Understanding Startups: Characteristics of the Founders

Startups. They are the young innovators, roaming the market, looking for their niche, where they can realize their ideas, where they can satisfy their customers’ needs in a unique and innovative way.

In the pioneering phase, in which start-ups are also in, companies can often still afford such behaviour. Companies are at the beginning of their careers, still have a direct, uncodified and informal form of leadership and are motivated by the visionaries who founded the company. The management still has an almost unbelievable influence on the development of the company. Together, the team, as a unit, seeks to accomplish the next big thing, that is the driver of a start-up. With this thinking they have an above-average potential to grow and become successful.


Properties of startups and founders

But what exactly are the characteristics that make the pioneering thinking of a start-up company different from that of a corporate group in terms of its dynamism and corporate philosophy? What can corporations and medium-sized companies learn from them or what do they have to prepare themselves for when looking for a partnership?

The culture and way of working at start-ups is unique. They are particularly distinguished by their driving factors. Forbes has identified the following factors, for example:

  • Vision: The vision of their entrepreneurial future distinguishes the founders particularly. Already in its early phase they must know, how they can earn the first euro. The more precisely the vision is worked out, the more strongly it drives the entrepreneurs and their team and becomes the compass of all business decisions.
  • Targets: Startups have a fixed goal. They want to create something that people will really use. That is it, which drives the founder and its team. The product Market fit is thereby the driving Kraft of many founders, while they insert overtime and night work. The goal and this tenacity to achieve it finally increases their chance of success.
  • Speed: Startups captivate with their flexible structures and are often faster than corporations with their established structures and processes. They manage to implement things faster and leaner and to reach their milestones and goals better and more efficiently. All this through an unbroken motivation that supports the entire team.
  • Risk appetite: Speed is also reflected in risk appetite. The word pivot is firmly anchored in the vocabulary of every startup. Startups have to make quick decisions in an uncertain market and also have the courage to rebuild their entire idea until it fits the market and the customer. The slogan of many founders is thereby: High risk, high profit.
  • Budget management: Startups have a lot of energy from the beginning, but often little capital at the beginning. They must learn to create the best with the smallest possible budget. After all, the goal is to create solutions in a fast and cost-efficient way for which large companies often need a very long time. Founders must be able to assess down to the smallest detail what their company needs in order to be able to work as budget-oriented as possible.
  • Time management: Startup life is not a walk in the park, that has to be said. Apart from a mountain of work they have only limited resources in personnel and capital. They must set their focus therefore very purposefully, in order not to lose themselves in unimportant and business-damaging small things. Good and efficient prioritization is the key to success here.
  • Responsibility: In start-ups, the success of the company depends on each individual employee. A founder is only as good as his team. Each of them contributes its part to the success of the enterprise. Everyone is involved in the success, just as he is in the failure. However, this is also the reason why many start-ups have problems with company growth. Unfortunately, this kind of community often disappears here because the responsibility of the individual decreases.

It quickly becomes clear that start-ups are active in a risky, but exciting environment. In contrast to large corporations, they have the ability to change and radically adapt the entire business model within a very short time and to cope better with the ups and downs (possibly also due to lack of experience) than a large corporation with many thousands of employees can do. Despite some hurdles, small companies have an advantage in innovation processes.


They can pick up ideas faster and implement them more easily. They face fewer hurdles because they incur lower costs for many solutions than large companies would. But the essential thing that distinguishes a start-up is their unbroken belief in what they are doing. They believe in their vision. The managing director or the founders must communicate this as convincingly and with as much passion as possible. They are the role models the team looks up to. If each founder burns for a topic, its team will also do it.


For many classic entrepreneurs this may be difficult to grasp now, but startups are not only young entrepreneurs. The start-up scene has become a lifestyle that goes far beyond a traditional corporate culture.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinkerhttps://www.medialist.info
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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