Financial Metrics That Matter: What Investors Want to See

Written by David (DJ) Johnson
EntrepreneurshipGrowth HubStartup Finance

In the competitive world of fundraising, financial metrics serve as a vital compass for both startups and investors. These metrics not only provide a clear picture of a company’s financial health but also offer insights into its growth potential and operational efficiency.

For startups, understanding and effectively presenting these metrics can be the difference between securing investment and missing out on crucial funding opportunities.

This blog aims to illuminate the key financial metrics that capture investor interest. By highlighting these metrics, we hope to guide startups in their fundraising journey, ensuring they are well-prepared to meet investor expectations and demonstrate their value proposition compellingly. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or a first-time founder, mastering these financial metrics will enhance your ability to attract and retain investor confidence.

Revenue Metrics

At Rooled, we understand that revenue metrics are often the first numbers investors look at when evaluating a startup. Revenue growth and recurring revenue are critical indicators of a company’s success and future potential. They demonstrate not only the market demand for a startup’s product or service but also the effectiveness of its sales and marketing strategies.

Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) and Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) are two key metrics that investors focus on. ARR represents the total amount of recurring revenue a company can expect to generate from its customers over a year, while MRR breaks this down to a monthly figure. These metrics are particularly important for SaaS and subscription-based businesses, as they provide a predictable revenue stream that can be relied upon for future growth.

For example, if a startup has an ARR of $1.2 million, it indicates a solid foundation of recurring income, equating to an MRR of $100,000. This consistency reassures investors that the startup has a stable customer base and a reliable cash flow. 

To further illustrate, consider a startup that has successfully increased its MRR from $20,000 to $50,000 within six months. This rapid growth signals to investors that the company’s product is gaining traction in the market, attracting more customers, and retaining them effectively. Additionally, high ARR and MRR figures demonstrate the startup’s potential for scaling and achieving long-term sustainability.

Strong revenue growth and robust recurring revenue figures are powerful indicators of a startup’s health and scalability. By focusing on and optimizing these metrics, startups can present a compelling case to investors, showcasing their growth potential and market viability. At Rooled, we help startups track and improve these critical metrics, ensuring they are well-positioned to capture investor interest and secure the funding they need to thrive.

Profitability and Margins

At Rooled, we know that profitability and margin metrics are essential indicators of a startup’s financial health and operational efficiency. These metrics provide investors with insights into how effectively a company is managing its costs relative to its revenues, ultimately reflecting the startup’s sustainability and long-term viability.

Gross Margin and Net Profit Margin are two key metrics that investors scrutinize closely. 

Gross Margin measures the difference between revenue and the cost of goods sold (COGS), expressed as a percentage of revenue. It indicates how efficiently a company is producing and selling its products. A high gross margin suggests that the company has strong pricing power and effective cost management, which can translate into higher profitability as the company scales. For instance, if a startup has a gross margin of 70%, it means that for every dollar of revenue, 70 cents remain after covering the COGS. This level of efficiency is highly attractive to investors, as it indicates potential for robust profitability.

Net Profit Margin, on the other hand, measures the percentage of revenue that remains as profit after all expenses, including operating costs, interest, taxes, and depreciation, have been deducted. This metric provides a comprehensive view of the company’s overall profitability. A high net profit margin signals to investors that the company is not only generating significant revenue but also managing its overall expenses effectively. For example, a startup with a net profit margin of 15% retains 15 cents of profit for every dollar earned, demonstrating strong financial discipline and operational efficiency.

Startups with strong profitability metrics often stand out to investors. Take the example of a tech startup that successfully increased its gross margin from 50% to 65% within a year by optimizing its supply chain and reducing production costs. This improvement not only enhanced its profitability but also showcased the startup’s ability to implement cost-saving strategies effectively. As a result, the company attracted significant investor interest and secured a substantial funding round.

Another example is a SaaS company that maintained a net profit margin of 20% while achieving rapid revenue growth. This balance of growth and profitability demonstrated the company’s operational efficiency and sustainability, making it an appealing investment opportunity.

Profitability metrics like Gross Margin and Net Profit Margin are critical indicators of a startup’s efficiency and sustainability. By focusing on improving these metrics, startups can present a compelling case to investors, highlighting their ability to manage costs and generate profits. At Rooled, we specialize in helping startups optimize their profitability metrics, ensuring they are well-prepared to attract and impress investors.

Cash Flow and Burn Rate

At Rooled, we emphasize the importance of cash flow metrics and burn rate, as these are vital indicators of a startup’s financial health and operational efficiency. Investors closely examine these metrics to assess the sustainability and longevity of a company, as well as its ability to weather financial challenges.

Cash Flow from Operations (CFO) and Free Cash Flow (FCF) are two critical cash flow metrics that provide insights into a startup’s liquidity and financial stability.

Cash Flow from Operations measures the cash generated or used by a company’s core business activities. This metric is crucial because it shows whether the company’s day-to-day operations are generating sufficient cash to sustain and grow the business. Positive CFO indicates that the company is capable of generating enough cash internally to cover its operational expenses, reducing reliance on external financing. For example, a startup with a positive CFO can reinvest in its growth initiatives, such as product development and marketing, without the constant need for additional funding.

Free Cash Flow, on the other hand, represents the cash remaining after a company has met its capital expenditure requirements. It is a strong indicator of a company’s ability to generate cash and maintain financial flexibility. A healthy FCF suggests that a startup can invest in new opportunities, pay down debt, or return value to shareholders. For instance, a startup with a consistent positive FCF demonstrates its ability to manage its capital efficiently and sustainably, which is highly attractive to investors.

Burn Rate is another crucial metric, particularly for early-stage startups. It measures the rate at which a company is spending its cash reserves before generating positive cash flow. Understanding and managing the burn rate is essential for startups to extend their runway—the amount of time they have before needing additional funding. Investors pay close attention to burn rate as it indicates how quickly a startup is using up its cash and how long it can continue operating without new capital.

To manage burn rate effectively and appeal to investors, startups can implement several strategies:

  1. Monitor and Control Expenses: Regularly review and optimize operating expenses to ensure they are aligned with the company’s revenue growth. This might involve renegotiating vendor contracts, reducing discretionary spending, or streamlining operations.
  2. Focus on Revenue Generation: Prioritize initiatives that drive revenue growth and accelerate the path to profitability. This can include enhancing sales and marketing efforts, improving customer retention, and expanding into new markets.
  3. Maintain a Cash Reserve: Keep a sufficient cash buffer to navigate unforeseen challenges and maintain financial stability. This reserve can provide a safety net and extend the company’s runway.
  4. Seek Strategic Investments: Look for opportunities to secure funding that aligns with the company’s growth objectives, such as strategic partnerships or grants, which can provide additional capital without diluting equity significantly.

By effectively managing cash flow and burn rate, startups can present a strong financial position to investors, showcasing their ability to sustain operations and achieve long-term growth. At Rooled, we guide startups in optimizing these critical metrics, helping them build a compelling case for investment and ensuring they are well-prepared for financial success.

Customer Metrics

At Rooled, we recognize that customer metrics play a crucial role in demonstrating a startup’s ability to attract, retain, and grow its customer base. These metrics provide investors with valuable insights into the effectiveness of a company’s marketing strategies and customer satisfaction levels, which are essential for long-term success.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV), and Churn Rate are three key customer-related metrics that investors closely examine.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) measures the total cost of acquiring a new customer, including marketing and sales expenses. A lower CAC indicates that a startup is efficiently converting prospects into paying customers. For example, if a startup spends $10,000 on marketing and sales to acquire 100 new customers, the CAC is $100. This metric helps investors assess the scalability and cost-effectiveness of the company’s customer acquisition strategies.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) represents the total revenue a company can expect from a customer over the duration of their relationship. A high CLTV suggests that customers are satisfied and remain loyal, generating significant revenue over time. For instance, if a customer spends $200 annually and remains with the company for five years, the CLTV is $1,000. Investors are particularly interested in startups with a high CLTV relative to their CAC, as this indicates a strong return on investment in customer acquisition.

Churn Rate measures the percentage of customers who stop using a company’s product or service within a specific period. A lower churn rate indicates better customer retention and satisfaction. For example, if a startup has 1,000 customers at the beginning of the month and loses 50 customers by the end of the month, the monthly churn rate is 5%. Investors view a low churn rate as a positive sign of product-market fit and customer loyalty.

These metrics collectively help investors understand the efficiency and effectiveness of a startup’s customer acquisition and retention strategies. A startup with a low CAC, high CLTV, and low churn rate demonstrates a well-balanced approach to growing and maintaining its customer base, making it an attractive investment opportunity.


Consider a SaaS startup that successfully reduced its CAC from $150 to $75 while simultaneously increasing its CLTV from $900 to $1,200. This improvement not only highlights the startup’s ability to acquire customers more cost-effectively but also indicates enhanced customer satisfaction and retention. As a result, the startup was able to secure a significant funding round, as investors were impressed by its strong customer metrics.

Another example is an e-commerce startup that managed to decrease its churn rate from 10% to 3% over six months by implementing personalized customer engagement strategies and improving product quality. This reduction in churn rate demonstrated the startup’s commitment to customer satisfaction, leading to increased investor confidence and subsequent funding.

Customer metrics such as CAC, CLTV, and churn rate are vital indicators of a startup’s ability to attract, retain, and grow its customer base. By focusing on these metrics, startups can present a compelling case to investors, showcasing their effectiveness in marketing and customer retention. At Rooled, we help startups optimize these critical metrics, ensuring they are well-positioned to secure the funding they need to thrive.

In the competitive landscape of fundraising, understanding and effectively presenting key financial metrics is crucial for startups seeking investment. Throughout this blog, we’ve explored essential metrics that matter to investors: Revenue Metrics, Profitability and Margins, Cash Flow and Burn Rate, and Customer Metrics.

Revenue metrics like Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) and Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) provide a clear picture of a startup’s growth potential and stability. Profitability metrics, including Gross Margin and Net Profit Margin, highlight operational efficiency and sustainability. Cash flow metrics such as Cash Flow from Operations and Free Cash Flow, along with the burn rate, reveal the company’s liquidity and financial health. Customer metrics, including Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV), and Churn Rate, offer insights into customer retention and the effectiveness of marketing strategies.

Presenting these metrics clearly and accurately is vital for building investor confidence. Investors are looking for startups that can demonstrate strong financial health, efficient operations, and sustainable growth. By regularly monitoring and optimizing these metrics, startups can not only improve their fundraising prospects but also ensure long-term success and viability.

At Rooled, we specialize in helping startups navigate the complex world of financial metrics. Our expertise ensures that you are well-prepared to present your company’s financial story compellingly to potential investors. We encourage you to regularly review and enhance your financial metrics to stay ahead in the fundraising game and secure the investment needed to drive your startup’s growth. Book a meeting with Rooled today to learn how we can help you achieve your financial and fundraising goals.

About the Author

David (DJ) Johnson

DJ is the Director of Rooled. His entrepreneurial journey started as an accountant for two Big Four accounting firms, then to managing rock bands for 10yr. Financial advising called him, and he built one of the first ever outsourced accounting firms.