From the ever brilliant Marc Andreessen:
- companies simply develop faster these days than they did in the past. Microsoft and Oracle, for example, both needed 10 years of incredibly work to get to their IPOs (both founded in ’76, IPO in ’86), and they only had a few hundred employees each when they went public — and those were the two biggest software successes of their era.
Versus these days, when many companies are founded, built, scaled up, and sold (or, yes, taken public!) in a few years.
- Also because of the faster cycle time, when you start company #2 you can assume that it won’t necessarily consume the next 10-20-30 years of your life — you can probably build something successful over say 5 years, maybe 8 years max, and so you’re not committing the rest of your life.This makes it easier for people to say, OK, hey, it worked once, I’ll try it again.
This points are all about the entrepreneur side of the equation. If it only takes half as long as previously to build a successful company you will get serial entreprenuers twice as fast.
The same is true for the investors in those businesses. They will exit in half the time and will therefore be able to fund twice as many businesses (at least).
This is good news for us here in Europe where the start-up ecosystem is still relatively young. The successes of recent years have given us a good number of serial entrepreneurs and angel investors who are making a big difference already – what you get from this class of people more than any other is the following three ‘C’s:
- Cash – for early stage companies
- Confidence – they show it can be done
- Companies – hopefully great ones!
If Marc is right, and I think he is, then the ranks of serial entrepreneurs and angels will swell more quickly than ever before. Particularly as this is a great moment in time to be building companies.
To end on a note of hope, also from Marc:
For the first time in history, you have a global market of 1+ billion people, all connected over an interactive network where they’re all a click away from you. That’s amazing.
And 100 million new people are being added to that count every year, and that will continue for the next 30 years.
A huge and growing market makes all kinds of magical things possible, and I think that’s what we’re seeing now.