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Startup Metrics for Pirates & Luchadores


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slides from my talk on Startup Metrics (Mexico City, Nov 2016(

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Startup Metrics for Pirates & Luchadores

  1. Startup Metrics for Pirates @DaveMcClure 500 Startups AARRR!
  2. Dave McClure
 Founding Partner & Troublemaker, 500 Startups 00’s & 10’s: • VC: Founders Fund, Facebook fbFund, 500 Startups • Angel: Mashery,, SlideShare, Twilio • Marketing: PayPal, Simply Hired,, O’Reilly 80’s & 90’s: • Entrepreneur: Aslan Computing (acq’d by Servinet/Panurgy) • Developer: Windows / SQL DB consultant (Intel, MSFT) • Engineer: Johns Hopkins‘88, BS Eng / Applied Math
  3. • What is 500? – $275M under management – 140+ people / 30+ investing partners / 20 Countries – 3000+ Founders / 250+ Mentors • 1700+ Portfolio Co’s / 50+ Countries – Twilio (NYSE: TWLO) – Credit Karma – GrabTaxi – Wildfire (acq GOOG, $350M) – MakerBot (acq SSYS, $400M) – Viki (acq Rakuten, $200M) – Simple (acq BBVA, $117M) – Ipsy – Udemy – Intercom – The RealReal – BarkBox – Tradesy – TalkDesk 500 Startups
 Global Seed Fund & Startup Accelerator
  4. [ This Talk ]
  5. Topics • Basic Concepts of “Startup Metrics 4 Pirates” • 3 Steps to AARRR: Product, Market, Revenue • Constructing MVP: Just ONE Feature? • Design (UX) & Distribution (MKTG) • Winning = Users, Revenue, Profit?
  6. DO Marketing! 
 (It’s Not Evil) • Marketing is Both Qualitative + Quantitative • Qualitative: Create Emotion, Drive Action • Quantitative: Measure Results of Action • Design (UX) & Distribution (MKTG) Matter • Volume (#), Cost ($), Conversion (%)
  7. [Startup Metrics 4 Pirates]
  8. Just Gimme the GOOD Metrics. Users, Pages, Clicks, Emails, $$$...? Q: Which of these is best? How do you know? • 1,000,000 one-time, unregistered unique visitors • 500,000 visitors who view 2+ pages / stay 10+ sec • 200,000 visitors who clicked on a link or button • 20,000 registered users w/ email address • 2,000 passionate fans who refer 5+ users / mo. • 1,000 monthly subscribers @ $5/mo the good stuff.
  9. Lean Startup -> Startup Metrics • Talk to Customers; Discover Problems • Progress ≠ Features (Less = More) • Fast, Frequent Iteration (+ Feedback Loop) • Focus on Product/Market Fit • Measure Conversion (compare 2+ alternatives) • Track Metrics that are Simple & Actionable
  10. Discover Customers
 (Steve Blank,
 (Eric Ries,
  12. AARRR!: Startup Metrics Model Revenue $$$ Biz DevAds, Lead Gen, Subscriptions, ECommerce ACQUISITION SEO SEM Apps & Widgets Affiliates Email PR Biz Dev Campaigns, Contests Direct, Tel, TV Social Networks Blogs Domains Retention Emails & Alerts System Events & Time-based Features Blogs, RSS, News Feeds
  13. Startup Metrics for Pirates • Acquisition: users come to site from various channels • Activation: users enjoy 1st visit: "happy” experience • Retention: users come back, visit site multiple times • Referral: users like product enough to refer others • Revenue: users conduct some monetization behavior AARRR! (note: If you’re in a hurry, Google “Startup Metrics” & watch 5m video)
  14. Topics • Basic Concepts of “Startup Metrics 4 Pirates” • 3 Steps to AARRR: Product, Market, Revenue • Constructing MVP: Just ONE Feature? • Design (UX) & Distribution (MKTG) • Winning = Users, Revenue, Profit?
  15. One Step at a Time. 1. Make a Good Product: Activation & Retention 2. Market the Product: Acquisition & Referral 3. Make Money: Revenue & Profitability
  16. Topics • Basic Concepts of “Startup Metrics 4 Pirates” • 3 Steps to AARRR: Product, Market, Revenue • Constructing MVP: Just ONE Feature? • Design (UX) & Distribution (MKTG) • Winning = Users, Revenue, Profit?
  17. [ Constructing MVP ]
  18. What is Minimum Viable Product ? MVP = F(Customer, Problem, Time or $$$) • Focus on CUSTOMER – Qualitative Discovery, Quantitative Validation • Get to know habits, problems, desires (FUN MATTERS) – what causes pain? what causes pleasure? • Ship the simplest, fastest solution that solves the problem; better or cheaper or faster than the available competition. • Define 1-5 TESTABLE Conversion Metrics of Value – Attention/Usage (session time, clicks) – Customer Profle Data (email, connect, profile) - Revenue (direct or indirect) - Retention (visits over time, cohort behavior) - Referral (users evangelize to other users)
  19. Optimize 4 Happiness 
 (both User + Business) • Define States of User + Business Value • Prioritize (Estimate) Relative Value of Each State • Move Users: Lower Value -> Higher Value • Optimize for User Happiness + Business $$$ • Achieve High Cust Value + Low ACQ$ @ Scale
  20. Startup Challenges Startups have problems in 3 key areas: • Management: Set Priorities, Define Key Metrics • Product: Build “Right” Features. Measure, Iterate. • Marketing: Distribution, Distribution, Distribution. (Search, Social, Mobile)
  21. Role: Founder / CEO Q: Which Customers? Problems? Metrics? A: Focus on Critical Few Actionable Metrics (if you don’t use the metric to make a decision, it’s not actionable) • Hypothesize Customer Lifecycle • Target ~3-5 Conversion Events • Test, Measure, Iterate to Improve
  22. Example Conversion Metrics
 (note: *not* actuals… your mileage may vary) Stage Conversion Status Conv. % Est. Value (*not* cost) Acquisition Visitors -> Site/Widget/Landing Page (2+ pages, 10+ sec, 1+ clicks = don’t abandon) 60% $.05 Activation “Happy” 1st Visit; Usage/Signup (clicks/time/pages, email/profile reg, feature usage) 15% $.25 Retention Users Come Back; Multiple Visits (1-3x visits/mo; email/feed open rate / CTR) 5% $1 Referral Users Refer Others (cust sat >=8; viral K factor > 1; ) 1% $5 Revenue Users Pay / Generate $$$ (first txn, break-even, target profitability) 2% $50
  23. [ Getting 2 PMF ]
  24. Role: Product / Eng / Design Q: What Features to Build? Why? When are you “Done”? A: Easy-to-Find, Fun/Useful, Unique Features that Increase Conversion (stop iterating when increase decelerates) • Wireframes = Conversion Steps • Measure, A/B Test, Iterate FAST (daily/weekly) • Optimize for Conversion Improvement – 80% on existing feature optimization – 20% on new feature development
  25. What is Product/Market Fit ? PMF = F(Customer, Solution, Alternatives*) • Product / Market Fit occurs when: – Customers like your stuff better than other options – Not static, Not optimal – just Local Max F(customers, solution, time) – make sure you’re moving in optimal direction 2 local max • Q: what competitive solutions are available? – … that your customers know about? – how are you diff/same? – in ways that people care about? (will pay for)
  26. Topics • Basic Concepts of “Startup Metrics 4 Pirates” • 3 Steps to AARRR: Product, Market, Revenue • Constructing MVP: Just ONE Feature? • Design (UX) & Distribution (MKTG) • Winning = Users, Revenue, Profit?
  27. [ Testing 4 AUX ]
  28. Discover Meaning
 Why Should Users CARE About Your Product? Kathy Sierra: “Creating Passionate Users”
  29. Discover Meaning
 Keywords, Images, Call-to-Action Top 10 - 100 words • Your Brand / Products • Customer Needs / Benefits • Competitor’s Brand / Products • Semantic Equivalents • Misspellings Relevant images • People • Products • Problems • Solutions Call-to-Action • Words • Images • Context • Button/Link • Emotion Result • Positive? • Negative? • Neutral (= Death) • A/B test & Iterate
  30. How To Tell if Design/UX is Good? AUX = F(Customer, Design/UX, Metrics) • If Users Use Your Product Then It’s GOOD. – Define Metrics, Measurability for Design / UX – Focus on Psychology of User – Relative to Competitive Alternatives (that your customers know about) – Keep Testing 4 Awesomeness • RAMP Mktg & $$$ AFTER it’s clear your MVP is: – Functional = useful for >1 customers – Awesome (enough, see above) – Differentiated = better than other stuff availabile
  31. [ Metrics 4 ACQ ]
  32. Role: Marketing / Sales Q: What channels? Which users? Why? A: High Volume (#), Low Cost ($), High Conv (%) • Design & Test Multiple Marketing Channels + Campaigns • Seek out channels with positive unit economics, scalability • Select & Focus on Best-Performing Channels & Themes • Optimize for conversion to target CTAs, not just site/landing page • Match/Drive channel cost to/below revenue potential • Low-Hanging Fruit: – Blogs – SEO/SEM – Landing Pages – Automated Emails
  33. Distribution Platforms Customer Reach: 100M-1B+ • Search: Google, Baidu • Social: Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter, LinkedIn, TenCent/QQ/WeChat • Mobile: Apple (iOS), Android, Xiaomei • Media: Video (YouTube, FB), Photos (Instagram, Pinterest), Blogs • Comm: SMS, IM (WeChat, WhatsApp, FB), Skype, Phone/Voice, etc
  34. MAARRRketing Plan Marketing Plan = Target Customer Acquisition Channels • 3 Important Factors = Volume (#), Cost ($), Conversion (%) • Measure conversion to target customer actions • Test audience segments, campaign themes, Call-To-Action (CTAs) [Gradually] Match Channel Costs => Revenue Potential • Increase Vol. & Conversion, Decrease Cost, Optimize for Revenue Potential • Avg Txn Value (ATV), Ann Rev Per User (ARPU), Cust Lifetime Value (CLV) • Design channels that (eventually) cost <20-50% of target ATV, ARPU, CLV Consider Costs, Scarce Resource Tradeoffs • Actual $ expenses • Marketing time & resources • Product/Engineering time & resources • Cashflow timing of expense vs. revenue, profit ACQ = F(Customer, Campaign, Vol, Cost, Conv)
  35. Topics • Basic Concepts of “Startup Metrics 4 Pirates” • 3 Steps to AARRR: Product, Market, Revenue • Constructing MVP: Just ONE Feature? • Design (UX) & Distribution (MKTG) • Winning = Users, Revenue, Profit?
  36. [ What is WINNING? ]
  37. Choose #WINNING Metrics WIN = F(Customer, Usage, Dist, Revenue) • after MVP functional use, several options: – better Usage – Activation & Retention (AUX) – more Users -- Distribution / Acquisition – more Money --- Monetization – more Profit — Margin • understand ACQ$ vs REV$, optimize 4 short-term – higher volume usually a priority – costs may change as volume increases
  38. Startup 2.0: 
 “Lean Investor” Model Method: Invest in startups using incremental investment, iterative development. Start with lots of small experiments, filter out failure, and expand investment upon success. • Incubator: $0-100K (“Product Viability”) • Seed: $100K-$1M (“Expand Distribution”) • Venture: $1M-$10M (“Maximize Revenue”)
  39. Investment #1: Incubate
 (“Product”) • Structure – 1-3 founders – $0-$100K investment – Incubator environment: multiple peers, mentors/advisors • Build Functional Prototype / “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP): – Concept->Alpha, ~3-6 months – Develop Minimal Critical Feature Set => Get to “It Works” – Instrument Basic Dashboard, Conversion Metrics – Test Cust. Adoption (10-1000 users) / Cust. Satisfaction (Scale: 1-10) • Demonstrate Concept, Reduce Product Risk, Test Functional Use • Develop Metrics & Filter for Follow-on Investment
  40. Investment #2: Seed
 (“Market”)• Structure – 2-10 person team – $100K-$1M investment – Syndicate of Angel Investors / Small VC Funds • Improve Product, Expand Market, Test Revenue: – Alpha->Beta, ~6-12 months – Customer Sat ≥ 6 => Get to “Doesn’t Suck” – Setup A/B Testing Framework, Optimize Conversion – Test Marketing Campaigns, Cust Acqstn Channels • Prove Solution/Benefit, Assess Market Size • Test Channel Cost, Revenue Opportunity • Determine Org Structure, Key Hires
  41. Investment #3: Venture
 (“Revenue”) • Structure – 5-50 person team – $1M-$10M investment – VC Investors • Make Money, Get to Sustainability: – Beta->Production, 12-18 months – Customer Sat ≥ 8 => “It Rocks, I’ll Tell My Friends” – MktgPlan => Predictable Channels / Campaigns + Budget – Scalability & Infrastructure, Customer Service & Operations – Connect with Distribution Partners • Prove/Expand Market, Operationalize Business • Future Milestones: Profitable/Sustainable, Exit Options
  42. Entrepreneurs = Luchadores!
  43. Q&A? » Questions? » Answers: $1 » Correct Answers: $10 » Stupid Look on my face: FREE!