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Curious what really drives successful startups?

Get a straightforward, inside analysis of what made 172 diverse companies achieve take-off revenue growth.

Download the Research Study

Companies featured in this study:

Revenue Growth


Too many startups pivot too early, quit too soon, and expect rapid takeoff. So I dove deep into the details of successful startups to find out what really worked to achieve classic ‘hockey stick’ revenue take-off. Were there patterns and strategies that could be repeated?

The companies in the study are different sizes and from a wide range of industries, yet their revenue growth follows a predictable pattern. In this study of 172 startups, all but eleven companies had hockey stick-shaped growth curves. Read more about this fascinating study in my blog post.

Basis of Research


172 Companies across industries

In our study, we wanted to look across all industries, not just young tech startups. We researched companies from all industries.

At least $1M in revenue

The companies we researched weren't just fledgling startups, they experienced real momenutus revenue targets.

Innovative approach to growth

We only included companies that were innovative in some way - meaning they created a new product, service, or a new business model.

Sample Conclusions from the Study


The Hockey Stick Research Study is a quantitative analysis of 172 successful start-ups of all types. Below are just a few of the insights the study provides such as…

Do industry experts make better founders than outsiders?

Prior to year three, startups founded by industry insiders perform slightly better, but by year seven, the tables are turned and startups founded by insiders have average revenue of $14.9 million versus $31.4 million by outsiders.

What is average revenue for startup businesses?

Across the 172 businesses, median startup revenue is $0 year one and rises to nearly $3 million per year by year four.

How much does initial investment impact revenue over the long-term?

Firms that raised more than $100,000 to start recorded revenues during their seventh year of $37 million versus only $18.7 million for firms that raised less than $100,000.

How fast does revenue grow?

During the first two years, even startups that became huge companies (revenues $100 million+) recorded similar revenue as opposed to startups that grew smaller (revenues less than $100 million).

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Revenue Charts:


Nearly every thriving business began as a fledgling startup, but when looking at their growth charts, there is a common denominator: the track of their year-over-year profits had the shape of a hockey stick.

Seen Enough? Get the study.


Download the Research Study