Updated Nov, 13th 2012
Firestarter should survey mainly their “must-have” customers (although I’d also survey those “somewhat need” customers). I might try to break these surveys down into two different groups: entrepreneurs and investors.
Survey for Investors:
1. Which feature of Firestarter would you most miss if Firestarter had to close? (Looking for what investors gravitate towards, why they use Firestarter)
2. Describe your motivations for investing in companies on Firestarter? (From the case study, I can’t figure out whether the motivations of investors are financial or personal in nature. Are they making a monetary investment, or are they looking to support great causes and people? A little bit of both? This answer might impact how the website is positioned.)
3. How do you pick entrepreneurs to invest in on the website? (Again, getting at motivations. Also getting at what information they find useful as investors and how we can make the investing experience a better one.)
4. If you invested in startups before, how has Firestarter made your experience in finding and investing in startups better? (Getting at what value our product holds for investors)
5. After you make an investment, how do you foster a relationship with and or connect with the entrepreneurs you’ve funded? (How does Firestarter create lasting value/ROI? Maybe a lack of long-term connection between investor and entrepreneur has something to do with low website return rates?)
Survey for Entrepreneurs:
1. Which feature of Firestarter would you most miss if Firestarter had to close? (Looking for what entrepreneurs gravitate towards, why they use Firestarter)
2. If you tried to secure funding for startups before Firestarter, how has Firestarter made your experience in generating revenue better? (Getting at what value our product holds for entrepreneurs)
3. After you’ve secured funding, how do you foster a relationship and or connect with your investors? (How does Firestarter create lasting value/ROI? Maybe a lack of long-term connection between investor and entrepreneur has something to do with low website return rates?)
4. Describe the screening process Firestarter put you through before featuring your startup idea on the website? (Is the Firestarter screening process stifling entrepreneurship on the website? The “must-haves” will probably say no, but maybe it’s worth exploring.)
PMF metrics for tracking:
• Return investors (those investors that fund multiple startups through Firestarter)
• Return entrepreneurs (those entrepreneurs that resubmit a startup idea after getting rejected initially or that submit multiple ideas)
• The amount of time a user spends on the website per visit
• The number of startup projects a user researches on the website per visit
Vanity metrics to avoid
• The amount of money raised for startups on the website
• One time investors
• Overall website traffic
When Firestarter hits 40% “must-have,” it’ll know it has reached PMF. Related to metrics on the Firestarter website, Firestarter should see an increase in return traffic, both from entrepreneurs and investors. I’d also expect increased stickiness. When the product matches what the market wants, I think you’re going to see more time spent on the website per visit, in particular investors searching through more startup projects posted on the website.
Firestarter will obviously use the data it gathers from surveys to tweak the website and its messaging. Without making up some survey responses, who knows what those tweaks will be? Just using my imagination, it might be making the startup application process on the website less rigorous—making Firestarter a place for all visions and ideas. It might be adding some kind of framework for follow-up between investors and entrepreneurs after a project gets funded. It might be refocusing the presentations of the startups on the website. It could even be adding some kind of voting or competitive aspect to the website (5 startups—one or two get funded this round—for every dollar you pledge you get a vote).
I don’t think the market is big enough. Rather than trying to differentiate itself in the marketplace, maybe Firestarter should try to take on a bigger market through a pivot. I do think adding a competitive/voting element to the website could increase engagement. I also think highlighting startups that plan to build products for social good could increase the market size. I’m not sure the general public will consistently get behind funding startups they don’t feel connected to, but will support causes for the greater good. If Firestarter becomes an engine for social change, I think traffic will increase and visitors will return to the website.