Blue Horizon’s reading list is a curated collection of articles for SaaS founders and management teams. We are entrepreneurs and operators who have lived through the process of founding and scaling software companies. Here are the articles and resources we found useful this month.

Time to Upgrade the Startup’s Functional Areas
by David Cummings

Now’s the time to upgrade the startup’s functional areas. While growth rate is still one of the biggest drivers of valuation, there’s a mind shift, albeit for a limited period of time, to focus on refurbishing core elements of the business in anticipation of the next level of scale. Internally, the trick is to frame it as a rebuilding or upleveling mission, one that’s aligned with the larger vision.

5 Signs You (Finally) Have Early Product-Market Fit
by Jason Lemkin

▪️ Your customer count is doubling monthly, even from a small base
▪️ You are getting word-of-mouth customers from existing customers
▪️ You are growing > 100% at $500k+ in ARR
▪️ Enterprise prospects and potential customers are finding you
▪️ You have more leads than you can call back

Discovering Your Ideal Users: How Visily Scaled to 100K Signups in 5 Steps
by OpenView Partners

The 5 steps for discovering your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP):
▪️ Formulate a hypothesis
▪️ Conduct prospective ICP interviews (not just customer interviews)
▪️ Confirm your findings with segmented usage data
▪️ Align roadmap, messaging, and channels
▪️ Establish “ICP Confirmation Metrics”

Marketing Teams as Hedge Funds
by Tomasz Tunguz

I think of marketing teams as hedge funds. Marketing teams develop a portfolio of different strategies to acquire leads…Like an investment portfolio, any individual strategy may thrive one day & suffer the next. But as the effort broadens, leads compound at a steadier & steadier rate…By developing a portfolio of strategies, marketing teams can leap from one surge to the next, all the while establishing greater lead generation volumes.

Changing ACVs: The Hidden Control Lever of SaaS Company Value
by SaaS Capital

Continuing to walk Annual Contract Value (ACV) upward (until you get resistance) is a smart way to ensure that you are capturing as much of the surplus as the market will bear, in economic terms. But in behavioral terms, it might be good to think about rising ACVs as holding your business to a high standard: your customers (old and new) will only continually increase what they pay if you, in turn, increase the value you deliver. By demanding higher pricing of your customers, you are asking them to demand higher performance of your team, as well. This virtuous cycle of creating mutual value might well be the most important part of the lesson of ACV.

About US

Blue Horizon acquires and invests in profitable software businesses with stable recurring revenue streams. The Blue Horizon platform combines long-term capital and industry expertise with an operating model that enables businesses and their leaders to focus on growth and profitability.