STARTUP QUESTIONS 99 questions to ask yourselfbefore starting a web company.
WHY• Why are you really building this company?• Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?• Do you have what it takes?• What problem are you solving?• How are you going to solve it?
PRODUCT• What is your product going to look like?• Who is going to build it?• How much time will it take to build it?• When can you launch a private beta?• Is it a feature or a company?• What are the minimum features for your MVP?• What is the killer application?
TECH• What technologies are you going to use?• Why?• Will you be able to ﬁnd developers that know these technologies?• Are they easy to learn?• Are they scalable?• Are they fast?
LOCATION• Where are your customers?• Where are your competitors?• Where are your partners?• Why are you not there too?• Does it make sense to stay where you are?
TEAM• Is every team member 100% committed?• What if you run out of money?• What if they are oﬀered a job at Google?• What is each person going to do all day?• How are you going to divide equity?• Who is going to take a salary? How much?• What is the size of the option pool?• Who is going to do customer care?• Are you the right team do do this?
FUTURE• What are the vision and mission of your company?• How many people do you see your company employing in 1, 3 and 5 years?• What exit are you looking for?• Is your company going to be relevant in 3 years?
CUSTOMERS• Who are your customers?• Would YOU be a potential customer?• Where are they hanging out?• How can you get their attention?• Are they willing to pay?• How are they solving this problem today?• Are you going to either make them more money or save them some time?
METRICS • How many users do you want to have? • What are the most important metrics for your company? • Is the lifetime customer value of a customer bigger than the total customer acquisition cost of a customer?ARPU * CLT > CAC + (Salaries+Infrastructure+etc / Users) A: Acquisition - where / what channels do users come from? A: Activation - what % have a "happy" initial experience? R: Retention - do they come back & re-visit over time? R: Referral - do they like it enough to tell their friends? R: Revenue - can you monetize any of this behavior?
MARKET • What’s your market? Tip: If you have a travel website, your market is not the $2.5 trillions global travel market. • How big is your market? TAM? • What are its growth expectations? • Is it going to still exist in 5 years? • How is it divided at the moment? • How much do you want to take of it? • How are you going to do it?Number of Poten@al Customers * Price of Product = ?
COMPETITION• Who is your biggest competitor?• Why should someone invest in you and not them?• Why are you going to beat them?• What do you know about the market that other competitors don’t?• What if Google does it?• What can you do less and better of your competitors?
FUNDRAISING• How much money do you want to raise?• How many rounds do you want to raise?• Debt or equity?• When do you want to raise it?• Whos going to raise it?• What’s the current economic condition and how does it aﬀect your fundraising?
BUSINESS MODEL• What is your business model?• Is it scalable?• Is it legal?• Where does most of the money come from?• How can you make more money?• How many users/customers do you need to get to break even?
(IF) SALES• Who is going to sell your product?• Who is he going to sell it to?• What is the price of your product? Why?• With whom should he speak in such companies?• Which investor could help you out with this?• What commissions are you going to give to sales agents?
(IF) SAAS/FREEMIUM• Will customers trust you with their data? Should they?• Can customers export their data?• Do you plan on having a free plan?• How can you ensure you maximize conversion from free to paid?• Can people start using the software without interacting with a human?• Can you deploy without downtime?• Do you have APIs?
(IF) MARKETPLACE• Can you easily market to both sellers and buyers? Tip: you are building two companies• Have you solved the chicken-egg problem?• What percentage are you going to take?• Can someone bring it outside the system and game you?• Is it legal?• Can people do it on ebay? Tip: if they can, they will.
(IF) ECOMMERCE• Whos gonna handle logistics?• Will you need a lot of money to build your inventory?• Do you have cash ﬂows problems?• Whos gonna build/provide the products?• What is your margin?• How do you handle returns?• Do you have exclusives?• If not: do you have the lowest price?
(IF) ADVERTISING• How many users do you need to have before getting revenues?• Why would someone advertise on your site and not on Facebook?• How much is it going to cost to advertise on your site?• What kind of users are you oﬀering to advertisers?• Where else can they ﬁnd them?
AND THE REAL QUESTIONWhat are you doing here? Go home and code.