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Growth Expectations Plunge Among Private Software Companies, KeyBanc

August 12, 2020, 08:45 AM
Filed Under: Software

KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. (KBCM), the corporate and investment banking unit of KeyCorp released results from its Technology Group's 11th annual Private SaaS Company Survey (formerly known as the Pacific Crest Securities Private SaaS Company Survey), the benchmarking report by which the Software-as-a-Service industry measures financial and operating performance. This year's survey, which had over 500 private SaaS company respondents, focused on the impact of COVID-19.

One key finding is that top-line median 2020 growth expectations have been cut roughly in half, compared to last year's growth and initial 2020 estimates entering the year. The median 2020 growth rate outlook for companies with annual recurring revenues (ARR) of at least $5 million is approximately 20 percent, a major decline from the 36 percent median growth achieved in 2019 and the nearly 40 percent original outlook for 2020. Even the fastest growing companies are seeing a significant slowdown, with the top quartile growers in 2019 seeing a median reduction of ARR growth from 96 percent in 2019, to 41 percent now expected for 2020.

The vast majority of companies in the survey have reduced their 2020 forecasts by at least 5 percent, with only 13 percent of respondents expecting zero impact or a positive tailwind. Notable positive outliers include SaaS businesses that accelerate work-from-home, virtual and e-commerce operations, as well as those serving the Infrastructure Software, DevOps and Security sectors.

"These results are startling, perhaps, but not surprising. An economic crisis of this magnitude simply must take a toll, even if there are counter-balancing opportunities," said David Spitz, Managing Director of KBCM's Technology Group and primary author of the survey. "For most, the net impact is negative near term, but importantly, these businesses are still showing tremendous relative growth in an otherwise incredibly difficult economic environment. The data show where the pockets of strength are, by category, where the challenges are, and how different companies are responding operationally."

In the midst of COVID-19, the KBCM Private SaaS Company Survey establishes operational and financial benchmarking data for executives and investors in SaaS companies, from go-to-market selling strategies, customer retention rates and customer acquisition costs, to operational management, growth and margin structures. To view the full survey results and to hear a deeper analysis of the findings, visit

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