When does a Startup stop being a Startup? The line is blurry

In 2016, its never been trendier to set up your own tech company with the intent of becoming the next billion-dollar startup. I’ve only been around the tech scene for a short period of time but I noticed there are a couple of main reasons for this. The first is mankind’s ever increasing dependency on technology, which is understandable. While the other is the medias promotion of entrepreneurship as a very viable and lucrative means of making a living, which it can be, providing you have a quality product or service and there is a market for it of course.

This got me thinking. The thing about startup companies is that few of them succeed and a question that I’ve often asked myself is for the ones that do prosper, when do they stop being a startup and start being a company? When do they cross that line and officially say “Ok were no longer in survival mode, were in corporate mode now” The thing is, there is no real tangible metric to measure when a company is no longer a startup, you can’t point to an exact date and say “On this day, Google was no longer a Startup” Still confused I started doing a bit of research online (Using Google) and found some interesting theories as to when a startup can no longer be deemed startup worthy. Here’s a few I found.

“When you no longer rely on VC’s to pay your employees or run your business”

“If you can afford to buy another company, you no longer make the cut as a startup”

“If you are more than 10 years old, have more than 100 employees or have 100 million + in revenue, I’m sorry but you’re no longer a member of the startup club”

 “When you employ a HR department you’re probably no longer a startup”

“When you swap noodles for beef at dinner I think you might be just leaving the startup ranks”

These were just a select few from the hundreds I came across and I must say, some held more validity than others. Y Combinator Co-Founder Paul Graham defined a startup as “a company designed to grow fast” so does that mean that a startup becomes a company when the level of their growth plateaus? Again, I’m not so sure.

To be honest I think it boils down to your choice of words. If a startup wants to be labelled a startup even after its raised buckets of money and employed hundreds of people, I think that’s fine. At the end of the day it’s all just semantics and a company can really label itself in anyway it pleases.

With that being said, that’s merely just my opinion and although I’ve seen the opinions of all those folks on the internet, I’d like to get your thoughts on when a startup can no longer call itself a startup. Similar to above, I’m sure the answers will vary. Tweets us your thoughts @tr3dent.