Key challenges in software startups across life cycle stages
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Software startups are challenging endeavours, with various road blocks on their path to success. The current understanding of the challenges that software startups may encounter is very limited. In this paper, we use the research framework of learning and product development stages to analyse the key challenges that software startups have to deal with at different life cycle stages, from problem definition to solution validation and from concept to mature product. Based on an analysis of the empirical data collected by a large survey of 4100 startups, we find out that what perceived as biggest challenges by software startups do vary across different life cycle stages. Building product is the biggest obstacle for software startups, even though its significance decreases when the learning focuses of the startups move from problem to solution and their products mature. Business related challenges such as customer acquisition and scaling are more noticeable at the later stages. Our study raises the awareness of these challenges and suggests to tackle right challenges at the right time. © The Author(s) 2016.