A new web app called My Start-up Story is giving businesses the chance to quickly compare their growth with larger companies that were once in their position.
The interactive web and mobile app – created by insurance specialists, Jelf Small Business – allows start-ups to compare their employee and revenue growth against web giants such as Facebook, eBay and Match.com.
The startup's growth is plotted on its own personal graph, which can then be shared with the company’s Twitter followers.
Paul Williams, e-trading manager at Jelf Small Business, told Techworld that it can be difficult for businesses to gauge exactly how they are doing in their formative years based on their own figures.
“We felt small business owners would find it useful to see how a few household names fared in their first five years, and give them the chance to plot their own company against the likes of Facebook and eBay,” said Williams. “As their business' journey is plotted in percentage growth, the user can see their own figures side-by-side with some of the world's best known brands, and in many cases they fare favourably.”
Techworld asked two start-ups to test the app and share their feedback.
uMotif – a London-based start-up that provides self-help applications for patients suffering from long-term illnesses, like Parkinsons – found it to be “quite a useful tool”.
“We're in our first year so I entered some estimated numbers for future years and it's nice to compare what we're saying we'll do against what others have actually done.” uMotif co-founder Bruce Hellman told Techworld.
The web app highlights that very few of the big companies have seen a sustained year-on-year increased revenue growth rate, said Hellman, adding that it’s useful to remember that the rate of growth can’t keep on increasing.
However, Hellman said he would feel uncomfortable sharing some of the company’s sensitive information through the social media channels that the web app suggests, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Meanwhile, London-based StreetHub – a start-up that aims to help shoppers find and reserve items in boutique stores before picking them up – also tried the app and found it to be good for a quick “gamified” experience.
“It helps you, as a founder, get a feel on how optimistic/realistic your future projections and metrics really are,” StreetHub co-founder, Alex Loizou, told Techworld.
The app is able to tell founders things like how many employees start-up X had before they took on their first seed funding?; how much did they raise?; how did their team grow?; and when did they go for the next round?
“These are definitely helpful to other founders and maybe even investors as they reveal patterns that are hidden in vast amounts of data,” said Loizou. “If this had extensive data about the growth of a large number of successful companies and big failures I would be inclined to pay a subscription for it.”