Judge and Prepare to Be Judged
Much of the feel good media coverage of startups today is so superficial and manufactured it can hardly be called news. Investigative journalism covering tech startups is extremely rare, and when it does happen it's written in a snarky fashion full of speculation, rather than research and data.
That's why for the past month I've been indexing startups and tracking their momentum using dozen of signals from public data sets. The analysis reveals up-and-coming companies who deserve more attention, and also highlights companies that are not growing or have headed into decline.
Go to any bar, any coffee shop, any coworking space. They're talking about which startups are going to make it and which are going to die. Investors, employees, friends, family... if you're working at or running a startup you know people are already piecing together an impression of how your company is doing based on what you say, don't say, do, tweet, blog, etc.
As incomplete as the picture may be, people pick up the signals you and your company are sending out into the world no matter how good you are at putting on The Show.
Delay is the Deadliest Form of Denial
Think your B2B startup shouldn't be expected to ever have meaningful web traffic? Twilio is #13,158 in global web traffic and Zendesk is #650, so don't even try that line on me. Companies that build brand awareness, regardless of their industry, are the ones who win. The success of your company is a function of your unit economics multiplied by your ability to get someone to pay you. Before they can pay you they have to know you exist. This is why the most successful B2B tech companies invest heavily in doing world class online marketing, and if you are competing with them you will eventually have to as well.
There are very few B2B SaaS startups that have business models enabling them to succeed with less than 100 customers (e.g. Palantir). Startups in the consumer space will need *at least* TENS OF MILLIONS of people to be aware of your products for you to ultimately succeed. Consumer startups need to achieve massive scale in order to monetize through advertising, or sell themselves to another company who will handle monetization for them (like Facebook).
What excites me most is uncovering companies that are doing really well but flying under the radar. So keep reading, and be among the first to know.
Let's give them something to talk about.