Any fledgling startup founder perusing the press for useful data on what kinds of numbers they should be hitting will likely be overwhelmed by a deluge of articles on over-valued “unicorns” or doomed ventures teetering on the edge. But garnering useful data on benchmarks that “normal” startups are meeting isn’t quite so easy.
With that in mind, Alabama-based Baremetrics, a company that provides analytics for Stripe-based payments, has launched Open Benchmarks, a real-time look into the revenues (and more) of over 600 small-to-medium sized SaaS (software-as-a-service) startups — its entire client base.
The data has been aggregated and anonymized so there’s no clue as to the companies in question, but it conveys the median monthly recurring revenue (MRR), revenue churn, lifetime value, and more. This can also be filtered by respective value of each user, from “under $10” through to “$250 and up.”
Above: Average revenue per user
In addition to revenue, Open Benchmarks also includes data on the most common monthly and annual price points, as well as the most common reasons for payments failing.
Above: Pricing models
Above: Failed payments
While Open Benchmarks won’t be a game-changer for everyone and, yes, it does serve as a promotional tool for its own services, it also provides some useful insights for newcomers on the SaaS scene who don’t have the experience to know what “normal” is.
Baremetrics is no stranger to opening data to the masses. Last year, the company launched Open Startups, a platform for open and transparent companies (including itself) to publish their real-time financial data to anyone. One of those companies was Buffer, a San Francisco-based startup that provides a range of social-scheduling tools for marketers and the public alike, and has more or less set the benchmark for corporate transparency, revealing everything from revenues and funding to equity and even employee salaries. Open Startups is “like a real-time case study and lesson in growing your business,” said Baremetrics’ founder Josh Pigford at the time.
At launch, Open Startups had a mere seven startups signed up, though Pigford was pushing to add “a couple of dozen” by the end of last year. Taking a quick peek now, 16 months later, reveals that there are only 14 startups willing to divulge sensitive financial data. It perhaps comes as little surprise that convincing companies to be that transparent is a tough task. “It is hard to get companies to be that open,” confirmed Pigford, in an interview with VentureBeat. “We’ve got a few more we’re adding in the next week, but yeah — most companies get really anxious when thinking about the whole world seeing their dirty laundry.”
As for Open Benchmarks, well, that doesn’t require companies to buy into the open philosophy because they’re not personally identifiable in the data. “I wanted to break down the ‘Yeah bro!, hockey stick growth!’ mentality that was so prevalent in startup culture,” added Pigford, when asked why he elected to launch Open Benchmarks.