In 1999 when I founded my first startup, the term “startup” was roughly defined (in my mind at least) as a company using technology to make lots of money quickly (aka: addressing a large market).
Today it’s 19 years later, and you would struggle to find any company being launched that is not leveraging technology to address their market far more quickly than companies traditionally could.
The last 30 years of digital disruptors has also driven larger companies to increasingly invest in self-disruption through the launch (or support) of new digital offerings, though these often come across as clumsy, expensive versions of what could otherwise be launched, despite their end goals being the same.
In this environment, I believe the defining characteristics that make startups the companies that matter in 2018 become:
- The size of the market they’re addressing.
- The efficiency with which they’re able to address that market.