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A Guide to Calculating and Communicating Market Size

Understanding and effectively communicating the market size for your startup can be the master key to unlocking venture capital investment. At the heart of any investment memo, VCs scan for the Total Addressable Market (TAM), Serviceable Available Market (SAM), and Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM). But the path to calculating these critical figures is fraught with pitfalls and challenges. This guide will help entrepreneurs navigate these turbulent waters and present their market size with the clarity and solid grounding that investors respect.

The Market Size Trilogy: TAM, SAM, SOM

Let's demystify the acronyms that matter most to your future investors:

  1. Total Addressable Market (TAM): Imagine selling your product or service to every potential consumer in the universe. That's your TAM, an optimistic yet vital benchmark [5].

  2. Serviceable Available Market (SAM): Now, bring that telescope down a notch. Which part of the TAM can you realistically reach with your current business model? That's the SAM – TAM's more pragmatic sibling [1].

  3. Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM): Even closer to home is the SOM. Among the reachable audience (your SAM), whom can you realistically convert into customers, especially considering the competition out there? [2].

The Entrepreneur's Map to Market Size

The entrepreneurial journey to painting a compelling market-size picture involves several steps that blend art with science.

Market Segmentation: Have a keen eye for the distinct groups within your potential market who may require unique approaches. Tailoring your strategies to different segments can enhance accuracy and appeal in your estimations.

Growth Rate: Don't just capture a snapshot of your market – chart its trajectory. The expected growth rate informs how the market might evolve and expand, affecting potential revenue significantly.

Pricing Strategy: Price your offerings too high, and you risk shrinking your SOM. Set them too low, and TAM might seem wide, but revenue projections could disappoint. Striking the right balance here is key.

Steering Clear of Estimation Abyss

The road to accurate market estimation isn't without its hazards:

  1. Defining Market Boundaries: Get your definitions in order. Misinterpreting the scope can lead to projections that either undersell your potential or overpromise and underdeliver [2].

  2. Data Collection: Select robust data sources and deploy methodologies that lend credibility to your figures. Flawed data can lead to misguided strategies and sceptical investors [6]. I strongly recommend using perplexity.

  3. Clear Communication: VCs love clarity. Present your market size findings in a manner that's crisp, confident, and easy to digest. Think visuals, analogies, and narratives [16].

Crafting an Irresistible Market Size Portrait

Entrepreneurs, your role in showcasing market size is paramount. Use both top-down and bottom-up approaches for a complete picture [4][5]. Keep your finger on the pulse of the market to ensure your figures reflect the latest trends. And above all, stay credible – overpromising might catch an eye but will ultimately undermine trust [4].

As you navigate the VC ocean, remember that market size is your north star. Understand it, convey it compellingly, and let it guide you to a successful investment round.


Further Reading on Market Size and VC Investment

For those keen on delving deeper into the nuances of market size estimation and its pivotal role in securing venture capital, the following resources offer a wealth of information:

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