SaaS and marketplace founders, finally united!

A little more than a week ago, around 180 founders from our portfolio, the entire Point Nine crew including our advisors, and two handfuls of special guests convened in a beautiful hotel a bit outside of Barcelona to spend three days and three nights together. If you know us a little, you know that bringing our portfolio together, using online tools like Slack and Honey, as well as in the real world, has always been extremely important to us.

Mikkel at one of the early SaaS Founder Meetups

It all started with the very first PNC SaaS Founder Meetup, a one-day event that took place in San Francisco back in 2012. At that time, we thought that it would be nice to organize a little meetup that would give the founders of our (at that time still small) SaaS portfolio a chance to get to know each other better, compare notes, and learn from each other.

This changed everything.

Well, it didn’t have as much impact on the world as the launch of the iPhone, but it did have a big impact on us, and more importantly, on what we’ve meanwhile come to call the #p9family. After the meetup, many founders told us that they’ve never been to an event that was as useful as this one, and everyone left the meetup energized and eager to implement all the new learnings. It sounds so simple —put a bunch of early-stage SaaS founders into a room and add a few “2–3 stages ahead” SaaS founders and operators — but the result was almost magical. This might sound surprising if you read it today, but keep in mind what the world of SaaS looked like in 2012: SaaStr and SaaStock didn’t exist yet, Jason M. Lemkin was still at EchoSign/Adobe, David Skok was just getting started with his blog, and there weren’t many experienced SaaS entrepreneurs. In other words, it was hard to get good advice on how to build a SaaS company.

Today there is no shortage of startup advice, and yet, comparing notes with fellow entrepreneurs, learning from people who’ve done it before, and spending quality time with a trusted group of like-minded people hasn’t become less valuable. That’s why we’ve been organizing the PNC SaaS Founder Meetup every single year since 2012, and that is also why we’ve started organizing an equivalent event for the founders of our online marketplaces in 2015.

Remember how Steve Jobs announced the very first iPhone?

This year, we decided to merge what would have been the 7th annual PNC SaaS Founder Meetup and the 4th annual Point Nine Marketplace Meetup into one large Point Nine Founder Summit. To say that “This changed everything. Again.” might be a stretch, but finally bringing the entire portfolio together turned out to be a fantastic idea. And interestingly, we’ve found that although there are many SaaS or marketplace specific topics (say, selling to “elephants” or “whales” in SaaS, or increasing liquidity in marketplaces), plenty of the more than 45 keynotes and knowledge learning sessions were relevant for both SaaS and marketplace founders alike.

Below are some more visual impressions from the summit. Huge thanks once again to all speakers, moderators, and attendees from the #p9family, as well as Cristina Fonseca, Jason M. Lemkin, Zack Urlocker and all other guests for their support! We’re already looking forward to the next event in 2019.

Some of the best discussions always take place outside of the official agenda — over dinner, outdoors, in the evening

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