On SaaStr Annual Day 1, Scott Dorsey, Managing Partner at High Alpha, joined Gordon Ritter, Founder and General Partner at Emergence Capital Partners, on stage to discuss “The Journey to a Unicorn: And How We’re Doing it Even Better This Time.”
Scott opened up by sharing the ExactTarget success story and encouraged attendees, “You can build amazing SaaS businesses anywhere in the world.”
A major characteristic of ExactTarget’s success was their pervasive culture. Scott noted, “Over the course of time, we realized our culture was a major differentiator. I wanted us to own a color, and that color became ‘Orange.’ It became such a big part of our brand that ‘Orange’ became how we described our culture — it was the thread that powered us throughout the business.”
Scott and Gordon moved on to discuss High Alpha and our new model for entrepreneurship that unites company building and venture capital.
Scott noted, “The combination of big ideas, entrepreneurs, and capital helps you produce amazing, high-growth companies.”
“The combination of big ideas, entrepreneurs, and capital helps you produce amazing, high-growth companies.”
The High Alpha hypothesis is that we can help entrepreneurs move faster and scale quicker on the High Alpha platform. One aspect of that speed has been building partnerships with companies like AWS, Salesforce, and our recently-announced partnership with Appirio.
Scott ended the session by sharing his greatest advice for SaaS founders and companies, boiling his advice down to four key areas:
1. Solve a big problem.
“Make sure you’re solving a real problem and be passionate about the problem you’re solving. Become mission-critical. Become a need-to-have and not a nice-to-have product.”
2. Stay close to the customer.
“Being close to the customer is vital. You can’t build everything your customer wants you to build, but you can discern what they really need the closer you get to them.”
3. Build an incredible team.
“Don’t settle for mediocre talent. Always look for extraordinary people who compliment each other well and compliment you well. This brings another level of diversity and raises the bar, making you a better leader.”
4. Don’t give up.
Be sure to watch the full recording of Scott’s session below: