Do the math

By Pascal Finette via theheretic.org   Article

Never Build A Company For The Exit

“I am constantly surprised by how many entrepreneurs believe that it’s a good idea to build a company with the sole goal of an exit.

First of all – the odds that your company survives the first few years of its existence are already darn slim. Secondly – the odds that you will have an exit (selling your startup to another company or going for an IPO) or abysmally small. Lastly – the odds of having a significant exit are close to zero.

I always tell entrepreneurs to do the math – for themselves and on paper. It’s deceptive to use one of the online ‘Startup Economics‘ calculators, look at the numbers and convince yourself that it is just a question of time until you will be rich. When you crank out the numbers on a big piece of paper it suddenly becomes much more real.

A whopping $150M exit (and these are very, very rare) will net you maybe $5M to $15M before tax (depending on how many founders you are, how many financing rounds you had, what the terms for these rounds were, etc).

Now – that is a shit-ton of money. But when you consider that your odds of getting there are 1:1,000 (at best) – your risk adjusted return is a meager $5,000 to $15,000. And that for seven years of your life (which is the average time it takes to build and exit a company).

That is all to say – go and build your company. Don’t let any of this discourage you. But do it for the right reasons!”

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