Data driven culture in startups (2013 report)
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DESCRIPTIONResults of a global survey of 368 startups carried out by Geckoboard and Econsultancy into startup organisations use data to drive their business and establish a culture.
A global survey on the
state of data driven
culture within startups
About Geckoboard 1
About Econsultancy 2
Executive Summary 4
Respondent Profiles 7
Data Driven Culture 9
Data Collection 10
Data Communication 15
Decision Making 19
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Geckoboard is pleased to present the
results of the first Global Report on Data
Driven Culture Within Startups, which was
designed to offer insights on how startups
are dealing with an ever growing influx of
data and the key challenges faced when
building organisations that embrace data as
much as intuition.
Data driven decision-making has been
fuelled by terms like Lean Startup and
Lean Analytics. Eric Ries coined the term
lean startup in 2008 and since then, it has
grown in popularity among entrepreneurs.
The term has now become a movement that
has brought innovative thinking around how
to design, build and develop sustainable
businesses based on customer feedback.
As the lean movement evolves, the
emphasis on data driven decision-making
becomes more relevant. This report offers
an overview on how startups are using
data, how metrics are being chosen,
how resources are being assigned, the
importance of data visibility and the most
popular tools for data communication.
The report reveals that businesses are,
in general, actively looking to improve
their efforts towards building a data driven
culture. So far, most of the efforts have been
made in data gathering and analytics, with
very little progress in data communication
and mechanisms to ensure that data is acted
upon. Surprisingly, most respondents do
not feel confident about their KPIs and their
current challenge is to understand what the
key drivers of the business are, to ensure
that they build the right context for data
We hope that you find the results of this
survey to be informative, and thank you
again to those who participated. We look
forward to your participation in the future.
This report explores the general attitude of startups towards metrics and data communication.
It offers an overview on:
1 How startups are gathering, analysing and communicating data.
2 How much time and resources are spent on analytics.
3 What challenges are involved in building a data driven culture and monitoring the right metrics.
4 Data visibility and its impact on decision-making.
This report is based on a global survey of 368 startups carried out by Geckoboard and
We would like to thank all the organisations that took part in the survey and those who
contributed with insights, analysis and valuable comments.
How startups are gathering, analysing and communicating data.
How much time and resources are spent on analytics.
What challenges are involved in building a data driven culture and monitoring the
Data visibility and its impact on decision-making.
The findings of this research can be summarised as follows:
SECTION FOUR: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The vast majority of respondents
identified themselves as data driven
businesses; only 5% of respondents
stated that data is not a priority within their
Intuition is still highly valued in decision-
making. Despite the rapid adoption
and evangelisation of the lean startup
methodology (see Section 3) and the
constant emphasis on data collection and
measurement within the startup community,
it is surprising to find that intuition and
experience are still heavy components of
the decision-making process. Only 27%
of respondents believe that data is crucial
when it comes to decision-making.
There is a marked lack of confidence
around data and metrics. Almost half of
the respondents (49%) do not feel confident
about the metrics they are currently
monitoring. Based on analysis of data
gathered in this report, this group is also
less likely to have processes in place to
ensure that data is understood and acted
Metrics democracy. In more cases than
not, respondents who choose metrics in a
collaborative manner felt more confident
about their metrics in comparison to those
who do not involve the team.
Data vs. Data communication: 44% of
startups spend substantially more on data
gathering than on data communication,
with 34% of respondents spending equally
on both. This highlights the importance of
developing mechanisms to guarantee that
data is collected with a purpose and that
key insights can be derived from it. The
improvement of data communication can
lead to a better understanding of what is
important to measure and what is not.
If you can't explain
it simply, you don't
understand it well
The survey also showed that real time data and dashboards are increasingly being
adopted by startups as a communication tool although traditional formats like Excel are still
the most popular.
Despite the investment on tracking, data gathering and analytics, 59% of respondents do
not have processes in place to make sure data is understood and acted upon.
SECTION FOUR: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This report is based on a global survey of
368 business professionals working in the
startup community, but also included larger
businesses so that general attitudes towards
data management were represented. The
survey was live during January and February
Geckoboard promoted the survey to its
customer data base and via social media.
Econsultancy also promoted the survey via
social media. The incentive for taking part in
the survey was a complimentary copy of the
If you have any questions about the
research and methodology, please email
Sofia Quintero at Geckoboard (sofia@
5.1 RESPONDENT PROFILES