A startup is a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. — Steve Blank

I’ll admit that I was up in arms when we started calling $8M a “seed” round. But fine, I get it, that’s just where we are today. But can we please talk about what constitutes a startup? Just because a company is non-public and still receiving private financing (which just happens to be from a Venture Capitalist), that does not make a company a startup!

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This used to be the norm: “Startup Financing Cycle” by Kmuehmel, VC20

I was thinking about this I was browsing through Mattermark’s Q2 2015 VC report and came to the section labelled Startup Superlatives: What are the most notable deals in Q2 2015? First up, AirBNB, raising $1.5 billion last quarter. Right off the bat I begin to ask myself: is a seven-year-old company with over 1600 employees (as of earlier this year) and a validated business model really still a startup? I continued reading down the list and there’s Docusign, a company founded in 2003 that has raised $501M to date, including its recent series F. In what world does a startup get 6 financing rounds over 12 years? Let’s be honest, this is plain old vanilla growth equity for a mid-market company that just happens to be in the technology space. …


Hunter Ashmore

Entrepreneur and engineer at heart. Science and tech-obsessed: always looking for the next big idea. Advisor to startups; venture capitalist

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