The One Page Seed Stage Dashboard

I recently prepared this template for one of our portfolio companies and thought I’d share it. I’m a big fan of dashboards as a quick way to get a grasp on our companies. I believe all successful startups are data driven. So having a dashboard that everyone sees regularly keeps people focused.

This dashboard works for pre-revenue startups that are focused on building that initial user base. As a seed investor when we make an investment we do so with the following goals in mind:

– Build an initial user base. One that is engaged. Prove that we have built something that a defined market wants.

– Build out the team beyond the founders.

– Manage cash and milestones so that we have enough runway to hit the proof points needed to raise more $.

This dashboard hits those key points.

This dashboard is pretty simple. It captures elements that I have proposed before in other dashboards but as an investor it gives me a view on most things that matter in one page.

Some definitions for usage:

New users: 1st time use of an application.

Existing active users: A user acquired in a previous period who is active in a subsequent period.

User quality: The levels used to stratify usage level are arbitrary. Choose ones that make sense for you, but make sure you capture single usage. In my experience with free apps, a huge number of users use the service 0 or 1 times. You need to get a handle on this.

Despite the fact that churn is the most important aspect of any recurring revenue business I don’t focus on it at the seed stage because we don’t have anywhere near enough data to measure it accurately. So for that reason it’s not included here.

Hope you find this useful…

  • Thanks Eric. For sure retention and cohorts are important. Retention rate is the most important long term metric. But I find at the seed stage there is not enough data (too few cohorts) to draw meaningful conclusions from it

  • Mark, how would you think about doing this dashboard for B2B businesses? Sections 4 and 5 would stay the same, but the user funnel doesn't fit the sales cycle or customer acquisition metrics of a B2B business. How would you see it being different?

    Thank you for sharing, btw. This could be part of creating much larger standards around tracking performance.

    • Good question Taylor. I would want to start with top of the funnel: are we adding leads at the right pace?

      Next, I would stratify the pipe each month by deal stage to see trends on pipe qualification and advancement.

      I would then look at backlog. How much of our planned business is already booked? How much do we need to close in order to hit our numbers?

  • Excellent stuff mark, we YVP also put a lot of credence in cohort analysis. Retention/repeat usage/stickiness speaks volumes for validating a product.

  • 4mojo

    Tied this right into our Cac/LTV spreadsheet and proforma, very helpful at telling the story of customer engagement.