I guess "start a company" could be simply considered as "register business name, get licenses, recruit some people, etc".
It seems the expression "start out" means the same thing.
Oxford Dictionary gives this definition about "start out (or up)"
Embark on a venture or undertaking, especially a commercial one.
and this example
the company will start out with a hundred employees
However, Google Ngram shows that the former is more commonly used that the latter.
So, are the following 2 expressions interchangeable in any cases?
started a company
a company started out
Note: The question is NOT "Are 'start' and 'start out' interchangeable". The question is whether "started a company" and "a company started out" are interchangeable.
In other words, do they mean the same thing? Is one more formal than the other?