A pivot in simple terms is a modification of the main offer that the startup or company is offering. In tech the main offer is usually a service an app that have a specific functionality. In business the main offer is usually the product or service offered by the company.
A pivot is a strategic move that the business takes to ensure that it remains viable and profitable.
For a business, pivots means that the company is changing some aspect of its core products or services. A pivot can be done to better meet customer demand, to shift target audience or some combination of both.
For a startup, a pivot is a decision that the startup takes when it fails to find product market fit, or meet the high growth requirement tech investors expect.
Startup pivot, is way more drastic than a business pivot. It can be a change in the business model, or an entire revamp of the entire offer and idea.
Let’s take for example the Instagram pivot into photo sharing app.
Instagram was initially launched as a a location-based check-in app called Burbn. The popularity of the app’s photo-sharing capabilities compared to the its other features, pushed Burbn’s leadership to pivot the app’s offer, thus they stripped the application of all the core aspects, to focus instead on the 3 less crucial functions: Photo upload and the like and comments on the photos.