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SaaS & Marketplace - Metrics and Benchmarks

There are many different metrics and abbreviations floating around in today's startup world. The more important it is to understand which specific metrics are relevant for your startup to keep track of. On top of that, industry benchmarks act as a helpful guideline to understand the actual metrics' impact.

SaaS Startups

Overview of key metrics for SaaS companies, divided into 4. categories.

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Monetization - Essential KPIs to showcase the business' ability to monetize successfully.
  1. Revenue & Expansion MRR
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  1. Negative Churn & Quick Ratio (QR)
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Acquisition
  1. Churn & Customer Lifetime
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  1. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) & Payback Period
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  1. Customer Lifetime Value (LTV/CLV) & Unit Economics
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Sales Efficiency
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Benchmarks Sales efficiency < 0.5 Not ready to invest in S&M < 0.75 Evaluate investment > 0.75 Ready to invest in S&M

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Growth vs. Profitability  
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Framework to evaluate SaaS companies

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David Skok - Published a detailed framework on how to assess and measure SaaS metrics in a template. You can find it under the following link. Christoph Janz - Under the following link you can find a simple dashboard you can use to track your most important SaaS metrics on a monthly basis

Marketplace Startups

Overview of relevant metrics for companies that operate as a marketplace.

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Scale
  1. GMV , Net Revenue and Take Rate & Margin
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Momentum
  1. Growth & Market Share
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Activity / Engagement
  1. Liquidity & Network Effects
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  1. Number of Messages & NPS & User Reviews
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Retention
  1. Average Order Frequency & Recurring Buyers (Retention)
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  1. Share of Wallet & Cohorts
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Excel framework for cohort analyses by Christoph Janz
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Demand-side
  1. Buyer conversion , Demand Fulfilment Rate & Average Order Value (AOV)
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Supply-side
  1. Number of Listings , Average Revenue per Supplier & Share of Earnings
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Concentration
  1. Whale Curves, Sector/Geo/Product concentration & Fragmentation
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Acquisition
  1. CPA/CAC, Channel Scalability & Channel Mix
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ROI
  1. LTV, LTV/CAC & Unit Economics
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Framework to evaluate marketplace companies

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Qualitative For background on how to qualitatively assess marketplaces (in addition to the metrics mentioned above), please consult this blogpost by Bill Gurley.  Under the following link you can find a framework that codifies the various components and assigns a score. For background on how to qualitatively assess marketplaces (in addition to the metrics mentioned above), please consult this blogpost by Bill Gurley. 

Under the following link you can find a framework that codifies the various components and assigns a score.

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Quantitative Under the following link you can find a framework that evaluates marketplaces based on the across the various dimensions discussed above.

Prioritization of Metrics

Northstar Metrics - Northstar metrics measure the delivered value as opposed to just the price that was paid (e.g. MRR, paid seats).

Good Northstars are the ones which measure value in bulk (e.g. MAU, DAU, messages sent).

Even better Northstars indicate if product-market fit was reached with a customer (e.g. messages sent within 30 days of signup).

Examples:

  • Spotify - Time spent listening
  • Airbnb - Number of nights booked
  • Slack - Daily active users
  • Whatsapp - Number of messages sent

Useful sources

SaaS

Marketplaces