What Does it Take to Be a Top Performing SaaS Company?

Published on
June 25, 2024
Marton Medveczky

When it comes to closing their latest funding round, founders are more than happy to take to the streets of LinkedIn to shout about it. But when it comes to revenue figures, they tend to be quieter.

A new report from data platform Dealroom and UK-based investor Flashpoint has gathered revenue data to try and paint a picture of how SaaS startups at various stages of maturity are doing when it comes to revenue generation, specifically focusing on efficiency and how much companies at different stages typically bring in per employee.

Dealroom based its figures on publicly available data gathered on its platform, while Flashpoint pulled numbers from its startup dealflow. Between them, 1,717 companies were included in the dataset from across Europe.

1. Does it pay to be bootstrapped?

The report revealed that bootstrapped companies — those that haven’t taken external, institutional capital — pulled in more revenue per employee than those with small amounts of VC funding (less than $5m).

The revenue generated by companies that raised more than $5m surpassed the amount brought in by those that were bootstrapped — especially in the top decile.

A Flourish chart

2. The top decile startups typically generate three to four times the revenue per employee than the median

The top decile of startups in the dataset produced $150k-200k per employee across different funding and growth stages — that means hitting $5m in annual recurring revenue (ARR) with 25-33 people in the team, according to the data.

A Flourish chart

The top 10% of performers brought in three to four times the amount of revenue per employee than the median across all stages. The gap was biggest in the early stages; Flashpoint’s data showed that top decile companies brought in 4.2 times more revenue than the median for companies with up to 50 employees.

The difference between the revenue of the top decile and the bottom decile is even wider, at around 10x.

3. Revenue per employee stays stable regardless of company size

A Flourish chart

Flashpoint’s data showed that the median amount of revenue generated by company size doesn’t fluctuate too much as startups grow. The median was $40k per head for startups with both 5-20 employees and 20-50. Those with 50-100 staff generated $50k per employee, and those with 100-200 people generated $43k per head.

The top decile shows similarly stable levels. Companies with 5-20 employees produced $169k per head, those with both 20-50 and 100-200 employees produced $167k per person. Companies with 50-100 produced the lowest amount of revenue per person, at $141k.

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