So, it’s official. We’ve entered the bubble. LinkedIn’s IPO has heralded in 4 or 5 years of serious exit opportunity, before it all comes crashing down around us again. The BIG challenge now is going to be hiring, then holding on to great people.
The Groupon IPO filing has had lots of airplay this week. Apart from everything else, this really impressed us:
The company now has more than 8,000 employees worldwide, up from 37 employees two years ago. Via CNN
Another Groupon titbit, if you do a search for Eric Lefkofsky on Google, the second automatically generated result is “eric lefkosky fraud”. FYI, Eric is the main shareholder with almost 22% of Groupon. Via CNN
Paul Kedrosky posted Eric’s quotes from his Ha-Lo days in “Then and Now”. If you try and access the original link, it seems to have disappeared though…
We will watch the Groupon IPO with interest.
William Quigley of Clearstone Venture Partners wrote an interesting guest post on TechCrunch and I was struck by a number of points in the post. One really resonated with me, as we are seeing this happen with a number of our clients.
“The third factor contributing to the far high valuations accruing to private companies today is the speed at which companies can now exploit the global marketplace. When I was at idealab in the 1990s, none of our start-ups attempted to address international markets in the first few years of their existence. In fact, for many of those companies, international markets didn’t become a serious focus until after they went public. How times have changed.”
One of our early stage US clients expanding to Europe will hire 8-10 people in their new London office in the next 12 months. They will also hire locally in the German, French and Scandinavian markets. In the last 6 months we have sourced Head of Sales/Country Managers for the UK, Germany, France and The Netherlands for a Denmark headquartered client and are now assisting with their expansion into the US. There is an increased urgency with which companies, with serious traction in their home market, are attacking international markets.
William also noted “Today it is possible to pursue an international growth strategy almost as quickly as a domestic one. The cost of running a global business has dramatically shrunk, and while costs of going overseas have plummeted, the revenue opportunities have increased manifold.”
It takes a lot less time and money to start a business than it did 5 or 10 years ago, by the same token it takes even less time and money to copy a successful business model. Companies do not want to be “Samwered” and watching eHarmony acquire the rest of eDarling who have rapidly expanded into 10 countries in Europe, is going to be fascinating, to say the least! Companies with an experienced executive management team, traction and deliverable growth strategies have to think international and this has to be good for the ecosystem.