BREAKING: Era of Ecosystem Going Mainstream? Top VC Bessemer Predicts #1 Trend for 2022 as 'Indirect'

"Indirect partnerships are becoming table stakes from day 1 for SaaS businesses."

As a quote, this could easily be an op-ed from a partner technology company.

But it's not. It's from the blue-chip VC Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP).

In the most mainstreaming moment we've seen this year, PartnerHacker is covering the ongoing story of BVP's State of the Cloud 2022 annual report, their influential yearly release.

BVP cites, "[I]ncreasingly competitive SaaS markets," and, "[P]roliferation of APIs" as driving force behind their #1 prediction for 2022:

Prediction 1: Leaning into indirect monetization from day one is becoming table stakes for SaaS businesses

Right on cue with the PartnerHacker manifesto, the era of ecosystems is going mainstream before our eyes.

BVP writes:

Today, companies are embedding a much broader suite of services into their products, including card issuing, banking, group purchasing, insurance, logistics, and usage based pricing—which are driving new business models. What were once Second Acts are now becoming First Acts, and helping SaaS companies differentiate themselves as SaaS markets become increasingly competitive.
It's not a product, it's an ecosystem – indirect partnerships are now "table stakes" from day 1

Of particular note is the call-out of partner strategies as now required from day one.

This is one of the first times we've seen SaaS entrepreneurs being told (by someone outside the PH orbit) to build a partner first strategy from the beginning of the company lifecycle. This sentiment hasn't been commonplace or necessary in the era of sales digitization or marketing automation. Now it is.

As PartnerHacker Co-Founder Jared Fuller wrote in the PartnerHacker Manifesto: Trust is the New Data:

For many of us who have lived in the B2B SaaS world for the past decade or two, “indirect” hasn’t been our normal. Simply put, indirect channels weren’t needed during the shift to the software-eaten, data-driven world the same way they were in the past. B2B companies could acquire new customers cheaply and efficiently. Data amassed by Google, Facebook, and others allowed companies direct access to new customers with high margins and low acquisition costs.

With the average American receiving 400-10,000 advertisements per day, the times are changing.

Might we start seeing, "partner led growth," or, "ecosystem led growth" SaaS strategies for founders and entrepreneurs?

We suspect so.

But wait... there's more

BVP's report made five predictions for 2022 and while shocking to many that the first prediction was partner related, how about the first AND the second.

Prediction 2: The cloud goes to market(places)

Marketplaces are where partners drive partner value for their own customers.

BVP writes for their second prediction:

Cloud marketplaces are still nascent, but in 2021, we saw marketplace transactions grow an estimated 70% to $4 billion, which is 3x faster growth than the public cloud at large. And according to cloud marketplace platform, we will continue to see these marketplaces explode, growing to $50 billion of gross merchandise value (GMV) by 2025.

In our opinion, a more sustainable, adaptable, and resilient approach is the answer in the era of partner ecosystems, and we commend BVP for their insight and call-out in their State of the Cloud 2022 report.

PartnerHacker is reaching out to BVP for further commentary. Stay tuned.

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