As any buzzword enthusiast will tell you, the words startups choose to describe their businesses change a lot over time.
This makes sense, as upstart tech companies are always focusing on the next new, new thing. Commonly, the words to describe what they do only came into existence recently.
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We turned to Crunchbase data to get a sense of terms most in vogue for startups’ business descriptions. The resulting rankings for trending tech terms looks at criteria such as how many company descriptions contain the term, how much money they’ve raised, and the top individual funding recipients.
Click through to see how the top buzzwords rank:
General findings and random observations
One takeaway is often it doesn’t take long for a term to become ubiquitous in the startup sphere. Take NFTs, or nonfungible tokens. Neither the term nor acronym were even around until 2017. The term only gained broader public awareness this March, with the headline-grabbing $69 million auction of an NFT by the artist Beeple.
Or consider DeFi, or decentralized finance. Earliest mainstream media mentions we found online for DeFi, a blockchain-based form of finance not reliant on central intermediaries, date to just 2019.
Once a buzzword takes off, it can quickly seem ubiquitous. Google News has over 30 million matches each for NFT and DeFi. Other popular terms in startupland, like “no-code,” “remote-first” and “metaverse” are also gaining traction.
Where startups might be missing out
If you’re a startup, there are a million things to worry about, and what buzzword you use to promote your business or build your pitch deck around might not seem top of mind.
However, data searches offer some reason to think founders may be missing out on opportunities to be found by interested investors. In particular, query results seem to show a bias for consumer-friendly terms, and less emphasis on the buzzwords that might most appeal to VCs.
For instance, venture investment in cryptosecurity jumped 10x over last year, according to Crunchbase analysis. However, per our query, there were just two companies with the term “cryptosecurity” in their descriptions, and none of the top funding recipients, including Fireblocks ($489 million) and Ledger ($468 million), used the term.
So, if you’re a hot company in cryptosecurity, you probably don’t need help wooing investors. But a startup just out of the gate might want to alert investors to its existence by playing up its focus on cryptosecurity.
We also looked up “hyperautomation,” a term for the technology used to scale automation capabilities within an organization, which was selected by Gartner Group and other trend-watchers as a leading tech buzzword. But that one wasn’t too popular among startups either, with just 15 companies including the term in their descriptions.
The two sides of remote and hybrid
On a final note, it should be observed that the catchphrases around remote work and hybrid work in company descriptions are a little different than the other buzzwords we queried. That’s because they can refer either to a startup’s target industry (a recruitment platform for remote hiring, for example) or to the startup itself (a remote-first game developer, for example). The funding totals cover investment to both remote/hybrid workforce startups and startups catering to remote or hybrid workforces.
Funded companies include those that raised $50,000 or more in disclosed equity investment. For this set of queries, we focused only on companies that specifically use the designated buzzword within the company description portion of their Crunchbase profile. We did not look at whether the company is primarily focused in the specific industry, looking only at usage of the term in the company description.
Photo by Piotr Łaskawski on Unsplash.
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