How Long Did It Take To Find Customers

Startup Take Off Metrics

How Long Did It Take To Find Customers

Startup Take-off Metrics

Your startup just had its first birthday. One year ago the idea was great, ambitions were ablaze, hype was endless.
But there’s a problem. After 12 months of hard work profits are still at zero, clients non-existent.
How come? YouTube must have had 1 billion users by this time. Facebook? They launched in days. Everyone seems to get lucky overnight, their ideas must have been great. Maybe your idea was simply not that genius to begin with? Maybe it is time to give up and just look for something else?
Yes, but before we do just that, I dug out some numbers. Should we have a look?

Booking.com

founded
1996
take-off
2005
take-off time
9 years
It took Booking.com almost 20 years to reach 1.000.000 visitors. After they did though, they skyrocketed to 80.000.000 in less than 2 years.

bol.com

founded
1999
take-off
2016
take-off time
17 years
In March 2016 bol.com went from 20.000 to 2.700.000 monthly visitors. By 2019 they are at 19.000.000.

Zalando SE

founded
2008
take-off
late 2016
take-off time
8 years
Zalando went from 100.000 to 2.100.000 monthly visitors within a single month, in October 2016.

Framer

founded
2013
take-off
2019
take-off time
6 years
Until February 2019, Framer had no traction. In May they got their first 1000 monthly visitors. By the end of June they already had 50.000.

Hotjar

founded
2014
take-off
late 2017
take-off time
3 years
Between November and December 2017, HotJar raised from 100 to 49.000 monthly visitors. After this, they raised to a stable 120.000 which they maintain since mid-2018.

Picnic BV

founded
2015
take-off
2018
take-off time
3 years
Picnic went from 0 to 25.000 monthly visitors within August 2018. They stabilised at around 30.000.

Zivver

founded
2015
take-off
late 2018
take-off time
3 years
Zivver saw first traction in late 2018. Their numbers jump up and down constantly, but average around 2000 visitors monthly since then.

Bunq BV

founded
2015
take-off
late 2017
take-off time
2 years
Bunq gained their first 5000 monthly visitors at the end of 2016. In mid-2017 they raised to a stable 20.000.
So. I keep hearing that if a startup isn't working after 12-24 months, it isn't gonna work at all. How true is that?
I can't answer this. But ask the guy who started the first budget airlines in the ‘70. His idea was no different than Virgin Airlines, yet where he lost millions, Sir Richard Branson made over $3 billion two decades later.
Why does an idea fail for so long just to suddenly click over night? And how do you even know how long it will take for your idea to click?
Are you spending days supporting a failed project, or simply work on a slow-burner?
Can't answer any of these either. But what the numbers above can tell you is that these overnight successes sit on the runway for a while before taking off.
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