in Startups

We like to give out a Zombie of the Year award in our annual Unicorn Awards. The Unicorn Awards are the far more lucrative and weighty cousin of the upcoming Spotlight Awards (are you going?).

In 2013 Danielle Morrill wrote Zombie Startups and the gem is stuck in the middle, which I just noticed called out in this post today.

Are you a Zombie Startup? Here are the top 9 hints that you may be running one:

How do you know if you startup is falling into this trap? Here are some hints:

  • You don’t want to get out of bed in the morning
  • You don’t want to go out in public for fear you’ll have to explain what you do
  • You haven’t hit 10% week-over-week growth on any meaningful metric (revenue, active users, etc)
  • You’re working on the same idea after 12+ months and still haven’t launched
  • You’ve launched a consumer service and have less than 2% week-over-week growth in signups
  • You’ve launched an enterprise service and have less than 2% week-over-week growth in revenue pipeline
  • You are the CEO and hole yourself up in the offices so you don’t have to talk to employees and can read TechCrunch
  • You’ve hired consultants to figure out revenue, culture, or product in a company of less than 10 people
  • You’re at SXSW right now reading this post and trying not to cry

I think there is a Canadian context here as well. We have two more hints:

  1. You will miss payroll if you don’t get your SR&ED cheque in the next two weeks, and this has happened more than once.
  2. You spend more time meeting with and filling out forms for government economic development agencies than you do speaking to customers, angel investors and/or venture investors.

Being a zombie startup in 2008 was one thing… Frankly that was probably good enough to just pass the time, but if you are treading water today you are missing out on one of the most founder-friendly and lucrative financing environments we’ve ever seen.