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What does Startup mean exactly?

The term startup began to be used just after the Second World War, it was with the appearance of the first venture capital companies that the term began to be used massively. Nowadays, it is in the dictionary and here is the result: "Young innovative company, in the field of new technologies" (Larousse)

Well already, let's attack by spelling. Startup, start-up, and plural? And startup, start-upper? There is a legal vacuum. So everybody does what they want.


What is a startup ?

In "start-up" there is the idea of starting "start" and the idea of strong growth "up". Two ideas that are the essence of the startup.

A startup is a business, but it is more than a single entity. A startup is a state of mind, a vision, carried by its founder and acting on a market in creation or unstable. As a result, it does not have a fixed business model and explores the possibilities.
Twitter is a unicorn, is on the stock market, is no longer really young. And yet, it is still a startup, because its strategy and its economic model are still in experimentation ... For all the growth is huge and the number of users too.
For Eric Ries, author of the bestseller "The Lean Startup", a startup is

"a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty"

According to Patrick Fridenson, a business historian, being a start-up is not a question of age, size or sector. The following four conditions must exist:

  1. Strong potential growth
  2. Use new technology
  3. Need for massive funding known as fundraisers
  4. Being on a new market whose risk is difficult to evaluate.

The startups must also work to increase its scalability, in other words, its ability to maintain a high profitability despite the increase in load. But it also has to create a very strong pull in order to attract a lot of users and make speak about it.

When does a startup become a business?



Being a startup is a temporary state. Either because the business model did not succeed and thus the startup fails and disappears. Either because it succeeds and gets absorbed, or becomes a more classical enterprise in the approach.

Can we be "big" and be a startup?

Uber, Airbnb, Blablacar, Spotify ... are still startups and yet these companies are enormous. But like Twitter, their model is not defined and can evolve. However, Facebook is no longer, Google either. Even if the startup spirit persists, some processes have been formalized and the strategy, like the business model, are now established.


Though, more and more big companies are interested in startups due to their mode of operation and their potential for innovation. Their management techniques stimulate innovation, reinforce team spirit and make it more responsive. As in Google, the 20% of working time devoted to a personal project still today proof that one can grow while trying to "disrupt" the habits.


Creating a start-up means going beyond the results given by a market study or a financing plan; it means going beyond the analyzes of a survey. To create its start-up you have to believe in it first. It is like a bet on the future. It is to believe that the society in which we live is open to novelty, it is to go beyond the context of crisis to turn problems into an opportunity.


It means putting forward dreams and sharing ideas. It is idealizing a world where creativity is rewarded, or work is revalorized, it is making mistakes and questioning itself, it is looking closely, but seeing many things.


A start-up is first of all the story of a team animated by the same project, carried by the same values, by the same passions.


Steve Jobs said, "Innovation is a situation we choose because we have a passion for something." A start-up is this situation

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