The 2017 March SaaSness Tournament: Elite 8 Preview
On March 15th, we kicked off the 3rd annual March SaaSness Tournament. 64 SaaS companies entered our NCAA Tournament style bracket, where winners are decided by popular vote.
144,000 votes have been cast in Rounds 1, 2 and 3. Our field has narrowed significantly.
Only 8 companies have survived and advanced to the Elite Eight. Let’s break down the matchups and see who has a shot at entering the Final Four.
2017 March SaaSness: Elight Eight
Here’s the updated Tournament Bracket entering the Elite Eight.
Styles make fights. Here are brief introductions to our 8 remaining companies and analysis of how they stack up in their Elite 8 matchups.
Tuesday (March 28) Matchup – Region 1
Seed: 9. Founded: 2011. HQ: Atlanta. Conference: Sales Acceleration.
Company Background: SalesLoft just finished hosting its 3rd annual Rainmaker Conference and recently raised another major round of funding. The ATL-based sales acceleration company brings that momentum plus 2 years of SaaSness experience to this year’s tourney. Their 2nd Round “Battle for Atlanta” with MailChimp in the 2015 tournament was the single most thrilling matchup in the 2015 tourney. Last year, they suffered a tough Round 1 exit at the hands of Intercom.
Tourney Background: Their returned to form in Round 1, blowing past 2016 runner-up Influitive in one of the most anticipated matchups in this year’s tournament. In one of the epic twists in tourney history, SalesLoft attempted to fall on the sword and vote for their clients Namely to beat them in Round 2. For 36 hours, they appeared to have succeeded – until a final recount declared them the winner by just 5 votes. SalesLoft upended Tableau in the Sweet 16 and now meet Loopio in the Elite Eight.
Seed: 15. Founded: 2014. HQ: Toronto, Ontario. Conference: Marketing.
Company Background: Another representative of Toronto, Loopio makes its March SaaSness debut on the strength of strong nomination numbers and a stellar ranking on G2 Crowd. The content management platform helps companies respond to RFPs, RFIs and Security Questionairres in timely fashion.
Tourney Background: In the 2017 tournament, Loopio responded to the epic challenge posed by their Round 1 matchup versus Slack. They hung close with the 2 seed into the final quarter of voting, then found a 5th gear to charge ahead and seal a spot in Round 2, where they utterly dismantled 2016 Final Four company, InsideSales. In the Sweet 16, they got another tourney veteran: DocuSign. End result: another stunning upset and an Elite Eight matchup versus SalesLoft.
Tuesday (March 28) Matchup – Region 2
Seed: 4. Founded: 2011. HQ: San Jose. Conference: Communications.
Company Background: Your reigning March SaaSness champions. A last-minute addition to the 2016 field, Zoom campaigned its way into the Field of 64 with a very exciting resume. At the forefront of video conferencing, Zoom seems poised to blaze a new trail in how companies communicate while making the world an even smaller place to do business. The sizzle and preliminary hype was backed up in spades, as Zoom launched an unforgettable run to March SaaSness history.
Tourney Background: Can Zoom repeat as champions in 2017? Their title defense began successfully with a Round 1 win over Workfront and an emphatic Round 2 takedown of Box. A super heavyweight bout took place in the Sweet 16, where Zoom 1-seed Hubspot’s come-from-behind bid to the win and advance to the Elite Eight versus Prezi.
Seed: 3. Founded: 2008. HQ: San Francisco. Conference: Presentations.
Company Background: Another March SaaSness newcomer with a peerless industry reputation, Prezi has been disrupting the way people make presentations for almost a full decade. Now offering a SaaS-modeled business presentation platform, Prezi is poised for a potentially deep run in the 2017 tournament.
Tourney Background: Because putting an end to boring slideshow presentations everywhere is a cause everyone canl rally around, don’t be surprised to see Prezi to make some major noise in their introductory March SaaSness appearance. After capsizing a frantic LeanData comeback in Round 1, they throttled Cornerstone OnDemand in Round 2. A convincing Sweet 16 win over Gainsight set the stage for an Elite Eight matchup versus Zoom.
Friday (March 29) Matchup – Region 3
Seed: 5. Founded: 2007. HQ: San Francisco. Conference: Support.
Company Background: Another SaaS IPO veteran, Zendesk began paving the way for streamlined, tech-enabled customer service a decade ago. Long-term backers Goldman Sachs, Redpoint Ventures and Matrix Partners have helped propel the company to the absolute zenith of the SaaS Customer Support space. A popular following in the 2015 tournament pushed Zendesk to the Sweet 16, where it lost a tough battle against DocuSign.
Tourney Background: A 2nd Round exit versus eventual champion Zoom ended Zendesk’s 2016 run earlier than expected, but they’ll once again be a tough out for any company in this year’s tournament. Autpilot and Basecamp found out the hard way. The eyes of the Customer Success software world were on their Sweet 16 matchup versus Intercom. Zendesk took home the W and advances to an Elite Eight matchup versus Evenote.
Seed: 2. Founded: 2007. HQ: Redwood City, CA. Conference: Productivity.
Company Background: A powerhouse in the organizational communication sphere. Evernote is a borderline essential tool in the minds of its users, allowing them to easily organize and share important information internally. Evernote claims elite Venture Firms like Sequoia Capital as investors and has proven itself to be a part of the SaaS industry’s very fabric. An Elite 8 loss to DocuSign ended its 2015 run, followed by a Sweet 16 upset at the hands of Influitive in 2016.
Tourney Background: This year’s path to the Sweet 16 hasn’t been easy. After a Round 1 win over Birst, Evernote barely survived a Round 2 thriller versus InfusionSoft. They rallied to defeat BambooHR in the Sweet 16 and now get Zendesk in the Elite Eight.
Friday (March 29th) Matchup – Region 4
DiscoverOrg versus Engagio.
Seed: 5. Founded: 2006. HQ: Vancouver. Conference: Sales Intelligence.
Company Background: DiscoverOrg is another March SaaSness newcomer with strong industry bona fides and the potential to make a splash in this year’s bracket. The Vancouver-based sales and marketing intelligence leader is used by over 2,000 of the world’s fastest growing companies and has made Inc.’s 5000 fastest-growing companies list six times. Based on those data points, our intelligence sources indicate DiscoverOrg to be very capable of a deep run in this year’s tournament.
Tourney Background: DiscoverOrg put on memorable performance versus Greenhouse and Constant Contact in Rounds 1 and Round 2. A Sweet 16 date with industry competitor, Datanyze, ended in a landmark victory. DiscoverOrg now gerts one of the tourney’s hottest companies, Engagio, in the Elite Eight.
Seed: 15. Founded: 2015. HQ: San Mateo, CA. Conference: Marketing.
Company Background: This year’s tournament preview concludes appropriately enough with the youngest company in this year’s tournemant (and first to be younger than March SaaSness itself), Engagio. The account based marketing platform built by former Marketo Co-Founder Jon Miller just raised a $22M Series B last August and has been steamrolling towards high-growth with software specifically built for enterprise-focused sales and marketing efforts.
Tourney Background: Strong early reviews and palpable industry hype make Engagio an interesting opponent in this year’s tournament. They delivered the fireworks we expected in their explosive 11th hour comeback and resounding win over Mailchimp and a Round 2 TKO of Domo. Their Sweet 16 matchup versus Marketo was a premiere bout in the storied history of SaaSness. They landed enough blows to advance to Round 4, where a date with DiscoverOrg awaits.
The Elite 8 of March SaaSness kicks off on Tuesday, March 28th at 12am EST for Day 1 matchups. Day 2 matchups kick off Wednesday, March 29th at 12am ET. Follow Qualtrics, G2 Crowd and Ambition on Twitter for live score updates, analysis and final results for each matchup.
Want more information? Visit Tourney Central at ambition.com/saasness/.
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