Eleven years ago, Alex Theuma was selling software, but he had entrepreneurial aspirations and was fascinated with software companies like Slack and Evernote.
Theuma started a Software as a Service (SaaS) blog called SaaScribe. Next, he launched a podcast, The SaaS Revolution Show, in 2015 and created the first SaaStock in Dublin, Ireland, in 2016.
Today, Theuma is the founder and CEO of SaaStock, an events and media company focused on supporting business-to-business SaaS founders to gain traction, grow, and scale their businesses.
From May 31st through June 2nd, SaaStock Austin will kick off the augural North American conference in downtown Austin. In addition, SaaStock hosts local meetups across the globe, an exclusive founders-only membership program, educational content, and more.
Theuma recently discussed running SaaStock and expanding to Austin for the inaugural Austin SaaStock conference on the Ideas to Invoices podcast. (The conference is 95 percent sold out; some tickets with a 20 percent Silicon Hills News discount are still available here.)
From 2016 to 2018, SaaStock grew 100% yearly, Theuma said.
“I was very much seduced by 100% growth and trying to attain that year over year because I’ve done it for three years in a row,” Theuma said. “And so I set the goal next year at 100% growth as well. I was also then seduced about going international and doing that fast, and I thought about SaaStock being the most global SaaS conference on the planet, having a SaaStock conference on every continent… and growing them all to the size of our Dublin event.”
But he didn’t have the systems and processes to scale the company that fast, and the expansion sucked a lot of cash out of the business. At the end of the year, the company wasn’t profitable. Then the Pandemic struck in 2020, and it was all about survival, Theuma said.
“We lost two-thirds of our revenue, and we reduced our team from 24 to 9 people, and it was very difficult,” he said.
There were tough times, but the business survived through 2020, and in 2022 SaaStock Dublin launched again, with 5,000 people attending from more than 70 countries.
“We had our best year ever,” Theuma said.
He built his team back to 21 people and made the business profitable.
“Part of our growth plan moving forward is bringing Dublin to Austin and scaling up the event, making Austin our home in the US. The US is the biggest market for SaaS, and Austin seems to be the hottest city for tech and SaaS companies,” Theuma said. “So we feel that we’ve made a great choice to not only be in the US but to be in Austin and make that our home for the long haul. Dublin in Ireland has been our first home since 2016, and we want the same longevity in Austin. There’s a lot of synergies between Dublin and Austin.”
SaaStock chose Austin because the city is quirky, and buzzing with startups.
“It’s a fun city with a great vibe,” Theuma said. “It’s inclusive.”
“I want the conference itself to be fun,” he said. “I don’t want it to be a boring business conference, but I want people to have fun in the evening as well. Some of the best moments are not when you’re listening to the talks, or you’re speaking or selling your product at the conference, but it happens in the bars at 10:00 at night: you make your new best friend that might become a long term customer or future employee.”
The Austin SaaStock conference is attracting attendees from all over the world.
“Austin is going to be very relevant wherever you are from, whether you are from the US, Austin itself, or flying over from Europe,” Theuma said.
SaaStock is for B2B SaaS founders and their teams and investors, Theuma said.
“It’s a three-day event, but attendees can also get what they need from it,” Theuma said. “On May 31st, we run something called SaaS.City. It’s a one-day accelerator for your SaaS company led by industry experts.”
SaaStock Austin speakers include Nathan Latka, Founder, and CEO of Founderpath; Chris Walker, CEO of Refine Labs; Meghan Keaney Anderson, vice president of marketing at Jasper; Noah Kagan, Co-Founder and Chief Sumo at AppSumo; Godard Abel, Co-Founder and CEO of G2, Jason Cohen, Founder, and Chief Information Officer of WPEngine and others.
For more on Saastock and Alex Theuma’s entrepreneurial journey, listen to the podcast posted below or on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, or wherever you get your podcasts.