What’s a startup?

I was grabbing a drink with Dave recently when we ended up in a conversation about “what’s a startup?”

It irks me a bit when folks refer to just about any company as a startup. It shouldn’t bother me, but it does – I’m really into meaning, and when the term “startup” gets applied to everything from a food cart to Google, it seems we’ve devolved into meaninglessness.

Another of our friends put me on the spot and asked for a definition. Here’s mine.

A startup is an organization that meets the following three criteria:

  • Predicated on an innovation (using Drucker’s definition)
  • That is used to realize significant (>100%) y/o/y growth
  • While still groping for a sustainable business model

This definition segments the startup as being between the idea stage and the growth stage of a company.

Agree with this definition? Think it’s overkill? Let me know on Twitter if you want.

Posted Aug. 18 2015, 1:19 pm by davis