The aura of vulnerability that sets SaaSBoomi apart: an insider’s take

SaaSBoomi taught me four years ago that in an extreme solo sport like entrepreneurship, you can grow together, helping each other.

Three things I’d like you to know about me before you read the rest of this post: 

  1. I struggle with social anxiety, especially in large event settings. 
  2. It takes me three tries to get most things right and I’m on my second startup journey now. 
  3. I have been a volunteer with SaaSBoomi since 2020. It’s my school, my safe-space – for SaaS, and a lot of things in life in general.

I find large networking settings draining because of the effort I have to put into superficial conversations, staying in a quasi-seller mode all the time. It’s a place of discomfort and yes, discomfort helps you grow, but ugh, can I pick a discomfort of my choice instead? 

If any part of the above rant is relatable for you, I want you to experience SaaSBoomi. The community’s superpower, something that’s really hard to replicate, is its aura of vulnerability. You feel comfortable talking to other founders, opening up about your challenges, and having a good conversation. The vibe is just infectious. Coming from someone with social anxiety, it says something – I hope. 

With 1600 startup founders and operators around, the just-concluded SaaSBoomi Annual ‘24 felt so lively. Yes, you had to waltz around the food counters to get that extra portion of mutton biryani, but so what? You are still in a happy place, having great candid conversations. There’s no need to flex. The conversations game was in fact taken up a notch by the well-executed Mind-Mixers that enables you to meet fellow founders about topics that interest you. 

The ultimate testament to the vulnerability for me was the “Company Structuring for Peaceful Growth” session curated by Varun Shoor. It was like an Alcoholics Anonymous session where all of us opened up about our apprehensions about structuring the company in a way that didn’t bite us back at a later point in time. You don’t find conversations like this outside SaaSBoomi very easily.

SaaSBoomi Annual is the yearly pilgrimage for all SaaS founders in India. And from an operations point of view, it’s also the event that requires the most heavy-lifting from the team. It takes a 100-volunteer task-force to make it happen, and the scale keeps getting bigger every year.

This time, for Annual ‘24, I didn’t want to volunteer since I badly wanted to just be an attendee, soaking in all the learnings from the various sessions, and meeting as many founders to discuss the thesis I’m working on. I just wanted to be responsibility-free while I did that. It was one such event, the Annual 2020, when I experienced SaaSBoomi for the first time as a starry eyed entrepreneur, after which I decided to volunteer with the community. I wanted to experience that yet again.

SaaSBoomi getting ready to host the largest SaaS founders event in Asia

And there started my amazing two days of SaaSBoomi Annual 2024. 

Programming: Relevant and actionable 

As an insider at SaaSBoomi, I can tell you there’s a lot of work that goes behind every session that you experience at any SaaSBoomi event. The Annual is an outcome of thousands of volunteer hours in a span of several  months. And a lot of that effort goes into deciding what to address, what’s relevant for the founders. 

More than 50% of the sessions on Day 1, rightfully, focused on embracing AI at your startup. The day started with inspiring stories of Indian startups that are riding the AI wave. It transitioned mid-way to the know-how of leveraging AI at your SaaS from a first principles perspective. And it ended with a thundering keynote from Girish that painted the reality for all of us: “Hey, let’s all better gear up for AI and seize the opportunity. Now.”

Girish envisaging the Annual 4 years later when we embrace AI as a community

Day 2 consciously reminded us that the journey we are all taking is not a 100m sprint but a marathon. The conversations with Bhaskar Bhat (Titan), Rajesh Jain (Netcore), Harish Bahl (Smile Group), KK (Mindtree), and Dharmesh Shah (HubSpot) were brilliantly curated and they gave us a fresh perspective about organization building that goes outside the usual realm of SaaS playbooks. The three-hour-long M&A-themed programming was also very apt, reminding all of us that the arduous startup journey can be steered to success in many ways, and it did so in a vulnerable fashion.

What’s next for all of us?

I don’t know how to conclude this note. 

“So that’s what I learned during the 2 power-packed days of SaaSBoomi Annual” or 

“Grateful to all the superheroes who made this happen. Next year will be bigger.” or 

“India SaaS is growing, and at a critical juncture with the AI disruption.”

Maybe it’s all of it. 

SaaSBoomi taught me four years ago that in an extreme solo sport like entrepreneurship, you can grow together, helping each other. It was not obvious, but the community proved it to me with its pay-it-forward philosophy.

SaaSBoomi is built on the core value of pay-it-forward

And I believe we need more of SaaSBoomi in the coming years, when most of us are going to have to reimagine what startups can look like, in the AI era. So join us and stay tuned for more – let’s do this together.

Edited by: Malavika Velayanikal

About the author

Matthew John

Volunteer & Consultant, SaaSBoomi
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