When does a startup become a startup?

(From Quora: click here)

I don't think there is a qualification needed to call a startup a startup. In my book a side project can also be called a startup.

It is not tough to find a group of people:
- who have given up their jobs
- raised money
- defined roles in the company
etc etc
...and yet produce nothing valuable.

Having said that I do believe startups are awesome and I dare not undermine the role of learning from failures. It is also remarkable to see people taking a risk to make the world a better place (at least I see it that way). Despite all this, you will have to agree that the market doesn't care. Relevant ones survive and most of them die.

If I interpret the question correctly, it also means - when does one start taking a startup seriously? I would take a startup seriously if the founders can convince me on the opportunity and their value with relation to that opportunity. Even if there are no tangible short term plans to make money or scale - a realistic long term plan is not too much to ask for. All this is of course good for coffee table conversations :)

In reality, my decisions are often based on how much I like the founders (even if they are still in the process of figuring it out). And vice versa, people have shown faith in me even when I didn't have a bag of tricks to impress them.