To my knowledge, there is no mutual fund that specializes in investing in software-as-a-service stocks. Is that something of an oversight by the financial services industry? I'm sure there would be a ready supply of investors who'd like to invest in the industry in a way that spreads the risk across a mix of stocks — one reader of this blog specifically contacted me to ask if I knew of one, as he was keen to make such an investment.
It certainly would have paid off over the past year, which has seen something of a resurgence across the industry — easily outperforming more general stock measures. Even RightNow, whose revenues took a knock while it completed a transition out of perpetual licensing, is up about a third over the past twelve months, while Concur, Taleo and Vocus have all doubled. Even though past performance is no guarantee of future returns, I'm sure there are quite a few people, at least in the tech industry, who'd be interested in adding something like this to their investment portfolios — especially those who want a hedge to offset their holdings in software vendors that aren't moving fast enough to adopt SaaS.
The current clutch of IPOs is increasing the number of SaaS vendors available for investment. Constant Contact recently completed its IPO in fine form. It shouldn't be long now before NetSuite finally comess to the market. Meanwhile, Successfactors is imminent, as Jason Corsello picked up last week:
"Successfactors has set its IPO terms to 10.79 million common shares being offered at between $8 and $10 per share. It would have an initial market cap of approximately $497 million, were it to price at the high end of its range. The company plans to trade on the NYSE Arca under ticker symbol SFX2."
I'm not an investment specialist, so this is in no sense an investment recommendation. But if any financial institutions want some help drawing up a list of stocks suitable for a SaaS mutual fund, I'd be glad to oblige.