4T - Team, Timing, Tech & Product, Traction

Startup Success is Predictable with

the 4T Score

It's free, no registration required, 3-5 min read

Your benefits by taking the 4T Test

Always FREE

It’s free and no registration required

More Focus

Get concrete insights on what business areas need to be improved.

More Funding

Use your individual 4T Score when talking to investors. Our research shows that startups with scores 70+ have 20% higher growth rates in company value.

Individual Report

Receive your free 4T Score as a pdf and compare your scores with other startups.

Quick and Transparent

Our tool allows the transparent finding of the 4T Score within a few minutes.

About the 4T Scoring Model

The 4T Score is based on the following 4 growth drivers:

Team (Internal) : Who is doing it?
Timing (External): Why will we be successful?
Tech & Product (Strategy): How are we doing it?
Traction (Execution): What have we accomplished?

In 2019 we conducted our first study in Germany and asked over 120 tech startups to rate themselves. The results confirmed the validity of the 4T Model and we saw a positive correlation between the 4T Score (1-100) and growth in company value over the last 6 months.
In other words: The higher the 4T Score, the greater the possibility of the startup to succeed.

Startups with a 4T Score of over 70 have a 20% higher company growth rate than the average. Also, all T-categories correlate positively with the success of the startup, but Timing and Traction seem to be the key driver for growth.
In 2021 we were able to confirm these results in an international study with over 115 tech startups that were founded prior to 2020 in the US, Europe and China.

If you are a startup and want to know your 4T Score, start for free now. 5 minutes that are worth it!

About the author

Prof. Dr. Kai Buehler is a Professor of Digital Entrepreneurship at the RFH University of Applied Sciences, Cologne, Germany (Rheinische Fachhochschule Köln) and an active early-stage investor in tech, media and climate startups in Germany and the US. After looking at thousands of business plans he created the 4T Scoring Model (Team, Traction, Tech & Product, Timing) to offer startups concrete and actionable insights how to improve their business and to give investors an indicator for evaluating startup success probability.

He was the first investor in Honey which was acquired by Paypal for $4B in 2019. He was also a Venture Partner at Quake Capital in LA and Cologne and a Representative for the German State of NRW in California (NRW.GlobalBusiness). Prior to becoming a venture investor, he founded and successfully exited 2 mobile media and ecommerce startups as their CEO (plan_b media acquired by London-listed boku; mms-Watchpoints acquired by NASDAQ-listed Viggle).

He holds 2 US-patents in the interactive TV field and studied at Universities in Europe and Asia; Kai graduated with a Master in Business and a PhD in Economics from the University of Paderborn, Germany and the University of Hong Kong. He is also Founder of KARMAKARMA, a social enterprise that works with 150+ non-profits, providing real social impacts throughout the world.


This scientific study was conducted by Prof. Dr. Kai Buehler from the RFH-University of Applied Sciences, Cologne, Germany with support by Koeln.Business and IHK Köln. KölnBusiness and IHK Köln also offer free coaching and mentoring to startups. As a startup you can take the 4T Test for free and use it as a basis for discussion when talking to Köln.Business and IHK Köln.

RFH University of Applied Sciences

The RFH – University of Applied Science, in Cologne is one of Germany’s largest education institutions with a modern range of teaching, research and service. With its 60-year tradition, the RFH, which has deeply rooted ties with many companies in the Rhineland region, is among the best professional schools in Germany. Generations of families have studied and graduated here. Trusting in tradition and having an openness for innovation have made the RFH a reliable education partner through fast-paced economic and social changes. Today approximately 6,500 students count on the expertise of the RFH.

More info at: www.rfh-koeln.de

KölnBusiness Wirtschaftsförderung

As a subsidiary of the City of Cologne, KölnBusiness Wirtschaftsförderung is the first point of contact for all companies based in Cologne. KölnBusiness offers companies and founders professional support in location matters such as establishment, expansion or starting a business.

The Startup Unit Cologne is part of the KölnBusiness and serves as a central contact point for domestic and international founders. The aim is to strengthen the start-up ecosystem in Cologne and to further develop the region as one of the central start-up and technology hotspots in Europe.

More info at: koelnBusiness


The Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK Köln) is an institution financed by more than 140.000 companies and small and medium sized enterprises in the heart of the Rhineland. We are determined to support and to accelerate new entrepreneurs and curious about new ideas! Therefore, with our independent and objective services, we also provide startups and founders with consulting and coaching in all matters of starting an own company or self-employment. This service includes advice on law, tax and economic problems as well as on public loans and grants. So: what can we do for you?

More info at: www.ihk-koeln.de