Blog

SaaStock USA 2024 review

Christine Luo
Jun 11, 2024
Hero image of SaaStock USA 2024 review

On the introvert to extrovert scale, I’d consider myself squarely in the middle but conferences push my limits. Attending SaaStock USA exhausted my social batteries, but also re-energized me in a way that only happens by being surrounded by fellow founders. 

What is SaaStock?

Admittedly I hadn’t heard of SaaStock before, but I’m also out of the conference scene. After some research, I learned that SaaStock USA was one of the biggest SaaS conferences and happened to be in Austin this year.

SaaStock is a membership-driven community of SaaS founders with events, founder support groups, knowledge bases, and investor relationships all to help their members get to $10M ARR. They have 2 main conferences - SaaStock Dublin and SaaStock USA. SaaStock Dublin is the main event but SaaStock USA still had an impressive list of past speakers and companies.

Deciding to go last-minute

SaaStock was technically already underway when we decided to go. The main conference days were May 14 and 15, but there were various startup workshops and investor-specific networking events happening the day before that didn’t seem as relevant to us. Plus they cost extra.

SaaStock USA 2024's 3 day schedule
SaaStock USA 2024's 3 day schedule

I wouldn’t have traveled for this conference because travel costs are high and the ROI was unknown. However, since it was in Austin, where I live, the barrier to entry was lower. The biggest driver for going was wanting to see what happens if we just put ourselves out there and ask for data. I bought a ticket (after searching for a promo code because money matters) that Monday with the event starting in less than 24 hours.

SaaStock USA 2024 Review

The expo was shaped like a ring of donuts – networking tables at the center, booths surrounding that, and then speaker stages around the edges. It’s clear that the emphasis was on 1:1 networking/booths and less on the speakers. 

In terms of attendance, the majority of companies were either remote hiring companies (Remote, Deel, etc) or pricing and revenue management companies (Paddle, Maxio, etc). I was expecting a wider variety of companies, but if anybody understood the need for pricing transparency - it’s going to be pricing companies.

I spent the morning walking from booth to booth and realized they are all staffed by sales or partnership teams. I needed to find founders or functional leaders to see if our value prop resonated. I began stopping people in the middle of the floor if I spied that their name tag said founder. That also didn’t yield results because those people were headed somewhere and didn’t have time to chat.

During lunch, I pivoted and started setting up 1:1 networking requests through SaaStock’s event portal. Everybody has a profile and attendees can request a 20-minute chat slot in the networking corral. My requests had a 65% acceptance rate and a 100% show rate. I basically spent all of Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday in 1:1 chats which was the way to go. 

Here's a look at my profile in the SaaStock networking portal
Here's a look at my profile in the SaaStock networking portal

Is SaaStock worth attending?

It depends on what you’re looking to achieve. If you’re willing to do the prep work and comb through all the attendees, set up 1:1 chats, and come with a specific ask/topic – then I think it’s worth it. People going to SaaStock are happy to connect and many are in early enough stages of company-building that there’s lots of camaraderie.

I do think SaaStock is lacking a bit in the speaker set-up. With the exception of a few keynote speakers, SaaStock didn’t announce when speakers were starting so they were easy to miss. In addition, I expected speakers to have separate rooms like other conferences I had been to so when I saw that they were on the expo floor, it made them difficult to hear.

The only part I can’t speak to is the pitch competition. There is money on the line for the winner so that might be worth it by itself. Every time I walked by the pitch competition stage, there were people in the audience so there’s exposure as well.

Was it worth it for us?

Yes, it was. There were 3 things we got out of SaaStock that made it worth it:

  1. We connected with one of the keynote speakers who likes our startup. We’ve been getting consistent advice from somebody who founded a company in our space and succeeded
  2. The networking chats were essentially speed dating. I got real-time feedback for my 90-sec PriceLevel introduction by seeing what landed and what didn’t. I now have a much tighter answer to “what is PriceLevel?”
  3. We learned that people wanted to see what sort of benchmarking they would get in exchange for submitting their data. It’s important to show them that it’s a real thing. 

Since SaaStock, we’ve been helping companies identify thousands of dollars in savings by benchmarking their SaaS spend. We’ve pointed out contracts where our users are overspending with real comps for comparison. We also point out when they are getting a great deal. Because it’s important to see what we’re talking about, we’ve included a snippet of our benchmarking report below.

A visual sample of a completed benchmark report
Preview
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