Introducing … The Start-Up Frog Score

Oct 20, 2012 News 5 comments

clipboard01The world of wine has Robert Parker.

Consumer credit has the FICO score.

Companies have Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

What do startups have? Maybe, one day, they’ll have the Frog Score.

Yes, we’re standing on the shoulders of giants: YouNoodle tried this (and pivoted). The Startup Genome Compass offers another take.

And we know a single quantitative metric oversimplifies. But there’s merit in the concept: a third-party, objective assessment of a startup and its team. Every investor uses some model, no matter how crude. Every angel, every VC who looks at a business plan and hears a pitch, forms a view.

At JFDI, we’ve developed our own system. Every startup who applies to us gets evaluated using the same, simple model. This coming year, for the first time, we’ll share our evaluations with applicants. We’ll show how we think, how we evaluate a deal. If you get in – or don’t – you deserve to know why. (After all, we might be wrong – correct us!)

Now for the innovation. We’re thinking of opening up this evaluation process to any startup – not just those who want to get in to the JFDI program.

Think about it: when you go to buy a house or a car, you know they’re going to check your credit rating. So you look it up first.

If you’re a founder looking for funding, it only makes sense to find out how your pitch looks to other people.

If your Frog Score makes the cut, you could show that score to another VC – who knows, you just might find yourself in their fast lane.

If this takes off, I could see a world where VCs ask startups: What’s your Frog Score? Don’t have one yet? Go get an assessment done, and come back when you do. Insert freemium model here.

We will prototype this concept during the coming application process, and if it works, we’ll launch it in a few months.

If you think this is a good idea, and if you would use it yourself (as an investor or as a founder?) please leave us feedback in the comments…

5 thoughts on “Introducing … The Start-Up Frog Score”

  1. KimSia says:

    As a founder I will try at least this much:

    Get a score first.

    Pitch to investors.

    Now improve score.

    Pitch to investors.

    Compare responses before and after improve score.

    If responses are more favorable qualitative ly

    and quantitative ly, I will say the score is good for improving chances.

  2. Dinesh says:

    This sounds like a great idea to get the JFDI name out.

    For a JFDI score to be widely adopted though, it’s got to be a pretty good predictor of the startup’s success and this might be challenging.

    It seems like a product (or business) can’t become successful unless:

    1. It addresses a real problem that a large enough number of people have.

    2. It’s at least good enough at solving the problem.

    3. It’s better than the competition.

    The minimum threshold values for these variables (real problem that enough people have, good enough at solving the problem, etc.) are extremely domain specific. And these can take some time to get right (see early HP, Microsoft, etc.) unless the entrepreneur gets lucky early in the game or has some special insight.

    A principle component of the JFDI score would then need to measure the entrepreneur’s ability to endure this initial struggle ( This sounds difficult without some deep understanding of the entrepreneur’s motivations and his or her life’s context. And not something that can be done with a simple evaluation or with anonymized data (as the image above suggests).

    If you have some particular idea of how to incorporate this data into the JFDI score though, it might be worth trying as a cheap experiment.

  3. manish says:

    That sounds very good plan..every start up like me requires this…its somewhat similar to idea validation..i did apply for one over here

    now waiting for reply..hope my idea is good..:)

    i,m exited to see my JFDI score too..when are you guys starting?

  4. very innovative initiative from our friends at JFDI Asia. look forward to see it happening.

    epirot ludvik nekaj

  5. Joe Rouse says:

    This brings new meaning to ‘kissing a lot of frogs to find your prince’:)

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