What is an Ultralight Startup?

Here’s our definition of an “ultralight startup”:

(Please note that this definition has nothing to do with who attends Ultra Light Startups events. Anyone can attend our events and anyone can pitch, as long as they meet the guidelines)

A Startup

  • A young company.  I’m not sure what the cutoff is.  Maybe 3-5 years?
  • Scalable. Startups achieve scalability by employing technology and/or media. Revenues scale with the number of users/subscribers/customers/clients/readers that the business can reach.  Costs (eg software developers, internet hosting, overhead, etc) scale independently from and slower than revenues.  Most web-based or mobile-based businesses are scalable this way.
    Startups can be contrasted with businesses where cost centers and revenue centers scale together.  For example, a law firm’s revenues scale with the number of attorneys it has on staff (generating billable hours) but its costs scale the same way (attorney salaries are generally the biggest expense of law firms).  Most “service provider” businesses (lawyers, accountants, consultants, PR firms, design firms, etc) have this characteristic.
  • Here is Wikipedia’s definition of a startup company.  There are some similarities to the above, but also some differences.


  • A for-profit business – not a 501(c)(3), etc.
  • A business that generates more revenues than costs, on an ongoing basis.


  • No external capital. The company has not received equity investment (eg. from venture capital firms or angel investors).  It’s entirely funded by the founders savings and/or the businesses ongoing operations.

Please note that Ultra Light Startups events are not restricted to employees of “ultralight startups”.  Anyone is welcome to attend and participate online.  The mission of the group is to profile, celebrate, and help ultralight startups and the entrepreneurs who found them.