The Startup Genome Compass Tool is Live – Why Do Startups Fail?

We all know the gloomy statistics of startup success: less than 10% make it. But what is it that makes some startups fail while others succeed? Steve Blank, a Stanford professor a a startup guru will tell you that most startups don’t fail because they didn’t develop a product. They fail because they didn’t develop a market.

Three months ago, Bjoern Herrmann and 21 year old Max Marmer decided to put some hard data to the test, by benchmarking 3,200 statrups on 25 KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in their very buzzed Startup Genome Report. They didn’t stop at just writing reports, and have put together a startup accelerator in Silicon Valley, called Blackbox.

Today, they’ve launched a t0ol called The Startup Genome Compass, to help you benchmark your own startup against the winners and evaluate your chances of success and diagnose problems. The KPIs are arranged across five dimensions: Customers, Product, Team, Business Model and Financials and in four stages of the startup life-cycle Discovery, Validation, Efficiency and Scale. Below are a few screenshots of the tool:

Startup Genome Compass - financial metrics

"One of the biggest surprises is that success isn’t about size – of team or funding. It turns out Premature Scaling is the leading cause of hemorrhaging cash in a startup – and death" - Steve Blank

Startup Genome Compass - grpahs

Many startups have trouble figuring out the right priorities to set and measuring their effectiveness once they do, almost always landing in the proverbial grey zone. "Is a 5% increase in retention good? Do I have enough users to declare product/market fit? Is now the right time to step on the gas pedal and scale?" We attempt to help entrepreneurs answer these questions by putting their metrics into the right context.

From the Blackbox official announcement on the Startup Genome Blog:

In our current dataset we have detected inconsistency – indicators of premature scaling – in 70% of startups. The difference in performance numbers are pretty astonishing.

1. No startup that scaled prematurely passed the 100,000 user mark.

2. Startups that scale properly grow about 20 times faster than startups that scale prematurely.

3. 93% of startups that scale prematurely never break the $100k revenue per month threshold.

The Compass tool can be tested here. was released along with a 90-page report on premature scaling.

Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote
Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Ezewas a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.
Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Eze was a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.