What Matters For Startups

This is an excerpt of the long survey I did with 25+ startup founders who have raised between 1M-10M USD in the last 2 years.

Startup journeys are famously lonely. Unless everything falls in place and your startup starts doing well, you are just trying different ideas and seeing what sticks. Well, sometime back I had an idea. I thought to figure out if there are any patterns in these different journeys. Are there still averages that we can use to learn and benchmark.

What does it really take to build a successful product?

With this in mind, I extensively interviewed founders and asked objective questions to all successful founders on different topics such as

👉 How much time on average founders spend to release?
👉 How much do entrepreneurs spend on MVPs on average?
👉 How many iterations founders do before they get to market fit?
👉 Did the founders have previous experience?

And so on…..

About the data

These are all the frequently asked questions that come to mind when you plan to build your product. In the last 2 months, we spoke with 25 founders who have built successful companies to find if there are averages that we can hold on to. The main goal of the exercise was to find patterns among the different startup stories.

The yardstick to consider a company successful is tricky since companies can be considered successful or unsuccessful on different parameters. Portability, number of users, usage etc may not hold true for all companies and would depend on their business model, domain and stage of their business. Hence, we picked getting funded as the parameter to validate success as it is one parameter consistent to prove that the startup did make successful leaps.

As successful startups can come in all shapes and sizes, we built a sample of companies that have achieved funding between 500K USD and 2M USD to limit our study’s scope. This way we were able to capture companies that are not too small to not have validated their company or too large where growth and success would have been driven by many external factors and teams. We have tried to capture thoughts from companies where founders and their actions were directly responsible for results.

The way for the survey was mostly through Zoom calls. Few people just filled in the survey online while for most people, the survey questions were asked over a call. During the course of these conversations, we were also able to get pieces of wisdom from many of the founders that we have sprinkled throughout the survey. Now that you have got a background into our process and respondents, let’s dive into what we learned-

Sample Insights from the Survey

1. Number of iterations that founders took to get to market fit is 3

Many founders actually reported having been on a continuous iteration since launch. Although on deeper discussions, major iterations for a product

Fig: Number of iterations taken by founders before finding market fit

2. Average time to market for founders from the start of development to launching for the first time is around 9-10 months

Many times founders are in a hurry to launch and may even be planning for a 4 week or lesser launch time. This is to share that most successful startups had a 9-10 months development period before launching.

Fig: Average time taken to lunch an MVP

3. 85% of founders had any experience building another prior startup.

15% said this was their first startup.

Fig: Distribution of founder with zero startup experience and prior startup experience

4. Average amount spent in marketing is around 20K during the MVP stage.

Many startups even reported Zero marketing spent on any of the paid mediums apart from just the founder’s or marketing team’s time.

Fig: Marketing Budget spent during MVP

During the survey, we were able to get into very interesting conversations with founders, we were also able to extract some interesting information that was not part of the official survey.

Marketing Avenues As Reported By Startups

Conventional Marketing Channels Non Conventional Marketing Channels
SEO Featured in Reports
Outbound Trade Shows
Paid Ads Webinars
Direct Sales Journals and Peer Reviews
Emails Publications
- Partnerships
- Conferences

You can read more of such insights in our latest ebook- What Matters For Startups.

It’s free for everyone!

Ayush Jain

CEO, Mindbowser

Ayush works closely with customers guiding them on their idea and execution.
Reach out to Ayush on ayush@mindbowser.com

The founder's survey report on "What Matters For Startup" is released - Get your copy and learn the trends of successful companies :)

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