Software is Eating the World

Marc Andreessen once famously wrote, “software is eating the world.”
He wrote this in a Wall Street Journal article over a decade ago, and in the article Andreessen went on to write that his “theory is that we are in the middle of a dramatic and broad technological and economic shift in which software companies are poised to take over large swathes of the economy.”

This undoubtedly has proved true, and continues to accelerate. A number of the companies Andreessen referenced in the article were huge then, and many have become even bigger, companies like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Netflix, Spotify, etc. But he didn’t just talk about companies that we think of as software or technology companies, he referenced other traditional businesses, such as FedEx, Wal-Mart, AT&T, airlines, oil & gas companies, and so on, essentially almost any business in almost any industry. To that point specifically, he wrote, “Companies in every industry need to assume that a software revolution is coming.” Just observing ubiquitous universal smart phone behavior, the proliferation of mobile apps, and the power and reach of social media, all of which are powered by incredibly sophisticated and interconnected software, tells us viscerally this has come to pass.

SaaS is Eating Software and the “Anything as a Service” Future

Another point Andreessen made was that “more and more businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services.” That latter point is what motivated me to join SaaShop: software that is taking over the world is increasingly delivered as an online subscription service. The resulting acronym for Software as a Service, or SaaS, is now the dominant software delivery and business model. If you are close to technology, that’s likely not new, and you’re probably also familiar with its cousins PaaS (Platform as a Service), and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), and all manner of other “as a Service” offerings. I mean, what today isn’t available “as a service?” Now it’s literally anything: groceries and full meals with preparation instructions or already cooked, razors, A/C air filters, coffee, wine, craft boxes, dog food, even Viagra via a site called Roman, but back to software, and why the SaaS transformation made SaaShop so exciting to me.

The subscription software model spans enterprise B2B software, like Office 365, Salesforce, and ServiceNow, to common consumer products, like Netflix, Spotify and Dropbox. Almost anyone with a smartphone subscribes to multiple applications, and in the case of businesses, there can be dozens of SaaS applications, even well over 100 in many cases.

Needless to say, this proliferation of software subscriptions and the benefits and convenience SaaS provides over traditional packaged software, e.g., you can cancel, add or decrease users, get updates in near real time, and so on, comes at a cost: it’s a pain to keep up with all the different apps, subscriptions, licenses and users, invoices, payment methods, etc., not to mention that every vendor has a different interface and process for paying, increasing or decreasing users, upgrading or downgrading, finding past invoices for accounting, etc. Think of your own personal experiences, and then extend that to businesses with dozens, hundreds or thousands of users. How many times have you discovered an active subscription for something you’re not using? SaaShop is focused on making this easy by providing a simple, one-stop-shop for all your subscription software.

What Does SaaShop Do?

First, I’ll just state what SaaShop does: SaaShop enables small and medium-size businesses or enterprises (SMEs) to buy and manage all their subscription software in one place. The vision is a free, frictionless marketplace where the purchase and management of essentially any SaaS offering can be consolidated with any other SaaS products using a single simple interface.

There are three dimensions to the SaaShop platform: Buyers, the companies that buy and use subscription software, Sellers, the software vendors producing and selling SaaS products, and partners, businesses with expertise in various applications, use cases and industries, that, when needed, can help Buyers with installation, configuration, training, integrations and so on. Sellers will be able to add their new SaaS solutions to the platform without intervention by SaaShop, and immediately begin promoting them to Buyers. There is a literal explosion of SaaS products, and all of them are going to have to figure out how to allow their customers to do business with them online, e.g., processing orders, managing licenses, and so on, myriad repetitive tasks that take focus and resources away from growing their business. Partners will also be able to advertise their services to Buyers of certain products that are in certain industries, or those with specialized needs or implementing particular use cases.

So, in short, in addition to being a simple way to buy and manage subscription software, SaaShop is creating an ecosystem that brings together Buyers, Sellers and IT services providers.

Some Facts and Figures

According to the US Small Business Administration there are over 30 million small businesses in the US. Granted, most of these, over 25 million, are what are termed “non-employer” businesses, which can include professions like performing artists, independent drivers, pet care, real estate salespeople, handymen, any 1099 contractor or member of the “gig economy,” and so on, but there are still well over 5 million SMBs with 1-499 employees in the US alone. And there are many millions more outside the US.

Research indicates there are over 16,000 SaaS companies in the US alone, and thousands more outside the US, with new ones created and launched every day.

In short, there is a huge market opportunity for making the process of buying and managing SaaS products simple, even enjoyable, if such a thing is possible.

I’m Joining SaaShop

My name is Greg Milliken and I’ve joined SaaShop because the company is very well-positioned to take advantage of the massive transformation that Andreessen spoke about back in 2011. I’m helping start up US operations as president of SaaShop, Inc. based in Austin, TX, the live music capital of the world, home to SXSW and ACL, a thriving technology and business hub, and the new home of Tesla, Oracle and so many others. It’s hot here, in more ways than one.

The corporate headquarters of SaaShop is in Finland, a wondrous land of ice holes, saunas, blood sausage, and some of the most honest and productive people in the world. Finland was also recently proclaimed the happiest country in the world, so who said you had to smile to be happy?

My relationship with Finland also predates SaaShop, as I also started the US operations of another Finnish company in the information management space, M-Files, back before Andreessen had even written his article referenced above. So, I’ve been here before, and done the ice hole and smoke sauna many times. M-Files is well on its way, growing fast and delivering truly world-class SaaS metrics itself, so it was a great time for me to step into an exciting new business like SaaShop that has both massive potential and is at an earlier stage in its life, where I am most passionate and at home.

So, thanks for having me, SaaShop team, I’m looking forward to an amazing ride!

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