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When does a startup stop being a startup and become a business?

Alexander Prokopiev
Alexander Prokopiev CEO of ARTJOKER
4 min read

How do you know that your idea has outgrown the startup model and now you own a full-fledged business? How long should it take - a year, two, five, or maybe six months

What is a startup?

A startup is a commercial project that is in development or has recently entered the market. It is a business that is testing the ground, looking for its niche.

Startup Characteristics:

  • appeared recently;
  • known to a small circle of people;
  • an innovative idea is a must;
  • product uniqueness;
  • young team - in terms of skills and, more often, age;
  • constant search for partners.

When does a startup stop being a startup and become a business?

What stages does a startup go through?

The development of a startup project is traditionally divided into four periods:

1. Seed

The preparatory stage in which startups polish the idea, set goals, analyze the market, look for investors, and prepare the MVP.

When does a startup stop being a startup and become a business? - 1

2. Launch

The product is being launched and also actively promoted.

3. Scale

The team is engaged in the development of the project, its promotion. The startup is entering new niches.

4. Maturity

This stage is the stage of maturity and transformation of the startup into a business. Usually at this stage the initial team is greatly transformed and expanded, and authority is delegated.

When does a startup stop being a startup and become a business? - 2

The answer to the question "when is a startup no longer a startup?" is after you have passed all four stages, scaled and made a real, progressive profit 🤑.

World's Most Famous Startups

Successful U.S. startups are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, AirBnB, and Netflix.

Twitter Revenue in the first quarter of 2022 increased by 16% to $1.2 billion. Advertising revenue increased year-over-year by 23% to $1.11 billion, according to the company's financial statements.

The ideas of successful startups are always something new, a product or a service that was not available before.

The first companies that started making home deliveries were startups, because before them people had to pick up goods from stores themselves.

Anyone who started to continue this trend is no longer a startup because they took advantage of a ready-made idea.

When a startup becomes a business, it often has competitors and companies that start similar businesses. Like Facebook, which gave rise to social networking, now has hundreds of peers.

As a company that's growing in the IT field, that's the kind of startup we focus on. But there are hundreds of projects around the world that are also called startups, but have nothing to do with technology 🙄.

For example, successful American startups are often based on familiar human needs:

  • hotels with per-minute payment - clients have no ties to pay per day, they pay for hours or minutes of stay at the hotel. It is very convenient when you just need to take a shower;
  • shipping medicine to hard-to-reach countries - Zipline saves lives in Rwanda.

Successful Internet startups also focus on the desires and comfort of users:

  • a site that allows you to find a gardening contractor;
  • the BlaBlaCar app and companion search site;
  • unmanned trucks;
  • online lending.

When does a startup stop being a startup and become a business? - 3

The main leitmotif in the startup story is to "find" the pain point and need of the target audience and help them deal with it. This is exactly what successful startups in the world do and have great profits.

Turn your startup into a business with ARTJOKER

Our team has great expertise in working with startups. Our mobile development portfolio includes such startups:

  • Ruben - Swiss delivery service;
  • Starbar - socializing by interest;
  • Nobius - a social service with clear targeting.

We not only help projects to develop, but also create startup projects ourselves - the MyCredit online lending service.

If you want to turn an idea into reality, we're on our way.

Content of the article


Examples of successful startups show that promising business projects do not necessarily have to be based on some innovative futuristic developments. It is enough to find an unusual and non-standard solution to any of the problems related to human activity. Many startups are quite successful without investment or external financing. The main assets in these projects are the developers' knowledge, labor, and their desire to offer the world something new and useful.

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