What makes a good startup?

After my stint on Radio New Zealand Saturday Morning with Kim Hill this morning, I was asked to provide a list of the attributes of what I consider to be a good startup.

You can listen to or download the audio:

Here’s my shopping list of criteria for good startups:

1.  Market
a)   Global
b)   Clearly articulated market problem description
c)   Significant addressable market size
d)   Clearly identified market need (for the problem that is being solved)

2.  Team
a)  Has both sales and engineering
b)  Domain experience
c)  Clean capital structure (if any)
d)  Track record that demonstrates achievement and integrity
e)  Vision
f)  Passion
g)  2-3 People
h)  Pragmatic approach
i)   Articulate
j)   Coachable

3.  Product
a)   Web and/or mobile based
b)   Scalable
c)   Addresses significant pain
d)   Disruptive
e)   Simple
f)   Feeble competition
g)  Sound business model
h)  Capable of generating revenue quickly
i)   Can exploit network effect
j)   Novel and/or Freedom to Operate

Thanks to the RNZ team for a great on-air experience!

Keen to take your own idea for a spin?  Come along to Startup Weekend in Auckland (15-17 June) or Wellington (27-29 July) – I’ll be there facilitating, and you’ll meet some great people to collaborate with!


  1. Thanx for the list. Very sensible. Enjoyed the interview too.

    Does it have to be global, though?
    What’s the rationale behind it?


  2. Max, thanks for your comment … With only 4m people, NZ makes a good test market but isn’t that exciting as an end-point. Truly great ideas should be able to be scaled globally.

  3. The real questions is: what % of those do you treat as a minimum, because you would rarely get 100%! 🙂

    Timely would score pretty well on your list I reckon Dave – although I wouldn’t call our off-shore competition “feeble”, but perhaps “vincible” 🙂

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