The project management market is huge, and it will keep growing. We believe new verticals will pop up and follow the same path as the product management vertical. Think of companies like Jira, Linear, and Cycle. Right when the first PM tools were created, three things were happening: the role of the product manager was getting more sophisticated, product management teams were growing at an unseen pace, and the lean & agile method of management was emerging. The same is currently happening with marketing and growth team. The job itself is evolving very quickly and becoming much more complex and technical, marketing teams are growing at a huge pace and a method is emerging with experimentations. Today, the best growth teams define and test growth experiments, quantify results and iterate. Now, they need a tool specific for them.
Traditional CRMs like Salesforce or HubSpot were created for offline businesses. They do not equip GTM teams with insights into how users are using the product. We need a CRM for PLG companies (Product Led Growth) that takes into account the whole user life-cycle, from self-serve onboarding to how the user interacts with the product. Plugging this information into a CRM will help teams reduce manual work and better understand their users. For instance, it could help reduce churn and create upsell opportunities. The CRM is one of the pillar software of any company, we need one that reflects the shift to a PLG world.
B2B e-commerce sales in Europe are estimated to amount to 150B€, and while it is still far from B2C e-commerce (640B€) the pandemic has accelerated the growth of businesses purchasing online. But e-commerce websites are still geared to consumers and businesses have different needs and requirements than consumers. Because of their internal approval processes and payment options, they still prefer to pay by bank transfer (vs. cards) and they want to pay within 30, 60 or 90 days (vs. immediately). On the other hand, online merchants see more and more businesses making purchases on their website but miss out on many sales because existing payment platforms are still tailored to B2C.
Merchants need a new generation of payment providers that are tailored to business buyers. That includes B2B payment methods such as bank transfer and direct debit, and "buy-now-pay-later" capabilities to offer buyers the ability to place orders without immediately disbursing funds.
Over the past decade, Zapier has built an incredibly powerful and horizontal automation platform which can cover an impressive variety of uses cases. Zapier has also been a key contributor to the no-code movement and has helped spread it far and wide. We believe, though, that it is time to unbundle Zapier by verticalizing it. Today, teams of all sizes and functions go to Zapier to solve their operational issues. But Zapier, while being highly customizable, remains a generalist tool. Having vertical Zapiers with pre-built workflows and integrations adapted to specific company function would be hugely beneficial. Imagine for example a Zapier-like no-code tool with very deep integrations with the CFO stack (e.g., Netsuite, Spendesk, Xero, etc). Or a tool with prebuilt standard workflows for HR teams (when I onboard a new user on Rippling, it automatically creates a Payroll profite in Gusto). The potential is huge, and we see it as a great way to help operational teams manage the increasing number of software and data sources they are using regularly.
Every job deserves modern tools to boost productivity. We believe that a lot of company departments and specific functions remain underserved today. There's an opportunity for tailor-made SaaS products to help employees avoid redundant chores and to free up time for higher-value tasks. We have strong opinions about the way in which some jobs will evolve in 10 years and we're already thinking of the tools that will be required to be built for them. We've helped Product Managers (Cycle eF19), the Outbound sales function (Bonjour eF19), General Counsels (Canyon eF20), recruiters (Crew eF20) and want to keep on equipping other jobs. We've specifically looking into accounting, HR, treasury management, company assets in a remote-first world, fleet management, virtual event management, procurement and more.
Freelancing has been on the uptrend for a while and we believe that it will be the core component of the future of the job market, driven by the need for more flexibility from both workers and employers. We think that the structure of large scale corporates will evolve from today's rigid entities to a more flexible structure where employees will have more freedom to come and go. It will have an impact on the future of the office since freelancers are not tied to a specific place. This will create new opportunities and challenges, companies will have to nurture workers with a more long-term approach and offices will evolve as freelancers are not tied to a specific location. We're interested in building projects that contribute to creating a market where both workers and companies have the freedom and flexibility to work on what matters. We're starting with Collective (eF20) and have plans for more.
We believe that the next generation of SaaS will be API-first, and we're only getting started! We're interested in building headless software to afford companies more flexibility. Headless gives users access to a set of universal elements and services to build custom workflows with their own interface. We're also looking into software that would act as a middleman API, a smarter Zapier where data would go both ways. As well, we're exploring dataplaces. In a SaaS tool today, the data is siloed and you can only leverage the data from this one tool. An API will allow you to use and own this data. This data could be sold to third parties or aggregated with others for better insights and decision management.
SMEs have too often underestimated cyber threats, believing them to be a risk mainly to bigger corporates. But that is far from the truth, cyber threats have become more sophisticated than ever before, affecting every business regardless of their sizes and even individuals. It is therefore critical for every organization to communicate risks like phishing effectively across their teams, especially in a remote world. We're interested in launching companies to help teams comply with their company's cybersecurity policies and prevent individuals from becoming the weak links of their companies. It would position itself within the company's own network, browser, firewall, or desktop and would ensure cybersecurity awareness for all employees. We want to empower teams so that they don't put themselves at risk, or their company.
Remote working is spearheading a myriad of changes, and it's just the beginning. We've identified four key areas which will be impacted by a move away from the office and we're interested in building companies that will help with the transition:
As teams are increasingly scattered around the world, we want to build tools to better communicate, collaborate, decide and manage, asynchronously.
Whether it's candidates, prospects, clients or one's network. We want to build job-specific software that contribute to strengthening the ties between companies and their stakeholders, in a remote world.
To keep on attracting and retaining the best talent, companies need to offer great & secure working conditions and transfer their company culture wherever their employees are. We need software and services to bring everything employees had access to in an office setting, where they are now.
Hiring people across the world means that companies will have to create local job contracts, pay their employees in the local currency, comply with local laws and regulations. We want to help companies navigate this new complex legal environment.
A SaaS Enabled Marketplace is a business that combines SaaS characteristics with marketplace components to connect two or more parties together. When building a SaaS business, the barriers to entry are relatively low but when marketplace components are added, it changes the model, creates network effects and powerful moats. For instance, Flitdesk is a SaaS that helps manage offices and workspaces while also offering a marketplace to connect employees to services they can enjoy while working. Our very own Collective (eF20) offers a SaaS for collectives (aka freelancers who team up on client projects) and with its marketplace connects collectives with companies looking to hire them. You can also think of the large platform moves (such as what Shopify is currently doing) as examples of inspiring service marketplaces.
Luxury goods have entered the software space. There's now an increasing amount of software with waiting lists and higher than average prices, destined to give its users superpowers. Superhuman for email servers, Roam Research for knowledge, Mighty for browsers, etc. Prosumers are looking to become the best productive versions of themselves and are willing to pay a premium for a product that will also give off a high-status signal to the rest of the world. We believe that this category of people will become even larger in the years to come and we're interested in building simple yet powerful tools with beautiful designs to empower people to work at their highest levels of performance.
Companies are pulling all the tricks to attract the best talent. But when hired, how can they ensure that talent remains at the very top of their fields? In an environment where technology is rapidly evolving, companies need to keep abreast of the latest developments and provide appropriate trainings to their teams. We also believe that software builders have an increasing stake in promoting their knowledge to ensure the proper adoption of software across their users. We're interested in building tools to help organisations promote software knowledge.
Software is eating the world but not everyone is a developer 😀. It may feel like we're pushing at an open door, but we strongly believe the low-code/no-code trend will be one the highlights of this new decade. Makers and internal tool builder jobs will become the norm in almost every function and will replace the ones who were creating excel macros or making the functional specs of inhouse software. As companies ramp up their use of SaaS and experience their data scattered across multiple sources, the interest of building custom systems on top of the existing IT layer becomes obvious. Combined with the increasing number of SaaS focused on building low/no-code products, we believe the share of inhouse software will increase significantly, and will not be limited to prototyping or edge use cases. Amongst the opportunities we're very excited about:
Some exciting companies are certainly paving the way (Coda, Airtable, Zapier, Webflow, Notion) but we believe the bulk remains to be built!
The monolithic ERP is a thing of the past. Company data and workflows are now increasingly scattered across many tools which often result in an overall loss of productivity for organizations. There is an increasing need for internal tools to help companies build specific workflows across all tools, by combining three elements: a custom interface, data integration across all tools and workflows/automations. The increased availability of APIs and the emergence of talent who have light technical knowledge create an opportunity for internal tools software. They're critical to companies' operational success and we have big ambitions to contribute to the space.
The first generation of productivity tools mirrored our physical tools and transposed them into the digital space. MS Word used the sheet of paper and transferred it to the desktop, constraining users with a format not necessarily adapted to the computer. Second-generation productivity tools, though, are completely free of real-world constraints and so redefine the way we work by putting users-first. We want to keep on building software that redefine work so it adapts to employees’ new ways of working: more distributed, more collaborative and more creative. We're eager to unbundle the productivity suites (Google, Microsoft) by starting with Excel (ExcelX). And we're also looking into reinventing operating systems components such as the file system (FileX), calendars, browsers, and more. The many opportunities in this space are coupled with users' increasing willingness to pay for products, which is driven by their desire to be the best productive versions of themselves.
Do you have any questions about our ideas? Or maybe you’ve got your own? Contact us anytime at email@example.com
We'll be more than happy to explore them with you!