Why some startups don’t want to be called that

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When does a startup stop being a startup? This is a more complex issue than it sounds – tech companies have discovered the power of words. Let’s explore! — Anna

Startup versus scaling

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“We’re not a startup, we’re scaling,” CMO Cristina Marcos told me of her employer, an interactive content creation platform. Good-naturedly. It was actually one of the first words she said when we met earlier this week and her accent really caught my attention.

On the one hand, it seems reasonable to say that a company like Genially, which has millions of users and raised over $26 million in funding, is no longer a startup. On the other hand, “startup” is such a buzzword that it’s interesting to watch companies ditch it.

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Notably, Genially prefers the term “scaling up” over “startup.” Joe Haslam, a professor at IE Business School in Madrid, has been arguing for nearly a decade that “scaling is the new startup.” But even he admits that the term “scaling up” has not become as popular as he expected.




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