Entrepreneurship · Startups

Which would you rather be called: entrepreneur vs. founder?

Joey Nima Investment Banker at Wells Fargo

July 21st, 2015

It seems to me that the word 'entrepreneur' is everywhere these days - it's used as a self-descriptor for people that haven't started their own company, but are either planning on it (sort of a preemptive title in this case) or were part of an early team / have experience working at small startups. I believe people are free to call themselves whatever they choose, but I'm curious what you'd rather be called, an entrepreneur or founder, no matter whether you've started your own company, or if you were an early member of a startup team?

Richard Bullwinkle VP of Products & Marketing at Dictionary.com

July 21st, 2015

It's a funny question. For me I prefer founder.  An entrepreneur doesn't necessarily have a project going.  A founder is in deep. After one has founded multiple companies, entrepreneur might fit better. But when you are out selling your current story, and it is all you think about day an night, being the founder of that story is far more significant than anything you've done in the past.

Brian Hilgendorf Visionary Entrepreneur and Financial Executive

July 21st, 2015

I would echo the comments above.  Entrepreneur is a general statement about the willingness to take risk within a business venture in order to create an outcome.  A Founder to me is more about actually initiating a venture from the start and doing what it takes to get it started and growing. 

As for what I would prefer to be called, when talking about me as a person I would say Entrepreneur.  When discussing a specific venture that I started then Founder is more appropriate, essentially if your are a Founder then you are also an Entrepreneur.  If you are a Entrepreneur then you may or may not be a Founder.

Jose MBA Journalist Super-connector PR/Marketing Leader Quadrant Two PR LLC & EVECAIN Network Founder Business Adviser

July 21st, 2015

Joey, In general, I would prefer entrepreneur. As someone post-start up, then I want to make and communicate that connection to the start up in question and at that point I prefer Founder. Both say different things and have different messages. JM de Jesus, MBA President Quadrant Two PR LLC

Taj Sateesh CEO at Sphinx Resources--The Preferred Recruitment Partners in Hi-Technology R&D & Manufacturing

July 22nd, 2015

The Definition of 'entrepreneur' as per businessdictionary.com is this:
"Someone who exercises initiative by organizing a venture to take benefit of an opportunity and, as the decision maker, decides what, how, and how much of a good or service will be produced.
An entrepreneur supplies risk capital as a risk taker, and monitors and controls the business activities. The entrepreneur is usually a sole proprietor, a partner, or the one who owns the majority of shares in an incorporated venture".

So essentially, likeRichard mentioned, a Founder is more deeply involved.


Leena MBA Content & Publication Manager at NetApp

July 21st, 2015

Founder. It means I am focused on one company. 'Entrepreneur' brings serial entrepreneurship to mind. One who "entrepreneurs" could be someone who is focused on many different ideas or one who has this quality. I'd rather appear more focused.


July 21st, 2015

I can be either a founder, either an entrepreneur, and so on.
As comment above, Entrepreneur is a general statement, it's more about "personality". And a founder is more about legal state at that particular company.
If someone says to you, I'm a founder - question is, of what ? It's almost as it must go with something you founded.
If someone says to you, I'm an entrepreneur - Ok.

John Butler Founder and President at Quantumcyte, Inc, Director of Process Development at Stanford University School of Medicine

July 22nd, 2015

I have to agree with Richard.  This being my first company I identify more as a founder than an entrepreneur.  

Mark Angle Leader at OneStream Software looking to see what will be next.

July 21st, 2015

I think the word entrepreneur is first off over used.  But, in my mind, it refers more to the overall mindset and thought set of a person.  While a founder is specific to a company.  As in "I am the founder of BEbase, a company specializing in activities and experiences."  I would refer to myself as each in different contexts.  Mark W. Angle

John Seiffer Business Advisor to growing companies

July 21st, 2015

From my perspective, Founder or Co-Founder is kind of parallel to your position in the company. It usually (but not always) indicates the company is too small to have actual job descriptions OR is used with your title to indicate you're one of the founders. eg Founder, CEO or Founder, CTO. It helps others (investors for example) give a sense that you are more than an employee. 

Entrepreneur is kind of like saying "business owner" and sort of more generic. I would not use that with investors - it's not specific enough.

I know that's sort of vague, but that's what it brings up for me. 

Judith Hurwitz President & CEO Hurwitz & Associates

July 22nd, 2015

While it is fun to speculate about whether to call yourself an entrepreneur or founder, the real issue is how you are planning to create a company that fills a white space in the market. The issue is not what you call yourself but how you take on a challenge with a well conceived plan and execute!