Fast Company

The Startup Genome Project: Decoding Silicon Valley's DNA

Startup Genome Project

What's the difference between a multi-billion-dollar startup and a flop? The Startup Genome Project, an initiative started by the Silicon Valley-based blackbox seed accelerator, is taking on the task of decoding what makes a startup succeed by breaking down the individual attributes of successful companies into a definable taxonomy.

The Startup Genome Project explains:

Similar to how Pandora broke music down into a few hundred attributes, we’ve created a taxonomy for startups, which allows us to classify them into different types. This approach helps us organize principles, tactics, and methodologies in relation to specific factors. When we define the factors these things depend on we can begin creating a system to manage the chaos and complexity of organizing the information about what makes startups successful.

The project is measuring and breaking down a number of factors, including product design, sales, customer development, market type, and even personality, all in an attempt to help entrepreneurs have a better shot at making it.

The Startup Genome Project's success hinges on a survey that asks startups questions about their operations. Once a startup has finished the survey, the Genome Project sends back strategic recommendations on what metrics to track and points out similar startups.

Defining the secret of business success is a Herculean--and perhaps impossible--task. But this is, at least, a noble attempt. Check out the Startup Genome Project's survey here.

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