Vertical Software, Today

Anna Khan
3 min readNov 4, 2022

At CRV, we always try to think about the founder first, #PowertothePerson. What is the founder most concerned about in this new market shift? What do they wish they knew about the market they operate in, or wish they had time to put together?

In the last few months, the most consistent questions I’ve gotten from the founders I work with are:

What do you think about the future of the market?

How are companies like ours performing?

How should we perform?

What type of growth rate do we need to hit if we want to go public?

In an attempt to make this data more digestible, and easily retrievable — we’re thrilled to introduce Vertical SaaS, Today.

Vertical SaaS Today will be a new content portfolio from us at CRV, which will begin by including an analysis of public Vertical SaaS companies.

We hope this data helps you understand how public vertical SaaS companies are reacting to current market conditions — and be better armed with real data that could help you fundraise in the private markets.

There are some incredible Horizontal SaaS public analyses that exist in the market today, and we stand on their shoulders. But as Vertical SaaS has shown time and time again, it behaves and acts different, and sometimes even more different in a recessionary environment. Ten years ago, you likely could not create a separate list of vertical SaaS companies, because there were too few of them. Today, that number is different. This group contains extraordinary companies and entrepreneurs that have redefined entire industries — and become the de facto industry workflow software for thousands of employees.

We selected this list based on a few criteria: 1) The company has to have a majority of recurring software revenue in the last year (LTM), and 2) The company has to sell specifically to an industry vertical (i.e. Procore sells to the construction vertical, Blend Labs sells to banks, etc.) The list put together is based on our opinion and interpretation of this criteria — but we welcome other advice/interpretation.

Key Metrics (As of 10/31/2022)

  • Total Number of Companies: 21
  • Total Market Cap: $220.2B
  • Largest Market Cap: Autodesk at $46.3B
  • Lowest Market Cap: 2U at 479.6M
  • Average Market Cap: $10.5B
  • Average LTM Total Revenue: $1.4B
  • Most Revenue: Constellation Software at $5.7B
  • Average LTM Gross Margin: 56.2%
  • Highest EV/LTM Revenue: Aspen Technology at 32.2x
  • Lowest EV/LTM Rev: A tie between Blend Labs and 2U at 1.3x
  • Average EV/LTM Rev: 7.1x
  • Median EV/LTM Rev: 6.2x

Our goal is to update this summary on a monthly basis. This was our first edition (as of October 31st 2022.) Beyond an analysis of the public markets, our aim is to begin to include updates on newly funded private companies, feature significant liquidity events, or simply highlight CRV’s own incredible Vertical SaaS portfolio like: Northspyre, Bateau, Loop Returns, Squire, Archy, and others.

You can follow all of this information in real time on our newly minted Twitter account & if you are a new startup that wants to be featured on the account, send us a note at verticalsaas@crv.com.

We hope this helps you navigate some of these rougher waters, with the only thing we can control, better data of what is going on presently, how its changed from the past, and what we can glean from it to help us prepare for the future.

This won’t be without its faults — so we encourage you to pick at it (seriously!). If you believe there are some companies that should exist on the list that don’t, let us know. Our hope that all of you awesome vertical SaaS founders, find a home on this list in the very near future!

*The information set forth in Vertical SaaS, Today is provided for informational and discussion purposes only and is not intended to be, and shall not be regarded or construed as, a recommendation for a transaction or investment or financial, tax, investment or other advice of any kind by Charles River Ventures (CRV). Charles River Ventures (CRV) makes no warranty or representation regarding any such information or the data presented in such materials.

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Anna Khan

GP @CRV, Alum @HarvardHBS @Stanford. I like a bagel with attitude.