What is a startup company?

Is a startup a company that has just started? Is it a smaller version of a large corporation? Is a startup a tech company necessarily and is every new tech company a startup?

With some startup or the other raising eye-popping investments from big venture capital firms every other day, there’s a lot of interest in and noise around startups. And there’s an equal amount of confusion as to what they really are. This article takes a look at all the things that make a startup a startup, beginning with answering the question: What is a startup company?

Startup employees sitting around a table with laptops
A startup is a young company with many unique features.

Table of Contents

A. Definitions of a startup (including under the Startup India initiative)

B. Difference between a startup and a small business

C. Difference between a startup and a mature company

D. Features of a startup

  1. Innovation
  2. Growth intent
  3. Business model
  4. Uncertainty
  5. Risk
  6. Funding
  7. Exit

E. Common questions about startups

  1. Are only tech firms considered startups? Is every tech company a startup?
  2. How do startups get funding? Does every startup need external funding?
  3. How many founders should a startup have?
  4. What are the stages of a startup?
  5. When does a startup stop being a startup?
  6. What is a unicorn startup?