clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Here’s a reminder that profitability is the new vanity metric for startups

Growth who?

Arthimedes / Shutterstock
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

For the last few years, startups loved to boast about growth numbers. Revenue growth. Hiring growth. Growth, growth, growth, growth, growth.

But a funny thing has happened in the last year as it became harder to raise venture capital: Profitability has become the new vanity metric. And startups often use the definition that suits them best: It’s cash-flow positive for some businesses, Ebitda positive for others, or gross-margin positive when it’s convenient.

The latest reminder of this? Social analytics company Hootsuite blasted out a press release to reporters today with the headline, “Hootsuite announces it is cash flow positive.” To quote my own tweet: “2016.”

This article originally appeared on