Is it Startup or Start-up?

Image for post
Image for post

Updated 7/1/2020

Everywhere you look, there it is. The infamous 21st Century buzzword startup. Or is it start-up?

According to Wiki, “A startup/start-up company is an entrepreneurial venture which is typically a newly emerged, fast-growing business that aims to meet a marketplace need by developing or offering an innovative product, process or service. A startup/start-up is usually a company such as a small business, a partnership or an organization designed to rapidly develop a scalable business model.”

According to a Polytechnic State nerd on Quora, “a start-up is a noun and correct as hyphenated. Startup is not a word but often used in the vernacular.”

For some context, you can use the term non-profit or nonprofit, and either form is considered fine. So are both startup and start-up right too?

Let’s take a look at how the professionals handle it:

Startup
⚫ Wall Street Journal
⚫ AP Style Book
⚫ The Economist

vs

Start-up
⚫ New York Times
⚫ Financial Time
⚫ Merriam-Webster

As some of the biggest news and educational sources out there, it’s strange to see such a split between them.

How about the most popular tech blogs you ask?

Now this is where the results get juicy. A query of both iterations on Engadget.com went as follows

Start-up

Image for post
Image for post
via https://search.engadget.com

vs

Startup

Image for post
Image for post
via https://search.engadget.com

Notice the dates on the search results. Engadget uses both terms, including the Reuters. Very curious.

Then there’s TechCrunch.com.

Start-up

Image for post
Image for post
via https://search.techcrunch.com

vs

Startup

Image for post
Image for post
via https://search.techcrunch.com

In this case, it looks like both are used widely. If you take a closer look, ‘startup” has over double the posts, with 42,400 results.

We’re at a tie in that case. How about the powers that be at Google.com?

Google.com 2020

“Startup”

Image for post
Image for post

vs

“Start-up”

Image for post
Image for post

Google.com 2017

Startup

Image for post
Image for post

vs

Start-up

Image for post
Image for post

There is no clear winner when you look at Google.com results. Especially when you use quotes to exact match the terms.

I’d love to declare that the be-all and end-all result, but I can’t.

There’s still no definitive right answer. The results only point to the fact that one tends to be more popular… sometimes. So start-up wins. And then so does startup.

Is it startup or start-up? Share your perspective with me on Twitter Ashley Huffman

And now a nod to my favorite fake start-up/startup, Pied Piper.

Image for post
Image for post
Silicon Valley TV Series

Strategic alliances (haptics & magnetics) at http://Nanoport.io. Founding team @Nanodots. Writes about VR, tech, startups, and autocross.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store