How many users do startups with zero revenue need in order to attract funding from angels and accelerators?
I heard angel investor Jason Calacanis speak recently about what he calls the Goldilocks Zone: a time period when a startup has a product with traction in the market, but hasn’t gained enough users or revenue yet to attract interest from Venture Capitalists looking to finance a Series A Round investment. He even goes as far as to throw out some quantifiable figures he’s looking signaling the type of traction he’s looking for — $10,000 per month in revenue, or 10,000 daily active users.
But this got me to thinking, would the majority of startups accepted to top accelerators like Y Combinator meet this criteria? While I don’t know the answer to that question, my guess is that most of the startups accepted to YC probably don’t have 10,000 daily active users or $10,000 per month in revenue. I could be wrong, but I suspect that Calacanis can afford to be picky when choosing the startups he funds, and that the actual number of users or revenue a startup needs to be generating to attract investment is likely lower than the numbers he suggests. So to find an answer to this question, I decided to hit the ole’ interwebs!
First I decided to give Quora a try. And while I did receive a couple of responses, no one felt comfortable throwing out any actual figures. You can check out my post here:
Answer (1 of 2): There is no formula in attracting angel investment. Although active users are a good thing, that alone…www.quora.com
Since I wasn’t able to get a great response on Quora, I headed over to Twitter to see if I could get an answer from local Texas startup guru Joshua Baer. And to my surprise, he replied very quickly with a great answer and a nice ballpark figure.
So there we have it! After a little research we have an answer to the question:
How many users does a startup with zero revenue need in order to attract funding from an angels and accelerators?
Startups need somewhere between 2,000 to 10,000 users to attract investors if they aren’t yet generating any revenue.
I know a lot has been written on how to go about preparing the perfect YC application, and how to craft a winning pitch, but I don’t think there’s much out there on how much traction startups need in order to get funded. So hopefully someone else out there finds this blog post helpful. Happy hacking, and good luck on your race to 2,000 users.