How 2 startups scaled to $50M ARR and beyond

The current list of venture-backed private companies we expect to go public — and the number of companies that might say yes to a SPAC-led debut — underscore just how many large startups there are in the market.

After years of rising venture capital investment and a wave of huge rounds, many startups and unicorns could leave the private markets this year or the next.

Last year, The Exchange wrote about former startups that had scaled to around the $100 million annual recurring revenue (ARR) mark, or had revenues that were roughly equivalent if they didn’t sell software. But that wound up being a bit less interesting than we’d hoped, as companies that have reached that scale tend to be fully baked by the time we got them on the phone.

So, we’re shooting for the $50 million ARR range this year. Our goal is to see what we can ferret out from companies that are moving from the middle-late startup years and into the unicorn realm.

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What broke during the last year? Which teams have they doubled down on? How has hiring gone? We have questions. And, happily, companies have raised their hand. Today, we’re talking about OwnBackup and Assembly. Next week, it’s SimpleNexus and Kaseya. And we have Picsart on deck as a company somewhat in between our two target revenue bands.

But before we start, a final note. The following bits of journalism are more exploratory than hard-hitting. But as private companies tend to share nothing other than the occasional press release strained of personality and flavor, I’m working to bring more raw data points and observations to you even if they do not constitute the grittiest reporting you’ve ever read.

Let’s get into our first two $50 million (or around there) ARR companies.


OwnBackup is a company you might have heard of as it raised a $50 million round last July, an event TechCrunch covered. The company reached out regarding our $50 million ARR series by noting that its growth had accelerated since that round, so we decided to find out more.

The Exchange spoke with CEO Sam Gutmann and CMO Jamie Grenney about OwnBackup’s recent growth.

According to the execs, OwnBackup is around $50 million ARR today. The company, as its name hints, provides cloud backup services to other companies. And it’s built atop the Salesforce platform, a service that had a good 2020 when nCino, another company that leverages the service, went public to great effect. (That debut led to TechCrunch reporting on the trend of building atop someone else’s software to IPO scale.)

And OwnBackup has lots of room to grow inside of its current platform home. It thinks it has around 2% penetration of the Salesforce ecosystem, meaning that its current 100% yearly growth pace can continue for quite some time without a material change in strategy.

Asked if OwnBackup was worried about platform risk, Gutmann and Grenney said they weren’t. Not only is Salesforce Ventures an investor, the execs noted, but the Salesforce platform is a huge SaaS ecosystem; it’s not something that could be switched off like a Google web product and consigned to the ash heap of the internet.