Evaluating Startup Potential: 3 Less Obvious Metrics to Consider

Hilmon Sorey
August 4, 2023

As an expert startup advisor with a track record of investing in over 100 technology startups, I have learned that assessing a company's potential requires looking beyond the traditional metrics. While financials, market size, and growth projections are crucial, there are three less obvious yet vital metrics that I always consider when evaluating potential clients or investments. These metrics provide valuable insights into a startup's long-term viability and success.

Customer Delight - Beyond Satisfaction Surveys

Customer satisfaction is a known metric, but to truly understand a startup's potential, I delve deeper into the concept of "Customer Delight." It goes beyond conventional satisfaction surveys and looks at the level of satisfaction, loyalty, and enthusiasm among a startup's customers. Here are some factors I consider under Customer Delight:

Customer Advocacy

I assess whether customers are not only satisfied with the product or service but also enthusiastic enough to promote it among their peers and network.

Repeat Business

A loyal customer base that keeps coming back for more indicates a high level of satisfaction and trust in the startup's offerings.


Word-of-mouth referrals reflect a positive customer experience, which can lead to organic growth opportunities for the startup.

Startups that can achieve significant customer delight are more likely to experience sustainable growth as they attract and retain loyal customers.

Team Resilience - Navigating Uncertainties

The success of a startup often depends on the strength of its team. Team Resilience is a critical yet often overlooked metric that assesses the startup's team dynamics, adaptability, and ability to overcome challenges. Factors I consider under Team Resilience:


A team that can quickly adjust and respond to changing market conditions or unforeseen challenges is more likely to thrive in a competitive landscape.

Overcoming Setbacks

Startups inevitably face obstacles and setbacks. A resilient team can navigate through these tough times and remain focused on the company's goals.

Navigating Uncertainties

The ability to handle uncertainties and take calculated risks is a sign of a robust and capable team.

Startups with a high level of team resilience are better equipped to pivot when necessary, maintain focus, and continue progressing despite obstacles.

Innovation Velocity - Turning Ideas into Reality

In today's fast-paced tech landscape, the ability to innovate quickly is a key differentiator for startups. Innovation Velocity (IV) is a metric that measures how rapidly a startup can turn ideas into tangible innovations. Here are some aspects I consider under Innovation Velocity:

Efficient Innovation Processes

I assess the startup's innovation processes to understand how well they identify, develop, and implement new ideas into practical solutions.

Speed to Market

The time it takes for a startup to bring new products or features to market is crucial in seizing opportunities and staying ahead of competitors.

Continuous Improvement

Startups with a culture of continuous improvement are more likely to innovate proactively and stay relevant in a dynamic market.

A high Innovation Velocity indicates that a startup can adapt quickly, capitalize on emerging opportunities, and maintain a competitive edge.

As a startup advisor, I recognize that some of these metrics can be challenging to quantify. They may involve qualitative assessments and anecdotal evidence. However, combining these less obvious metrics with traditional data provides a comprehensive view of a startup's potential.


When evaluating potential clients or investments in technology startups, looking beyond the conventional metrics is essential. Customer Delight, Team Resilience, and Innovation Velocity offer critical insights into a startup's ability to succeed in the long run. By understanding the level of customer satisfaction and loyalty, the strength of the team, and the startup's innovation capabilities, we can make more informed decisions as investors and advisors.

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