James Yorston


10 years in technology most recently as Director of Engineering, VC at Carta

I've got a background in a number of sectors including FinTech, E-Commerce and Academic Research.

LinkedIn, X, GitHub

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Death by SaaS ☠️

In the last 10 years of building and scaling startups, I’ve frequently encountered the critical decision: “Buy or Build?” With so many great SaaS solutions available, the choice often seems straightforward, but it can be akin to making a deal with the devil.

As you reach market fit and begin to scale, the reality sets in:

Exploding Costs: What started with generous free tiers soon scales exponentially.

Diminishing Value: Costs bloat, but the return on investment dwindles.

Inevitable Migration: Leaving a once-ideal product solely due to cost

It doesn’t have to be this way! SaaS providers are missing a trick. Free and enterprise tiers work. What about the rest of us?

The Solution?

  1. Focus on Scaling & Mid-Market: Cater to this segment correctly. This fuels long-term partnerships and growth.
  2. Value Early Adopters: Reduce churn and acknowledge the changing needs of early customers.
  3. Revamp Negotiation Dynamics: Make it easier for customers to stay without the hassle.

This approach facilitates a win-win scenario. SaaS providers retain scaling, long-term customers, while founders and tech leaders maintain the benefits they once cherished.

After all, 90% of businesses worldwide are SMEs.