Compilation of revenue figures for different kinds of startups

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:


  1. All right, I’ll be kind. We had been working as consultants for 10-15 years each before we incorporated our company. For the past ten years or so, sales have varied from $10,000 – $50,000 per month. The variation is primarily due to our efforts – if one of the senior partners decides to emphasize something else for a while, like taking a sabbatical for a university position for a year or having a baby, sales drop. We started with three partners – two technical staff and a business manager. Staff size ranges from 2 to 11, depending on projects at the moment.

  2. The comparison concept is very true! Often connecting with VC’s or Mentors help because they have an idea of what the figures should be like.

  3. Another data-point is Delicious Monster? 2 guys, $250K spike in the first month. Also, I think those Balsamiq numbers don’t tell the “whole story” – I think Peldi ended up doing close to 1M in his first year. IIRR he said he second year (now with about 2 other people) was > $1m.

  4. Paras I have been seeing your blog for sometime , I have a startup incubator in Bangalore and would like to talk to you about something useful . Feel free to call me at 9611803203 .

  5. Hi Paras – great topic!

    SEOmoz’s software revenue has been made public every year on our blog, so I’ll provide the numbers below:

    2007 – ~$550K (took $1.1mil in VC that November, 7 employees)
    2008 – ~$1.2mil (14 employees)
    2009 – ~$3.2mil (19 employees)
    2010 – ~$5.5mil (26 employees)

    Hope you get lots of these; I’d love to see a thorough comparison!

    1. Hi Rand,

      Thanks for dropping by to comment. Never realized you had your revenues in the public! Yes, I will someday do a thorough analysis. (I love your personal blog by the way, you have been posting some very candid and deeply insightful posts there)


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