When Startups Hit Traction: Becoming a Tech Scaleup
Doug: I have enjoyed writing this tech scaleup book with you, Roland! It
takes place in the land of technology startups.
Roland: Yes, our story will be about startups that “take off”. From the
first sales, through several growth phases, up to a corporate incumbent.
In other words, it is about the scaling journey that successful startups go
through. And why they need to change and learn to remain successful through all
Doug: That covers a different territory than the usual startup manual…
Roland: It does. In fact, consider this book the sequel to_Lean Startup_.
The generally accepted playbook for startups_before_product-market-fit.
Early-stage founders reach initial market success with_Lean Startup_. Mid-stage
founders can use this book to up their game and keep banking success after
Doug: Traditional startup manuals only bring founders so far?
Roland: Traditional startup manuals concentrate on the first stage of the
entrepreneurial journey. On bringing founders from an initial idea to a
successful product with market traction.
Doug: The famous milestone of product-market-fit.
Roland: Yes, indeed. All traditional startup manuals, entrepreneurial
university courses or incubators do the same. They help founders turn their
ideas into product-market-fit.
With this book, our mission is different. We start from product-market-fit and
help entrepreneurs turn that into product-market-dominance. We help turn
fledgling startups with initial market response into true disruptors. Scaleups
that have massive market impact. That provide major growth opportunities for its
employees. And that generate manifold returns to the investors backing them in
their early days.
“A scaleup is a former startup looking to turn product-market-fit into product-market-dominance”
Doug: Wait, are you trying to square the circle between startup ways and
Roland: Not at all. We are showing a third way: the scaleup way. Too many
scaleup teams battle over remaining “startuppy” versus acting “professional”
(read “corporate”). Our book is showing that neither is right. The most
appropriate prescriptions are specific to the scaleup stage. Neither startup
ways nor corporate ways would help scaleups succeed here.
Doug: Then how exactly do you define a scaleup company?
Roland: A scaleup is a growth company beyond product-market-fit, looking for
product-market-dominance. As such it is not a startup, a growth company before
product-market-fit. Nor is it an incumbent (also known as a a steady
corporation, a mature business, a going concern company or a “stay-up”).
||Tech “Statyup” (Incumber)
||McKinsey, BCG, Bain etc
Doug: So it is an in-between kind of company?
Roland: Exactly. It is a different animal from a startup, and also a
different animal from an incumbent. In striving towards
product-market-dominance, it has its own unique purpose. It also has its own
typical challenges and its own management prescriptions. Its own best practices,
if you will. All these are different from both a startup and an incumbent.
Roland Siebelink regularly speaks and writes about leadership in fast-growing
tech startups. You can find more of his insights, including free chapters of his
book “Scaling Silicon Valley Style.”