The strategic course correction of a startup without a major change to the founders’ underlying vision. Often in the form of changes to one or more, but not all, elements of a new venture: product, team, business model or engine of growth.

In basketball, a pivot is performed if a player keeps one foot on the ground in a fixed position and then uses the other one to rotate his body to improve his position in the game while in possession of the ball. In a similar vein, a pivot in the startup world means a change in strategy, but without a change of vision .

Many different kinds of pivots exist . The most common are: Customer Pivot — finding a better customer (problem owner) worth serving; Problem Pivot — finding a better problem worth solving; Solution Pivot — changing the nature of the solution.

Famous pivot examples are YouTube, Slack, and Flickr to name but a few.


Bajwa, S. S., Wang, X., Nguyen Duc, A., & Abrahamsson, P. (2017). “Failures” to be celebrated: an analysis of major pivots of software startups. Empirical Software Engineering, 22(5), 2373–2408. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10664-016-9458-0
Ries, E. (2011). The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. Crown Business.
Ries, E. (2017). The Startup Way: How Modern Companies Use Entrepreneurial Management to Transform Culture and Drive Long-Term Growth. Currency.