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Is your business a startup or a scaleup?

Peter Stojanovic

Vicky Brock visited Silicon Valley with Sherry Coutu to learn about becoming a scaleup, but with record growth comes a new wave of challenges to overcome.

How do you know you’re becoming a scaleup?

For Vicky Brock, CEO of Clear Returns, it was only until a collaborative trip to Silicon Valley with Sherry Coutu and 15 other British, female entrepreneurs that made her aware of the definition.

It’s not hard to see why though.

Despite the rise of popularity in the term, there is still no clear definition of what it means and who qualifies.

Clear Returns works with major retailers to understand what customers return and how that company can limit the losses they incur through such a process. It’s a popular venture residing in a market that’s little understood and little tackled.

For every $100 million a company refunds, Clear Returns’ predictive intelligence platform should deliver $10 million in extra retained revenue.

Does that make it a scaleup?

“Sherry Coutu recently did the Scaleup Report…In Silicon Valley we were there to really learn about how to prepare for growth and what scaling actually means.”

Becoming a scaleup means that your company has become a development-stage business, specific to high-technology markets and seeking those win-win opportunities for collaboration with established companies.

By definition therefore, a scaleup can report some brilliant growth figures.

“When you have 4 digit growth figures, like we have, it reflects your new position, you’re are now in a different world and it’s harder to see the path and see the footsteps ahead of you.”

Becoming a scaleup therefore also has its challenges.

A scaleup has to report exponential growth and market development via strategic collaborations with established companies; your startup model is tried and tested, it’s not time to unleash its potential.

“You have all the challenges you had before as a startup, but they’re now more complex…the incredible team and product which you relied upon so heavily as a startup now need revisiting, tweaking, proving; when you have large enterprise paying customers, their demands are different and their expectations are different.”