A startup is a company. It’s not a charity. It wants to make money. In my mind, there are three kinds of startups, related to how they make money:

The Funds startup grows with someone else’s money. It’s a system that makes money out of young, hard-working, gullible cogs.

And it has money to publicize and romanticize themselves for the next generation of cogs.

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The Grants startup is quite the same as above, only with grants. The people you’re courting are the governments, and the people you’re scamming or hurting are the taxpayers. Everyone.

Both these kinds need to look sexy: for the next round, for the next laborers, or for the public. You need to show encouragement or any form of ROI, so the money gone will not look like a total loss.

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The Customers startup is focusing on solving problems in a way people are willing to pay for.

It’s long, it’s hard, it needs you to rework many assumptions, and it often doesn’t grow as fast, nor look as sexy.

But it’s the only kind of startup I respect.