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March SaaSness: Sweet 16 Preview

March 25, 2015 · Jeremy Boudinet · 9 Minute Read

If you're unfamiliar 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.

March SaaSness 2015 Sweet 16

Sweet 16 Matchups

Sweet 16 matchups on the left side of the bracket will take place on Thursday, March 26th, starting at 9am EST. Matchups on the right side of the bracket will occur the following day, Friday, March 27th.

Voting will be open both days from 9am-9pm EST. As with the 1st & 2nd Rounds, we'll be live updating the 'scores' (voting results) of all of our matchups on the Ambition Twitter account. Voting will take place via Google Form, which we will link to on this blog post and on our LinkedIn and Twitter pages. After 10,000+ votes cast in Rounds 1 & 2, these are the 16 companies still standing.

Thursday Matchups

1) Dropbox vs. 5) Tableau 

Dropbox:  Founded in 2006 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. 

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. 

3) Silverpop vs. 15) Infer

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.

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, upset LogMeIn in Round 2, and is proving to be the SaaS-version of the 2013 Florida Gulf Coast Team.

1) Hubspot vs. 5) Domo

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.

​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.

11) Clearslide vs. 10) SalesLoft

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 has made a Cinderella run to the Sweet 16, and now collides with SalesLoft in an epic matchup.

SalesLoft: Fresh off a 1st Round victory over direct Sales Acceleration competitor, InsideSales.com, and 2nd Round win over fellow Atlanta tech giant, Mailchimp, SalesLoft enters the Sweet 16 on as much of a roll as any tournament competitor.  They face their first matchup versus a Silicon Valley heavyweight in ClearSlide.

 

Friday Matchups

1) Evernote vs. 5) Atlassian

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.  

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.

3) Zendesk vs. 2) DocuSign

​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.

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 in a convincing victory over Base. They are a serious contender heading into the Sweet 16.

8) Optimizely vs. 13) FrontApp

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 utterly dismantled Salesforce in Round 2, and face fellow up-and-comer FrontApp now in the Sweet 16.

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 came down to the wire, and now they have a major draw against 8-seed Optimizely.

3) Box vs. 10) Yesware

​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, put away director competitor PersistIQ, but now face their toughest challenge in Box.

Join us Thursday and Friday at 9am EST for the Sweet 16 of March SaaSness.  We'll see you then!

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