You know my opinion about Unicorns – right ? Others seem to be getting on the train …
I am back in Boulder after spending much of the last week in San Francisco at Dreamforce. I’m glad to be back, as I find the current climate in the Bay Area somewhat amusing. The tech media writes and talks breathlessly about Unicorns. Startup employees get obsessed with valuations, rather than per share price value.
“Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway took 18 years to become a Unicorn” – good stuff – click through for the 411.
I have a business worth $1,000. If you give me $1,000,000 dollars for 10% of my shares – that ‘values’ my company at $10,000,000 – overnight – BUT – is it really worth 1,000 times as much = just because I have convinced you that with $1 million dollars – we can conquer the world ?
More importantly – 3 months down the line – you and I convince a new dude to drop another 10 million dollars into the business – and we give him 10% of the company ….
Over night – my company is now ‘worth’ $100 million – and my original investor’s investment is now ‘worth’ $10 million – a ten fold ‘return’ in 3 months !
See what I did there ?
I am not saying that the Unicorns aren’t going to turn into something great. I am saying that there is zero oversight on this process – rather a bunch of insiders trading on Futures – with no watchdog. What could possibly go wrong ?
A curated leaderboard of companies that were at one point privately worth $1B or more and subsequently exited, either by acquisition or IPO.