Purpose: The purpose of this paper was to present the stages of the Brazilian startups' organizational life cycle (OLC), identifying and describing the main factors related to the entrepreneurial and organizational perspectives, as well as the factors related to external relationship agents and the associated risks at each OLC stage. In addition, the variables that comprised the three perspectives above were used for a descriptive reading of the evolutionary process from the perspective of intellectual capital during the stages. Design/methodology/approach: The type of research used was quantitative with a descriptive character. For data collection, the authors have used the survey method and two complementary questionnaires were used as research tools. The measurement scale used in these instruments was the 11-point Likert scale. In total, 100 Brazilian startups registered in the STARTUPBASE and residents in São Paulo comprised the sample of this research. For the data processing, it was used the exploratory factor analysis techniques, to identify the analysis factors, and the cluster analysis, to identify the OLC stages. Findings: Based on the results obtained, four stages were identified and described to build the OLC model of this research: Stage I – conception and development; Stage II – organization and traction; Stage III – growth and scale; and Stage IV – consolidation and transition. In addition, the authors described the main lines of evidence found at each stage. Practical implications: This research contributes to academic studies of the OLC in startups and the evolution of risks that originate from the relationship between external agents in the business environment and startups. Thus, a management map is built, which helps entrepreneurs and managers construct these businesses since such a management map allows identifying the risks and challenges that a startup needs to overcome to grow and develop. Originality/value: The originality of this research lies in the adaptation of the OLC approach, which is widely used in studies analyzing the growth and development of mature organizations. The authors used this adaptation to analyze the growth and development of startups in Brazil. In addition, the identification and analysis of external agents that make up the business environment, as well as the analysis of the risks, originated from the relationships between the startup and these agents, brought original and essential results and discussions, both for OLC studies and for risk analysis studies in startups.
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