A startup – what is it?

When asked this question, one would probably associate the term with a young high tech venture. But is it correct? We have recently started using the word “startup” quite often and maybe just too often. Are all young companies really startups?

Let us start with a definition of a startup to bring some theoretical point of view. Merriam-webster.com explains it as: 1. the act or an instance of setting in operation or motion, 2. a fledgling business enterprise. The deal could be done though, it turns out that it still may cause some problems to determine whether an entity is a startup or not, since there are no certain and constant rules which could help define a startup. Why? Because the profits, revenues, numbers of employees vary between many types of companies.

How about factors indicating graduation from the “startup position”? Some may argue that being a startup even after 5 years since foundation is possible. However, 3 years old startup seem to be “mature” enough to claim that it has transformed into a fully developed company. Other circumstances, such as entering other large company, opening more new offices (startups usually gather around one man office), employing more than 80 people and having more than 5 members of the board, founders starting to sell shares personally, and finally, revenues exceeding $20 million – may direct us to the change in the status of a startup to a “startup graduate”. It might mean that simply becoming highly profitable means leaving a startup position and “maturing”, but as it often happens, some do not really want to mature too quickly.

One thing is crucial in understanding the notion of a startup: not all small businesses, like opening a tiny local shop or a franchise, are startups. What makes a business a startup is its ability to develop without geographical constraints. Such business is created to grow and develop fast. Yet another thing we need to know about startups is the fact that they are not necessarily tech companies as it is commonly believed. Startups use the advantages of new technologies and this is probably their best and fastest way to achieve success and stop being a startup.

Startup founders believe that it is not the amount of time their businesses have been existing which indicates the status, it is the aspect of innovation and feeling of having an impact by what they are doing. Influencing the future world, fresh, new and appealing are the characteristics of startups, which make them attractive and so “cool”.

The fact that the acquisition of a startup by a big company means leaving “startup-dom” is also arguable for some founders. Surely, the process of acquisition and its conditions can be different in all cases, but the fact of going public or becoming a professional businessman in an expensive suit become very clear indicators that your startup may have stopped being a startup.

To sum it up, what makes your startup a real startup? Revenues below $20 million, less than 80 employees and you not freaking out about purchasing a new wardrobe of expensive suits and still having a total control over your fledging company.

Get Your Credit Score for Free, No Trials or Credit Card Required

The U.S, Government requires the 3 major credit reporting agencies to provide a free copy of your credit report to you every 12 months, but this does not show you your actual credit score just the details and accounts on your credit report. You can access your free annual report from all 3 major credit reporting agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Financial experts recommend checking your credit score on a regular basis, not just once every 12 months, so that you can track any changes in your credit report or credit score more frequently and maintain the best possible credit score for your situation and circumstances and prevent any fraud or identity theft. We list 5 services below that will give you a free view of your credit score without any trials or credit card details required.

The services listed below are updated at varying intervals through the year, and many include credit report data recovered from your accounts such as negative entries, account balances, and any credit inquiries made about you. Some of the services even provide email alerts and daily credit monitoring services for free. We recommend Credit Check Total for 3 FICO scores. These scores are used by lenders.

The services below are supported by ads so they do not require a trial membership, credit card information, or the need to remember to cancel a subscription so you are not charged each month. All 3 of the major credit reporting agencies are currently covered, and this includes Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You should expect to provide your social security number and other personal information in order to access your score though, this data is required to prove your identity. Your inquiries will not affect your credit score because you are the one initiating the inquiry.

Credit Karma

A visit to Credit Karma will reveal not juts one but two different credit scores, one based on your credit report from Equifax and one based on your TransUnion credit report. These scores are updated on a weekly basis and they can range from 300 up to 850. Credit Karma also allows you to opt in to their free daily credit monitoring program that is based on your data from TransUnion. You do not need to sign up for a free trial or provide any credit card information, this service is fully supported by ads. You can expect to see ads for credit cards that may be available to you based on your credit scores and report details.

Credit Sesame

In the past Credit Sesame used credit report data and scores based on Experian data but now the service usually uses your TransUnion credit report details instead. You can view your free credit score, which is updated on a monthly basis, and even opt in for a free daily credit monitoring program. The scores provided range from 300 to 850 and the service is free because the site and apps are ad supported. You will never need to enter credit card details or sign up for a free trial.

Lending Tree

Lending Tree is another service that offers you free access to a credit score, with no credit card or trial needed, and this score is based on your credit report from TransUnion. Your score is updated on a monthly basis and can be anywhere from 300 to 850. Since Lending Tree is a mortgage broker expect to see ads for mortgage services, and a home purchase is one of the top reasons that consumers check their credit score in the first place.


This website and service provides a free credit score that is based on your credit report from Equifax, and your score is updated every 6 months. You can also get a completely free copy of your credit report from Equifax twice a year as well, with full credit report and account details. You will not need to enter any credit card information or sign up for a free trial with Quizzle.com. This service also has a credit score scale that ranges from 300 up to 850, and it is also supported by ads. Quizzle is associated with Quicken Loans, both are under the same umbrella, so don’t be surprised if you are offered a mortgage quote when you log in each time.


Credit.com provides a free credit score that is based on your credit report from Experian, and this score updates once every month. Your score will be between 300 and 850, and this service is completely free because it is supported by ads. A variety of credit cards may be offered after you log in. No trial or credit card is necessary to use this service.

Important Considerations

It is important to note that the scores offered by the services listed above are not FICO scores, because the cost for a Fair Issac score is expensive and would not be covered by advertising revenue. The credit scores shown by the services above are still extremely useful though because they allow you to track any changes and monitor credit history trends. The free credit monitoring programs offered can also help you detect or even prevent fraudulent activity, and receive email notifications whenever a new account is added to any of your credit reports.

One Time FICO Score at a Discounted Rate

If you really want to see your FICO score but you don’t want to sign up for a new credit card you will need to sign up for a trial and enter your credit card information. ScoreWatch at MyFico.com offers a month of access for $19.99, and you will get a free credit report from Equifax as well as your FICO credit score from this reporting agency. You will be charged the same rate every month unless you call 1-888-577-5978 to cancel the service.

Staying on top of your credit core can help you maintain a good score, prevent fraudulent activity, and save you money by giving you access to lower interest rates. The services listed above can be very beneficial if you want to know what your credit score is or what steps you can take to improve this number.