Step 1: Ideation/Discovery

    A rough form of an invention or idea is discovered or hatched. The invention/idea solves some sort of problem in the marketplace. A company is formed to commercialize/sell that invention/idea to those who experience that problem.

Step 2: Problem/Solution Fit

    The startup achieves validation from potential customers that the solution (i.e., the invention/idea) they plan to offer solves one of their real problems. This often means that they talk to 30+ people who experience the problem their invention/idea solves. * A pivot is likely to occur here. This means that the technology is likely to change based on the feedback received from the potential customers.

Step 3: Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

    A physical manifestation of the invention/idea is created in the form of an early prototype. This prototype contains ONLY those features that satisfy early adopters and nothing more. Early adopters are more like testers who have agreed to give feedback to the startup about the invention/idea rather than being actual customers (they may be actual customers later, however). The final, complete set of features is only designed and developed at a later stage after considering feedback from the product’s initial users. * Another pivot is likely to occur here. This means that the technology is again likely to change based on the feedback received from the early adopters.

Step 4: Technical Validation

    A trusted third party validates the efficacy of the invention/idea (i.e., they confirm that it actually works/it does what it says it does, it achieves target specs, etc.). This is important because a lot of tech companies claim they can achieve certain things but only validation from a trusted third party grants credibility to these claims.

Step 5: Product/Market Fit Using MVP

    The startup has made a confirmed match between what they're building and who will buy it. This means that their invention/idea has found its correct market(s) (e.g., large tech companies, manufacturers of assembly robots, sufferers of migraines, etc.) and that those in that market will buy it because actual sales have been made of the prototype (the MVP) to the startup’s first customers. * Another pivot is likely to occur here. This means that the technology is likely to move from being an early prototype to a version 1.0 because of the feedback it has received from both trying to sell it to potential customers and from actual first customers. By the end of this step the invention/idea has developed to a point where its complete features are set.

Step 6: Management

    The startup brings in qualified and experienced management to find and then execute on a repeatable and scalable business model (i.e., execute on steps 7-9).

Step 7: Repeatable & Scalable Business Model

    The startup achieves a business model whereby the company's outputs are exponentially greater than its inputs at any point during its lifecycle. In other words, revenue grows while cost increases are either avoided or kept at a minimum. This allows for higher levels of profit over time.

Step 8: Funding

    The startup receives pre-seed or Series A investment funding that allows it to start expanding.

Step 9: Scaling/Expansion

    With validation complete, the startup grows by executing on its business model.

Step 10: Ultimate Goal

    After scaling, the startup achieves its ultimate goal. This might be acquisition from a larger company, achieving a certain percentage of market share, having a certain amount of annual sales, or growth into a new market.