SaaStr Podcast #108: Peter Gassner, Founder & CEO @ Veeva Systems On Growing to $500m in ARR

  • Veeva has raised $4 million: They are doing $500 million in annual recurring revenue.

  • Early traits that were helpful for founding a company: I always liked to play with puzzles. I like math. I like to play things out inside my mind.

  • I saw the potential for the cloud early: I worked at Peoplesoft and Salesforce. I decided to start my own company because I wanted to do something for a specific industry. [Life Sciences] I thought that would be the next wave for the cloud. 

  • The goal when starting Veeva: To avoid going out of business. Most startups go out of business.

  • How to maintain laser focus: No plan beyond 90 days. This helped us generate the revenue required to stay alive. Focus pays off. If you remove distractions and remove distractions and remove distractions– that has a way of focusing you. We might not survive unless we do these things in 90 days. You perform better with focus. Focus pays off.

  • An unexpected surprise: I liked being CEO. Before I just wanted to focus on product - not management/fundraising. I think the reason I ended up liking it is because it is complex. It is a very challenging puzzle.

  • How Peter defines a market: What price do you think you can get for something and how many people will buy it?

  • How Peter thinks about pricing: Economics will take care of themselves as long as you have the courage to price your product at what it is worth. Set the price right so you can keep on making a good quality product. If you sell the product too low you won’t be able to continue to make the product. You won’t have the money required.

  • Be incremental in your pricing: You won’t really know until your product starts maturing. How good is my product? How valuable is it? How much can it produce for my customers?

  • What do you know now that you wished you knew at the beginning of Veeva: I would have focused on how I could improve myself. The best thing I can do for Veeva is improve myself. I would have focused on that earlier.

  • Full podcast here.