Why the end of the startup era could be great for entrepreneurs

Three notable tech leaders recently announced the finish of this startup era, questioned the future of technology innovation normally and heralded the growth of the “Frightful Five” — Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft — who can dominate the future of technology. Arguments that are credible are made by all of the articles, but ignore how consolidation might be good, even great, for startups.

If we be worth hundreds of billions of dollars and define startup success as construction, we may, in fact, be entering a lean period. If we define success as sending them to thousands of users, creating an ever wider assortment of merchandise and earning hundreds of millions, or even billions of dollars in short time frames, the times may just be getting started.

Just look at the case of tbh — Ben Thompson suggests that Facebook probably paid ~$80 million for the seed-funded, one-year-old firm. Each creator probably made close to $15 million for a year of effort, making them better paid than All-Star NBA Champion Stephen Curry. Entrepreneurs may have to settle for obtaining mere generational wealth, instead of getting “pledge to cure all diseases” rich, but the death of startups has been considerably exaggerated.

How consolidation might be great for startups

The type of business consolidation we see with all the “rdquo & Frightful Five; rsquo & isn;t to it, technician’s the standard in many industries and can spur innovation. The pharmaceutical and packaged food industries have startup scenes that are booming are consolidated, are hyperactive in M&A and offer a glimpse of the way the future of technician may unfold.


The pharma industry was among the tech companies and is one in which first-mover benefit is real. As many leading pharma firms were based before 1780 as after 1980, and eight of the 10 biggest firms are over 100 years old. This seems just like the makings of a moribund market, but, in fact, involving 2014-2015 there were over 100 biotech IPOs that generated $10 billion in proceeds. Startups are still generating miracle drugs and minting multi-millionaire startup founders with regularity A hundred years after the & ldquo; winners & rdquo; were created in pharma.

1) Originally founded as Geigy. 2) Originally founded as Abbott Laboratories. 3) Initially founded as Laboratoires Midy. Market Cap information via Google Finance.

How did this occur? The recognized companies have scaled their organizations to handle the drudge work of obtaining a drug through clinical trials, beyond FDA inspection (and its international counterparts) and, once cleared, to the hands of physicians and patients. Scale and this organizational arrangement make them ill-suited to pursue. Startups can orient themselves entirely rather than be worried about commercialization. One of their peers or Sanofi, Novartis will buy it if a startup develops a novel cancer medication, or a molecule that looks promising.


Critics of this pharma comparison will point out that intellectual property is essential from the biotech/life sciences industries and tech startups don’t even have the same negotiating leverage. This is a point that is fair. However, the pattern of big companies focused on distribution and marketing obtaining nimble innovators also plays out in the packaged food industry, which, like software, has little in the way of IP, is based on commodities as inputs and thrives by surfing changing consumer tastes. Examine the top 10 food companies by sales and the years in


Year Launched

Market Cap

Johnson & Johnson




1758 (1)












1888 (2)






1718 (3)


Bristol-Myers Squibb



Gilead Sciences



1) Originally founded as the “Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company. ” two) Originally founded as “Margarine Unie. ” 3) Initially founded as “Kraft Foods. ” Market cap information via Business Insider.

Despite this consolidation, the past year there were 614 food and beverage firm acquisitions.

The diversity of this startups is remarkable, their simplicity of their offerings much more so. Krave Jerky served paleo fans, and Dave’s Bread was a godsend to gluten lovers, but both were rewarded with quarter-billion-dollar exits for improving on product categories that are approximately 10,000 years old.

Startups aren’t limited to acquisitions either. Chobani went from a niche product to owning 20 percent of the yogurt market in a little over 10 decades. In 2015, two pet food startups surfaced on the public markets using a combined $6 billion in market cap.

It’s true that the founders of RX Bar will probably not go down in history the way W.K. Kellogg failed, but they nevertheless managed to turn a $10,000 investment into a $600 million fortune in four decades. That sounds like the indication of a ecosystem, not a one.

Could this pattern work in technology it’s the standard. Google has acquired at least 211 startups because 2001. IAC has possessed the online dating space in Match.com and has bought up many of the 45 sub-brands that make up its portfolio.

Tech is maturing

Some consider that the technology industry will be perpetually creating and churning new market leaders. Myspace dropped out to Facebook, and as Friendster gave way to Myspace, therefore shalt Facebook be upstaged by the great social network. Microsoft will Google and was brought low by the Justice Department and technology, and so once looked unassailable, they say.

That’s always a possibility, but the truth is these companies have profited from capturing countless users in the crossover to mobile computing and business models that are native to the web from desktop. The founders of Facebook, Amazon and Google will run their companies to come.

How to navigate the post-startup landscape

Fortune favors efficient entrepreneurs…
In a world where new technology startups don’t even have a clear path to Facebook-sized valuations, 1 way to flourish is to avoid increasing so much VC funding where getting the “following Google” is the only way to triumph. There’s no doubt in a $100 million startup. Fred Wilson and USV have created a legendary firm on $1-3 billion dollar exits (using a couple of notable outliers).

If a startup isn’t building for the long haul, then they should orient themselves to a world where valuations would be the standard. You will find dozens of startups that obtained enormous with practically no funding. It’s possible to earn more money as an entrepreneur by simply increasing very little capital and selling for a low price than raising enormous amounts and selling for a high price. Entrepreneurs shouldn’t plan their company around an acquisition or aim small, but they shouldn’the door on the option closes by overfunding.

…and adventuresome projects
Nowadays, many equate startups and entrepreneurship together with the lean, public development process that allowed Mark Zuckerberg to make in a dorm room the most effective media company the world has ever known. This really isn’t the historical norm. We may be due to your period where significant capital expenditures are required to make the systems of the future.

That process may appear messy. Magic Leap has been in a position to conjure piles of money, but thus far has been unwilling to perform the simplest parlor trick leading many to speculate that its release will lead to a splat instead of a Jobsian reveal.

But is it that crazy for a startup to spend $1.9 billion to create something will be a new kind of display technology with the potential to rival OLED? If this investment pays off, and the patents are powerful, Magic Leap will be in a position to compete in the race for AR with Facebook Apple, Google and Microsoft. If it ends up being &ldquordquo; yet another great game platform, the amount spent isn&rsquo. Sony spent  more than $3 billion in R&D developing their third-generation PlayStation games console and Microsoft spent $100 million advancing their Xbox game control. If Magic Leap ships a functional solution, creator Rony Abovitz will deserve plaudits for his capital efficacy.

Look to places other than San Francisco…
Client drones are an $8 billion technology business that’s thoroughly dominated by DJI, a Chinese startup. Perhaps WeChat will Opt to take on Facebook from the U.S.? Or Alibaba could one day choose to challenge Amazon from the U.S.? The notion of a Japanese loom maker beating Ford and GM to become the leader in U.S. automobile sales seemed crazy at a point as well, but Toyota did it all the same. And who knows what’s being developed in the dorms at Tsinghua University.

…such as vape shops
In a world where Warby Parker, Casper and Juicero are believed technology companies, it’s worth taking a little time to recognize that the e-cigarette category has come to be an $8 billion marketplace, and is now projected to be worth $20 billion in the next five decades. This can be within striking distance of Ethereum’s market cap, but unlike cryptocurrencies, that have been obsessed over by the technology cognoscenti, e-cigarettes emerged from gas stations and bodegas apparently overnight. Vape shops won’t even spur the next fantastic startup, but their quick expansion shows that technology has not drawn its past (root beer-scented) breath, which enormous opportunities for startups may come from anyplace.

The Industry is never really settled

Nvidia was founded with the goal of producing better graphics cards for gamers. It had attained a comfy middle age with a evaluation from the single-digit billions. Then AI folks began to rely on Nvidia’so hardware, and the company enjoyed a 10X improvement in 2 years’ space in their stock price. What was once a company that served a market segment of the technology business is now a significant player — rsquo Nvidia &;s market cap is as big as Tesla’s! It may be the startup world because our end & rsquo; t but students of business background should feel good.


Year Launched

Market Cap


1886 (1)






1872 (2)









1909 (3)





Associated British Foods



General Mills






Read more: https://techcrunch.com

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