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Lukas Mauser
Lukas Mauser

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What KPIs to Look at? - Zero to Startup Ep 8

KPIs summarize how your startup is doing in one number. They help you to identify problems and prioritize tasks.

But there are hundreds of potential KPIs to look at. How do you choose the right ones?

In this episode, I will show you what we are tracking and why we chose these KPIs.

From Zero to Startup - The series

We are two passionate developers from Germany on a journey to building our own profitable SaaS startup from scratch. In this series I will share everything we learn along the way, from coming up with the idea, coding a prototype, getting our first users and scaling to infinity. We are starting from absolutely nothing but our coding skills. We will not rely on any external funding. We are Lukas Mauser and Jonas Scholz and this is Zero to Startup.

What do we track and why


Last episode I explained our simple process to stay on track with our startup. We started by choosing only one primary indicator to look at and only introduced new metrics one at the time.

For us, the primary indicator changed a couple of times, depending what stage of the startup we were in.

For example, if you did not go live yet, your primary indicator could be sign ups for your waitlist. Later sign ups for your product and then monthly recurring revenue.

We did not track anything in the beginning and once our prototype was finished, we started just tracking sign ups. Yes, I know, sign ups is a shitty KPI to look at longterm, but as mentioned before, the primary metric can change! And later in the journey it has to be something revenue related.

In the very early days, the thing we wanted to know first, was whether we could get people to sign up for our app.

And we did! đŸĨŗ

But are they really using our service?

At some point sign ups rolled in, so we started to ask ourselves, are these people really using our service?

To find out, we need to define the term "using our service" a bit more precisely.

We started with identifying key actions for our product. Our product is a hosting service. One key action is deploying an application.

So we wanted to know, if a user who signed up, also deployed something. Thankfully, we already store all necessary information in our database, so we can pull the data from there.

We are not using any external software for tracking yet and did not create any fancy automated dashboard. At our current stage it's just not worth learning the software and dealing with setting everything up and debugging stuff.

Now what number do we look at?

Total number of running services? Total number of deploy attempts? Total number of successful deploy events? Number of services deployed in a specific week?

Let's start simple again and introduce more complexity later on. We track our KPIs on a weekly basis, so let's stick to that. An easy funnel looks something like this:

Say in the first week 10 users signed up. Out of these 10 users 3 created a service.

Let's also add 'deploy attempts' and 'successful deploys' in order to find out, how often people try and succeed.

Take note, that we are not focusing on accumulated values here, but rather relate everything to specific weeks. Also, we are not mixing the data of new users with existing users.

As a starting point, this already gives us some good insight. And that's what we have been tracking for the last few weeks. However there are limits to this approach.


We only measure actions in the sign up week here. And while these KPIs give us some good insights into the start of our funnel, we don't get any clues about retention.

In the next episode, I will explain, how to measure retention.


On a weekly basis, we track 'new sign ups', 'services created', 'deploy attempts', 'successful deploys'. Take note that we don't mix data from new sign ups and older accounts.

This gives us some good initial insights, but we don't see whether users are coming back and keep using our service. In the next episode I want to explain how we can measure retention.

ℹī¸ Additional notes

We would love to hear some feedback from you! ❤ī¸

Check out the product on

And feel free to comment or get in touch with us to talk about any topics you are interested in or questions you have about the project in general.


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