Valuing a company is always a mix of science and art, especially for startups. Historically the science has been pretty simple: Find comparable companies and do a multiple of earnings or revenue.
However, three drivers of startup valuation have emerged that are changing the game. “Acquihire,” is the act of buying out a company for the skills and expertise of its staff. It has become so well-known that it is even listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. When Facebook buys a company like Hot Potato, it’s not for the revenue stream or products — it’s for the employees.
Wow. Imagine being invited to moderate a free-form discussion with the people who lived out the book “Bringing Down the House” and the movie “21.” It doesn’t get any better than this.
At Xconomy’s XSITE conference, I had the honor of moderating a reunion panel of the MIT Blackjack Team with two of the original members (Bill Kaplan and Jon Hirschtick) and two (Neelan Choksi and Semyon Dukach) who reconstituted the team in 1992. The team is known for its sophisticated card-counting techniques that outsmarted many casinos during the 1980s and 1990s.
As more people aspire to become entrepreneurs, it is important to dispel many of the misperceptions about this species. Here are six big ones that even some entrepreneurs believe:
1. They are the smartest and most high achieving people in the room: They certainly weren’t growing up. It is highly unlikely they were the valedictorians of their classes in college. As one successful entrepreneur recently said to me, “If I had a 4.0 at graduation, it stood for the number of parties I went to the night before rather than my GPA.” Entrepreneurs don’t typically try to please other people; rather, they find something that deeply fascinates them and then hyper-focus on that particular opportunity. Hence, the high dropout rates. Case study: Steve Jobs
When we teach our introductory entrepreneurship class at MIT, we take it for granted that each of our 75 students will be able to start an American company upon graduating.
But many of them lack one thing they need to be able to do so—permission from the United States government to continue working in our country.
In this academic year, three in 10 MIT students, including four in 10 graduate students, are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. So for them our entrepreneurship class is likely to remain just an academic exercise. Their student visas expire when they graduate, leaving them with two options, to leave the country or find an existing company to sponsor them for a chance at an H-1B visa.
We heard the presidential candidates discuss their views again Tuesday night, and it is clear that they agree on at least one thing: jobs and job creation policies are critical to the future of the economy. Yet like many politicians, policy makers, and pundits, the candidates continue to gloss over what both men certainly know to be true: Not all jobs are created equal.
Based on our work at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, we see two clear and distinct routes to new job creation.
MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer Bill Aulet
There are small- and medium-sized companies created to offer traditional goods and services to a local or regional market. Think “mom and pop” operations. They include your yoga studio and the pizza place down the street. While valuable to the economy in general, these companies are not large enough to serve as a growth engine for the entire economy. They do, however, offer important opportunities for employment and provide valuable services. Read More »