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Small business SaaS is catching a wave

by Sunir Shah | February 20/2009 | cloud, saas

TechCrunch reports today that Intuit’s Quicken Online sent a letter to Mint requesting proof of their phenomenal recent growth from 600,000 to 800,000 users in a couple of months. I know that’s incredible growth, but Intuit shouldn’t be surprised.

Mint has not only done amazing things for personal finance software, but they are hanging ten on a huge wave lifting everyone in the small business software-as-a-service (SaaS) market. FreshBooks just crossed over 700,000 users, and January was far and away our biggest month ever. New Zealand-based online accounting service, Xero, also boasted adding 1000 new paying customers in 50 days for a total of 4000. And Kashflow celebrated crossing 2,500 paying customers in the UK.

The Internet economy seems to be growing faster than the wider economy is shrinking. Facebook and MySpace and Google Apps are teaching millions of people about SaaS every month. Moreover, people are surprisingly increasingly willing to spend money online, even as spending trends are down in the wider economy. ComScore reported online commerce grew 2% year-over-year in January, rebounding very quickly from a 3% drop in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Of course, this positive trend will most help those who have already achieved market traction at the start of 2009. Just like surfing, only those who have already swam out from the beach will catch that market wave. And it should be a big one. So, if you’re surprised by the numbers today, just wait to see the killer numbers by the end of 2009.

Kowabunga!


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