2022 SaaS HR Benchmark: Scaling Teams Across Series A to C

Founders and investors know that early-stage ventures are worth about as much as the team driving the company. Logically, throughout a company's fundraising process, founders and investors alike put great effort into assessing the current strengths and weaknesses of a company's team and how the team needs to evolve after the fundraising.

During one of our recent lunch discussions, an unidentified sandwich-chewing team member suddenly asked, ‘Knowing how to build your team after raising capital is nice and all, but what are typical team characteristics of companies at the moment of successfully closing a round?’.


We found that very little benchmark data was readily available to help us, despite the critical implications it can have for founders looking to make their team and organization scale and investor-ready. In this report, we aim to provide an answer and ask: 'What does a typical Series A, B, or C stage team look like at the time they successfully secured their funding?


Specifically, we infer upon the evolution of the following Human Resource characteristics as companies scale from Series A to C:


1. Team Size and growth

2. Team Composition

3. C-Suite size and composition

4. Management team size and composition

5. Degree of internationalization of the workforce


For this study we extracted data for a sample of B2B SaaS start- and scale-ups across Europe from Dealroom which had raised a Series A, B or C round no longer than one month before the moment of data-extraction, ensuring we get an accurate impression of the HR-characteristics at the instance of the round’s closing. We then categorized the data into subsamples of round type (A, B & C), and enriched the HR profiles for each company with data from various other sources.


The frameworks presented in this document are non-exhaustive and we refrain from claiming any causal relationships between the data we present. Instead, we hope our research serves as a catalyst for founders to think about the structure and evolution of their company’s Human Capital. We specifically challenge them to compare their current HR growth plans to the HR profiles of companies that have already reached the scale they aim to achieve.


We want to provide founders and operators with a reference framework regarding the evolution of HR profiles of peer companies as they scale across Series A, B, and C.


What's the typical team size for companies in each funding stage?


Our research indicates that the average company employs 54 FTEs when raising their Series-A, growing to 150 FTE for Series B companies and to 205 at the Series C stage.

The increase in team size is steepest from Series A to B (both in absolute and relative terms) with an average headcount increase of 100 FTE, or approximately a 200% increase relative to the team size at the Series A stage.

The graph below also shows the average amount of total funding raised by companies in each respective funding stage. The companies in our sample that just raised their Series A round have raised 16 million Euros in total on average, increasing to an average of 55 million raised for Series B stage companies and 117 million for companies that raised their Series C.


Graph 1 - Average Team Sizes in FTE, and average amount of total funding in Millions from Series A to C.
Graph 1 - Average Team Sizes in FTE, and average amount of total funding in Millions from Series A to C.

Relationship between team-size and round size


This graph shows the organizational setup of companies in their series A, B, and C stages. We know that a funding stage-based classification is arbitrary, and there is no uniform definition.


We found that the size of a funding round is closely related to the headcount (Correlation of 0.61). This supports our view that the funding stage is just a proxy of a company's maturity. Therefore, to be more comprehensive, we've not only approached this research from the series A, B, and C perspective but also classified companies in different maturity stages.


Graph 2 - Linear OLS regression of Round-Size in Millions of Euros on team-size in FTE
Graph 2 - Linear OLS regression of Round-Size in Millions of Euros on team-size in FTE

How fast do companies grow before successfully raising their Series A, B, or C?


Graph 3 shows the relative growth in team size in the 24, 12, and 6 months prior to closing the funding round. For example, the companies we studied grew their workforce by 260% relative to two years before raising their Series A, by 92% relative to one year before the round, and by 50% in the six months leading up to raising their Series As. Our results indicate that a company's workforce when raising a Series A is 3.6x as large as it was two years prior to the round.


Graph 3 - FTE growth-rates for companies 24, 12 and 6 months prior to raising their respective A, B or C round.
Graph 3 - FTE growth-rates for companies 24, 12 and 6 months prior to raising their respective A, B or C round.

What's the typical team composition for a SaaS startup across Series A-C?


Though many people generally classify Series A companies as 'just ramping up for serious sales,' we found that the relative size of commercial teams in Series A companies is larger than the relative size of commercial teams in Series C companies. In contrast, the technical teams of those C-stage companies were larger than those of the companies at their Series A stage.


Specifically, our data show that the percentage of a company's workforce allocated towards Commercial roles is around 30% for companies in the Series A stage, which decreases to 26% as companies get to the Series C stage.


The reverse happens for the size of tech teams, whose relative size increases from 29% of the total workforce for companies raising their Series A to 34% for Series C stage companies.


Relative Team Compositions of companies across Series A to C.
Relative Team Compositions of companies across Series A to C.

How do B2B SaaS start- and scale-ups structure their management team across the different stages?


C Suite Executives


We listed the average number of C-suite executives per stage in Graph 4 below. It shows that series A companies, on average, have an executive team of 2.7 people, which grows to 3.6 for a series B company and to 4.5 in a Series C venture. The growing size of the C-Suite is in line with the tremendous growth in headcount companies typically experience when scaling from Series A to C, as a larger team requires more structure management.


Graph 4 - Average C-Suite size across series
Graph 4 - Average C-Suite size across series

Graph 5 shows the total average number of Directors (with Directors categorized as either a Head of a Department, a VP, or an SVP).


Graph 5 - Total number of Directors across Series
Graph 5 - Total number of Directors across Series

The following graph displays the types of C-suite executives on a venture’s Board of Directors throughout the different funding stages.


  • The most common C-Suite roles for Series A are CEO (92%), CTO (64%), and COO (36%).

  • 40% of the companies have a CFO when raising their Series B. This is an increase of 28 percentage points compared to start-ups raising their Series As.

  • Two C-suite executives that we see more often at a later stage are CCOs and CMOs. 36% of the companies have a CCO, and 18% have a CMO when they raise their Series C.

The Chief Commercial Officer is usually introduced to align the entire commercial organization (Sales, Marketing, Customer Success) and to manage a much larger sales team as the company becomes more top-line and sales-oriented. Accordingly, we see an increase in the percentage of companies with CCOs across stages. 36% of companies have one when raising a Series C.


Graph 6 - C-Suite Coverage Across Series
Graph 6 - C-Suite Coverage Across Series


Directors, VPs, and 'Heads of...'


This chart shows the number of Directors that lead different departments within a venture.

The results show that the average Series A company employs 1 Commercial Director (~1.12), 1 Marketing Director (~1.08) and 1 HR Director (~1.08). Companies typically start to hire directors across other departments when they raise their Series B and C rounds.

To illustrate, at the Series B stage, companies often hire a second or even a third commercial leader (2.75) and the first heads of "support" departments (1.5). Many companies also employ a Product leader such as a Head of Product (2.5). Besides, we observe a significant growth in hiring Operational Directors (1.56).


Second or third hires for leading Marketing positions usually occurs at the Series C stage (2.5).


Graph 7 - No. of department directors
Graph 7 - No. of department directors

How internationalized are European SaaS startups?


The need for internationalization is usually higher for European start- and scale-ups relative to their American counterparts due to the market sizes of their founding countries. This begs the question: just how internationally oriented are European B2B-SaaS start- and scale-ups?

Our data shows that the number of countries in which European SaaS startups have workforces deployed is already very similar for companies that just raised their Series A, relative to companies in the B and C-stage. On average, ventures that just raised a Series A have an active workforce in ~2.8 countries, with the avg. across Series C companies only slightly higher at 3.0.


What we simultaneously see, however, is that the relative size of the workforce in those ~3 countries they operate in increases significantly, from 19% of the total workforce for Series A companies to 36% for companies in their Series Cs.


The result shows that the countries you choose to expand into at an early stage are generally the ones you'll still be operating in when you've scaled further. It also seems to imply the preference of 'going deep' rather than 'going wide' as an expansion strategy.


Graph 8 - Workforce split across countries
Graph 8 - Workforce split across countries
Graph 9 - No. of countries in which companies have personnel
Graph 9 - No. of countries in which companies have personnel


Characteristics of companies of different sizes


Funding stages are an imperfect proxy of the business maturity of a startup. To check the validity of our finding, we rearranged the companies we studied into five categories based on their team size, rather than the type of funding round they raised.


Specifically, we classified companies into five different size categories:


  • Category 1: 20 - 50 employees

  • Category 2: 65 - 90 employees

  • Category 3: 100 - 135 employees

  • Category 4: 160 - 195 employees

  • Category 5: 240> employees


Graph 10 - Average amount of funding across the different size  categories (in Millions of Euros)
Graph 10 - Average amount of funding across the different size categories (in Millions of Euros)

How do management teams in companies of different sizes look?


This chart shows the number of directors, VPs, SVPs, and Directors for companies of different (team)sizes.

Management in companies with 20-50 employees usually consists of a Commercial Director, a Marketing Director, and an HR Director. As they grow to 65-90 FTE, they tend to incorporate Technical directors.


Once they reach ~100 employees, we often see companies hire a second head in the Commercial department, as well as Proposition Development Directors, such as Heads of Product and Heads of Operations.


Companies that reach 160 FTE often incorporate the third commercial leader and a second marketing leader.


Graph 11 - Average number of department directors per department in different FTE categories
Graph 11 - Average number of department directors per department in different FTE categories

If you want to download this report as a presentation, click here.