analytics. Utilizing tons of data points to "score" a company's leads and prospects as they progress through the sales funnel, Infer is a powerful tool and a hot name in SaaS that shocked Marketo in Round 1 and could be the SaaS-version of the 2013 Florida Gulf Coast Team.
Monday Matchups - Region #2
Hubspot: Hubspot may lack the tenure or market penetration of other Marketing Automation platforms, but that doesn't change the fact that it is the undisputed top contender of SaaS Marketing solutions in this year's tournament. Less than 6 month removed from an IPO, Hubspot also represents the vanguard of the Boston-area tech scene and is backed by leading Venture Capital firms like Sequoia Capital and Google Ventures. The company's social credentials are also staggering, claiming more than 300,000 blog subscribers in addition to its customer base of over 13,000 companies.
Import.io: The godfather of B2B data-scraping tools. Import.io's industry clout is substantial and its reputation is almost unparalleled. With headquarters in London, Import.io adds a European flavor to the tournament and shows that elite SaaS tools need not come from Silicon Valley, nor even North America, for that matter.
Domo: A premiere representative of the surprisingly formidable Utah tech scene (home to fellow tourney competition InsideSales.com), Domo offers futuristic Business Intelligence and Data Visualization for its substantial user base. Bigwig investors like Greylock Ventures and Jeff Bezos add clout. This is a dangerous tournament competitor).
Eloqua: Eloqua IPO'ed well over 2 years ago and is part of the top-tier Marketing Automation class of 2015, along with Hubspot, Marketo and Pardot. Eloqua is also practically a grandfather, by SaaS standards, having been founded way back in 1999, when some of the company founders in this tournament were still in Middle School. A potential Sweet 16 matchup against Hubspot would be epic.
11) Clearslide vs. 3) Slack
Slack: Expect a deep run from the hottest SaaS industry member of 2015. Valued at over $1 billion dollars last October, an astonishingly brief 8 months after its launch to the general public, Slack is conducting a blitzkrieg on the organizational communication sector of the SaaS industry like none seen before. (Yes, we're users here at Ambition). Godspeed to the companies on its side of the bracket.
Clearslide: Clearslide aren't just the newfound possessors of a $50 Million Series C Round. They're a leading-edge tool that provides valuable insight on customer and prospect interaction, bringing advanced data analytics to the actual communication exchange between sellers and prospective buyer. Backed by Greylock Ventures and a team of other household name VC's, Clearslide is a potential threat to make a Cinderella run in this year's tournament.
SalesLoft: Fresh off a 1st Round victory over direct Sales Acceleration competitor, InsideSales.com, SalesLoft meets another familiar face in Round 2 in fellow Atlanta tech giant, Mailchimp. One of the most compelling 2nd Round matchups in the tournament, the SalesLoft vs. MailChimp battle will have the eyes of the Atlanta tech scene all over it when it tips off on Monday at 9am EST.
Mailchimp: Few SaaS companies can throw around terms like "beloved by our users" and have nobody bat an eye. Mailchimp is one of those companies. The Atlanta email automation company just became a teenager (Founded: January 2001), but its software is as fresh as anything that's out there. Just ask one of the company's 7 million users. These guys were savvy enough to sign on as sponsors for Serial, they're a dangerous competitor in this tournament.
Tuesday Matchups - Region #3
Evernote: A powerhouse in the organizational communication sphere. Evernote is a borderline essential tool in the minds of its users, allowing them to easily organize and share important information internally. As respected as it gets in the SaaS industry, Evernote claims elite Venture Firms like Sequoia Capital as investors and has proven itself to be a part of the SaaS industry's very fabric.
Adobe EchoSign: Founded by Mr. SaaS himself, Jason Lemkin, Adobe Echosign is one of two major representatives from the E-Signature sector in this year's tournament. If Lemkin can get a fraction of the weekly visitors to SaaStr to vote for EchoSign, they may be the 8-seed to watch in this year's tournament.
5) Atlassian vs. Rapportive
Atlassian: The host of a veritable arsenal of business solutions that range from organizational communication (Hipchat) to Customer Success (Jira Service Desk). Matching up against Atlassian is like going against a North Carolina, Duke or Georgetown -- you're facing an imposing, pedigreed cornerstone of the game you're playing. My favorite thing about Atlassian: They're based out of Sydney. Never sleep on a bunch of Aussies.
Rapportive: Spearheaded initially by two towering figures in SaaS, Ryan Buckley and Max Altschuler, Rapportive proves to be one of the more unique products in this year's tournament. The Y Combinator and 500 Startups-backed email tool jam packs valuable information about your contacts in your inbox, so that you're always congnizant of who you're conversing with and able to source important information about them in hyper-efficient fashion. Kuds to Rapportive for taking a top-4 seed, otherwise mostly reserved for big players in Marketing, CRM, Business Intelligence, and Org. communication, by building a bootstrapped, devoted following without being a massive industry juggernaut.
ZoomInfo: ZoomInfo has long been part of the bedrock of the Boston tech scene, chugging along mightily since its founding in 2000. If you're looking for lead sourcing, you can't miss these guys. (We sure didn't at Ambition). Other high-powered contact databases have popped up in recent years, but ZoomInfo, like its unsung NCAA counterparts Butler, Marquette, and the like, just continues a consistent run of under-the-radar high performance.
Zendesk: Zendesk is to the Customer Success sector of SaaS what Gonzaga is to the West Coast Conference -- the undisputed leader of its tribe and a model of consistency. Zendesk IPO'ed last Spring and is showing no signs of slowing down. In terms of investors, everyone from Redpoint Ventures to GGV Capital to Goldman Sachs is behind them. (A surefire sign your SaaS company is on a stratospheric trajectory -- Goldman Sachs wants a piece of the action). This is a very dangerous squad in this year's tournament.
Base: "'CRM' is a passe term. How about Intelligent 'Sales Productivity Platform?'" Base is a compelling tool for managing sales teams and driving productivity. They're the top Mobile CRM app, deliver an array of unique features, and possess a total customer base of over 5,000 companies. As a 10-seed, they're dangerous.
DocuSign: DocuSign is the creme-de-la-creme of E-Signatures and is a company in need of very little introduction. Its users number in the millions, it's beloved by closers everywhere, and its made a task every person to walk this Earth has hated since the beginning of time, signing documents, much less painless. DocuSign was also the 1st Round opponent of our company, Ambition, surviving our upset bid and looking as strong as ever heading into Round 2.
Tuesday Matchups - Region #4
1) Salesforce vs. 8) Optimizely
Salesforce: If Salesforce were a college basketball team, they would be Duke. Larger-than-life pedigree, blockbuster clout, legendary leadership. The first SaaS company to hit it big, Salesforce sets the tone for this tournament -- hell, probably half the competitors here are on its App Exchange. Welcome to the Region of Death.
Optimizely: This one's for the people who love inbound. Optimizely is a website optimization tool that utilizes features such as A/B testing, data analytics on site conversions and traffic flow, and mobile-friendly site strategizing. Backed by some major names (Andreesen-Horowitz and Bain Capital, to name two), Optimizely is one of the more unique marketing-focused SaaS companies in this year's tournament. They will have their hands full with Salesforce in Round 2.
Stripe: It's hard to become a major leader in B2B tech if you're customers don't actually pay you. Stripe, a company that needs no introduction, is the sole payment-oriented SaaS solution to make the tournament, and they're likely to stick around. We're Stripe users here at Ambition, and if you're in a SaaS company yourself, my guess is that you do as well. A compelling matchup against upstart FrontApp awaits Stripe in Round 2.
FrontApp: The fact that FrontApp enters the tournament as a 13-seed, having only been founded 16 months ago is testament to the greatness of its idea (creating a collaborative email inbox) and quality of its engineering. The company just closed a $3 million dollar Seed Round in October, and is building up a major head of steam in 2015. A double-digit seed worth watching, FrontApp lived up to the hype and soundly handled 4-seed Pardot in Round 1. The matchup against Stripe is one of the more intriguing ones in Round 2.
Pipedrive: The CRM for the little guy, Pipedrive powers a wide array of startups and small businesses at a highly affordable cost. Our fellow Chattanooga brethren Bellhops are users and staunch advocates. We called Pipedrive's 1st Round upset over InfusionSoft, although they'll be hard-pressed to replicate that outcome in their Round 2 matchup against the much more formidable Box.
Box: As dangerous as any 3-seed in this tourney, Box highlights why this is the Region of Death. The cloud storage solution is a household name. A January IPO, valuation north of $1 billion, and designation as 1 of the 5 SaaS companies your grandmother might actually know are just a few of the many, many things Box has going for it.
Yesware: Another one of Boston, Mass's finest has a staked major foothold in the sales automation and analytics sector. (I'm a long-time user and advocate). If you're in B2B sales, Yesware is a name you know, and a company that enjoys one of the best reputations as well. They prevailed easily over Mixpanel and now have an epic Round 2 draw versus direct competitor PersitIQ.
PersistIQ: The email automation and analytics platform is one of the newest SaaS industry members to make this tournament. Already making major inroads into the sales acceleration sector, PersistIQ is a company with huge upside. What it lacks in major funding and customer base, it makes up for in potential, early successes (ex. backing from Y Combinator) and the quality of the software itself. Their exhilarating, single-vote upset over KISSmetrics in Round 1 was nothing short of stunning, leading to an epic Round 2 matchup with direct competitor Yesware. Familiarity breeds contempt.
Join us Monday at 9am EST for Round 2 of March SaaSness. We'll see you then!
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