2015 March SaaSness: Elite 8 Preview
After 15,000+ votes cast in Rounds 1, 2 & 3, 8 companies are still standing in March SaaSness. If you're unfamiliar with the 2015 March SaaSness Tournament, these three links will give you everything you need to know.
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.
Elite 8 Matchups
Elite 8 matchups on the left side of the bracket will take place on Monday, March 30th, starting at 9am EST. Matchups on the right side of the bracket will occur the following day, Tuesday, March 31st.
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.
Dropbox: 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. Founded in 2006 by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, 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.
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 throttled SilverPop in the Sweet 16. Now, can they do the unthinkable and upset Dropbox in the Elite 8?
1) Hubspot vs. 11) Clearslide
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.
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 Elite 8, after outlasting SalesLoft in an epic Sweet 16 matchup. Can they take down HubSpot? We'll find out on Monday.
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.
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 convincing victories over Base and ZenDesk. They are a serious contender heading into the Elite 8.
8) Optimizely vs. 3) Box
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 fellow up-and-comer FrontApp in the Sweet 16. Can they shock Box? We'll find out on Tuesday.
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. They face a streaking Optimizely in the Elite 8.
Where to Vote
Voting will take place via Google Form, which we will link to on this blog post and on our LinkedIn and Twitter pages. Voting will begin Monday and Tuesday at 9am EST. Join us then for the Elite 8 of March SaaSness -- our 2015 SaaS champion will be crowned on Friday of this week!
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