Investors are pouring big bucks into startups, and when it comes to their mobile investments, photos and videos are where it's at. And for an obvious reason: following Facebook's still-pending purchase of Instagram for $1bn, investors are hoping they can fund the next big acquisition target.
But predicting who will be acquired, and by whom, can be a tricky exercise. Case in point: today, Autodesk announced that it is acquiring mobile video startup Socialcam for $60m.
Two of Silicon Valley's biggest names. $33m in pre-launch funding. A roster of A-list celebrities ready to unveil a product to the world.
If you're thinking the year is 1999 and you're at a party in San Francisco, you're wrong. It's 2012 and the city is New York.
If you're avid reader of blogs like this one, chances are you can't go a day without hearing of a new startup that is seeking to revolutionize an industry, that just raised a round of funding, or that was acquired by a major company.
The global economic outlook may be uncertain, but startups are thriving. Or at least so it appears.
With Silicon Valley partying like it's 1999, it's no surprise that everyone wants to be entrepreneur.
Maybe you have a great idea for an app, or know precisely how to disrupt a big industry with a new cloud-based software offering. Unfortunately, if you weren't born writing Ruby on Rails applications and Python scripts, the only thing standing between you and a $1bn acquisition is having a real product.
And so it goes that Silicon Valley is filled with two groups of entrepreneurs today: the cool kids who have the chops to build stuff and the non-technical entrepreneurs who want to team up with them.
Are we in a new .com bubble? It seems quite likely, but that doesn't
mean that many of today's startups aren't better at generating actual
revenue than their now-defunct counterparts of the late 1990s.
According to venture capitalist, Josh Kopelman, whose First Round
Capital operates seed stage funds, about 60% of the companies in his
firm's portfolio have generated over $250,000 in revenue in the 18
months following their financing. The percentage in 2005: just 21%.
With the hottest startups raising big money from investors, and founders and early employees of some of the most successful cashing out some of their equity to the tune of millions, it's no surprise that so many entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs are taking the plunge and starting companies that they hope could be the next big thing.
Building a successful company, of course, is tough, and the odds aren't favorable. Despite the hot market, a growing number of observers believe that we may be in the midst of a bubble which may not be as big as the first, but which could still create significant pain for entrepreneurs and the startup investment community.
For those who lived through the .com boom and bust of the late 1990s,
the last decade has been interesting. The internet is now bigger, and
stronger. Today's success stories, including Facebook, Groupon and
Zynga, have taken center stage, and look set to cash in.
Yesterday, LinkedIn, the popular social network for professionals went public. And boy did investors party like it was 1999.
In the years before the financial crisis, we saw asset values rocketing, a host of new buzzwords appearing and a shared conviction that growth would be eternal. So how is that different from social media right now?
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.