Imagine for a moment that you have created a new web app and after about 3 months of launching you are doing $2000 per month of sales. Would you consider yourself as a successful startup?
Well, you are already ahead of majority of startups which never get to see any revenue. So, in that way you are doing good. Plus if $2000 covers all your human and infrastructure cost, that means you have broken even and are doing really well. Is breaking-even the measure of success for a startup?
You certainly didn’t take the risk to earn just-enough money. Why would you leave your day job if your goal was to just break-even? So, this directly takes us back to our original question – when do you say that your startup is a success?
I believe answer to that question cannot be given in isolation. What startups need are benchmarks to compare. Knowing what other companies (in a similar position) are earning gives you a great perspective on your own revenues.
However, since startups are private companies, only the kindest of all share their revenue numbers. I compiled some of them in this post so that the startup community can benefit from it:
- Sales of Bingo Card Creator Per Month – ($4k/mo in sales) a single person, part-time effort over a number of years
- Pluggio Stats – ($1k/mo in sales) Twitter client, one man company
- WooThemes Mixergy interview – ($2million/year) 3 person company selling WordPress themes
- Affiliate media Mixergy interview – (from $400 to $400,000/mo) single person bootstrapped business
- HotOrNot Mixergy Interview – (around $7 million in annual revenues in about 5 years from bootstrapping)
- Evernote revenue details – (around $400,000/mo, venture funding > $15 million)
- MetaASO: A Bootstrapped P2P Startup From India (doing $1 million in revenues annually)
- Upside – elearning startup (did $50,000 in sales first year, size of team: 20)
- BalsamIQ (did $100,000 in sales in first 5 months, single person startup)
- A Year in the life of KashFlow – Numbers and Strategy (£500k sales in 2009)
Another great general source of revenue numbers is Flippa.com where people buy and sell websites.
If you have other links or resources, please share them with me. Happy to include them in the list.
(I am currently looking for link to a blog post where a team collaboration bootstrapped startup shared its numbers – $5-$10k/mo, any one having a link?)