Despite being received increasing attention from academic scholars, there have yet any review study on the topic of start-up success. This work fulfills this research gap by investigating 1554 start-up success documents collected from Scopus dataset between 1981 and 2019. Using bibliometric analysis, we reveal that the topic of start-up success only receives more attention from academic scholars since 2011 onwards. Regarding geographical distribution, the US, Germany, and the UK are the three countries contributing the highest number of start-up success related documents. Besides, it’s revealed that 305 (or 19.6%) start-up success documents were published in the top 20 journals. The co-author analysis found that the research groups of start-up success are still small and dispersed and there was a lack of continuity in the research. The science mapping identified six main topics of start-up success, including: (1) Business in General, (2) Start-up Ecosystem, (iii) Academic Start-up, (iv) Drivers of Start-up Success, (v) Resources for start-up, and (vi) Start-up Model. The study’s findings provide implications for stakeholders, including academic scholars, policymakers, start-up owners, entrepreneurs, and practitioners.