Building Metrics for Startup Incubation and Acceleration
It was a while ago when I was approached with a question about which “startup nursery” is the best in Finland from a founder perspective. This triggered some very interesting and diverse discussions online and offline. Based on this, I decided to start building meaningful metrics for startup incubation and acceleration.
Why measure? I believe the need for measuring is essential for this. Startup companies are a major part of the development of our society, creating new innovations, employing people, creating economic growth and driving disruption – that’s why we need to understand how to nourish these companies the best ways possible.
Also, transparency is a nice thing. Choosing a “nursery” to attend is a major decision for the startup entrepreneurs and founders. It’s good to have something to compare while making that decision.
I would like to get your contribution to this, since it’s not going to be easy to do this. So please, do comment and suggest improvements to this discussion. I will try to do this in several parts, starting from the structure and eventually ending to gathering the data from as many nurseries as possible.
The target for this post is to try to figure out the different categories that should or could be measured. Let’s get the big picture first, and then get more into details.
1. Brand & Reputation
It’s important to have a good and well known brand and reputation, because it attracts more people in the community. It also helps in case of “bad news” and is important especially for international recognition. You could consider the winner of this category as “best known” or “most reputable” nursery.
2. Impact on the Society
This category would be about the contribution that the nursery provides to the society. Whether it is the number of people who started a new company or amount of foreign capital invested in the country. This category is the one you want to flourish in should you be dealing with authorities, politicians or those people who are interested in who startup ecosystem is contributing to the society.
3. Impact on the Startup
What about the babies then? Does the nursery have effect on the startups? How does the company evolve during the active period and what happens after that? Is the company fundable? Do they have their SHAs in place properly? Are their financials in place and do they know what they should be doing?
4. Impact on the Founders
Founders are the most important thing in the startup. Good founders will become serial entrepreneurs. How do we measure the personal development and skills of the founders? How do we make their second, third or tenth round even more successful? Actually, very little has been discussed around individuals and their skills.
This is what makes the above categories become true. What is the execution of the nursery? What are the different factors, actions and processes that contribute to the big picture in reality? Available coaching? Level of the coaches? Network access?
Money is about many things. Getting funded and how much? Exits and time to exit? Success of the business? The probability and success level of different things? This can be measured from many different angles
One interesting category is about evolution of the nursery. Are they getting better over the years? Are they learning and improving? How is that measured?
Are these the right angles to look at the metrics?
Now, please do comment here or in the social media posts I have posted (FB, LinkedIn) to contribute. I will continue to make this on my own anyway, but all comments and arguments are heard and will be considered.
Next step after this is to start thinking detailed metrics for each category.
I want to make this happen to help the startup ecosystem to improve even further. Thanks for your understanding and sorry if you encounter this in several locations.
i can see your background coming through as you have “Brand” is number 1 🙂
On a more serious note, these are a great starting point, and there are good questions in there.
One thing i would add is to measure these using some different viewpoints or lenses, as I think different groups will value each of these differently and so will score them differently.
An off the top of my head list of relevant parties is; the staff/founders running the accelerator, coaches and mentors, investors, founders (as individuals), startups.
The experience level of each of these is also a factor.
As a coach is this; first time, only done it at this programme, or multiple batches in multiple places.
As a Entrepreneur; worked at a startup, early employee at a startup, worked at a large corporate, worked at a small company, straight from University/school, this is second startup as a founder etc
Also tracking over time as startups change and how much of that change is attributable to the experience or knowledge gained from a programme would be a interesting thing to try and capture.
Are you also going to track one-off or short running programmes that only had a few batches?
For “Impact” categories plus Money, I see this as needing to be measured at something like; 3 months after graduation, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years and 5 years.
IMNSHO, the longer terms ones are the ones that really matter.
For Brand, Execution and Evolution these should be measured for each batch. In an ideal world it should be before, during and the week after each batch.
Brilliant thoughts on this in both of your comments.
Highly respected – will be taken into account!