How to Create a List of the 1,000 Most Interesting SaaS Companies

There are a lot of new technology trends popping up every year: Internet of Things, cryptocurrencies, virtual reality, and robotics are becoming commonplace. Others like digital twin, industry 4.0, and quantum computing might still be unfamiliar to most of us, but are quickly gaining attention, too.

But which are the companies behind these groundbreaking technologies? How can we identify the companies creating and leading these new categories? And, are they really industry categories? 

Take augmented reality as an example. It’s more of a technology than an industry. How about artificial intelligence? Is Netflix more an AI company with AI-based recommendation engines than a boutique consulting firm that provides consulting services in the artificial intelligence and machine learning fields? 

Categorizing something new, something unknown, is always a bit tricky. Standard industry classifications don’t cut it because they aren't updated frequently enough to include new technologies as separate entities. 

Nonetheless, thousands of research organizations, capital investors, and sales and marketing teams already need lists of companies in these new categories. So, how do you find out the actual field of operations of a technology company?

The answer is hidden in plain sight. After all, today there’s more information available on almost any business in the world than ever before. And, it’s just a few clicks away.

In this post, we’ll see how to dig deep into company information to reveal specific industry categories.

Categorizing something new, something unknown, is always a bit tricky. Standard industry classifications don’t cut it because they aren't updated frequently enough to include new technologies as separate entities. 

Practical example: A list of 1,000 SaaS companies in the Nordics (free download)

Before we get too technical, here’s an example. We ran a search on Vainu to find SaaS companies in the Nordics and their characteristics. We used the Vainu Custom Industries AI model to create this list, which allowed us to identify SaaS businesses based on company websites.

Nordic SaaS landscape

🇸🇪 Sweden: 797 SaaS companies

🇩🇰 Denmark: 583 SaaS companies

🇫🇮 Finland: 571 SaaS companies

🇳🇴 Norway: 333 SaaS companies

Top cities outside country capitals

  1. Espoo, Finland
  2. Gothenburg, Sweden
  3. Malmö, Sweden 
  4. Aarhus, Denmark
  5. Tampere, Finland

Median revenue growth

13-16.8% depending on the country.

🇫🇮 Finnish companies are the most profitable ones (median profit is 2.2 percent). However, revenue growth is behind the other countries: 16.2 percent.

🇸🇪 Swedish companies are growing fast with median growth of 33.3 percent. The median operating loss is 2.9 percent.

🇳🇴 Norwegian SaaS companies are there in between. Growth: 19.5 percent and loss of 1.4 percent. 

🇩🇰 Danish companies are a bit more difficult to analyze because not all of them report revenue figures in financial statements. The ones that did are growing fast and burning some money. Growth: 38 percent and a median loss of 13 percent.

saas-list-nordics

What Nordic SaaS companies do

  • 10% focus on lead generation, sales enablement, or marketing automation
  • 9 % of the companies build HR, recruitment, or talent management related software
  • 8 % are solving customer service. Experience, and engagement related challenges
  • 7 % focus on FinTech, finance, or financial services
  • 3 % are developing video related solutions

Technologies in use

  • 27% use Hubspot
  • 17% use Hotjar
  • 12% use Intercom

Website languages

🇬🇧  almost 98% have their website available in English

🇩🇪  12% in German

🇪🇸  7% in Spanish

Disclaimer: This report was produced without any analysts or manual validation. We profiled companies in SaaS (and 800 other segments) by using our own AI model and Vainu Custom Industries. Each segment prediction comes with a confidence score and a threshold that gives a good recall without damaging the precision too much. More on the confidence scores a bit later on this post.

Download the list of 1,000 SaaS companies in the Nordics

Since we already generated the list, we thought it might be a good idea to offer it as a free download. Hit this link to download the full list of 1,000 SaaS companies in the Nordics. 

The file includes details such as business ID, company name, location, detailed segments (Vainu Custom Industry), technographic information, year founded, and more. You’ll find information on companies such as:

  • Fintech: Pleo, FabricAI, Fiken AS, Konsolidator
  • GreenTech: Greenbyte, EnerKey, CHOOOSE,
  • FoodTech: dineflow, JAMIX Oy, Foodback, Superb
  • Personalization: Triggerbee, Frosmo, Sanity.io, Sitecore
  • Construction: Congrid, Fieldly, Catenda AS - makers of Bimsync, Byggeprojekt.dk
  • and many, many more.

A list of 1,000 SaaS companies in the Nordics

How Vainu technology labels companies with the right category

Now that we've seen an example, let's go through how we used Vainu's company data to build such a list of companies.

The simplest way of curating a list of SaaS companies (or cryptocurrency, Internet of Things, or augmented reality) is to manually label each company according to what the companies themselves say about their own operations. Humans are pretty good at categorizing companies, especially if they have some in-depth understanding of that specific industry or domain. Obviously, such an approach is impossible to scale. No person can label tens of thousands of companies, or eventually all the companies in the world.

Fortunately, technology has come a long way. At Vainu, we use manual labeling to build training and validation data sets for our algorithms. These algorithms use the information we have in our company database and then, with the help of training sets, predict the right labels for each company. This way, we’ve built our own taxonomy of industries and technologies: Vainu Custom Industries.

Vainu Custom Industries includes almost 1,000 different labels to precisely determine what any given company does. Each company gets a prediction for every label in the taxonomy. Most of the labels, of course, have nothing to do with the company in question. For example, a traditional bakery in the city center has very little to do with software, augmented reality or quantum computing. Our algorithm understands that and does not suggest these labels for this company. The taxonomy, however, also includes some traditional labels, and that’s why the bakery gets labeled as “bakery,” “food and beverage,” and “local business”. Sounds about correct, right?

Whether a company is a SaaS business or not is not a binary question. Is Salesforce an implementation partner or a SaaS company? That’s why we’ve added the concept of confidence score to Vainu company searches.

Confidence score for accurate results

Whether a company is a SaaS business or not is not a binary question. Is a Salesforce implementation partner a consulting company or a SaaS company or both? They don’t build software, but implement it and bill by the number of consulting hours provided. How about a marketing agency that solely serves software companies that build SaaS solutions? Also, the vendors themselves are very different from each other. One company might provide both on-premise and cloud solutions; some hardware manufacturers often also offer software solutions on top of their core offering. There are many shades of SaaS.

Are all those examples SaaS companies or only some of them? When you’re selling to this group of companies, you probably want to give your answer to that question.

That’s why we’ve added the concept of confidence score to Vainu company searches. In a nutshell, a confidence score is a decimal number between 0.0 and 1.0 that indicates the strength of each prediction. A confidence score of 0.9 indicates a very strong confidence, while the score of 0.1 has a lot of uncertainty in it. Simple, isn’t it?

Back to our example, here are thousands of companies and their confidence score for SaaS prediction. 

saas-list-confidence-score

 

In this example, a company belongs to the top one percent if it gets a confidence score higher than 0.5698. And it belongs to the top ten percent if the confidence score is higher than 0.335. 

If we look at the companies in that top one percent, we clearly see that almost all of them are companies most of us would describe as SaaS businesses. Zuora, Chargify, WalkMe, and Workato are some of the examples. Are they SaaS companies? Yes, they are.

Hubspot, Salesforce and Pipedrive have a confidence score between 0.4 and 0.45 so they are in the top five percent. That’s correct. They all provide SaaS based CRM and marketing automation solutions. 

How about the companies close to the 90 percentile where the confidence score is lower, around 0.335? When you look at the list of SaaS companies, the first companies you’ll see are Ammelio, Virtual Summits, Panopto, Fairown, Jumpshare, Ornavi, Camilyo, Moqli, Cdemo, Leadmethod, and PinMeTo. Those companies are less known, so can we be sure they’re SaaS businesses? Looking at their websites, I’d personally label ten or eleven out of eleven of those companies as SaaS businesses. So, we’re still doing pretty well identifying the right companies.

Setting a right threshold

The lower the confidence score is, the less likely it is to label companies as SaaS. At a certain point, we’ll be finding companies and realizing they’re not really SaaS businesses. Or at least, they’re not that relevant for our purpose.

Where should we draw the line? What is the ideal confidence threshold? The higher we set the threshold, the more accurate the results are. With high thresholds, we get very few false positives. That means high precision.

When the threshold is high, however, we will likely miss some obvious SaaS companies—true positives in mathematical language. If we set the threshold to 0.5, the search results won’t return too many false positives, but at the same time we’d miss companies such as Hubspot, Salesforce, and Pipedrive. All of them are SaaS companies, though. 

Lowering the threshold improves the recall—the percentage of all true positives that we catch. But it’s a trade-off. Precision gets a bit weaker because some false positives will end up being part of the results.

There isn't a right or wrong answer—the world isn’t black and white. As we wrote above, ideally each individual can decide where to set a threshold. We want companies to have as much flexibility as they want when working with Vainu’s company data. That’s why we’ve made available not only Vainu Custom Industries but also their confidence scores, confidence classes (high, medium, low), and confidence thresholds. We believe a non-binary question requires a non-binary answer.

There’s an API for that

There are several very concrete and practical use cases for this type of company categorization. Here are the two most common ones:

1) Many research organizations, investors, and sales and marketing teams are looking for a very specific group of companies. The only way to find them without a huge manual research work is to rely on databases that cover these modern segments. 

2) Most sales and marketing teams have thousands of company records in their CRM and marketing automation systems. In the era of micro-segments and personalization, their sales, marketing, and revenue operations teams are looking for new descriptive attributes to run more tailored campaigns. The ability to enrich your existing account data with new attributes creates a new competitive advantage when drafting messages that convert.

With Vainu API, creating this type of lists is simple. For all of our existing API users, all these 800+ segments and their confidence score details are available in the API. You can read more information in Vainu API documentation.

Want to know more about Vainu API or how to create detailed lists of companies? Request a demo and tells us which technology category interests you. We'll help you create a list. 

Topics: Vainu Custom Industries

Mikko Honkanen

Mikko Honkanen is Vainu's CEO and Co-Founder with a strong background in SaaS industry and B2B sales.