20 Years Ago, Life Before SaaS & the Cloud…

Ed Sim
3 min readJul 12, 2020

(summary of tweetstorm here)

1/ cleaning out my desk

Before SaaS, we had the ASP (application service provider) market, found this from August 1999 where I’m quoted in @Infoworld talking @LivePerson

Can’t believe how far we’ve come, yet in many ways things didn’t change much, just got WAY MORE EFFICIENT

2/ many don’t know how amazing we have it today as it was the “field of dreams” model back then; if you build it, they will come

Cost $3–5mm for a MVP

@LivePerson had to invest 10s of millions in a scalable secure data center to support future customers

None of this on-demand

3/From the LivePerson S-1, sometimes I can’t believe how much we were swimming upstream looking back 20 years ago, don’t we all believe the cloud has always been around?

4/ Part of S-1 sales pitch to position against competitors was that Liveperson was a hosted, ASP solution vs. on premise — with all of the benefits of SaaS we know today — which are all a given now but wasn’t then

5/other thoughts — wow — concept IPOs in 2001!

6/and portfolio construction, ownership has always mattered, here’s the ownership from my prior fund Dawntreader which has almost 10% pre-IPO. Those were the days!

7/What will the world look like 20 years from now and what is not a given today and swimming upstream will be a given?

8/and btw, why I am so fired up about our @Boldstartvc investment in Kustomer

  • SaaS continues to get reinvented with the latest and greatest and will continue to do so, in Kustomer case, it was the atomic unit of the customer and not the ticket from which a big business was born

9/👴🏼 👨🏼‍🦯 amazing how so many of these concepts just keep reappearing with different names…

10/Forgot to add, $LPSN has been on a tear since 2016 as enterprise and SaaS became more household names, with last qtr revenue of $78mm + $2.8 billion market cap — had some tough times as you can see from 9/11, pushing a rock up a hill ain’t easy, market + competition + live chat



Ed Sim

@boldstartvc your partner from Inception; true believer for developer first, infra & SaaS founders