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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?
Yahoo is still one of the largest consumer internet companies, and one of the most recognizable technology brands in the world. But it's also arguably one of the most troubled publicly-traded technology companies in the world.
In January 2009, the company hired Carol Bartz as CEO to change that. Bartz had previously led software maker Autodesk, and her successes there provided some hope to Yahoo and its shareholders that the company could be turned around.
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.
Digg is dead. Sure, the company won't be disappearing today, tomorrow or next week, but to anyone who lived through the first .com bust, the writing is on the wall: the company's redesign woes and yesterday's 37% staff reduction don't bode well for its future prospects.
For Digg to survive and thrive once again, it's going to have to beat the kind of odds that few companies do.
The platforms offered by companies like Facebook, Twitter and Apple offer entrepreneurs some very compelling features. They often bring to the table built-in audiences, and, in some cases, established business models.
For reasons like these, it's no surprise that a growing number of entrepreneurs are building entire companies on top of a specific platform. And it's no surprise that investors have flocked to back them.