The State of the GenAI Wave in B2B SaaS in the Summer of 2024

I spent five days in the SF Bay Area with B2B SaaS founders, funders, and senior software engineers. The talk is all about adding GenAI and LLM features to software apps, but they were unclear exactly how or when the AI big wave revolution will occur.

AI is very cool and will be big, but it’s still early to see how this will play out in the next year on the front lines of business.

There’s a lot of hurrying up to say you have AI features with a healthy skepticism about the user benefit of early GenAI attempts.

Coders in big tech say, “Our product leaders told us we need to add GenAI features, but it still doesn’t seem that interesting for users. We’ll design it, code it, and ship it anyway.”

Founders in startup SaaS say, “We are running a lot of experiments and keeping up with the big AI platform changes. We’re all more productive now but it hasn’t made our app much more useful.”

Smaller SaaS funders say, “It’s hard to tell where the winners will be to make our bets. AI tools help software companies grow more efficiently, so they don’t need our funding as much. We’re being very careful.”

Big enterprise SaaS buyers say, “We need to start investing, testing, and trying GenAI technology, which means we need to spend less on our existing SaaS apps in our tech budget.”

Big investors say, “It will be the next big tech wave, so we are making big early bets on chips, infrastructure, foundational models, and platforms. NVIDIA, Microsoft, Google–the big will get bigger.”

It’s all very exciting, but it’s still early and moving around quickly.

That’s a lot different from the last big software tech wave when SaaS apps on the web and mobile took over the last 15 years.

It was easier to bet on the massive transition from on-premise Windows software to cloud-based web and mobile apps for businesses everywhere and billions of consumers.

Despite that, I’m more excited about GenAI and other ML platforms than I was about VR, blockchain, and other platform opportunities that didn’t materialize.

It’s early, but the practical AI wave will happen in ways we can’t imagine or expect.

What are you seeing in the current AI wave?

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