When my parents were my age they primarily dealt with huge and old companies. The mail, newspapers, banks and insurance companies were all giants and usually 100-year-old companies.
The companies that are important in my life are also giants, but they are much younger. Google just celebrated its 15th birthday. Facebook is nine and Twitter is only seven years old. The first iPhone (not a company, but still industry-defining) was launched six years ago and the iPad was first announced in 2010. We are now living in an age of child companies; companies that are, on average, ten years old.
Or maybe we’ve already passed that point? Instagram was launched October 6, 2010 and sold to Facebook in April 2012. That’s just 1 year and roughly 6 months from launch to 1 billion dollar exit (it was less than that in the end, of course, but it was worth a billion at the time of the deal).
We just held a hackathon at our conference in New York last week, and it was amazing to see how many well-designed and functional prototypes were presented after just 48 hours. Which made me wonder; we went from an age of 100-hundred-year-old companies, to an age of 10-year-old companies and currently are witnessing companies blossom in less than two years.
So what’s next?
Can you imagine hearing about a startup launching in about 3 years that will grow from 0 to 100 million users and sell for more than a billion within a month? Sounds incredible? How about 10 years from now, when someone is going to do exactly that, but in a week? How surprised are you going to be when the first company launches on Friday, grows to 100 million users over one weekend, and sells for a billion on Monday?
It all might seem improbable or even unthinkable, but we are getting there and fast. Just a few months ago Mailbox was launched on February 7, and was sold to Dropbox only 36 days later. It might not have been for a billion, but it is clear that you don’t need 4 years anymore to become a success.
I predict that we will see an entrepreneur launch a company, and sell it, for more than a billion, within a month, some time in the next four years. I hope it will be you.