Silicon Valley Review S3, Ep4: Comparing Valuations To Competitors
In this week’s episode, Richard and his team’s dream for Pied Piper is to build out a full platform, instead of just a data storage box. Richard’s conflict with Jack peaks when Hooli acquires Endframe for $250M. In the episode, this solidifies the long-term value of Pied Piper as a middle-out compression platform, and the VC fires Jack Barker in hope of achieving a similar value by pursuing the full platform.
Just because a company who you compare yourself to is worth $X does not mean you are worth the same.
This is something I see all the time with founders: “We do X better than ACME Co., so we should be valued at the same or more.” This may hold true if you’re part of the Paypal Mafia, and the comparison is limited to a few select companies (i.e. Box.net and Dropbox), but unless you’re in a truly innovative and disruptive space with few competitors, you shouldn’t be tying yourself to recent acquisitions or investment valuations, purely on the fact that the acquisition or investment happened.
In all reality, you are going to be judged against ACME Co.’s traction, user base, revenues, and a host of other metrics. This is especially true in the North Texas startup scene where valuations are much more closely tied to fundamentals then they are to market potential and founder resumes. So tread lightly when you compare your company to the alphas in your space. This is not to say that it isn’t a data point, but just that it’s not the only one.