SaaS Efficiency; Remote Development, Security, and Work; and Lessons from Zoom

a16z editorial

Posted April 23, 2020

This post first appeared in the a16z enterprise newsletter. Subscribe to the a16z enterprise newsletter and stay on top of the latest tech and trends.

In This Issue:

  • SaaS efficiency before growth
  • Moving to remote development
  • Zoom lessons for scaling from enterprise to consumers
  • What does the rapid shift to remote work mean for security?
  • The platforms for remote work

SaaS efficiency before growth

Kristina Shen, Kimberly Tan

Two questions are top of mind for most SaaS founders: How does what’s happening impact my business, and how do I plan for the months ahead? We looked at public filings for 18 SaaS companies through the 2008 crisis, which, while very different, offers lessons on where to focus in hard times: efficiency, before growth. So what does that require? Retention, profitable customer acquisition, and managing runway. Read the Post


Kristina Shen is a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz where she focuses on enterprise and SaaS investing.

Kimberly Tan is a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where she focuses on enterprise and American Dynamism companies.

Moving to remote development

Development teams were some of the first to pioneer remote, distributed collaboration, but with the new shelter-in-place orders, more organizations are now moving to remote development at scale, often quickly and without a lot of time to plan. What are the best (and worst) practices? In this recent podcast, Jason Warner, CTO at GitHub and a remote executive for more than 10 years, and a16z general partner David Ulevitch cover the most common mistakes managers make and how to avoid them, aligning communication, and interviewing and hiring when you can’t meet in-person. Their conversation is a guide to getting any distributed team to operate like a seasoned distributed development team, and hints at the future of work. Listen Here

Zoom lessons for scaling from enterprise to consumers

Zoom has not only experienced unprecedented, rapid growth (from 10M to 200M daily active users) due to the coronavirus pandemic and shelter-in-place — but has also broadened from enterprise customers to more mainstream consumer uses, such as children’s education, online gym classes, and medical appointments. At the same time, there have been several security issues and concerns around Zoom, including “zoombombing;” home-grown encryption; and key-management systems, servers, and engineers in China.

In this episode of 16 Minutes, David Ulevitch (former SVP/GM at Cisco), and operating partner for security Joel de la Garza (former CSO of Box) share what enterprise companies scaling into mainstream markets means, including; the tradeoffs between friction of adoption and security. More broadly, what does the case of Zoom tell us about trends such as cloud security, video conferencing, and the consumerization of SaaS? Listen Here

What does the rapid shift to remote work mean for security?

Joel de la Garza

Even before Covid-19, workers were accessing files and apps through their mobile phone, and enterprises were moving data and applications to the cloud. However, the scale of this current shift — now 90% (rather than 20%) of an organization working from home — is new for security teams, and for employees. So how do we balance business continuity while keeping the enterprise secure? And with the castle-and-moat security based on a central office gone, how do teams prepare for the longer term implications of a more distributed workforce?

Joel de la Garza is a partner focused on information security related investments and other chaos adjacent businesses.

The platforms for remote work

The swift rise of remote work and virtual networking has blurred the line between professional and social use of virtual tools. In this podcast, we look at the platforms powering the new at- home workforce and the creative use cases for video conferencing and streaming that are emerging. Listen Here

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