BCG’s playbook: Winning strategies of hypergrowth SaaS champions + more

By  Recuro
May 10th 2023
Read time: 
4 minutes
Table of contents
Weekly News Roundup
1. Retail subscriptions hold their appeal for many, as retention takes the spotlight – PYMNTS

Despite belt-tightening among consumers, retail subscriptions in the US proved resilient in the first quarter and show no signs of weakening, offering proof points on the power of personalization and convenience when consumers decide where to spend, according to a report conducted by PYMNTS.

“That study noted that merchant index scores averaged 55.5 in February 2023, up from 48.7 in September 2022, with retail product subscriptions rallying by 6.6 percentage points among millennials and 5.6 percentage points among high-income consumers, although the consumers are not adding new subscriptions at pandemic-era levels as they become far more selective.”

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2. Apple Services revenue hits record high – Variety

Apple’s revenue declined again in the March 2023 quarter, marking its second consecutive quarterly drop in sales. But the tech giant topped Wall Street forecasts, with iPhone sales showing unexpected strength and with its services business hitting a new record for revenue.

“Apple’s Services revenue rose 5.5%, to $20.9 billion, edging above $20.8 billion for the year-end 2022 quarter. The segment includes the App Store, Apple Pay, and subscription services such as Apple TV+, Apple Music and iCloud.”

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3. More than half of Twitter Blue’s earliest subscribers are no longer subscribed – Mashable 

Out of about 150,000 early subscribers to Twitter Blue, just around 68,000 have stuck around and maintained a paid subscription as of April 30, writes Mashable.

“Twitter Blue is a paid offering from Twitter which provides subscribers with premium features such as an edit tweet button. However, it appears the most enticing features for subscribers are Musk’s featured additions to the service – namely the blue verification checkmark and the algorithm boost that provides Blue subscribers with prioritization in the For You feed and in the replies to tweets.”

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4. Edtech house Chegg’s share price halves after blaming ChatGPT for subscription dip – The Register

Student app maker Chegg’s stock price plummeted nearly 50 per cent recently, wiping nearly $1 billion off its market valuation, after the education technology business blamed a slowdown in subscriptions on ChatGPT. Chegg’s CEO says it’s ‘not a sky falling thing,’ but the company is customizing its own LLM just in case.

“[Chegg’s CEO] said Chegg has been working with OpenAI to build an educational chatbot named Cheggmate. The new product is expected to be released in beta mode next month. Chegg hasn’t finalized costs yet, though Rosensweig said subscriptions for the LLM chatbot could start from $15.95 or $19.95 per month.”

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5. Peloton leans into subscriptions as brand revamp continues – Wall Street Journal

The exercise-equipment company said revenue declined 22% last quarter, as demand for connected fitness equipment continued to fall. The New York company’s shift from primarily selling equipment to being one focused on subscriptions is also progressing slowly. Peloton has about 3.1 million subscribers, up 74,000 from the end of December.

“Accelerating subscriber growth is our north star goal at Peloton and remains a challenge that we are fully embracing,” CFO Liz Coddington said. Peloton has added 145,000 subscribers in the past 12 months.”

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Weekly Analysis Roundup

1. How Epidemic Sound uses emotions to prevent churn – Dagens Media

The Swedish company Epidemic Sound, which provides royalty-free music to video creators, have chosen to work with a more emotional tone as a way to prevent customers from clicking on the unsubscribe button. In Dagens Media, Märta Strokirk, head of brand planning at Epidemic Sound, lays out the strategy.

“One might think that emotional communication should be used more in big campaigns, more “top of the funnel”. But we believe in doing it throughout the entire customer journey, and then you have to work incredibly closely between the market, product team and experience team. Our marketing will not be effective if we do not do the work in product as well.”

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2. GP Bullhound’s CFO Handbook for B2B SaaS – LinkedIn

Tech investment bankers GP Bullhound has released its inaugural CFO Handbook, aiming to provide a comprehensive overview for CFOs on how to run B2B SaaS organizations.

“Through interviews with high-performing B2B SaaS businesses, the handbook highlights how CFOs, finance teams, and organizations can leverage standard and industry-specific metrics, benchmarks for various performance levels, traditional revenue and cost reporting, and the processes of a software company’s sales and finance organization, to operate at the highest level.”

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3. Elon Musk thinks he’s got a “major win-win” for news publishers with micropayments – Nieman Lab

Starting next month, Twitter will allow media publishers to charge users on a per article basis with one click, with current owner Elon Musk touting it as a ‘major win-win’ for the media and the public. Joshua Benton, writing for Nieman Lab, is skeptical however, noting that micropayments are neither a new nor well-defined concept.

“Maybe someone will figure out micropayments for news someday. I think it’s unlikely at scale — but I could be wrong! But I am quite confident the man who has spent the past half-year destroying the news media’s favorite online space won’t be the one to do it.”

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4. BCG’s playbook: Winning strategies of hypergrowth SaaS champions – BCG

The global tech industry faces a much tougher environment than a year ago, yet one segment has shown continued resilience and strong growth: B2B SaaS, writes Boston Consulting Group in their recent playbook identifying specific moves that these companies are making to continue their growth.

“To assess the current state of the market, we recently surveyed more than 100 B2B SaaS companies, including a subset of hypergrowth firms that are outpacing their competitors. Our analysis showed how these companies have posted such strong growth amid economic uncertainty.”

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