40 Startup Terms Every Entrepreneur Should Know

Niku Mandal Niku Mandal Abhinav kumar Abhinav kumar
Jun 13, 2022 10 min read
40 Startup Terms Every Entrepreneur Should Know

If are planning to start your startup business then definitely you will need to describe what your company does when you want to raise capital from investors. You need to speak their language too, it is also called startup lingo. It is wise to know the vocabulary which is common in the circuit to showcase your business plan effectively. These words are also called jargon words.

Following is the list of startup jargon that every aspiring entrepreneur should know about. According to the dictionary, jargon words mean special words or expressions used by a professional or group that are difficult for others to understand.

In this article, we've shared some commonly used startup terms from Bootstrapping to Market penetration which you may not have heard yet if you already know these new business terms then also you can learn more about them to enhance your knowledge about startup and entrepreneurship.

Before diving into these startup terms let's first find out What a startup actually is?

What is a Startup?
30 Startup Terms Every Entrepreneur Should Know

What is a Startup?

A startup is any company that is at its infant stage and founded by one or more entrepreneurs for the purpose of launching a unique product or service. Well everyone having a different perspective suggests a variety of definitions, but the popular one given by Wikipedia is as - "A startup or start-up is a company started by an entrepreneur to seek, develop, and validate a scalable economic model."

So, now let's move to the Startup lingo every entrepreneur should know if you are planning to get funding.

30 Startup Terms Every Entrepreneur Should Know

1. Activation

Activation is a measurement of the conversion rate from when a prospective lead becomes an active user on your website. This is a result of a user downloading or signing up for your app/website.

2. Acqui-hire

It is a strategy used to acquire talent when one company buys out another company primarily for the skills and expertise of the staff.

3. Accelerator

An accelerator is a center where startups are “incubated” through mentorship, space and sometimes money. Accelerators help startups in their initial stages and help them grow.

4. Advertorials

This is a startup lingo commonly used by bloggers. It is a paid form of content that is meant to look and feel like a real story or blog post. In recent times, display ad pricing and effectiveness have decreased so turning to advertorials is a better option for companies to capture ad revenue.

5. Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping is the use of money that is taken from friends and family, existing resources or personal savings as the initial investment to start a business. If a founder chooses to bootstrap their startup they avoid raising funds from investors or VC.

Indian Startups - Funding & Investors Data [April 2021 Updated]
Ideas, creativity, and execution are essential for a startup to flourish. Butare they enough? A startup succeeds in the long run only if it can scale as andwhen required. Investors provide startups and other entrepreneurial ventureswith the capital—popularly known as “funding”—to think big, grow …

6. Burn Rate

If you are a startup founder, this is one of the most important startup jargon you need to know. It is also called Run Rate, in simple words, it means how fast you are blowing your cash. Investors try to avoid putting their money where the burn rate is excessive. But it is also not unusual for the startup to lose sums of money for several years before breaking or making a profit.

How to Calculate Burn rate
How to Calculate Burn rate

7. Churn Rate

It is also called the rate of attrition. Churn Rate is known as the percentage of service subscribers who discontinue their subscriptions within a given span of time. The growth rate must exceed its churn rate.

How to Calculate Churn rate
How to Calculate Churn rate

8. Cliff

Cliffs are a way for an Executive to fire employees or let them leave without giving them stock within a limited period of time. Cliffs are also used by the investors on CEOs to make sure the CEO sticks around after getting the cash.

9. Deck

Also called ‘Pitch Deck’, it is a short and limited slide of PPT that covers all the aspects of your aspects. It usually contains ten slides. The deck should be compact, concise and create a maximum impact. One should consider gaining a lot of feedback and hiring a graphic designer to make the final version look spectacular.

10. Disruptive Technology

The discovery of such technology completely changes the way society does something. For Example, Uber and Ola changed the way Taxis used to operate. Amazon or Flipkart is a virtual store that did not exist about two decades ago, there were physical in-store shopping.

Challenges Entrepreneurs Face
Everyone thinks of becoming one with their “One in a million” idea. So, here are some problems which you will face in your entrepreneurial journey and some truth about startup life.

11. Exit Strategy

It is a plan that is executed by an investor, trader, business owner or venture capitalist to liquidate a position in a financial asset or dispose of tangible business assets once certain predetermined criteria for either has been met or exceeded. It is basically a strategy on how you will sell the company and make your investors some financial gain through the same. It includes all the decisions like who is going to buy and why and at which amount.

12. FMA

FMA is the First Mover Advantage and it means an advantage gained by the initial significant occupant of a market segment. First-Mover Advantage might be gained by technological leadership, early purchase of resources or releasing some product/service that is ahead of its time.

13. Freemium

Freemium is a form of pricing strategy by which a product or service is provided free of charge, but an amount in the form of premium is charged for additional features, services or virtual. For example, a digital offering or an app such as Netflix charges a premium before you can avail of a free trial.

14. Growth Hacking

Growth Hacking is a startup term that was coined by Sean Ellis and it basically describes a marketing technique that focuses on quickly finding scalable growth through non-traditional and inexpensive tactics such as the use of the internet or social media. The objective of growth hacking strategies is generally to acquire as many users or customers as possible while spending as little as possible.

15. Intellectual Property

An IP can be a patent or a secret sauce or formula like Coca-Cola's recipe. It is a creation of such an invention, artistic work, design, symbol, name and images used in commerce.

16. Iterate

In simple words iterate means to try something, do it wrong, and then try it again in a slightly different way with the hopes of achieving a better result. This startup jargon is also used when an entrepreneur launches a product or service in the market.

17. Launch

A commonly used startup lingo is Launch. The launch means to introduce and start something new, for instance, a company, a website or a product.

18. Leverage

Leverage is an investment strategy that is used while we take into consideration an amount that is borrowed – borrowed capital. It focuses on the use of various financial instruments to increase the potential return on investment. In accounting terms, leverage also means the amount of debt a firm uses to finance assets.

19. Loss Leader Pricing

The type of pricing where you are selling something at a loss as a form of marketing expense to bring in customers you expect repeat future purchases from.

20. Market Penetration

Market Penetration is a measure of the number of sales, adoption and presence of a product or service compared to the total theoretical market for that product or service. The startup phrase also means to include the activities that are used to increase the market share of a product or service.

21. Monetize

The term means something is converted from a non-revenue generating asset into a source of revenue. In economics, monetizing means converting any object or transaction into a form of currency or something that has transferable value.

22. MVP

MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product and it means a product with just enough features to satisfy early consumers and to provide feedback for future product development. It is basically a bare-bones version of a product required to achieve proof of concept and is often used in the creation of new software that will be Beta tested so that later an upgraded version can be released.

23. Pivot

Pivot in commerce language would mean changing directions as a company and is usually used to describe as going after a different market segment or using an established technology for an entirely new purpose.

24. ROI

A term used by many startup founders is ROI, ROI stands for Return on Investment. It can be described as the performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. ROI is a financial metric of profitability that is used to measure the return or gain from an investment made by an investor or businessman.

25. Sweat Equity

These are the shares of a company given in exchange for work done by its employees. Sweat Equity is a good recruiting technique that helps a company attract passionate talent that can be paid in non-monetary investments that the owners or employees contribute to a business venture.

How to Avoid Bankruptcy While Runnig a Startup
Struggling to manage your budget during your early days of startup? Check out this post to avoid bankruptcy.

26. Term Sheet

A Term Sheet is a document that outlines what an investor has agreed to on the terms and conditions under which the investment will be made. It serves as a template that can be used to develop more detailed legally binding documents.

27. Traction

The term means proof that people are actually buying and using your product or services. You can calculate traction by using metrics like daily signups, monthly visits and active users.

28. Valuation

Planning to approach investors, make sure you know this startup term. Valuation means what your company is being valued at. Pre-money valuation is the value before your startup take investors’ money and Post-money valuation is that amount plus the investment put in.

29. Value Proposition

The term describes what is the most unique or attractive feature of your product or service. It is a statement that describes why customers should choose or buy your product or service.

30. VC

You might have come across this startup term when raising funds. VC stands for Venture Capitalist and it is a person that provides capital to firms exhibiting high growth potential in exchange for an equity stake. The objective could be to fund startup ventures or support small companies that wish to expand but do not have access to the equities market at present.

31. Convertible Note

A Convertible Note is also known as a Convertable bond, it basically means a debt that transforms into equity in the company's financing round in the future. The investor who invests the money instead of getting their loan back with interest receives the equity of the company in the form Convertible Note.

32. Going Public

Going Public is a word that gets used when a company offers its shares for sale to the public so that it can raise capital.

33. Non-disclosure Agreement

A Non-disclosure agreement is a legal contract between two or more parties that has information which will stay confidential for a certain span of time.

34. Seed Round

Seed rounds mean initial financial rounds of funding, where the main aim is to raise capital for the starting of a business. Seed rounds can happen multiple of times.

35. Bubble

Bubble or Startup Bubble means a time when the investors are willing to invest a high amount of money in startups, which makes their valuation extremely high.

36. Crowdfunding

The term Crowdfunding means raising funds from a large number of people to start a new business.

37. Gamify

Gamify means adding game-like elements in the marketing of your products so that you can create engagement with your customers and potential customers.

38. Serial Entrepreneur

A serial entrepreneur is a word that is used for people who take up different creative ideas and convert them into business strategies that are ought to be successful.

39. Unicorn

The term Unicorn means a startup whose value is over $1 billion. The term first came into existence in 2013 and was made up by Aileen Lee.

40. Lean Startup

Lean Startup means a way of beginning a startup after testing, investigating and experimenting with the ideas which are required for building the products for the startup.


Whether you are planning to launch your startup or you already have an established startup business you need to know all the startup funding terms and keep yourself updated. These are some of the commonly used startup terms to know. We will try our best to keep this list of startup jargon words updated.


What are some of the business terms to know?

Assets, Liabilities, Expenses, Net Profit, Net Loss, ROI, and Cash flow are some of the common business terms.

Accelerator, Churn Rate, Launch, Intellectual property, Growth hacking, Exit strategy, and Pitch deck are some of the common startup-related words.

What are some financial terms for startups?

Acqui-hired, Angel investor,  Burn rate, Convertible note, and Valuation are some of the financial terms you need to know before you get funding.

Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to StartupTalky.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to StartupTalky.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.