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When does a startup stop being a startup? It’s a more difficult question than it seems – tech companies have discovered that words have power. Let’s investigate! † Anna
Startup vs scaling
“We’re not a startup, we’re a scale-up,” marketing manager Cristina Marcos told me about her employer, the interactive content creation platform Genially. This was actually one of the first things she said when we met in person earlier this week, and her emphasis really caught my attention.
On the one hand, it seems fair to say that a company like Genially, which has millions of users and has raised more than $26 million in funding, is no longer a startup. On the other hand, ‘startup’ is such a buzzword that it is interesting to see how companies distance themselves from it.
It is remarkable that ‘scale-up’ is Genially’s preferred term over ‘startup’. Joe Haslam, a professor at the IE Business School in Madrid, has argued for nearly a decade that “scale-up is the new startup”. But even he admits that the term “scaling up” hasn’t become as popular as he expected.