To have a meaningful conversation, it is important to have a common language. 
    Below are the  definitions and systems that we use as an ecosystem. 

Startup Commons

Startup Commons is an open standard to discuss the phases of growth that a startup company experiences. It is a framework for understanding the common needs of startup ventures at similar stages of development. Not every company follows this exact progression, and some companies  may identify certain elements of their business which are represented in different stages.



One o the oldest definitions for entrepreneurs comes from France and was published in 1723: An individual that combines Leadership, Innovation, and Initiative in New Venture design. Entrepreneur.com defines an entrepreneur as an individual taking on greater than normal risk in new venture design.  All entrepreneurs are business owners (or become business owners should they decide to commit to an idea and take it to market), but not all business owners are entrepreneurs.

Business Owner

Though frequently entrepreneurial, being a business owner is distinct from being an entrepreneur. Business owners can include founders, majority or minority shareholders, investors, or sole owners of ventures which are not entrepreneurial in nature. 

Entrepreneurial Venture

Entrepreneurial Ventures are distinct from traditional business ventures in their desire to scale rapidly, enter new or massively under-served markets, or those with disruptive innovations that desire to replace traditional industries. 


Innovation is most simply described as Invention + Commercialization. That is, innovation is the process taking something new, something that exists, or a combination thereof, to market.

Innovation is more than just the creation or application of technology however, and may include social, process, business model, among others. Indeed, the technology is often less valuable than the business, process, or societal innovation that underlies it.


A scalable business is one which can grow at a very rapid rate, unconstrained by Human Resources or manpower. For example, a cloud-based software company is typically scalable as customers may purchase the application without the assistance of a salesperson or customer support. 

It may be easier to think about a scalable company by considering what a non-scalable company looks like. A consulting firm is typically non-scalable because revenues are a direct function of employee hours worked. To grow revenues, employees must work more hours, charge a higher hourly rate,  increase their workflow efficiency, or reduce their non-billable hours. 

A scalable company is not infinitely scalable however, as there are limitations to the rate of growth. For example, the cloud based software company cannot grow faster than server capacity, internet bandwidth, or other technical limitations allow.