Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Is SaaS doomed?

If one looks at the stock price development of public SaaS companies in the last few weeks, one could come to the conclusion that SaaS is over the hill. Salesforce.com: 17% down from its 52 week high. Veeva: 30% down from its 52 week high. Workday is 29% down, Box 47%, Hubspot 22%. Everyone got hit, as you can see in Tomasz Tunguz' post about the topic.

There are several reasons why this conclusion (that SaaS is past its prime) is wrong. Firstly, it's not just SaaS stocks which took a dive. The NASDAQ and the Dow Jones are both down more than 13% from their 52 week highs, too. Secondly, as this chart of the BVP Cloud Computing Index shows, SaaS stocks have outperformed the market significantly in the last couple of years, and it's not surprising that when the market corrects, stocks that went up more strongly than others are going down more strongly as well.

More importantly though, while public markets are good at valuing companies in the very long run, short term movements are – if not random – the result of all kinds of factors, most importantly supply and demand for stocks as an asset class, which itself depend on all kinds of factors that are not related to a specific company's ability to generate profits in the long run. That's why long-term public markets investors – let alone SaaS founders or VCs – shouldn't worry about the short-term movements of SaaS stocks. 

Fundamentally, there are lot of reasons to be bullish about the Cloud. I'll follow-up on that with another post soon.

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