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34 Startup Metrics That Tech Entrepreneurs Need to Know

Starting a company is one thing, but measuring traction is an art in itself. Here's 34 startup metrics that founders should know as they grow and scale their companies.
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Visual Capitalist creates and curates enriched visual content focused on emerging trends in business and investing. Founded in 2011 in Vancouver, the team at Visual Capitalist believes that art, data, and storytelling can be combined in a manner that makes complex issues and processes more digestible. Covering high-growth opportunities and industries such as technology, mining, and energy, Visual Capitalist reaches millions of investors each year. Visual Capitalist’s infographics have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Zero Hedge, Maclean’s, Gizmodo, The Vancouver Sun, and Business Insider.


Several years ago, a key challenge with launching a new tech startup venture was that there weren’t many precedents to follow.

  • How do you scale a company?
  • How do you measure growth and costs in a more meaningful way?
  • Does the company have real traction?

Of course, there were knowledgeable people in the tech ecosystem that knew these things – for example, venture capitalists and ex-founders that had been successful with previous ventures – but they were tough to gain access to, and many of their theories and best practices weren’t yet widespread.

Fast forward to today, and the practices around new startups are much more established. While this can be a blessing and a curse to new founders, at least a more standardized set of metrics helps to give founders a sense of where their company stands.

Key Startup Metrics, According to VCS

The infographic from Funders and Founders lists 34 startup metrics for founders to know – but which one should be a focus for new ventures?

Here’s what three bigtime VCs have said about the startup metrics that they consider to be most important at early stages:

“Month-Over-Month Organic Growth”

For most companies, MoM organic growth is a very useful metric and depending on the base, 20–50% MoM growth can be good. Retention, referral, and churn are all things we look at, too.

– Aileen Lee, Cowboy Ventures

According to Aileen Lee, who originally came up with the “unicorn” term, organic growth is a particularly useful metric.

On the other hand, Bill Gurley of Benchmark says that monitoring conversions is a comprehensive metric that is a good proxy for several key business areas.

“Conversion Rate”

No other metric so holistically captures as many critical aspects of a web site – user design, usability, performance, convenience, ad effectiveness, net promoter score, customer satisfaction – all in a single measurement.

– Bill Gurley, Benchmark

Paul Graham, of Y Combinator fame, says that the metric depends on the stage. If you have revenue, then revenue growth is the metric you want. If you’re not there yet, user growth is a good proxy.

“Revenue Growth or Active Users”

The best thing to measure the growth rate of is revenue. The next best, for startups that aren’t charging initially, is active users. That’s a reasonable proxy for revenue growth because whenever the startup does start trying to make money, their revenues will probably be a constant multiple of active users.

– Paul Graham, VC and co-founder of Y Combinator

It should also be noted that the most relevant metric to you depends on your business model. For example, MRR (Monthly recurring revenue) and churn rates would be particularly important to SaaS (Software-as-a-service) startups, while MAUs (Monthly active users) and organic traffic may be more important measurements for online media companies.

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