How to Master Startup Lingo Like a Pro

We know startup and entrepreneurship conversations can get a bit overwhelming with all the business and tech terms in between sentences. It’s happened to all of us as we start to enter this crazy startup world. More importantly, if you’re an entrepreneur talking to investors, for example, they’ll expect you to use and understand the industry’s acronyms or lingo.

At Itnig, we’re constantly learning and we thought it might help if we share a basic glossary collecting all the terms to master all startup conversations.

Startups Glossary


An organization or program that offers advice and resources to help an early-stage startup grow.


The process of buying out a startup based on the skills of its staff rather than the service or product.

Angel investment /investors

Outside funding with shared ownership equity typically made possible by an affluent individual who provides a startup with starting capital.

API (Application programming interface)

An interface or communication protocol between a client and a server that simplifies the building of client-side software.

ARR (Accounting or average rate of return / Annual Recurring Revenue)

The calculation generated from net income of the proposed capital investment.

B2B (Business-to-Business)

The exchange of services, information and/or products from a business to a business.

B2C (Business-to-Consumer)

The exchange of services, information and/or products from business to consumers.

B Corporation

A certification issued to for-profit companies by the nonprofit B Lab, which certifies that businesses meet standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.


A digital, public collection of financial accounts in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically.

BOM (Bill of Materials)

A list of the parts or components required to build a product.


To self-fund, without outside investment.

Bridge Loan

When a loan is taken out for a short-term period, typically between two weeks and three years, until long-term financing can be organized.

Burn Rate

The amount of money a startup spends.

Business Angel

An experienced entrepreneur or professional who provides starting or growth capital for a promising startup.

Business Model Canvas

A template that offers a coherent overview of the key drivers of a business in order to bring innovation into current or new business models.


A corporate title given to high-ranking executives responsible for making company-wide decisions.

CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)

The amount needed to pay in marketing and sales in order to acquire one user.

Cap Table

An analysis of ownership stakes in a company.


A piece of sophisticated software that can have conversations with humans through text messages.

Circular economy

An economic system aimed at eliminating waste by sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible.


The solicitation of potential customers who had no prior interaction with the solicitor.

Convertible Note/Bond

A type of short-term debt often used by seed investors to delay establishing a valuation for the startup until a later round of funding or milestone.


A shared working environment.

CPA (Cost Per Action/Acquisition)

The average cost for a conversion from an advertising campaign.

CPC (Cost per Click)

An internet advertising model used to drive traffic to websites in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad is clicked.

Dark data

Information about user behavior that’s been collected and stored but not used, usually because it’s not structured or categorized in a way that allows it to be interpreted.


A term for investors that refers to the rate at which they receive potential business deals.


Companies founded on the discoveries or innovations of technologists and scientists.


A reduction in the ownership percentage of a share of stock due to new equity shares being issued.


the stage in which financing is provided by a venture capital firm to a company after the seed round; a company stage in which a product or service is still in development but not on the market yet.

Elevator Pitch

A short description of an idea, product or company that explains the concept.


A blockchain-based software platform and programming language that helps developers build and publish distributed applications.


A way to transition the ownership of a company to another company.


Financial technology. A technology or innovation that aims to compete with traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services.

Flex Desk

A shared desk available for temporary use in a coworking space.


A facility established to nurture young startups during their first few months or years of development.

Installed Base

The number of units of a product that have been sold and are actually being used.

IP (Intellectual Property)

Property which is not tangible, the result of creativity, such as ideas that can be patented and protected by copyright.

IPO (Initial Public Offering)

The first time a company’s stock is offered for sale to the public.

KPI (Key Performance Indicator)

A measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a startup is achieving its key business objectives.


The stage in which startups have typically demonstrated viability as a going concern and have a product with a strong market presence.


Lean startup methodology. A method proposed by Eric Ries in his book on developing businesses and startups through product-development cycles.

Lean LaunchPad

A methodology for entrepreneurs to test and develop business models based on inquiring with and learning from customers.

M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions)

A merger is a process by which two startups join to form a new company, while an acquisition is the purchase of one startup by another, but no new company is formed.

MAU (Monthly Active Users)

A performance metric for the success of an internet product.

MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

A product with just enough features to satisfy early customers who can provide feedback for future product development.

Open Banking

A system that allows third-party providers to access the financial information of bank clients through open API’s and build services around it.

Opportunity Fund

An investment vehicle in companies or sectors in areas where growth opportunities are anticipated.

P2P (Peer-toPeer)

A network created when two or more PCs are connected and share resources without going through a separate server.

Pitch Deck

A shorter version of a business plan that presents key figures generally to investors.


The process when startups quickly change direction after previously targeting a different market segment.

Product-Market Fit

A product that has created significant customer value and its best target industries have been identified.


A market or capitalist economy.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

A software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers.


A company that has already validated its product in a market and is economically sustainable.

SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)

A United Nations agenda that covers seventeen global goals that can be achieved by reaching 169 defined targets.

SDG indicators

An indication used to measure the progress in reaching the SDGs.

Seed Funding

The first round of venture capital funding (typically called the seed round); a small, early-stage investment from family members, friends, banks, or an investor, also known as seed investor.

Series A/B/C/D

The subsequent funding rounds that come after the seed stage and aim to raise further capital (up to $1million) when startups demonstrate various increase factors.

Social Entrepreneur

A person who establishes a startup with the aim of solving social problems and/or effecting social change.

Social Impact Investing

Investment that brings together capital and expertise from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to achieve a social objective.


A person who seats up and runs a startup on their own and typically doesn’t hire employees.


Companies under 3 years old that are in the growth stage and starting to become profitable.

Startup Ecosystem

A shared pool of resources. Resources typically include policymakers, accelerators, incubators, coworking spaces, educational institutions, and funding groups.

Sustainable Development

Defined by the UN World Commission on Environment and Development as an organizing principle that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

SVP (Senior Vice President)

An officer of an organization who reports to the president or CEO and functions as the seconf in command rank.

Term Sheet / Letter of Intent

A document between an investor and a startup including the conditions for financing.


A company, often in the tech or software sector, worth over US$1 billion.

USP (Unique Selling Point)

A factor that differentiates a product from its competitors.

UX (User experience design)

The process of designing and improving user satisfaction with products so that they are useful, easy to use, and pleasurable to interact with.


The amount of money a company / startup is worth; typically happens at every stage of funding.

VC (Venture Capital)

A form of financing that comes from a pool of investors in a venture capital firm in return for equity.


A process that involves giving or earning a right to a present or future payment, benefit, or asset.


A company that aims for sustainable prosperity and is powered by people who work together to create change beyond a positive financial return.

If this guide was helpful, you might like to explore our Barcelona Startup Ecosystem article to expand your vision on startup activity and its exciting ecosystem!

Explore our articles:

Business Angels

Venture Builders, Incubators and Accelerators in Barcelona

Funding for Startups

How to Craft a Winning Startup Pitch to Attract Investors

If you are an entrepreneur and you are looking for financing, apply to the Itnig Fund, or come to our Pitch to Investors every Thursday.

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