When Is a Startup No Longer a Startup?

When is a startup company no longer a startup? Is it post-IPO (initial public offering)? Is it when the founders exit? After seed funding? After Round A? Round B? Round Z? It seems to me that companies have started clinging to the title “startup” for quite a bit longer than they used to.

What prompted this question? Recently, I saw a Tweet from Nexenta’s Mike Letschin. What caught my eye is that it referred to “life as a startup.” Now, I am pretty sure that Nexenta has been around for almost ten years now. In fact, it even states so on its website. I don’t know about you, but ten years seems to me a long time to be a startup. If you were a child in the UK, you would have finished Nursery, Reception, and Infants and would now be in about your last year of Junior Education before moving up to High School. Mind you, this is not a vendor-bashing post; far from it—the two vendors I have chosen to discuss are both “big kids.”

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