Thank you for being one of the first 16,489 members and supporting PeerSignal research! Welcome back to my almost-weekly newsletter where I share data and examples to help you study B2B sales and marketing.
First, some news: I'm launching something exciting for B2B SaaS startup sellers next Thursday. Here's how to get early access.
Also, we're continuing to expand our AI index and research. We 5Xed our coverage since last week and added features to our AI Index to help you better study this emerging market. 🎉
- AI-Integrated companies
- Offers promoted
- Community & content programs
- Headcount growth signals
The AI market is useful to watch. Crazy markets lead to interesting marketing and sales strategies. Intrigued, we started mapping AI.
We see AI companies in two broad buckets: AI-Native and AI Platforms & Enablers. We believe AI will infiltrate every SaaS market, so we added an “AI-Integrated” tag as well.
Here's how we define each bucket:
Using this basic framework and growth signals from Keyplay, we analyzed 1,942 AI companies t0 study the market. Two weeks ago, we covered AI growth through the lends of hiring trends. You can reread it here. This week, we’re digging deeper into funding and GTM approaches in AI:
- Recent AI funding insights
- AI GTM trends
- GTM insights from top AI companies
10-figure AI funding
- A quarter our AI index has raised 50M+
- 16% raised more than $100M
- 1% raised $1B
- One AI company raised more than any SaaS company we track on PeerSignal, OpenAI at $11B (second closest is Stripe at $8.7B)
How AI companies go to market with deep pockets
High-level AI hiring trends look similar to the rest of B2B SaaS. After all, 52% of our SaaS index supports AI in some way, either through integrations or core offering.
38% of AI companies feature a flavor of PLG – some kind of free offer, usually in the form of a free plan or trial. Interestingly, AI-Native and AI-Integrated offer free plans and trials at the same rate while 46% of AI Platforms (arguably the most innovative) offer a free trial or plan.
Content & community programs used by AI orgs
AI companies don’t adopt content and community programs at the same rate as other B2B SaaS companies, much less last year’s Cloud 100.
- 52% leverage partnerships in their GTM motions (more on this later)
- 28% of AI orgs have communities and 31% hold events (often creating a flywheel between the two)
- Other motions like podcasts and events weren’t used as commonly across AI companies
5 GTM observations from 5 AI unicorns
What are the most valuable generative AI companies doing differently? We spied on their sites, retargeting campaigns, and more to find out.
1. 4 of 5 offer a free plan.
Interestingly, it’s the fifth most valuable that hasn’t embraced freemium. In fact, you could argue that in the case of top gen AI companies, the easier it is to get started the more valuable the company.
OpenAI is the most obvious – and successful – version of this. 100M users in two months through a generous free plan advertised largely through word of mouth. OpenAI monetized its viral usage through exclusivity (speed and early access to new releases) made easy with low cost and self-serve sign up.
2. Traffic reflects top rankings
Outside of Lightricks, traffic somewhat validates valuation. Because Lightricks’ core products are mobile apps, this makes sense. App store traffic likely better reflects business growth. However, the ratios are not consistent, nor are they 1:1 with business growth (wouldn’t that be nice?).
OpenAI has 67X more traffic than Hugging Face (the second most valued gen AI company) but only a 10X higher valuation. Meanwhile, Hugging Face has 71X the traffic of Glean and is valued just 2X higher. But for most AI products, the more website traffic, the better.
3. The top two gen AI companies have integration strategies.
OpenAI and Hugging Face are betting on AI infrastructure. To win there, they doubled down on community and integrations. Think of how Zapier won this way early on – connecting nearly any two SaaS tools you can think of together, including ChatGPT (from OpenAI). If you want to be the go-to glue tool, you need to connect to more things – people and tools.
The first and only CTA you see above the fold on Hugging Face’s homepage takes you to a different site, GitHub. Vice versa, GitHub is by far Hugging Face’s biggest website referral source, contributing to their 50M monthly visitors.
4. AI leaders embrace events
Glean features group demos prominently on its events page, Jasper’s touting a sticky banner for its conference on the homepage, and Hugging Face holds YouTube Live events.
5. Technical communities are king
In addition to thriving communities on borrowed channels like GitHub and Discord, Hugging Face supports their community with dedicated courses, blogs, forums and how-to YouTube videos.
Study our 250+ sample of AI movers and find open roles at AI orgs on PeerSignal for free.
P.S. How do you think AI will change how B2B companies go to market? Will it? Reply or join the conversation on LinkedIn.
I read all replies.
Adam & Camille
Have a B2B tech company in mind you’d like us to track?
1. Fill out this form.
2. Tag a company on my LinkedIn post and I’ll add them manually.