Scale-ups are special companies. You can read below what a scale-up is and how your startup  becomes a scale-up. 

what is a scale-up

Scale up definition

There is basically only a requirement that a company must meet before it can be called a scale-up: the company has at least 5 million dollars in turnover after five years.

Some believe that a scale-up should also comply with the definition of high growth enterprise: Growth of 20 percent per year for three years, with at least 10 employees at the beginning of that period.

In fact, a scale-up is a further developed (or upscaled) startup. This automatically means that scale-ups are rarer than startups, because not every startup becomes a scale-up. On the other hand, scale-ups are less rare than unicorns: Startups worth more than $1 billion. 

Scale-ups are often disruptive and innovative in nature. This means that they disrupt the established order with new ideas.

How do I turn my startup into a scale-up?

First, you need a lot of luck to turn your startup into a scale-up. Deloitte looked at 400,000 start-ups in 24 countries. Of these, 1 in 200 startups grows into a scale-up.

Of course you also have influence on the scaling of your startup. Verne Harnish, author of the book Scaling Up, lists four focus points to make your company a scale-up: people, strategy, execution and cash. 

  • People: put the best people in the right place. Success starts with good people in your organization. 
  • Strategy: you can set up a good strategy with your people. Look at the present, but also far into the future. Care for sustainable income and take chances.
  • Performance: an execution flows from your strategy. Just do it, make no mistakes and no hassle within your company.
  • Cash: good execution, strategy and people lead to cash. With enough money, your business can grow. 

If you get the people, strategy, execution and cash together, your business will grow. 

You have influence on these four points. In addition, you also have to be lucky – you have to be in the right place at the right time to become a scale-up.