Welcome to The SaaSgarage, European SaaS Co-founding, Angel investing and mentoring. The SaaSgarage is the cradle of many leading International SaaS companies like
The SaaSgarage is a collective term for all of Alexander Bruehl’s Business Angel activities from co-founding, mentoring, coaching to investing in early stage companies, who deliver software via the internet/cloud, and charge monthly or annual recurring subscription fees, better known as SaaS ( Software as a Service) companies.
Since 2008 a number of leading European SaaS companies took advantage of The SaaSgarage’s unique cooperation model. Jointly with Alexander Bruehl, founder of The SaaSgarage, SaaS expert, serial software entrepreneur and passioante SaaS company builder, they refined and shaped their business-, execution- and funding strategy, before they’ve hit the global roads in full speed.
is to deliver true value-add and credible advice and support to SaaS entrepreneurs by leveraging my …
→ business competency, which I gained from more than 15 years as an entrepreneur and co-founder of a B2B software company.
→ Venture Capital insights, collected as a Senior Partner in a leading, trans-Atlantic Venture Capital firm.
→ SaaS startup learnings, gained from hands-on work with my portfolio companies from inception to tradesale or IPO as a board member, a SaaS advisor or mentor and coach.
… and reap the rewards later, alongside with the founders no matter when.
In Germany we have the proverb “A cobbler should stick to his last.” As a serial entrepreneur I have founded, built and exited Enterprise software companies myself. Admittedly, the software at that tme was neither distributed via the internet, nor hosted in the cloud and certainly not charged as a service. But after all, a sofware company today still has to invest in R&D to write code and develop the product and still has to plan and execute a suitable sales strategy.
Luckily many drawbacks and obstacles of previous sales & distribution models, e.g. client server, open source, managed service, have been fading away with the introduction of the SaaS model. Ideally there is only one single instance of the product/software out in the market, provided globally via the cloud, distributed individually to the user devices via the Internet. That is one of the main reasons why I love the SaaS model. It allows companies to deliver more attractive business KPIs, which in turn support higher revenue multiples when it coms to company valuation.
Since selling a software as a service to a private individual is very different from selling to a small, medium or even large company or enterprise, one must distinguish between Enterprise SaaS (B2B SaaS) and Consumer SaaS. My humble distinction of the two simple and to the point:
→ Consumer SaaS requires a very analytical, big data driven sales process. Sales progress can be best understood and subsequently optimized by analysing a cosnumer behavior on ones site. Knowing what drove consumers to your site, why they eventually registered and what caused them to finally subscribe is half of the rent. A/B testing and informed tweaking of every element along the steps to a subscription, is the other half.
→ Enterprise ( B2B) SaaS is less about understanding a prospect’s behavior on your website, but much more about optimizing the classic sales KPIs such as sales cycle, reduced trial periods paid or free, onboarding times, contract details and sales efficiency, measured by pipeline velocity.
As you can easily grasp from my portfolio, my heart beats for any B2B SaaS startup, may they belong to
→ Horizontal SaaS, i.e. software and services focused on a category of software, addressing a broad need, spanning accross most industries. Good example are categories like accounting, customer relationship management (CRM) or customer service (CS), with prominent SaaS players such as Quickbooks, Salesforce and Zendesk.
→ Vertical SaaS, i.e., in contrast to horizontal SaaS , software and services targeted to a very particular need in a specific industry. SaaS is one of the key enablers of successful vertical software distribution. Vertical software, purpose built for one industry has a narrow focus and addresses a specific niche. With the advent of global software distribution as SaaS, the underlaying business metrics suddenly looked very compelling. In fact, one can speculate that, by now, there are more opportunities for new vertical SaaS than for horizontal SaaS.
If you want to learn more about my focus and why I prefer B2B SaaS contact me and I can share a few more thoughts and findngs with you.
There are many fantastic website out there who all describe SaaS in quite some detail. They provide hints and even execution models about how to build a SaaS company. That is great and highly appreciated and I may refer too those sites here and there. I am a serial entrepreneur myself and I have a passion for starting up businesses. Therefore my focus is less on theories and studies about Software as a Service but on hands-on teamwork with the founders.
Last but not least let me explain the home page picture which apparently shows no context to the topics of that site. This picture was taken in 2015 on trip from Northern Namibia to Botswana. Our goal was to meet some of the very rare and endangered desert elephants. The only way to see them is not to drive along the beaten paths of renown national parks or game reserves. We decided to take on the challenge, get the right team together, organize all the things we would need in order to have a realistic chance to succeed. We started our venture in Namibia and soon dry, unpredictable riverbeds became our roads for a few days. After all it was a bumpy, dusty, yet indescribably exciting, journey which demanded a lot from the entire team, but we got awarded for the extra miles we had to go.
Does this really have nothing to do with building a startup company with all of ones passion, will- and staying power? Back in Germany I started to see all the similarities from the right planning, diligent preparation, readiness to go beyond the accustomed way and execution and, after all, the strong will power to succeed. If this resonates with you, we already have a perfect common foundation for a fun and fruitful teamwork relationship.
Alexander Bruehl advised us in course of the hub:raum program. I was impressed of Alexander's profound knowledge in regards to SaaS business dynamics, valuation and investor strategy. Plus, Alexander Bruehl is a fun guy. So, if you get the chance to work with Alexander, do it! (Berlin, Germany, July 2014)
I work with Alexander Bruehl now for more than 2,5 years and highly appreciate his integrity and sharp analytical mentality. We established a trustful and constructive collaboration to drive value and strategy for eZ System. Thank you for being there at any time Alexander! (Oslo, Norway, Feb 2013)
If you want to build a successful B2B SaaS company, Alexander is your "go-to-guy"! Alexander knows the industry from all perspectives. But most important, he always sees the world through the founder's eyes. Thinking of all the ups and downs in my founder life: Winning Alexander for building our company feels like one of the most important Ups. (Munich, Germany, February 2020)
In addition to Alexander Bruehl's deep understanding of the SaaS industry, there are many other attributes which make Alexander the right kind of an adviser. Alexander Bruehl is the leader who will not impose, but merely present his views, and leave you the final judgement. Having walked in your shoes a few times himself, Alexander understands and deeply respects your role of a founder, with all the pertaining ups-and-downs. Alexander is the man of his word and full integrity. He is easy to communicate and work with, dedicated, and detail-orientated. Alexander Bruehl has earned my deepest respect and trust, hence I wholeheartedly recommend him as a trusted adviser. Thank you Alexander! (Sofia, Bulgaria,Nov 2015)
I feel very fortunate to have been introduced to Alexander Bruehl. Alexander possesses an intellectual and light manner to deal with strategic options and tactics, which is certainly due to his immense amount of experience and industry knowledge.
Alexander has dealt successively with countless business ventures and I feel this lends a profound sense of pragmatism to his advisory skills.
I was greatly impressed by his ability to always act in an objective and target-oriented manner. Alexander gave me focused advice based on reasonable information.
His counsel included not only lots of creativity but potential obstacles and opposing standpoints too, delivered quickly and precisely.
I was particularly struck by Alexander's business style and humanitarian approach.
An aside for the ladies: No “mansplaining”!
Alexander Bruehl isn’t a technocrat, nor is he narrow minded. He has a rare combination of charisma and intellectual brilliance, and a deep willingness to help others.
People with these qualities are rare, which is why I recommend everyone to employ Alexander's abilities carefully. I am sure that everyone concerned will benefit greatly from his constructive suggestions. (Munich, Germany, Nov 2015)
In short, every meeting with Alexander Bruehl feels like an Accelerator. Alexander's advice is to the point, honest and most importantly, actionable. We are an early stage SaaS startup and having met Alexander a few times only so far, we already benefited from his feedback immensely. Beside his deep SaaS experience, passion and know-how, he genuinely is a great guy. If you get a chance to work with Alexander Bruehl, take it! (Berlin, Germany, Dec 2015)
- Founder, CEO of JustDocu
Alexander Bruehl and myself ended up investing in the same StartUp and we met frequently during the board meetings and got to know each other. I was deeply impressed by the "Hands On" Approach from Alexander Bruehl. He is not your typical Investor only checking back once in a while to look for the financial return, he rather wants to "BUILD" companies, help the founders with his long-time experience and contribute. Alexander Bruehl is highly operational and made over the course of our joined investments in various companies extremely relevant Introductions and management suggestions. He coached the teams, gave valuable feedback to the product development and helped with partner acquisitions.
I can highly recommend to work with Alexander Bruehl, both as an Investor and an Advisor. (Berlin, Germany, Jan 2013)
I have found Alexander Bruehl to be a whole-hearted and committed investor who will support a company even in a critical situation. Beyond Alexander's exceptional professional skills and his impressive network, he offers added value through his profound experience. Apart from these assets, Alexander is just a pleasant person to work with. It’s a privilege to be dealing with Alexander Bruehl! (Munich, Germany, Jan 2013)
At the Demo Day after having finished the hub:raum Accelerator program, I got the "award" for having signed up to speak to ALL the mentors during the course of the program. Some of them where ok, some of them where bad (yes!) and some truly provided the value that a mentor should offer. Alexander Bruehl was one of them!
During the official session, Alexander Bruehl offer direct insight into his world view of SaaS and it turned out to be a crystal clear picture of what can be done and what is better left out. Alexander also provided direct advice which could be turned into action the minute I left the room. In a later session (yes, he took the time after the program as well) Alexander also advised me on our current presentation which was incredibly valuable at the time. For anyone, at any stage of your company building, Alexander Bruehl can provide very honest and arrow sharp feedback. Feedback that makes a difference. Thanks for being such a good contact, Alexander! (Berlin, Germany, Jan 2014)
As the CEO of eZ Systems I have had a growing relationship with Alexander Bruehl over the last few years. Alexander has advised me on general business strategy and he has coached me through a successful funding process, from initial investor introductions, Due Dill process and final negotiations and closing. Additionally Alexander has opened his network and made intros directly into C level management of target clients of eZ. Currently Alexander Bruehl is part of the supervisory board of eZ. As a founder and CEO himself, Alexander Bruehl has been of great value to our successful growth, willingly sharing his very relevant knowledge and network. (Oslo, Norway, Aug 2009)
Alexander Bruehl is the advisor founders can only dream of. We have never met, but when I turned to him for advice, he didn't hesitate and was very helpful with constructive ideas, an honest perspective as well as making an important introduction. I wish there were more people like Alexander in the startup eco-system, and if you have a SaaS company, Alexander Bruehl is your man! (Tel-Aviv, Israel, July 2014)
My colleagues at Senovo and I are very fortunate to have been introduced to Alexander a couple of years ago and we are very lucky to have joint investments with him in different SaaS companies. Alexander is a prime example of a value-added, hands-on angel investor and mentor. His extensive experience as entrepreneur and VC investor paired with his brilliant ability to coach teams and his passionate commitment make him an extremely valuable part of early stage companies. The founders and investors we know and who work with Alexander all have the highest respect for him, not only for the reasons above but also because of his trustworthy and supportive personality. We believe that Alexander is the “go-to” business angel for SaaS entrepreneurs. (Munich, Germany, Juli 2017)
Alexander Bruehl is a true "Business Angel" who actively engages with the management team. Alexander is extremely supportive in many ways. I'm relying on his deep expertise in fundraising activities, his background re Do's and Don't s for setting up and running Start-Up companies, specifically in the SaaS space, and his widespread network. Alexander facilitated the link to one of our major investor's, and will continue to be our trusted advisor. As a Start-Up Company CEO, you want a guy like Alexander Bruehl to be in your boat. (Munich, Germany, Feb 2013)
Alexander Brühl is the most brilliant mentor and advisor for SaaS entrepreneurs in Germany. His insights helped me to put our company back on the right growth path and helped me as an entrepreneur to make the right decisions for myself. I 100% trust Alexander, as he is super loyal and living up to the highest standards in integrity.
Alexander offers an impressive spectrum of breadth and depth in his advise. Being an entrepreneur by himself and sitting on many chairs in the past - also including VC investor and angel - entrepreneurs can be sure, that Alexander's mentoring is spot-on. (Karlsruhe, Germany, April 2019)
I met Alexander Bruehl in July 2011. He has a deep expertise in Cloud/SaaS business models and proven advisory track record for successful start-ups. Alexander supported our company profiling (investor oriented view), service offering (Cloud/SaaS business view) as well he proactively helped to address further business angels. A very positive aspect of our partnership is, that Alexander Bruehl hasn´t only the typical business angel laser-focus "return-on-investment view"! Alexander's advice considers a founder-specific point of view, but also marketing, human resources, development or business-specific topics. I appreciate to work with Alexander Bruehl and honestly recommend him as a valuable advisor for founders: Alexander Bruehl's advise is always deliberate, constructive and considerably supports to improve the whole company setting. (Munich, Germany, Feb 2013)
From time to time, in your life, you meet a person who kind of clicks with you. This happened to me with Alexander Bruehl on our first live meeting in Berlin, on the introduction from Jens Hilgers, one of our investors from Berlin. Since then we have officially started working together on LegalTrek, and this was one of the best additions to our team so far. Alexander Bruehl is both insightful and creative. Having a lot of SaaS experience he is able to guide us in tough situations but also listen to our ideas and give his unbiased input to founders. I am really happy to have him on board of LegalTrek and I am really looking forward to get to know Alexander better and work together on establishing a great company. Alexander Bruehl is highly recommended to all SaaS startups that can get him interested since he will bring experience, mindfulness and inspiration to your team! (Sofia, Bulgaria, Nov 2015)
I was introduced to Alexander twelve months ago and I must say that was one of the most valuable introductions I have ever received.
Based on his extensive SaaS and Venture Capital experience, an incredible talent to evaluate situations quickly and providing exactly the right advice, Alexander has helped me and our company Loyalty Prime tremendously from day one.
On top of that Alexander acts based on strong values and business ethics which creates a trustful relationship that I hope I can continue enjoying for a lifetime. (Munich, Germany, Sept 2016)
During the launch phase of 4tiito GmbH Alexander Bruehl advised us on the financing process and and brought his SaaS experience to the fine tuning of our product portfolio.
Having worked with many advisers over the past years, Alexander Bruehl stands out exceptionally for his integrity and straight forward communication as well as his creativity and extensive industry knowledge.
I never left a meeting with Alexander with not at least one fundamental new idea with respect to our product portfolio, sales approach or setup of the company.
It is a great pleasure to work with Alexander Bruehl, both on the professional and personal level. (Munich, Germany, July 2014)
Alexander Bruehl was a smaller shareholder in Nanda Tech. However, Alexander invested with his own money, experience, connections and time! He was always available to the management team for valuable Q&A, feedback and advice. During troubled times Alexander Bruehl acted as a calming voice of reason. Alexander clearly brought more to the table than "just money"! I'd want Alexander Bruehl to be part of my future endeavors. (Munich, Germany, Dec 2012)
Alexander Bruehl is a great business angel with tons of experience and deep insights in the SaaS space. He leaves us as founders room to operate our business but is always available with valuable insights and advise when we need it. I can highly recommend working with him! (Berlin, Germany, Sep 2013)
I met Alexander Bruehl during the NEXT 2012 event where we presented our SaaS product “minubo” for the first time. Ever since Alexander supported voluntarily in many aspects of the business and especially with product positioning, go-to-market and fundraising. I truly believe that Alexander's motivation derives from his 100% entrepreneurial spirit and his great experience in the software and Venture Capital space. Alexander Bruehl is a committed supporter who helped also with his excellent network and we are happy to have him on board. (Hamburg, Germany, Mar 2013)
I met Alexander when we started our first efforts to raise some capital for AlfaDocs in late 2016, where he was introduced to us by a potential investor. In the first meeting, immediately my co-founder and I were deeply impressed by his profound knowledge and experience in the SaaS domain. Luckily, Alexander also believed in AlfaDocs and us founders, so he asked us to keep him up-to-date with our fundraising efforts.
In the past few month, Alexander was extremely helpful. We had very important strategical questions and his answers were always highly valuable to us... nonetheless, Alexander never asked a cent of compensation. He helped us to develop a fund raising strategy that fit's our company. We immediately felt that, by how investors now responded to our new approach. Now, thanks to Alexander, we are in touch with investors that suite AlfaDocs very well and they seem to be great people to work with. At this point we feel really comfortable to continue our collaboration with Alexander on a deeper level. He is just a great value added to the team on professional and personal level. It is very rare to meet people so straight forward and honest, as Alexander is. Huge respect for your approach, knowledge and empathy with us founders! Thank you very much. Let's conquer the world. (Munich, Germany, April 2017)
Alexander Bruehl helped me to transform softgarden from ASP to SaaS company. Alexander has always been passionate about sharing his deep knowledge about and insights in the SaaS industry with me. While talking to Alexander, I was never taught but learned from experiences he made. You have to listen carefully. Sometimes the important things are hidden in the details ;) Alexander takes the time to discuss topics in detail such as pricing or investment strategy and actively helped me to get in touch with interesting investors and partners. Last but not least after a call with Alexander Bruehl I always feel highly motivated and recharged with entrepreneurial spirit. (Berlin, Germany, Sep 2013)
Alexander Bruehl is an absolutely reliable and professional partner, who uses his deep experience to help avoiding mistakes and finding suitable solutions, without limiting ones freedom of decision and without loosing humanity. This makes the cooperation with Alexander particularly pleasant. I can only recommend Alexander Bruehl by all accounts. Dieter Steiner, Geschaeftsfuehrer CEO at SSP Europe.
(translation by third party)
Alexander Bruehl ist ein absolut verlässlicher und professioneller Partner, der mit seinem fundierten Erfahrungsschatz viele Fehler vermeiden und passende Wege finden lässt ohne dabei die Entscheidungsfreiheit einzuschränken und die Menschlichkeit zu verlieren, was die Zusammenarbeit umso angenehmer macht. Ich kann Alexander Bruehl in jeder Hinsicht weiterempfehlen. (Munich, Germany, Jan 2013)
I know Alexander Bruehl for more than 10 years. I had the pleasure to work with him in his role as VC co-investor, investor and board member of my own company Nanda Technologies, and in recent years as active business angel. During this time, we had some great successes together as well as difficult investments. However, Alexander always acted very professional and in a very supportive manner. This way I built up strong trust in him as a person as well as in his capabilities as an investor and business developer. I like his energetic style and his ability to focus on the important topics. In addition, his direct but friendly communication style is just fun to work with! (Munich, Germany, Dec 2016)
I've known Alexander Bruehl since his time as a Senior Partner with Atlas Venture. Even though Alexander isn't directly invested in my current venture, he's always been keen to help and open to share his experience. Especially in the areas of SaaS and business models I've found his expertise and knowledge to be highly relevant and valuable. Given his extensive experience in scaling companies, as both an investor and an entrepreneur, he knows the journey ahead and what to focus on today to maximise value for the future. I'm grateful to count him as one of my advisors and highly recommend any founder, esp. in the area of SaaS, to seek out his advise. (Munich, Germany, Dec 2016)
Alexander Bruehl was on my board of directors at Scali. During our time working together, Alexander was always focused on how to help and support me in my task of turning around the company. Alexander's expertise and insight into both operations and capital structure is a rarity, which highlighted his ability to give me the soundest advice. Alexander was a great partner for success; I would thoroughly enjoy working with Alexander Bruehl again. (Boston, USA, Mar 2012)
Alexander Bruehl and I met in 2009 when we decided to look for a funding for Propertybase and bring the company to the next level. Alexander helped us to close the first round of financing and is a shareholder and a Member of our board since 2010. His knowledge about Venture Capital and his overall business experience have been essential to get the funds together to make Propertybase one of the leading real estate CRM providers.
Alexander is not only an extremely experienced VC but, unlike many other people in this business, really understands the enterpreneuer (I think this is mainly because he was one himself and still is). Alexander understands himself as an advisor, not as an investor (even if he is an investor), and always knows that the founding team is making the company, not the investor.
Alexander's experience about business development, sales, marketing and to get a start up started was and still is extremely valuable to us. Alexander Bruehl is a master when it comes to M&A strategies and negotiation strategies!
I recommend Alexander Bruehl whole-heartedly as an advisor to any business founder/owner. Alexander will never let you down and will always be there if you need him...if you don't need him he will not be in your way (very important)!
Would I like to have Alexander Bruehl as an advisor again should I start another business after Propertybase? Anytime! (Munich, Germany, Jan 2013)
In addition to his extensive experience with SaaS companies and a deep understanding of the growth mechanics of such companies, Alexander Bruehl also embodies many more characteristics that make him an ideal advisor for SaaS startups. Alexander's precise, action-oriented advice enables time-saving and quick realization of benefits. It is incredible how much value one can extract out of each single discussion with him. Alexander Bruehl is an outstanding sparring partner and coach for SaaS founders. I would like to express my sincere thanks for your strong support, Alexander! (Frankfurt, Germany, June 2015)
Contentful Announces $33.5 Million in Series D Funding to Deliver Content Infrastructure for the Modern Technology Stack December 5, 2018 SAN FRANCISCO & BERLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Contentful, the leading content infrastructure for digital teams, today announced $33.5 million in Series D equity funding. Led by Sapphire Ventures, with participation from OMERS Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, and existing backers
MUNICH – (THE SAASGARAGE) – Loyalty Prime, an international provider of enterprise loyalty program solutions has closed its 5.5 million dollar Series B to drive the development of its next generation AI-based loyalty software. The funding was led by Hi inov, an international VC fund focused on digital innovation and supported by the existing investors BayBG Bayerische Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Senovo, UVC Partners and The SaaSgarage (Alexander Bruehl).