When Facebook filed to go public earlier this week, you can be sure that the excitement in the halls of Facebook's offices was palpable. After all, the company's wild ride is going to make a lot of people very wealthy.
But the excitement around Facebook's IPO isn't just being felt amongst Facebook's employees. It's creating increased excitement for technology entrepreneurs, some of whom hope their startups could be the next Facebook.
For many tech entrepreneurs, a startup leads to one of three destinations: acquisition, IPO, or failure. Historically, the risks have been big, but the rewards have been even bigger.
From Google to Facebook, few industries have created vast amounts of wealth faster than the internet, but for many entrepreneurs today, swinging for the fences isn't a must.
Increasingly, big companies (like Google) and high-flying upstarts (like Facebook) are targeting young startups for acquisition. Not for assets or IP, but for their people.
In 2008, just as the global economy was collapsing, one of the most storied venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, Sequoia Capital, gave a presentation that encouraged entrepreneurs to raise as much money as they could, and hunker down for a nuclear winter.
Three years later, the startup economy is zooming along. Many young companies large and small have been raising money at significant (and arguably exorbitant) valuations. A new breed of angel investor -- the 'super angel' -- has emerged, buoying the market for startup capital. And thanks to secondary markets for private company stock, founders and early employees at some of the most successful companies have been able to obtain liquidity.
But are the good times coming to an end, again?
Times are good for internet entrepreneurs. VC money is flowing again, supporting a startup boom the likes of which hasn't been seen since the late 1990s.
Large companies aren't shy about acquiring technology and talent, and for the most promising companies, the public markets are once again open for business.
Although much of the startup investment activity and buzz is focused on startups in Silicon Valley and New York, Europe isn't without startup action of its own.
If you run a business that's active online, or are involved in digital marketing in any way, chances are you've done business with a startup before.
No big deal, right? After all, today's hot startup could be tomorrow's Apple or Google, and even if it isn't, there's no denying that startups are a driving force behind innovation.
But should you always trust a startup? Are there times when joining forces with one is a bad idea?
When investing in or buying a company, taking a peek under the hood is all but required. Anything else, of course, is sort of like going to Vegas and betting a huge chunk of your retirement on black.
Generally, due diligence includes looking at a company's financials. From the top line to the bottom line, prospective investors and acquirers need to know how healthy a company is and where it appears to be headed. But when investing in or acquiring an online business, should investors and acquirers be paying more attention to the SEO profiles of the properties they're considering?
Is there a bubble in tech?
It may not resemble the first .com bubble, but the valuations being
given to some of the hottest internet startups, from 'mature' companies
including Facebook and Twitter all the way down to upstarts like Quora, is producing
plenty of skepticism.
Darwin Private Equity recently acquired a majority stake in Euroffice, backing a management buyout of the company.
I've been talking to CEO Simon Drakeford about the deal, how the company will use the investment, and how a focus on customer retention has helped Euroffice to grow despite the recent economic situation.
PROfoundersCapital is a venture capital fund established for entrepreneurs in the digital media space, and backed by investors including Brent Hoberman and Michael Birch.
I've been talking to General Partner Rogan Angelini-Hurll about the aims of the fund, and what he will be looking for in entrepreneurs seeking investment...
Bad luck to Andy Cockburn and the Wigadoo team, following the news that it is closing down.
I really liked the Wigadoo model, and so did the likes of Brent Hoberman, who backed it. Wigadoo basically helped people to go Dutch online, for group outings such as events. So rather than having one person pay for four tickets, each person could chip into a central pot.
Simply put, the company ran out of time and money, and the appetite from the investment community wasn’t there to issue a new round of funding to take the business forward.