This morning I woke up with three ideas that I believe could be
developed and sold to one of the major search engines within the next
three years. I started wondering if the best exit strategy for an
internet based startup these days is to position yourself to be
acquired by Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft. And maybe even eBay. There is
so much capital in these companies and they all seem to be anxious to
do acquisitions. And the IPO market has seemed so sleepy for so long.
But then I came across this article from yesterday’s Business Week that says there were 30 IPOs in August,
the most for any August in five years. And it claims the market is just
heating up. Here are some of the tech companies that could go public in
the coming months:
- Vonage: the leading VoIP provider, with more than 1 million subscribers in the U.S. (Business Week story)
- TellMe: voice recognition for customer service calls. Hoovers estimates $19.2 million in 2004 revenue.
- Alibaba: Yahoo paid $1 billion for 40% recently
- eBags: expected to sell 1 million bags in 2004
- Ritz Interactive: online speciality retailer, just filed S-1 with $20.8 million in 2004 revenue
- iRobot (S-1 shows revenue of $94 million in 2004)
- Facebook: raised $13 million in May from Accel; has 3.65 million registered users
They also mentioned Skype, but of course, this article was written before the announcement that eBay is buying Skype.
So in addition to being a great time to start a high-tech company (the best time in history,
in fact), it appears that it might once again become a great time to
harvest a high-tech company, with both M&A and the IPO market
looking quite promising.