Zero to $50M – A Roadmap of the Key Stages, and How to Win at Each Stage




There are seven key stages in a startup’s evolution from $0m to $50m in revenue. Understanding where you are in that evolution, and how to act at each stage is critical for success, as what is appropriate at one stage is not appropriate at another stage. In my talk at SaaStr 2018, I will lay out the roadmap, and detail the keys to success at each stage. The talk is aimed at technical/product founders plus their sales, marketing & product executives who are responsible for the go-to-market strategy for their company.


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David Skok

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  • Larry


    With regard to your slide #21, I find it’s useful to chart the ARR growth rate as percentages of the ARR balance reaching the target growth rate. For example, if retention is 95%, upsell (expansion) is 20%, and new logo ARR is 20% then overall growth rate is 95% + 20% + 20% or 135% (35% growth rate). This emphasizes the importance of these three components in overall growth. I’ve observed a tendency to over-rotate to new logo business. Particularly if you look at the cost of a point of new logo growth versus a point of expansion or retention.

  • Hi Larry, great input. I like it and will give it a try with portfolio companies. Many thanks for the contribution!
    Best, David

  • Jean-Paul Damen

    In Telecoms as in Dutch SAAS I have been using the same 3 components and even 1 extra for measuring growth. The only thing is we used different names. Base income + upsell + cross-sell + new business

  • Jean, in a situation where you have both upsell and cross-sell, and where it’s useful to know how each are doing, that’s a great solution. Many thanks for taking the time to help other readers.

    Best, David

  • Tom McGovern

    i see 117 slides. whats the tldr?

  • Hi Tom, as you might expect it is impossible to summarize in much less than that number of slides how to grow a company from $0 to $50m. My apologies, but this is already dramatically cut down from the very large numbers of slides that I will use in an upcoming session to really explore this topic properly.
    Some quick takeways:

    * There are 7 stages that a startup goes through to get to a Repeatable, Scalable and Profitable Growth process * It is critical not to try to force progress by jumping to the next step before you have completed the one you are in * The slides detail what actions to take at each stage (highly summarized), and what results you should see before you jump to the next stage * They also explore how to turn your product into a salesperson, using the concept of “Time to Wow!”
    Best, David

  • Sue

    I’ve gone through up to slide 67 (2 wows), but after that the rest are black/blank. Am I missing something?

  • Jeremie Rodger

    @dskok:disqus are you able to provide a PDF link download? I wish to add it to my company onboarding required reading for our management team.

  • Hi Sue, I’ll check shortly and also send you a link to the PST file on Dropbox

  • Jeremie Rodger

    Would also love a copy. thanks!

  • Hi Jeremy, a link to the PDF file is here:

  • Hi Jeremie, a link to the PDF file is here:

  • Hi Sue, you can find a link to a PDF version of the slides here:

    Thanks, David

  • Jeremie Rodger

    Awesome. Thanks!

  • Hey David disqus it is a great presentation, as it features some of main points in startups success. I have got your presentation downloaded. Always been the admirer of your blog.

  • Thanks Dhananjay!

    David Skok
    Matrix Partners

    *T*: +1-617494-1223
    *A*: 101 Main Street, 17th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02142
    *Twitter*: @BostonVC

  • Robert Courteau

    I found your presentation and slides on Ottawa’s L-Spark website, and it was a great presentation with great slides. Thanks for the help David!

  • Awesome presentation. Very well explained and motivated me to show some efforts . No doubt being a entrepreneur is not so easy we have to sacrifice our wishes , time , relationships in start to become successful in business and to make future bright for our self and for others as well.
    Thanks for sharing this experience

  • Harman Gomez

    Since you mentioned cash is important for survival.

    Do you advice to have any emergency fund for your start up ? Specially when you are new.
    I have launched a new website for top best contents :
    and I do not make any income out of it, at this point, hence I am thinking it would be wise to have some emergency fund for this type ?

  • Thumbs up for your efforts!

  • Alan Melton

    Excellent article! We identify five steps to business freedom.
    1. Creation
    2. Disorder
    3. Control
    4. Prosperity
    5. Freedom

    However, I like how you break down stages in more detail!

  • Jonathan

    Very nice read! I’d like to share some insights to the Korean startup ecosystem for anyone interested:

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