Accelerator: A program that supports early-stage, growth-driven companies through education, mentorship, and financing, typically culminating in a public pitch event.

Acqui-hiring: The process of acquiring a company primarily to recruit its employees, rather than to gain control of its products or services.

Advisor: An experienced professional who provides expertise and guidance to a startup, often in exchange for equity.

Agile Development: A method of software development that emphasizes incremental, iterative work cycles known as sprints.

Angel Investor: An individual who provides capital for a startup, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity.

Bootstrapping: Starting a business without external help or capital, relying on personal finances and revenue from the business to fund initial operations.

Bridge Loan: A short-term loan to provide temporary financing until more permanent financing is obtained.

Burn Rate: The rate at which a new company spends its venture capital to finance overhead before generating positive cash flow from operations.

Business Angel: An individual who provides financial support for small startups or entrepreneurs, typically in exchange for ownership equity in the company.

Cap Table: A spreadsheet or table that shows the ownership structure of a startup, including all the company’s securities (such as common shares, preferred shares, and options) and who owns them.

Convertible Note: A form of short-term debt that converts into equity, typically in conjunction with a future financing round.

Crowdfunding: The practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the internet.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): The cost associated with convincing a customer to buy a product/service, crucial for determining the value of a customer to the company.

Data Room: A secure online space where businesses can store and share confidential information with potential investors during due diligence.

Deal Flow: The rate at which investment offers are presented to funding institutions.

Dilution: The reduction in existing shareholders’ ownership percentage of a company as a result of new shares being issued.

Disruptive Innovation: An innovation that significantly alters the way that businesses operate, creating new markets and eventually displacing established market-leading firms.

Due Diligence: An investigation or audit of a potential investment or product to confirm all facts, such as reviewing financial records, plus anything else deemed material.

Early-Stage Financing: Capital provided to startups to assist in the development and scaling of their operations.

Equity Crowdfunding: A method of raising capital through the sale of shares in a company to the public, typically through online platforms.

Equity Financing: The act of raising capital through the sale of shares in an enterprise.

Exit Strategy: A planned approach to exiting a business venture, typically aimed at realizing a profit from the investment.

Fintech: A blend of “financial technology” and refers to any business that uses technology to enhance or automate financial services and processes.

Founder’s Agreement: A written document that outlines the roles, responsibilities, and equity shares of the founders of the company.

Founder’s Equity: Shares of a company allocated to the founders, typically held in a different class to those sold to investors.

Go-to-Market Strategy (GTM): The plan of an organization, utilizing their inside and outside resources to deliver their unique value proposition to customers and achieve competitive advantage.

Growth Capital: Financing provided to relatively mature companies that require funds to expand or restructure operations, enter new markets, or finance significant acquisitions.

Growth Hacking: Strategies and tactics aimed specifically at building and engaging the user base of a business.

Headhunter: A type of recruitment specialist who finds potential candidates for senior job openings.

Hockey Stick Growth: A growth pattern characterized by a long period of slow growth followed by a sharp increase in revenue.

Hurdle Rate: The minimum rate of return on a project or investment required by a manager or investor.

Incubation Period: The phase during which a startup is supported by an incubator and develops its business idea.

Incubator: An organization designed to accelerate the growth and success of startup and early-stage companies by providing resources such as office space, capital, coaching, and networking connections.

Initial Public Offering (IPO): The first time that the stock of a private company is offered to the public.

Innovation Ecosystem: A network of relationships among individuals and organizations that fosters innovation through the sharing of ideas, information, and resources.

Job Crafting: A process whereby employees redefine and customize their job designs in ways that foster engagement at work, job satisfaction, resilience, and thriving.

Joint Ownership: A situation where two or more entities own a portion of a company or property.

Joint Venture: A commercial enterprise undertaken jointly by two or more parties that otherwise retain their distinct identities.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): A set of quantifiable measures that a company uses to gauge or compare performance in terms of meeting their strategic and operational goals.

Key Terms Agreement (KTA): An agreement that outlines the main terms and conditions of a partnership or transaction.

Killer App: An application program that is so necessary or desirable that it proves the core value of some larger technology.

Landing Page: A standalone web page, created specifically for a marketing or advertising campaign, that a visitor “lands” on after clicking on a link in an email or ads from Google, Bing, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or similar places on the web.

Lean Startup: A methodology for developing businesses and products that aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable.

Lifestyle Business: A business that is set up and run by its founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more; or to sustain a particular lifestyle.

Market Penetration: The process of selling products or services to the target market and securing customers from competitors.

Market Share: The portion of a market controlled by a particular company or product.

Market Validation: The process of determining whether your product is of interest to a given target market.

Minimum Viable Product (MVP): A version of a new product that allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.

Net Promoter Score (NPS): A management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships.

Networking: Building relationships that may prove important to business development or that provide assistance and knowledge sharing among entrepreneurs.

Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA): A legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to.

Offering Memorandum: A legal document that states the objectives, risks, and terms of an investment involved with a private placement.

Operational Risk: The risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people, and systems, or from external events.

Outsourcing: The business practice of hiring a party outside a company to perform services and create goods that traditionally were performed in-house by the company’s own employees and staff.

Pitch Deck: A brief presentation, often created using PowerPoint, Keynote or Prezi, used to provide your audience with a quick overview of your business plan.

Pivot: A structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth.

Proof of Concept (POC): Evidence that demonstrates that a business model or idea is feasible and viable in a real-world scenario.

Qualified Investor: An individual or entity that is permitted to deal in securities that may not be registered with financial authorities.

Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS): Stock acquired from a qualified small business that may qualify for federal tax advantages.

Quality Assurance (QA): A way of preventing mistakes or defects in manufactured products and avoiding problems when delivering solutions or services to customers.

Revenue Model: The strategy of managing a company’s revenue streams and the resources required for each revenue stream.

ROI (Return on Investment): A measure used to evaluate the efficiency or profitability of an investment, calculated by dividing net profit by the cost of the investment.

Runway: The amount of time until a startup goes out of business, assuming current income and expenses stay constant.

SaaS (Software as a Service): A software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the internet.

Scalability: The ability of a startup to grow significantly without an equally significant increase in costs.

Seed Capital: The initial capital used to start a business, often coming from the founders’ personal assets, family, or friends, not from venture capital.

Tech Stack: The combination of technologies a company uses to build and run an application or project.

Term Sheet: A non-binding agreement setting forth the basic terms and conditions under which an investment will be made.

Traction: The progress of a startup company and the momentum it gains as the business grows.

Unit Economics: The direct revenues and costs associated with a particular business model expressed on a per unit basis.

User Acquisition: The act of gaining new users for an app, platform, or other service.

User Experience (UX): The overall experience of a person using a product such as a website or computer application, especially in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use.

Valuation: The process of determining the present value of a company or asset.

Venture Capital: Financial capital provided to early-stage, high-potential, high risk, growth startup companies.

Venture Debt: A type of debt financing provided to venture-backed companies that are typically too risky for traditional banks and too young for public markets.

Warrant: A derivative that confers the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a security – typically equity – at a certain price before expiration.

White Label Product: A product produced by one company but rebranded and sold by another company.

Working Capital: The cash available for day-to-day operations of an organization, calculated as current assets minus current liabilities.

X-as-a-Service (XaaS): A collective term said to encompass a broad number of services related to cloud computing and remote access.

X-factor: An exceptional or outstanding characteristic or feature that makes a company stand out from its competitors.

XML Sitemap: A tool that helps search engines better navigate and index a website by providing a list of pages.


Y Combinator: A startup accelerator that has launched successful companies like Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit.

Year-over-Year Growth (YoY Growth): A method of evaluating two or more measured events to compare the results at one time period with those from another time period, on an annualized basis.

Yield Management: A variable pricing strategy, based on understanding, anticipating, and influencing consumer behavior to maximize revenue from a fixed, perishable resource.


Zero Stage Financing: The earliest stage of financing a new company, which covers the development of a prototype and market testing.

Zero to One: A concept from Peter Thiel’s book which refers to the process of creating something entirely new and unique, rather than moving from something existing to a slightly improved model.

Zombie Startup: A company that continues to operate but is not growing or succeeding, often relying on repeated investments without returning profit.