Blake Bartlett PLG 123

Top 3 Things We Learned from PLG123 in 2021

With $1 billion ARR, over 100% year over year growth, and a $40 billion valuation, Canva is absolutely crushing it. Not only that, but they’re expecting $1 billion ARR by EOY 2021. This all would not be possible without product-led growth.

Not convinced? Postscript (an OpenView portfolio company) has seen 400% YoY growth and Loom has seen 900% YoY growth. But it’s more than just a bottoms up sales motion that drives this sort of bonkers year over year growth.

As 2021 comes to a close we wanted to highlight some of the top product-led growth (PLG) trends this year.

ICYMI each week OpenView Partner Blake Bartlett breaks down the latest, greatest (and not-so-greatest) businesses and trends in the ever-changing world of SaaS, VC, and PLG.

>> Follow Blake on LinkedIn to see PLG123 

Here’s what we’ve had our eye on this year:

1. PLG is Powering Productivity and Hybrid Work

Anyone else feel like they see a new productivity tool launched every day on Product Hunt? Same. 

While certain products hopped on the productivity tool bandwagon following this remote-work era, companies like Calendly (an OpenView portfolio company) who were already serving these needs were able to create efficient, scalable distribution models. However this didn’t stop new players from entering the space, for instance Warmly has the potential to replace your contact book, and maybe even your CRM, by acting as a Zoom business card. 

The collaborative nature of the productivity space unlocks scalable distribution for both of these businesses, and they use product-led growth to solve for universal pain points. It’s a win-win for everyone.

2. Fintech + PLG = The Future

If we had to pick our top buzzword for 2021 it would be fintech. But sadly, this has nothing to do with any sort of shark technology.

However this does have to do with financial tech taking the SaaS stage by storm. For example, Stripe released Payment Links which is kinda like Calendly, but for payments. A simple product with huge potential for virality.

Those who weren’t building were busy acquiring. Fintech powerhouses Square and Afterpay teamed to grow their B2B audiences. Square acquired Afterpay for $29 billion,  joining the other fintech acquisitions like Klarna at $46 billion and Affirm at $18 billion. As acquisition costs get higher, the fintech spotlight gets brighter.

3. The Lines Between B2B and B2C are Getting Blurry Thanks to PLG

When was the last time you went to a new restaurant without looking up reviews first? If you’re like me, it’s been longer than you’d want to admit.

Due to this vetting process we’ve all become accustomed to thanks to the Yelpers and Googler reviewers of the internet, G2 is becoming the place where technology buyers start their customer journey. And it continues to guide them throughout the process meaning people are treating the B2B software buying process like they treat any other B2C online purchase.

Similarly, we’re seeing B2C players dip their toes into the B2B space by releasing enterprise offerings. For example, Grammarly is showing us the future of PLG where the lines between B2C and B2B are totally erased. In other words, TAM for everyone.

2021 proved to be a year almost as wild as 2020. Even if things got a little weird sometimes, we’re inspired by how much the PLG space has evolved over the past year. We can’t wait to see how this community and product-led growth continues to unfold, but until then you know we’ll keep our eyes peeled on the here on the PLG123 👀🍌.

See all PLG 123 episodes on this channel here.

Companies discussed or referenced herein were selected for informational purposes only and are not intended to represent investment performance of any OpenView advisory client or how OpenView investments will perform in the future. The reader should not assume that investments in the companies discussed were or will be profitable. Please see a list of all OpenView investments, past and current, at openviewpartners.com/portfolio.

Meg Johnson
Meg Johnson
Senior Manager of Creative Strategy
OpenView

As OpenView's Senior Manager of Creative Strategy Meg leads brand development for the firm. Obsessed with software, user experience and design thinking, she works to understand and scale OpenView's brand awareness through thought leadership content programs including: OpenView's podcast 'BUILD with Blake Bartlett' along with the video series 'PLG123' and 'Weekly Walks with Casey Renner'.
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