Startup from A to Z: a guide to get started in this universe

A guide with the main terms in the startup ecosystem, to start as a startup or expand your knowledge.

What does a unicorn have to do with the business world? What is an ICO or a KPI? All of these terms belong to the universe of startups, companies that are born focused on using technology to bring innovation and grow at scale.

The ecosystem is already very mature in Brazil. According to the Brazilian Startup Association, there are almost 14 thousand of them spread across the country. In the association's ranking, the largest startup hubs are the cities of São Paulo (2,786), Rio de Janeiro (725), Belo Horizonte (631), Porto Alegre (570) and Curitiba (391). And its main focuses are in the areas of Education, Finance, Health and Well-being, Internet, E-commerce and Retail.

To understand a little more about the subject, we have prepared a mini dictionary that summarizes the main words and expressions for those who want to take their first steps as a startup — or, perhaps, expand their knowledge even further.


Acqui-hiring: Acquisition or purchase of a company, focused on bringing the team into another company, with the intention of acquiring talent.

Adtech: Company that develops technology in the advertising area.

Advisor: Advisor who works at the startup. This is generally a person who works in the company's market and contributes to the development of the business through their network of relationships and consultancy services.

Angels: Investors who bet on great ideas that are not yet formed businesses.

Contribution: Any support given to startups, whether financial or through mentoring.

ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue): Annual recurring revenue, that is, how much a company expects to receive in the following year from subscriptions to a service.


B2B (Business to business): Format in which solutions/products are negotiated between companies.

B2C (Business to consumer): Format in which solutions/products are negotiated between company and end consumer.

Backlog: Table of tasks to be carried out without immediate priority.

Benchmarking: Comparison between products/services/companies to extract information to implement improvements or competitive differences.

Burn Rate: How much the company spends more than its revenue, that is, how much of the invested capital it is “burning”.


Working capital: “Saved” money necessary for the company to maintain itself and make investments for a certain period of time.

Traction channels: Means of reaching an audience at scale, online or offline.

Core Business: It is the company's main business, an expression used to refer to the reason why an enterprise exists.

CEO (Chief of Executive Officer): Executive director or president of the company.

Churn Rate: It is the “customer cancellation index”, a metric of how many canceled the service or stopped consuming from the company.


Service Design: Business/service creation methodology.

Downgrade or Downsell: When the customer changes the object of purchase to another with a lower value or changes it to a lower value plan.

Design Thinking: Technique applied in the innovation process, which aims to understand problems more broadly.

Double Diamonds: Design Thinking method with 4 phases: Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver.

Daily: Daily team alignment meeting focused on developing and monitoring a project.


Social Entrepreneurship: Company that focuses on making a social or environmental impact – and which may or may not be for-profit.

Early stage: Early stage company.

Ecosystem: Set of agents (people, companies, etc.) that act together.

Scalability: Ability to deliver the same product/service to a large audience.


Feature: Functionality of a product, usually something that is added to a certain tool.

Fintech: Technology company focused on the financial market.

Cash flow: Factor that determines how much money enters and leaves the company in a given period.

Follow up: Monitoring a task, development or process.

Founder: Creator of a business.


Growth Hacking: Specific marketing techniques to grow at scale.

Golden Circle: Methodology focused on answering 3 types of questions (“Why? How? What?”) to clarify the purpose of something.

Growth: Growth stage, when the startup begins to scale and acquire a larger share of the market.

Growth Capital: Investment made at the scale stage, in which the startup is already more mature.

Growth Hacker: Professional who applies Growth Hacking techniques.


Hackathon: Programming marathon, a competitive event that sharpens the creativity of participants who take on the proposed challenge.

HeavyUser: User who makes the most of the functions that a product/service offers.

Hurdle Rate: Minimum rate of return or investment attractiveness.


ICO (Initial Coin Offering): Initial offering of a new fundraising cryptocurrency.

Incubators: Entities that promote and stimulate innovative ventures, either at the beginning or already in operation.

Intrapreneur: Employee or collaborators who seek, create and implement ideas within a company, aiming to analyze scenarios and find opportunities.

IoT (Internet of Things): Internet of Things, which encompasses technologies that enable different objects to connect to the internet and interact with it.

IPO (Initial Public Offering): Public offering of shares, opening of capital of a company on the Stock Exchange.


Customer journey: The path the customer takes from when they learn about the solution to the last interaction they have with the company.


Know-how: Specific and specialized knowledge about a subject.

KPI (Key Performance Indicator): Key performance indicator, that is, an important metric for understanding the progress of a startup.


Lean Startup: management methodology focused on identifying and eliminating waste in the startup’s processes.

Lead: Contact of a potential customer, which will be used to initiate a negotiation or sale.

Long tail: Strategy that seeks a long-term return; it also defines keywords that target a specific niche.

LP (Limited Partner): Person who invests in a fund but is not part of the board evaluating the investment to be made.

LTV (Lifetime value): Lifetime value, referring to the cycle in which a customer continues paying for the solution or product.


Marketplace: Platform that connects two ends of product or service supply, buyers and sellers.

Meetup: Meeting to discuss a specific topic.

Mentors: People with market knowledge who help in the development of the business or specific projects.

MVP (Minimum Viable Product): Rudimentary product that represents the startup's proposal and can be tested as soon as possible.


Networking: Network of professional contacts.

NPS (Net Promoter Score): Metric that analyzes the level of customer satisfaction with the solution and whether they would recommend the product/service to other people.

In Shop Provision: Clause that protects the entrepreneur when an investor asks to end other negotiations to maintain the exclusivity of a proposal being negotiated.


OKR (Objectives and Key Results): Composed of “Objectives”, fundamental to giving direction to the business, and “Key Results”, responsible for quantifying the goal necessary to achieve the objective.

Onboarding: Techniques that seek to adapt the user to a certain platform. It is also well known as a process of integrating an employee into the team.


Pitch: The act of presenting your idea to investors and/or mentors.

SME: acronym for small and medium-sized companies.

Pivot: Change the structure of the startup in the business model or proposed solution.

Pre-Money: Market value before receiving a certain investment.

Product Owner: “Product owner” is the person responsible for providing guidelines for product development.


QBR (Quarterly Business Review): Also known as a Quarterly Success Review, this is the formal review of the process with clients and decision makers.


ROI (Return on Investment): Calculation that demonstrates the profit rate, that is, the return on a given investment.

Rollback: The act of discarding changes made to a code.

Round: Investment round.


Scale: Stage in which the startup develops its market potential by reaching a greater number of users, also known as the traction or scale phase.

SCRUM: Agile project management methodology, common in startups.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Set of strategies to enhance and improve the positioning of a website on search pages.

Stakeholder: Refers to the parties interested and/or involved in a project or company.


Traction: It is the way to reach a greater number of users.

Trade-off: Opportunity cost; an exchange or transaction in which there is some loss to gain a benefit.

Trial: Test model with a defined period (weekly, fortnightly, monthly, etc.) for using a product, free of charge.

Turnover: Employee turnover in the company.


Unicorn: Startups that reach a market value of US$ 1 billion.

Upgrade or Upsell: Sales technique that allows you to sell a product/service with greater added value than previously offered.

User Friendly: User-friendly interface/product, with easy-to-understand language.


Valuation: Company valuation, normally carried out to define the shareholder value for an investment.

Venture Builder: Organizations that create companies through their ideas and resources, creating synergy between them.


Workflow: Workflow, referring to the sequence of steps to be performed.

Webinar: Online presentation/seminar.

White label: Company that creates apps and websites aimed at businesses in a specific niche based on a model, providing agility in implementation and connecting business customers.

Was this content useful to you?

Related posts