Why is cloud revenue growth so slow if the digital transformation is accelerating?

Redpoint’s Jamin Ball discusses the numbers behind the hype

So far, 2020 has been mostly a garbage year, but it has also been consistently interesting in terms of the amount of change that it has brought.

Venture capital? Changed. Public markets? Very changed. How to go public? How about a SPAC? E-commerce? Going through a once-in-a-generation step-change. E-commerce venture investment? Down. Fintech investing? More nine-figure rounds than ever. Fintech losses? New records.

The list goes on. But amidst the signals and noise, there has been a notable theme struck by some public companies in their earnings reports, and private companies’ investors in interviews: the digital transformation is accelerating.

This concept is something that TechCrunch has covered at length this year, including this column, where we’ve chatted with folks from Twilio and Qualtrics to collect their in-market observations.

But if companies of all stripes are racing to modernize operations with more software and more cloud, why aren’t we seeing more revenue acceleration amongst public SaaS companies?


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That’s a question Redpoint’s Jamin Ball asked the other day on Twitter, posting a chart showing that most SaaS and cloud companies posted revenue deceleration in Q2 2020 compared to Q1 2020. Less revenue growth during a longer period of supposedly COVID-led digital acceleration? Odd, given what you’ll hear talking to any booster of public or private cloud companies.

Indeed, the narrative in mid-Q2 was that things were looking better than expected amongst startups, at least, and by late Q2 that many were actually catching a COVID tailwind. But if their public brethren are any indication, things could be slower among private companies than anticipated.

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