What is bottom up?

When starting out, founders of software companies often contemplate whether it’s better to pursue a consumer or enterprise idea. Actually, this is a trick question. The perfect software business is a hybrid. It monetizes like an enterprise product but spreads like a consumer product.

I call this Bottom-Up SaaS. This is a category I pioneered with Yammer by taking the product-led growth tactics I had learned as founding COO of PayPal and applying them to enterprise software. Yammer’s revenue grew so quickly that it was acquired by Microsoft for $1.2 billion in under 4 years.

Today, Bottom-Up SaaS is a vibrant category that includes dozens of companies. Most recently, the IPOs of companies like Zoom and Slack have shown how much value can be created when ARR is combined with viral growth.

In this blog, I convey the lessons learned about Bottom-Up SaaS through my experience as a founder/CEO and as an investor in many SaaS companies. I try to write about topics relevant to founders starting or scaling software companies.

Everyone has to start somewhere. You might as well work your way from the Bottom Up. That is where change comes from. That is where revolutions come from.


David Sacks
Founder who backs founders through @craft_ventures. Previously: Created two unicorns, invested in a dozen more. Occasional movie producer.
Ethan Ruby
VP of Analytics @ Craft Ventures and creator of saasgrid.com