From Startup to Scaleup

If you take a look at company structures, a scaleup and a startup are not even remotely the same kind of organization. A startup company has a singular, short to mid-term focus – getting the foundation of their product or service off the ground, in order to secure enough funding for further growth. On the other hand, a scaleup is a company that already has sturdy foundations. And now that organization’s main focus is accelerating their growth as much as possible and becoming a full-fledged corporation. As you can see, these are really two different stages in the development and growth of most contemporary companies. But what do you need to do to bridge this gap as easily as possible, and move from startup to scaleup? We’ve got some tips for you right here!

Working on your product-market fit

So, what is one of the first things you need to do in order to go from startup to scale up? Ideally, you should first focus on establishing a secure product-market fit. What does this mean in practice? Well, it means making sure that you find the ideal market of customers for your product. Or rather, if need be, tailoring the product in order to fit a particular market. Really, that process is definitely a two-way street. For example, if you’re working on a review website like, you’ll need to make sure that you find the right niche for the right populace.

If market trends show that people are relocating a lot, that niche might be reviews of moving companies. Or, if you see an upwards swing in tech hardware sales, that might be what you need to look towards. All in all, following long-term market trends is important if you want to work on your product-market fit. While you are still a startup company, you have the means to experiment with your company’s persona and goals. After all, making a 180-degree turn is much easier while you’re still a small company. But by the time you reach scaleup levels – you should already have your company’s purpose and products set in stone.

Securing a revenue stream

Think about this for a moment – what’s the biggest startup stereotype? That’s right: the fact that they’re always struggling with money, in terms of actual cash. In this industry, it’s completely normal for a startup to have money issues until they actually secure outside funding. Or, for that matter, even once they do, and they’re still in the Seed round or in the middle of Series A. This is an important distinction on the road from startup to scaleup. A startup company is still working on their product-market fit, and they’re in the process of building a steady revenue stream.

While that goes on, they’re completely reliant on some type of outside funding. This can come either from a bank or, as is more often these days, a venture capital firm. On the other hand, you may consider your company a scaleup once it’s well into the later rounds of venture capital funding, meaning Series B, and afterward. At this point, the company is ready to form its own revenue stream, independent of outside sources. When this process is complete, your startup can truly be considered a scaleup, once it starts giving a return on the initial investments.

Clearly defined company roles

While a startup is in its infancy, few such companies can actually afford a full staff. Because of that, on the road from startup to scaleup, employees of the company actually work within different roles simultaneously. That’s a necessity, seeing as the company can’t afford to hire specialists for every single position. But as the startup exits the phase where it doesn’t generate any revenue of its own, it can afford to hire more employees. And that’s precisely the period where we can truly see the shift from a hazy startup to a more clearly defined scaleup.

If you want your company to successfully scale, what you need are professionals who are completely devoted to one job position. And that’s no wonder, as doing anything else is simply counterproductive. If members of your team are juggling between multiple jobs, they’ll never have enough focus to do something the best they can. And that will severely hinder your growth. So, you want to start planning for the scaleup transition as soon as you can. Take a look at your employees and figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are.

Having the right kind of organization

It’s not just usual employees that you need to think about during your journey from startup to scaleup. Remember – the original management won’t be able to handle a huge team once you begin to scale up to a larger organization. So, once you start thinking about what specific roles people can fill within your company, consider who you could promote to management. And make sure you think about this long and hard. First of all, it would be best if you could promote the people who are already working in your company. Having people who are already comfortable with how the company is running would be the best option. Naturally, if not, you can always bring managers from the outside.

Also, you’ll need to think about what kind of organization you specifically want. As you probably know, there are many organizations these days that skip the traditional hierarchy for a flatter type of company. But at the end of the day, for the sake of the decision-making process, we recommend you have a firm hierarchy.


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