Inside SaaS - August 26th, 2019 |

Inside SaaS (Aug 26th, 2019)

QR payments platform / Saastr founder on going "very, very long" / "Everything as a service"

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1. QR-based merchants payments app BharatPe has raised $50 million in Series B funding. This latest round, which brings the startup's value to $225 million, was led by Hong Kong-based Steadview Capital and Silicon Valley-based Ribbit Capital. BharatPe is a merchant-focused app that offers its users a platform to aggregate all other payment interface apps, including Google Pay and others popular in India. The company works with partner banks to create custom APIs. -- ECONOMIC TIMES

2. From the Forums: SaaStr Founder Jason Lemkin says that SaaS billionaires usually enter ventures prepared to go "very, very long." Lemkin, who has been called the "Godfather of SaaS," notes that the upside rewards of the SaaS model, which can compound exponentially over time, are only reaped by those who install a long-term strategy. Lemkin recalls the time he (briefly) met Jeff Bezos (not a SaaS) and was only able to fumble out an impromptu compliment saying that he was a "super-happy customer." Bezos responded with a large, genuine grin. "I think delighting the customer, for those of us who are really going long and committed, that never gets old," writes Lemkin. -- LEMKIN VIA QUORA

3. Laura Roeder, founder of social media marketing app Meet Edgar, says young startups should focus on paid over organic growth. Founded in 2014, Meet Edgar allows users to sort, store and automate social media updates. In an interview posted on Reddit, she recalls how the company achieved $101,000 in monthly recurring revenue in less than a year after launching. "In SaaS, the sooner you can get a customer, the better," she said. "So we spent way more into paid ads in the first year than we have ever since. Organic takes time, where[as] paid is instant, unless you have insane luck," she added. -- REDDIT

4. Chinese facial recognition company Megvii has filed for a public listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Details and the date of the IPO were not disclosed. However, Reuters reports that the company plans to raise between $500 million and $1 billion and list in the fourth quarter of this year. Megvii is best known in the West as being linked to the Chinese government crackdown of minority Uighurs following a Human Rights Watch report that linked its Face++ app to a mobile app used by Chinese police and officials for mass surveillance. -- TECH CRUNCH

5. Microlending app Tala has raised $110 million in Series D funding to expand global teams. The round was led by California-based RPS Ventures with participation from PayPal and will serve the company as it looks to ramp up hiring at global offices in Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, India, and the United States. Founded in 2011, Tala specializes in providing microloans at $10 to $500 to customers located in emerging markets. Over the past five years, the company has innovatively leveraged smartphone data as a new means to establish creditworthiness. -- FINSMES

6. The emerging variety of SaaS applications has given rise to the "Everything-as-a-service" era. The term has been around for some time, yet is now being more accepted when it comes to defining the rapid proliferation of functions that the SaaS model can now undertake. Under this definition, SaaS is further defined as sub or parallel categories that include Backend-as-service (outsourced backend programming), Content-as-a-service (managing structured content into feeds), and even AI-as-a-service (outsourcing AI programming). -- AMEINFO

7. A-list celebrities are known to make bad investments in the tech startup world. Robert Downey Jr. had invested in Loot Crate, a subscription box service that filed for bankruptcy this month, while Leonardo DiCaprio led a $4 million investment round in 2011 in Israel-based social mobile photo and video sharing app Mobli, which shuttered in 2016. However, some celebrities have proven to be more investment savvy. Notably, Ashton Kutcher's VC firm A-Grade Investments turned $30 million in 2010 into $250 million today by investing in companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Skype, and Spotify. Jared Leto has picked his ventures well, too; he placed stakes in Slack, Uber, Reddit, Headspace, and DocuSign. -- YOURSTORY

This newsletter is written and curated by Justin Calderón. Justin is based out of Barcelona, Spain, and has covered technology and SaaS news for a variety of publications, including the BBC and Newsweek. Follow him on Twitter at @justinfuyun

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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