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Showing posts from July, 2009

"The Valuation Conundrum" - By Sanjay Anandaram

“How much will my stocks be worth in 5 years?” was the question the senior corporate executive asked the CEO of a startup. “I don’t think my stocks are worth anything now, so I want a big salary raise considering the fact that I’ll be spending the next few very productive years of my working life with you” was the refrain from a senior manager of a young startup. “What will your exit valuation be” asked the junior VC partner to the entrepreneur as if anyone had the answer!

All too often such scenarios play out in young companies. These questions are not easy to answer with any certainty given the state of the company. Yet, these questions need to be addressed. The trouble occurs when these perfectly legitimate questions consume the startup team such that enormous energy is expended in explanations and negotiations with employees and investors leaving the startup shaky before take-off.

It is important to keep some basics in mind.

First, in young early stage startups, valuation is almost …