Sifted’s Startup Dictionary

Sifted’s Startup Dictionary

The world of startupland and venture capital: intuitive to some, but a place of mystery to outsiders and newcomers.

We know jargon can be baffling — and we want startups, and Sifted reporting, to be accessible to everyone regardless of industry or background. It’s time for an open-door policy on the ever-growing lingo of the startup ecosystem.

So we’ve decoded even the most confusing of startup terminology.

If you don’t know your VCs from your LPs, your VR from your AR, or if talk of the metaverse, intrapreneurship or acqui-hires goes straight over your head: this one’s for you.

Here’s the Sifted glossary of every term founders and operators need to know.


Biotech refers to the marriage of biology and engineering to create new products and services, from genetics to protein manufacturing, longevity to neurobiology. Biotechnology is a part of healthtech but also includes many other non-health innovations, such as lab-grown meat and materials science.


An umbrella term for innovative technologies based on scientific breakthroughs, like the development of quantum computers, robotics and artificial intelligence. Deeptech companies can be harder to scale than, for example, a software company or a gig economy startup, because there is not yet a clear market for their products, and they usually need a lot of money upfront for development with very long waits for potential market application.


Edtech, short for “education technology”, refers to startups working on technological innovations for learning and teaching. That can mean tech to change the way people learn at school or university, or for upskilling employees in the workplace.

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