The biggest challenge at SaaS Insider has always been its cash flow.
It takes an immense amount of money to run a conference. To explain, let's break down the cost of running our 2023 conference:
For SaaS Insider’s 2023 conference ‘SAASCON23’, we will have 1000 attendees.
For a two-day conference, considering drop-offs for dinner and a reduction in the crowd for 2nd day of the conference, we will end up with a minimum of 3000 PAX billing. It would cost about INR 30 Lakhs per meal. This brings our cost to INR 90L plus taxes for hotel, food and beverages expenses alone.
Now add INR ~35 Lakhs for the cost of production to it.
All premium hotels expect you to book a minimum of 100 rooms a day for a conference, which comes up to INR ~30L for 2 days.
Adding to this, we need to make enough profit from this event to support the rest of the operations for the year.
Our cost is now at a total of INR ~1.5 Crores.
A 350-member conference looks more premium as it can afford a bigger and more premium stage than our 900-member conference of 2022 which did not have a similar setup.
Enterprise companies want to pay for the event only after the conference is done while hotels need all the money upfront. This creates a huge cash flow gap, making it very difficult for small communities with limited budgets.
Our biggest mistake was that we gave in to peer pressure to go for a premium hotel and setup which has shot up our expenses.
Frankly, we are not satisfied with this decision. In fact, I am ashamed of it, because SaaS Insider was created to solve actual problems for the SaaS community and not to do a 2 day flashy PR event.
We now have to spend so much time raising money to support this extravaganza. This money could have been put to better use, we could have spent this money on our VC connect program or the open source project which will make it easy for everyone to build products.
Going forward, we will do our events in venues like Bangalore International Center, which will help us considerably reduce our costs. We can run the entire conference with just a few sponsors and we can use the excess time and money to support the SaaS community in more meaningful ways.