In a day when the world is awash with talk of bubbles after Groupon and Pandora filed for their IPOs I thought it would be interesting to take step back and look at the performance of a handful of the best tech companies created since the dawn of the internet. The growth of these companies is the best in class performance against which other startups should benchmark themselves, and it wasn’t with tiny revenues either. eBay had the lowest first year revenues of this group at $5.7m. The data for this chart (and more) can be found on Venture Capital Dispatch.
These growth rates are not realistically attainable for a lot of startups, and the fact that all of these companies were extremely well funded shouldn’t be forgotten, but it shows what can be done. To give a bit more detail, any company growing at greater than 100% gets our attention (assuming the revenues are of a quantum that the growth figure is meaningful) and anything less than 50% has us asking questions.
Finally – these growth rates apply to the first years of revenues, which in the case of Google came after they had been growing the business for a number of years without revenue.