When you are not a startup anymore

When is a startup not a startup anymore?

When you have a board of directors! Or found your business model! Or your’e being bought! Or …..

The rumor of Google buying WhatsApp and the post from Jonathan Lu about StampUp coming in second after Outblaze Ventures Holdings (what’s in a name) in the Best Business (Start-up Company) Awards, triggers my question I’m asking myself for some time now:

When does a startup stop being a startup and become a “regular” business?

First, what is the definition of a startup?

According to Wikipedia it is: “A startup company or startup is a company, a partnership or temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.” And that’s the definition from Steve Blank.

So are Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram or even Outblaze still startups?

In my opinion not anymore, most of them are making money, most of them found their business model, but all have been around for some time now. Maybe they are not making any (real) profit or the current business model is not the best model for them, but they found a repeatable and scalable business model, they have users, customer love and exposure, they probably all have a board of directors….

So if your startup is being bought, you get a “board” (in what kind of form), you found your initial business model and you’re milking it, your’e not doing customer discovery anymore because you found them already, the new version of your product or software you delivered is just the same as the previous one only in a different color or the new game is for kids instead of adults: you’re not a startup anymore!

Be disruptive! Gogogo!


  1. niloofar

    Hi. thanks for the cool website.
    Could u please advise me where to find a guide about mentoring or coaching a startup ASAP?

  2. Jeffrey Broer

    Hi Niloofar,

    A guide about mentoring or coaching a startup is experience. Having done a startup at least once and experience in the domain of the idea is important to help a startup,
    If you want to do a startup I could advice start reading the book: “Lean Startup” from Eric Ries.