How to Value SaaS Companies

How to Value SaaS Companies

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies have had a great run over the course of the current business cycle. The sector has routinely traded at a multiple above five times revenue, even while having low or negative profit margins. From 2010 to 2013, market observers posited that valuation multiples in the sector were driven by growth alone – the faster the better – no matter how much cash burn it takes to achieve. Since the public market for software stocks hit a speed bump starting back in Q1 of 2014, however, there has been a general perception that profitability is becoming more of a factor in driving SaaS valuations. This awareness is driving capital allocation discussions at companies across the SaaS sector, both public and private. Should a company raise money to “keep its foot on the gas?” Or should it perhaps slow growth a bit but make the move to “EBITDA-positive?”