"I personally look at the experience and track record of founders, whether there are 2 or more founders, whether they have launched and executed the product, traction beyond the idea-stage, and also how big the market is for the product/services in terms of customer and dollar value" said Sajid Rahman when asked about what he looks for in a startup before investing.
"The first thing is: what is the problem and then what is the solution you are proposing. Then comes market: how big the market is. The third is team: who they are. The management team is very important to us. And finally, why they are the right team to build the company," said Hideki Fujita of Segnel Venture.
It is incredibly hard to predict fate of any startup. Startups are delicate and often fragile. You can't predict which one is going to make it and which one will die. Being said that investors and people who deal with startups often need to predict and choose best bet for their investment and they rely on above mentioned factors.
Anna Vital of Funders and Founders put together a list of elements that investors look for in order to recognize successful startups early on. Founders often worry about a lot of things but most of those things are seldom matter as long as you have a great team and great product.
"Looking at the success factors in more than 100 companies I have been involved with, the strongest correlation to success has been the founding team", wrote Bill Gross. A great startup team consists of following people: a visionary: for seeing the big picture, a hacker: for building the product, a hustler: for maintaining the operations and sales, and a hipster: for branding and designing communications.
Here is an interesting read on ideal startup team.
The market for your product has to be big enough to make your business work. There has to be enough people willing to buy your product. Although it is good to start in a niche but your business has to have opportunities to grow big.
The most important metric for any startup is a great product. Often a great startup = a great product. Investors often give a lot of importance on team because a great team is often the sure fire way to a great product. Startup founders often make mistakes when it comes to building a great product largely because they don't go to market and take customers feedback. Successful startups often go back to market again and again and design something that people want.