Startup Glossary

In the land of startups, scale-ups and Venture Capitalism, jargon and abbreviations are absolutely everywhere. Use this startup glossary of terms to search 101+ definitions every startup founder should know.

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There are currently 16 definitions in this directory beginning with the letter C.

Cap Table
An official document that described the capital structure of a startup, generally used to view the percentage ownership that each investor or employee owns of the company.

Capital is a term for financial assets, such as funds held in deposit accounts and/or funds obtained from special financing sources such as investment or loans.

Carried Interest ('The Carry')
The share of generated profits that an investment manager is entitled to keep as compensation. Can also be referred to as an “Incentive Fee” or a “Performance Fee.”, ranging from 15%-30%.

Churn Rate (Retention)
Also known as retention rate, the churn rate is the annual percentage rate at which customers stop subscribing to a product or service. In this context, it reflects how many customers leave a startup annually, as a %.

Usually applying to vesting schedules, Cliff vesting is when an employee or investor becomes fully vested on a specified date rather than becoming partially vested in increasing amounts over an extended period.

CMO (Chief Marketing Officer)
A chief marketing officer (CMO) is the executive in charge of an organisation's strategic marketing initiatives. They steer the overarching direction of a brand's marketing communications.

Content Marketing
A form of marketing which involves the creation and distribution of content (in any medium) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to generate interest in products or services.

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the methodical process of making iterative changes to a website or app to increase the percentage of users who take a desired action (usually sign up, purchase, register etc).

Convertible Note
Put simply, a Convertible Note (CN) is debt finance, a type of convertible security that converts into equity. In terms of using a convertible note for seed funding, the debt automatically converts into shares when Series A closes. Rather than a loan from a creditor accumulating interest, a convertible note from an investor converts into equity based on pre-agreed terms. Read more.

Cottage Business / Lifestyle Business
A cottage business is one that is unlikely to scale dramatically and therefore does not present a viable investment for a VC or Angel, but could lifestyle business for a founder.

CPO (Chief Product Officer)
A chief product officer (CPO) is the executive in charge of an organisation's strategic product initiatives. They steer the overarching direction of a brand's product, including features and how to articulate them.

Crowdfunding (not to be confused with crowdsourcing) refers to generating capital from brand advocates or early adopters in place of giving away equity, usually via a third party platform. In simple terms, asking a large number of people for a small amount of money each. See also equity crowdfunding.

Crowdsourcing (not to be confused with crowdfunding) refers to obtaining input into a task or project by enlisting a large number of people, generally for free. For example, asking a Reddit sub for an opinion on a rapid prototype rather than paying for a focus group.

CTO (Chief Technology Officer)
A chief technology officer (CTO) is the executive in charge of an organisation's technological needs and strategic decision making in terms of tech. Often in technology start-ups the CTO is a co-founder and/or shareholder.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
An important metric in unit economics, the CAC allows a company to keep track of how much it costs to acquire a new customer. Calculated as direct acquisition costs (generally marketing and sales expenses) divided by the number of new customers, the CAC allows a startup to understand which channels deliver the best ROI for marketing spend.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM refers to the process (but is generally synonymous with software enabling the process) of keeping track of and managing customer relationships. For example, automated email updates to customers may be part of a CRM strategy.

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