OpenView’s 2019 Expansion SaaS Benchmarks Report Explores the Gender Gap in Software Companies, the Rise of Product Led Growth and Smashing SaaS Founder Stereotypes

Today, OpenView, the expansion stage venture capital firm, released the results of the 2019 Expansion SaaS Benchmarks survey. This year’s report was based on data from more than 500 SaaS companies, ranging from pre-revenue to $150M+ in ARR.

The 2019 Expansion SaaS Benchmarks Report culls data from SaaS organizations of all sizes and stages to help these businesses understand what does and does not work when it comes to building a generational software company.

From the survey data, it’s clear that there’s still a large parity gap when it comes to leadership positions and seats in the boardroom.

OpenView has been benchmarking gender parity in leadership positions for the past three years, and found that gender parity in leadership positions has increased from 12% in 2017 to 14% in 2019. While there has been growth, there is still a long way to go. At this rate, there won’t be full gender parity in leadership positions until 2055.

Devon McDonald, Partner at OpenView, explains, “We saw a big spike in women taking on leadership positions during the height of the #MeToo movement. Unfortunately, it seems like things have slowed down a bit and that initiative has once again taken a back seat. We’re hoping that legislation will force companies to rethink their leadership and board strategy. Our data shows that companies with an equal or female-dominated leadership team grew at faster rates than their male dominated peers (115% vs. 99% year-on-year growth). The proof is in the numbers, yet people are seemingly scared to take the leap and make diversity a priority.”

Additional findings from the 2019 report include:

  • Product led growth (PLG) is becoming the norm: More than four-in-five survey respondents say they’ve adopted at least one PLG tactic such as a free trial offer, in-product self onboarding for new users and product analytics for decision making. However, there is significant room to embrace PLG. Only 33% say that product led growth is truly fundamental to their business strategy.
  • What keeps founders up at night: Product execution and go-to-market (GTM) execution were founders’ top two concerns regardless of company size with just one exception (hiring was the #1 priority for those with $1-2.5M in ARR). Despite concerns of an impending economic downturn, fundraising was only a top concern for 22% of founders.
    SaaS founder stereotypes: The data shows that founders over the age of 30 operate companies that perform better. While they might not make headlines, these founders see 65% higher growth and 45% less monthly cash burn than their younger peers.
  • The 2019 Expansion SaaS Benchmarks survey is sponsored by Oracle NetSuite and conducted in partnership with High Alpha, Point Nine, Foundry, Boldstart, Karma, MMC, iNovia, U Toronto, Visible, BGV, lool, TLV Partners, Notion Capital, Espresso Capital, Costanoa, RRE, Chicago Ventures and Beacon9.

About OpenView
OpenView, the expansion stage venture firm, helps build rapidly expanding software companies into market leaders. Through our expansion platform, we help companies hire the best talent, acquire and retain the right customers and partner with industry leaders so they can dominate their markets. Our focus on the expansion stage makes us uniquely suited to provide truly tailored operational support to our portfolio companies. Learn more about OpenView at